Positive Case Guidance

COVID-19 Positive Case Notification Guidance for Students


The University of Arizona recommends that students who attend on-campus activities self-report positive COVID-19 tests and participate in case investigation and exposure notification. See the guidance below for next steps.
Employees should refer to the COVID-19 Workplace Case Notification Guidance.

Recommended Student Actions

My positive COVID-19 test was performed ON campus:

  1. Complete the SAFER notification form to initiate case investigation and exposure notification

  2. Follow Campus Health guidance for isolation

  3. Please answer the phone when contact tracers (SAFER) call to complete a case investigation interview. They will attempt to contact you within 48-72 hours of your positive test result. 

My positive COVID-19 test was performed OFF campus:

  1. Upload your positive test result to the secure, HIPAA compliant system. 

  2. Complete the SAFER notification form to initiate case investigation and exposure notification.

  3. Follow Campus Health guidance for isolation

  4. Please answer the phone when contact tracers (SAFER) call to complete a case investigation interview. They will attempt to contact you within 48-72 hours of your positive test result. 

Once a positive test is reported to SAFER (the University’s contact tracing team), they will attempt to reach out to you for case investigation and exposure notification, education on self-isolation, and to connect you with any wrap-around health support services you may need. Please answer the questions posed by the SAFER team honestly and as accurately as possible. They are working under the Pima County Health Department and following Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines and procedures.

If it has been more than 72 hours since you have received your positive test (or since you self-reported a positive test) and you have not heard from the SAFER team, please send an email to SAFER-team@arizona.edu. Full voicemail boxes, mistyped phone numbers, and screening unknown callers can impede the team’s ability to reach you and they are here to help! 

Class Attendance and Participation

We also recognize that it is likely that more students than usual may have to spend time away from in-person learning settings during the pandemic. Please refer to the University’s Class Attendance and Participation Policy. Please send an email to the Dean of Students Office @ DOS-deanofstudents@email.arizona.edu for any questions or concerns. As a reminder, students do not need to share any health information with instructors or staff.


Recommended Instructor or Supervisor Actions

UArizona instructors or supervisor who know of a student who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 may:

  1. Remind the student to complete the SAFER notification form to initiate case investigation and exposure notification.

  2. Remind the student to Upload their positive test result to the secure, HIPAA compliant system, if their positive test was taken off campus. 

  3. Direct the student to follow the Campus Health guidance for isolation. If you are an instructor, please work with students to keep up-to-date with coursework while in isolation.

  4. If you are an instructor teaching an IN-PERSON course in which the positive student is enrolled, complete the Instructor Reporting Form (IRF). Completing this form initiates the contact tracing process and allows instructors to get information and guidance from trained epidemiologists.

  5. If you are a supervisor, refer to the COVID-19 Workplace Positive Case Protocol.


We recognize the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic require a careful balance between maintaining a safe campus and protecting a student’s privacy.

A student’s medical information, including a positive COVID-19 test result, will be treated as confidential and private and will only be disclosed to University personnel responsible for the public health of our campuses. Positive test results are only shared on a need to know basis, in the least intrusive manner possible.

Additionally, University personnel responsible for managing confidential student health information are required to complete COVID-19 specific FERPA and HIPAA training.

COVID-19 in UArizona Class Settings

There are many symptoms of COVID-19, and almost all COVID-19 symptoms are also possible indicators of other diseases (e.g., influenza). As a result, many symptomatic individuals who are tested for COVID-19 do not receive a positive result. Accordingly, no individual should be assumed to be infected with COVID-19 on the basis of apparent symptoms. 

Case Investigation and Exposure Notification Protocols 

  • After receiving notification of a positive student case, SAFER will initiate our campus case investigation and exposure notification protocol and seek to alert all recent close contacts reported by the infected individual (6’ or less for 15 mins or more) that may have been exposed.
  • If a student who has tested positive attended an in-person class or activity, students and instructors in that same in-person class or activity will only be contacted by SAFER if they had close contact with the student who tested positive or if there is reason to believe that there is classroom transmission. Note that instructors may not change their class modality in response to a student's self-report of a positive test result.
  • If public health authorities determine that a classroom case cluster meets the criteria for consideration of a modality switch, the Provost will contact the Department Head and faculty instructor to discuss temporary adjustments to the class modality. 
  • If cases are identified as a potential classroom transmission incident, a SAFER team member may contact the instructor for more information. In most cases, instructors will not be told who tested positive but will be told how many students tested positive and that classroom transmission may have occurred. Instructors may be told the identity of the case to determine where students sit in relation to each other during the course, if this information cannot be accurately obtained from the student(s).
  • Identifiable information about a student may be used for limited and specific purposes, including: to conduct a case investigation using protocols established by the Pima County Health Department (PCHD) and the Arizona Department of Health Services, and to contact an instructor to support a case investigation. If PCHD/SAFER determines there is a significant outbreak associated with a classroom setting, the students and instructor in that course will be notified by SAFER with further instructions on quarantine and testing.

Please note that all classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned by Facilities Management every day in order to minimize the risk of disease spread.

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