COVID-19 Symptoms, Risks and Procedures

What is COVID-19? | Common Symptoms of COVID-19
Daily Health Screening Questionnaire Requirement of Faculty and Staff
Guidance for Faculty and Staff with Risk Factors
What Will Happen If There Is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case on Campus?

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019. It manifests most often as a respiratory illness that is spread mainly person-to-person in close contact. When someone with coronavirus coughs, sneezes or talks, respiratory droplets are released, and the droplets may reach and infect people who are very close by.

The droplets generally do not travel more than a few feet which is why social and physical distancing is effective in preventing the spread.

Recent guidance from the CDC indicates that transmission from surfaces is very limited. However, COVID-19 may spread when a person touches a surface or object that has virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes. This is why frequent handwashing is another effective way to prevent the spread.

Until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, we are all vulnerable to it and we need to work together to protect ourselves and each other.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19

The presence of COVID-19 can range from mild or no symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Other, less common symptoms may also occur, including gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting or diarrhea).

Daily Health Screening Questionnaire Requirement of Faculty and Staff

New York State requires all faculty and staff to complete a daily health screening questionnaire at home before reporting to work on campus. The screening includes taking your temperature and answering questions about potential recent COVID-19 exposure, any recent travel by you and/or members of your household, and an assessment of any COVID-19 related health symptoms you may be experiencing. The questionnaire includes further instruction for faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms or answer “yes” to any of the questions about exposure and travel.

Printed copies of the questionnaire will be provided upon returning to campus. Completing this mandatory daily self-assessment is not only a state requirement, but the right thing to do for the health and safety of everyone on campus. You will not be required to submit your daily screening results to the University. You will, however, be required to notify HR and your supervisor if you are directed by your physician to self-isolate due to possible COVID-19 exposure, or after having tested positive for COVID-19.

Please note that faculty and staff who have an elevated temperature (over 100.4°F/38°C), or are otherwise experiencing symptoms, must stay home from work and contact a health care provider, as well as notify their supervisor. You will not be able to return to work until you are cleared to do so by a medical provider.

Guidance for Faculty and Staff with Risk Factors

According to the CDC, older adults (those aged 65 years and older) and people of any age with certain serious medical conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Those medical conditions include:

  • HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Compromised immune system

If you have been instructed to return to campus and have concerns about doing so due to a disability or medical condition, you may request a reasonable accommodation through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services and go through their interactive process. Based on the information obtained through that process, a determination will be made as to whether you qualify for a reasonable accommodation. Accommodation approval is dependent on the ability to perform your essential functions remotely.

What Will Happen If There Is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case on Campus?

If a faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure the individual is removed from the campus environment and the correct parties, including HR, Facilities Services and the Onondaga County Department of Health, are notified.

The impacted individual will not be permitted to return to campus until they have received clearance to do so from their treating physician. All business and school contacts who’ve been in contact with the individual during the previous 14 days will be traced and notified.

Additionally, upon notification of a positive test of a faculty or staff member, Facilities Services will initiate their comprehensive COVID-19 cleaning protocol. HR and Environmental Health and Safety Services will determine whether an immediate shutdown of the entire department or work area is needed to implement infection control protocols and ensure containment of the virus.

This information was first published on May 29, 2020 and last updated on June 2, 2020.