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September 23, 2021: Clarifying COVID Absence Procedures

Message from Student Affairs

September 23, 2021

Dear Students,

We have received questions about absences from class caused by COVID (testing, exposure, actual illness). We wanted to clarify the procedures that students should follow.

When should I contact the Office of Student Affairs?

You should contact Student Affairs via email ( if:

  • You have been notified that you need to isolate or quarantine because you have been told you are a close-contact exposure to COVID.
  • You test positive for COVID.

Student Affairs will communicate with faculty members that you will be missing class.

Do I still need to contact my instructors?

Yes — you are ALSO responsible for communicating with your instructors while you are out of class and keep them updated regarding your return. If that date changes, make sure your instructors know the new date.

As part of this communication, you should work with your instructor on a plan to make up the work you miss.

What if I need to miss class to be tested for COVID? 

Do not notify Student Affairs that you need to be tested. You are responsible for letting your instructor know you need to miss class for a medical appointment. You are not required to indicate it is for COVID testing. Instructors will handle your absence as outlined in your course syllabus.

Do I need a doctor’s note to return to class after being tested so that my absence is excused?

No. Not every organization that offers COVID testing (for example, CVS or Walgreen’s) will have the resources to give you a formal notification.

What do I do if I’ve been told I have been exposed to COVID?

If you are notified by health officials through normal contact tracing, the health official who contacts you can explain next steps. In general, these steps depend on whether or not you’ve been vaccinated.

  1. If vaccinated:
  2. Watch for possible symptoms.
  3. If no symptoms, wear a mask.
  4. If no symptoms, no need to quarantine.
  5. If you develop symptoms, contact Student Wellness (620.341.5222), which can provide COVID testing and advise you on future steps.
  6. You are required to isolate until tests results are received.
  7. If not vaccinated:
  8. You must quarantine.
  9. If you live in the residence halls, contact on-call Residential Life staff who can assist you. The number to call depends upon where you live:
  10. Abigail and Schallenkamp, call 620-794-2648
  11. Towers, Singular, and Trusler, call 620-794-0706
  12. You cannot attend classes, activities or go to work.

Finally, a reminder that wearing masks remains a highly effective way to lessen the spread of COVID-19. At Emporia State University, masks must be worn in all buildings. The only exceptions are when you are alone — in your self-contained office (not a cubicle) or in your residence hall rooms (with roommates, but not outsiders).

Thank you for all your hard work this semester to help us work through the pandemic while keeping classes and activities in person.