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UMass Lowell will resume on-campus instruction, research and campus life for Fall 2020. View the plan for more info.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

As we move through this public health crisis, an increasing number of our faculty, staff and students will test positive for COVID-19.

Facts are critical, especially during periods of high anxiety. Here are some answers from the UMass Lowell Wellness Center to the most frequently asked questions they are hearing.

Will I be notified if an employee at the university is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Probably not. With employees and students working and learning remotely, there are very few circumstances where staff or faulty will be notified about a positive test of someone associated with our campus community. Not only are issues of medical privacy involved, the local boards of health that lead contract tracing will only reach out to individuals determined to have a high risk of COVID-19 transmission as a result of close contact. If you don’t hear from a local board of health, are socially distancing yourself, washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces, your risk of contracting the disease is low.

Does the university get notified about a positive test result if someone works or goes to school at UMass Lowell?

In almost all instances, it is not mandated that an employer be notified of reported communicable disease, including COVID-19, as this is considered protected private health information. However, local public health may contact a confidential source (like HR in our case) to inform contact investigation processes.

Will I be notified if one of my students is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Not unless a student chooses to share that with you directly. Unless a diagnosed student is living on campus, due to our remote learning environment we may not know a student has tested positive for the virus.

What if a student reaches out to me to let me know they have tested positive for COVID-19? Should I share that information?

If a student informs you that they have tested positive, you are under no obligation to share that with anyone. A student may want you to know that their health status temporarily interferes with their ability to be successful. In that case, please advise them of the new grading options for Spring 2020 and be as flexible as possible as you help them find ways to succeed. In addition, staff members from the Wellness Center are available to help you begin to sort out the often overwhelming information you may be sifting through should a student disclose being diagnosed with COVID-19. Please email: if we can be of assistance and encourage students with questions to do the same.

What should I do if I, or someone I live with/care for, test(s) positive for COVID-19?

You should contact your immediate supervisor to let them know you are ill. As you may need to be out for two weeks, letting your supervisor know that your absence is due to COVID-19 may be in your best interest as typically absences that long require some sort of documentation for a return to work. More information is available from Human Resources.

If I need to self-quarantine because I’ve been identified as a close contact of someone with diagnosed COVID-19, what should I do?

You should contact your immediate supervisor to let them know you won’t be in work for the period you have been told to self quarantine, letting your supervisor know that your absence is due to potential COVID-19 exposure. If you are able to work remotely, you can continue to do so or use accrued leave time.

Self isolation vs. self quarantining vs. social distancing

  • What is self isolation?
  • What is self quarantining?
  • What is social distancing?

What if Someone I know is Diagnosed with COVID-19?