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College Student Defense

Are universities tracking students’ exposure over the holidays?

By December 6, 2021September 25th, 2023No Comments

2021 Update: 

While some of us may have expected 2021 to have the coronavirus under control, things have been up and down throughout the past year. From the distribution of vaccines to the introduction of the Delta variant, it’s hard to predict what COVID-19 numbers will look like going into 2022. 

For this reason, different schools and universities are enacting different policies regarding students’ exposure to the virus over the holidays. 

Some schools, for example, are requiring students to get vaccinated. Other schools have limited indoor activities and sports events in an attempt to limit exposure. Others are merely giving students advice about what to watch out for in holiday gatherings. 

It’s important for students to stay alert and updated about their specific school’s COVID policies and regulations. Our team at DC Student Defense knows that, unfortunately, universities sometimes steamroll right over students.

We know how to help our clients defend their rights and preserve their academic futures. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and talk about your case.

It can be hard to not have your college-age kids around for the holidays. It’s a time when the whole family comes together, but how can your family be whole when some members are missing?

Unfortunately, this year, it’s not as simple for your kids to come home by just hopping on a Greyhound. Not only does traveling greatly increase the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, but colleges are implementing strict rules about isolation and testing as well.

For the most part, your kid’s school won’t know what they did over break, but they will be testing your child for COVID-19 upon their return.

CDC Recommendations

The holidays are a difficult time for everyone this year. We all want to spend time with our families, but we also want to do our part to help limit the spread of the virus.

The Center for Disease Control recommends celebrating the holidays with just the people in your household– whether that be a nuclear family or a couple of college roommates.

Hosting or attending large gatherings, especially if you are traveling out of town to do so, can increase your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

Contact Tracing

If you do choose to celebrate the holidays with your family out of town, many cities have quarantine requirements for when you get back. For example, you might be required to isolate for 10 days after your return. Many universities have similar requirements.

In addition, some local governments are participating in contact tracing programs. Under these programs, people who have tested positive are asked to provide the local Health Department with a list of all the people they’ve come into contact with over the last few weeks. Then, the Department officials will reach out to the people on that list and warn them that they might have been exposed to COVID-19.

Contact tracing can be useful in helping to stop the spread of the virus. But it can also potentially present legal troubles. It’s useful to know when someone is keeping track of your actions, even if their intention is to help you.

Are D.C. Universities Tracking COVID-19 Infections?

Most schools aren’t conducting contact tracing programs, although some are. However, almost all universities have adopted at least some policies to help make sure there is no one with an active COVID-19 infection on their campus.

Here are a few examples:

  • George Washington University doesn’t have a university contract tracing program, but it does have a rigorous policy involving weekly testing, and required isolation and symptoms monitoring for anyone who tests positive. 
  • Georgetown University has similar policies regarding regular testing and required isolation for anyone who contracts the virus. However, they are also using an app developed with One Medical to keep track of students’ symptoms and collaborate with the DC government’s contract-tracing program.
  • Howard University is similarly keeping track of students’ health through the University’s Bison Safe app.
  • American University, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be making use of an app or contact tracing, although it does offer regular testing for students.

These schools won’t be able to keep track of your kid’s whereabouts or their COVID-19 status while they’re away for the holidays. However, most of them will continue any type of precautions they’ve already implemented upon your child’s return to campus.

Failing to follow a school’s COVID-19 guidelines can land your child in academic or legal trouble. For that reason, it’s important to do some research into the full extent of your university’s contract tracing program and get in touch with a student defense attorney if need be.

Hire a Student Defense Attorney Today

We are living through a difficult time, between the pandemic and the sacrifices we may have to make around the holidays this year. DC Student Defense can help you make sure that university discipline doesn’t get added to your child’s plate. Contact us for legal counsel today.

These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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