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Do I have to report my positive COVID test to my school?

By October 11, 2021September 25th, 2023No Comments

With most universities returning to full operating capacity this fall, students have a lot of questions about the continuation of COVID-19 policies from last year.

One of the most common questions we get from DC-area students is, “What happens if I get COVID while on campus? Do I have to report it to someone?”

The answer is almost certainly yes. While different universities may have different policies about testing and self-reporting, almost every university is strictly keeping track of all COVID cases on their campus.

So if you test positive for COVID-19, you’ll need to report it to your school, and then isolate until you get better.

At DC Student Defense, we make it our job to help you understand all of your school’s conduct policies. Read on for more information about self-reporting a positive COVID test on a DC college campus.

Testing and quarantine policies

The DC Health Department requires all DC-area colleges and universities to appoint a Point of Contact (POC) for students, faculty, and staff to report their cases. This POC will then work with the Health Department to keep track of all COVID cases on DC college campuses.

While it’s worth doing research into the specifics of your school’s policies and procedures, it’s almost a given that your school will have strict requirements for frequent testing and reporting the results.

Most schools will at least have implemented the following procedures:

  • A vaccine mandate, or strongly encouraging students to get vaccinated
  • Testing upon arrival to campus and regular testing throughout the year
  • More frequent testing and symptom monitoring for unvaccinated students
  • Quarantine for students exposed to a known COVID case
  • Isolation for known COVID cases

Check out our recent blog post for more information on which schools are requiring students to get vaccinated for the fall.

DC universities’ reporting requirements

In order to find out your school’s specific policies around reporting positive tests, and the procedures for testing and reporting, you’re going to have to do a little research.

For reference, here are the requirements for a few prominent DC-area universities:

  • Fully-vaccinated students at Georgetown University are only required to get tested upon arrival, but do have to report all off-campus test results to the university throughout the year.
  • Fully-vaccinated students at George Washington University are required to get tested once a month, and report any exposure or off-campus positive test result to the university.
  • Students at American University are also required to report any symptoms, exposure, or positive test result to the university throughout the year.

If you can’t find the information on your school’s website, try contacting your school’s health or medical department, or your academic advisor.

Consequences of not reporting your COVID case

Violating your school’s COVID -19 policies can lead to serious academic consequences, for example:

  • Removal from certain classes
  • Isolation requirements
  • Loss of scholarship
  • Temporary suspension
  • Expulsion

Failing to report a positive COVID test will almost certainly land you in hot water with your school’s administration. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow your school’s COVID policies to the letter.

However, if you are accused of violating your school’s COVID policies, you’ll need an experienced student defense attorney to help prepare your defense.

Contact a student defense attorney in DC

At DC Student Defense, we know how the university disciplinary system operates. We know that sometimes they steamroll right over students, and 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.

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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