Operating Procedure for COVID-19 diagnoses in your unit (March 31, 2020)

To: FAS Department Chairs, Lead Administrators, and Operations Managers
CC: FAS Steering, FAS Dean’s Office, FAS Chairs’ Assistants
Dear FAS Department Chairs, Lead Administrators, and Operations Managers,
In the past weeks many of you have expressed concern about how to responsibly and sensitively respond should members of your community be diagnosed with COVID-19. This document, developed by Human Resources and Administration and the Privacy Office, outlines steps to take should you be informed by a colleague in your department that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic and have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-isolate. The document also includes guidance for cases that do not rise to that level.
We are adopting this procedure as the standard operating procedure (SOP) for reporting COVID-19 cases in the FAS.
In summary, the document advises the following:

  • If the colleague in question has been working remotely and/or not been in physical proximity with other colleagues, there is no need for a department/unit wide email.
  • If the colleague in question has been physically reporting to work on campus and/or has been in physical proximity with other colleagues, you may be asked to notify those who have been working in their proximity. In such cases, we ask that you use the template message in the attached document, noting that confidentiality prohibits disclosing the identity of the patient without their express permission and without proof of a positive test for that illness from a medical professional. Confirmed information about a positive or presumed-positive COVID-19 worker may lead to a workplace cleaning assessment by Yale Environmental Health and Safety. 

We strongly encourage you to read the guidelines in full as they explain when and what information you may or may not share with your faculty and department staff in various scenarios. You will note that in some cases you are asked to coordinate with your HR Generalist and/or unit leader. For FAS departments, you should consult with your Lead Administrator who will refer you to the appropriate HR Generalist.
We ask that you review the guidelines carefully and speak to your divisional dean if you have any questions about your responsibilities or expectations.
With thanks,

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science