Issued: 6/12/20


The following plan is presented to highlight the responsibilities and information for the various parties involved in a probable or confirmed case of a COVID-19 infection involving a University of Pennsylvania faculty or staff member working onsite. The plan is based upon current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and is subject to change as that guidance changes.

Faculty and Staff Information/Responsibilities:

  • Symptom Screening - Prior to reporting to work each day, all faculty and staff are required to monitor for the following symptoms: 
    • Fever (temperature 100.3°F. or higher)
    • Chills
    • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath 
    • Fatigue
    • Cough
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Diarrhea
    • Other symptoms (see CDC for latest updates on possible symptoms)
  • COVID-19 Symptom Onset - If an employee has any of the symptoms listed above, they are expected to immediately notify their supervisor that they are potentially symptomatic for COVID-19 and remain at home. The employee is also expected to inform their supervisor of anyone they had close contact with (within 6-feet for 15-minutes or more) and provide as much detail as possible about the specific spaces the employee spent time during the two calendar days prior to being symptomatic (if the employee was in the workplace).
  • COVID-19 Case in Household or Close Contact - If an employee has a member of the household or has had a close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, the employee must stay home and self-isolate for 14-days.
  • Symptom Onset During the Workday - If symptoms arise during the work day/shift, the employee is expected to immediately notify their supervisor and go home. The employee should self-isolate at home and maintain distance from family members. The employee should also contact their healthcare provider to discuss symptoms and seek advice on testing.

Faculty and Staff Information/Responsibilities (Cont’d):

  • General Precautions - Wear a facemask and maintain at least 6-feet from others. Follow posted social distancing instructions within each School or Center facility. Practice frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer.  Frequently clean and disinfect work areas and common spaces after use.
  • COVID-19 Testing - If being tested for COVID-19, employees are expected to immediately notify their supervisor, and they should not report to work.  Employees are to report the test results to their supervisor as soon as possible so close contacts can be updated on whether to continue to self-isolate or return to work.
  • Return to Work - Employees may return to work when ALL the following conditions have been met:
    • At least 3 days after resolution of fever (off fever reducing medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen) and improvement in respiratory symptoms and
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started. 
    • If you have tested positive and never exhibited symptoms, wait 14-days from test date prior to returning to work.
  • Identification as Close Contact - Close contacts of faculty or staff who have probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 will receive a phone call and letter from EHRS with instructions. EHRS is not involved with identification of close contacts for students, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the School of Veterinary Medicine which have their own programs. 
  • Critical Infrastructure Employee Close Contact – If a Critical Infrastructure employee is identified as close contact, EHRS will work with the employee and supervisor to provide specific guidance in these cases.

Supervisors Information/Responsibilities:

  • Identify Close Contacts & Areas Visited – When faculty or staff member notifies their supervisor, the following steps will be taken:
    • Confirm that the employee was in the workplace within 48-hours of onset of symptoms.  
    • Identify close workplace contacts that are defined as being within 6-feet for 15-minutes or more and pull phone numbers and email addresses. 
    • Identify specific spaces the employee spent time in the workplace during the two calendar days prior to being symptomatic.  Restrict access to the areas where the probable or confirmed COVID-19 case spent time. While access is restricted, if possible, open windows or otherwise increase ventilation to maximize air exchange within the areas. 

Supervisors Information/Responsibilities (Cont’d):

EHRS Responsibilities:

  • Receive Reports of Faculty and Staff Probable or Confirmed Cases – Receive reports of and from faculty and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms, who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are a close contact of a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case. 
  • Contact Tracing – Work with supervisors or faculty/staff to complete contact tracing. 
  • Formal Notification to Close Contacts - Send an email to close contacts containing instructions on self-isolating, monitoring of symptoms, and return to work information. 
  • Notification of Incidental Contacts - Notify incidental contacts (those in the general vicinity but not considered to be close contact) to be extra vigilant in monitoring for symptoms for 14-days after the probable or confirmed case last spent time in the area. 
  • Closure Notification - Notify supervisor and department head of completion of a case (all close contacts notified).
  • OSHA Notification - Notify OSHA if infection is determined to be work-related and requires in-patient hospitalization.
  • Recordkeeping - Maintain records of all reports of faculty and staff probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases and contact tracing documentation, including interviews conducted with persons under investigation and close contacts and all communications with close or incidental contacts. 
  • Case Volume Reporting - Report the quantity of COVID-19 cases to senior University leadership.

Housekeeping Responsibilities:

  • Cleaning & Disinfection - Clean and disinfect surfaces where the probable or confirmed COVID-19 case spent time. EPA-registered disinfectants for SARS-COV-2 shall be used.
  • Internal vs. External Resources - Housekeeping shall determine if cleaning and disinfecting will be completed with internal staff or contracted to the on-call housekeeping contractor.