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Academic COVID-Related FAQs

On this page, we have compiled specific FAQs about COVID-related conditions affecting Fall 2023 teaching and learning. Additional information about the campus response to COVID for the Fall 2023 semester for students and employees may be found on the Campus & COVID-19 Information page.

What's New

We will continue to monitor the status of cases on campus and in our surrounding community and will update policies or protocols as needed. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will base these important decisions on local, state, and federal public health guidelines and recommendations.

Updated: August 2023


Can I decide to change the modality of my class from in-person to virtual?

No, individual faculty can’t decide to depart from the modality published in the class schedule. Decisions to alter the modality of a class for which students have signed up (e.g., switching a face-to-face class to synchronous remote instruction) can only be made by the dean, the Provost, and the President, who make such decisions based on recommendations from county, state, or systemwide leaders.

Are physical distancing mandates in place?

No, physical distancing in classrooms is no longer required. Local and state agencies have lifted such restrictions.

What if I find out that I, or someone in my class, has been exposed to COVID-19?

It depends on whether the exposure occurred during “close contact,” which is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with someone during their infectious period. For symptomatic confirmed cases, the infectious period is 2 days before symptoms through 5-10 days after symptom first appeared AND 24 hours have passed with no fever. For asymptomatic cases, the infectious period is 2 days before symptoms through 5 days after the first positive COVID-19 test. Since there are so many variables involved when someone is exposed to the virus (e.g., whether vaccinated or not), see this flowchart for guidance.

Per state law, employees will continue to be notified of close exposure to a person testing positive in the workplace, and test kits will be made available in these instances. Individuals who receive a notification of possible exposure should read the notification carefully and ensure that they follow the instructions and guidance. Individuals exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive but remain asymptomatic are not required to quarantine. Employees who test positive must inform their appropriate administrator/MPP immediately and file with Risk Management an official confidential report for staff and faculty members. Risk Management provides detailed information on next steps for all employees who test positive for COVID-19.

What if a student in my in-person class has COVID-19? Should I make my class virtual then?

Sacramento State’s Student Health and Counseling Services performs a risk assessment whenever they find out a student has contracted the virus. In the unlikely event they deem it necessary for the modality of a class to change, someone will let you know. There is no need for you as an instructor to make such a decision. Changing the course modality can be chaotic and difficult for students who have organized their schedules around what is posted in the class schedule, so please keep things as normal as possible.

Free testing to students who are symptomatic will continue to be offered through Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) at the WELL. Students who are symptomatic or test positive are required to report their positive test via the student health services reporting link.

What happens during a risk assessment?

Student Health and Counseling Services personnel are trained medical providers, so they consider the same kinds of things any medical professional would assess, such as where an exposure took place, how long it lasted, under what circumstances it occurred, and what community health standards are in place to govern the situation. They are skilled at these kinds of risk assessments, which they conduct for other potential exposures such as meningitis or tuberculosis.

What happens if I’m vaccinated but I’ve been exposed to COVID-19, should I continue teaching my class?

As this flowchart indicates, fully vaccinated and asymptomatic people who are exposed to the virus do not need to self-quarantine and can continue to work as normal. However, please check with your medical provider for guidance and follow-up.

What about my office hours?

Follow the University policy governing office hours, and further consider whether the modality of your office hours should mirror the modality of the course. That means if you are teaching an in-person class, your office hours would be face-to-face as well. Similarly, students in remote classes would be able to connect with you virtually. You might consider offering both in-person and virtual ways for students in all your classes to connect with you, and you might also consider holding in-person office hours outside if it would make you and your students more comfortable.

What can I put in my syllabus to let students know University and course policies related to COVID-19?

There is no requirement to include information about COVID-19 policies in faculty syllabi, but you may wish to do so. You can find a sample script for communicating your expectations regarding COVID-19 to your students .


Are vaccines required at Sac State?

COVID-19 vaccines are highly recommended for all Sac State staff, faculty, and students, including students living in residence halls. A second bivalent booster is recommended for individuals 65 and older and those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Find out where you can be vaccinated. Individuals who already have a religious or medical exemption from the University do not need to reapply. Individuals can update their COVID self-certification whenever their status changes.

Being fully vaccinated/boosted remains the single most effective way to avoid serious illness from COVID-19. You can visit My Turn California or Sacramento County's Department of Health Services site to schedule a free vaccination near you. Information about booster eligibility can be found on the CDC website.

Student Health and Counseling no longer provides vaccinations/boosters.

Will I know the vaccination status of the students in my classes?

No. Faculty are currently not informed of the status of other required vaccinations for students, and we will follow the same process in this situation.

If a student has a positive COVID test, the Student Health Center will follow the same protocols that they do already for other infectious diseases that pose a significant public health risk (e.g., TB). A thorough risk assessment will be conducted, and students, faculty, and staff will be notified if there is a risk of exposure. If so, they will be provided with guidance on how to respond.

Can an instructor ask students about their vaccination or exemption status?

No, instructors cannot ask if students are vaccinated or have an exemption, because that is personal information. They will submit that information to the University via their Student Center. It’s okay if students voluntarily disclose their status but asking them to do so could make them feel pressured to reveal what they wouldn’t otherwise disclose. It is up to a student’s discretion to reveal medical information or religious beliefs. Even though most students on campus will be vaccinated, it is best to assume someone you meet is unvaccinated for the safety of the entire campus community.


What should a student do if they test positive for COVID-19?

All faculty, staff, and students must test if they are symptomatic, and all positive tests must continue to be reported to the University.

What happens when a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Student Health and Counseling Services will provide instructions to the student, including a directive not to attend in-person classes until they receive permission to return. The student will also be told to self-isolate. SHCS will notify the residence halls if the student lives on campus. If they live off-campus guidance will be provided to reduce exposure to others. A student who needs additional care (e.g., medical, psychiatric, basic needs) will be told how to get it.

What if it’s me who tests positive for COVID-19?

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to notify Risk Management by filling out the positive case reporting form. You should then continue working with your health care provider for medical support until you receive clearance to return to campus. If necessary, you should notify your supervisor that you need to take sick leave as you would normally do for any other illness. If you do not have symptoms, you can retest five days after your positive test result, and if that test is negative, you can return to campus.

What if a colleague tests positive for COVID-19?

Your colleague will notify Risk Management by filling out the positive case reporting form, and Risk Management as well as Human Resources/OFA will work together on appropriate notifications depending on the situation.

Face Covering

Are face coverings required?

As noted above, confirmed cases should isolate for five days, and mask indoors when around others during the full 10 days following symptom onset (or positive test if no symptoms).  However, if ending isolation before 10 full days (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms are improving), confirmed cases may remove their mask sooner than 10 full days after two sequential negative tests at least one day apart.

If antigen test results are positive, the person may still be infectious, and should continue wearing a mask and wait at least one day before taking another test.

Exposed persons should mask for 10 days following an identified close contact to someone with COVID-19, especially high-risk contacts.​

All persons wearing masks should optimize mask fit and filtration, ideally through use of a respirator (N95, KN95, KF94) or surgical mask. See Get the Most out of Masking for more information.

Further Information

What if I have a question about my classes or students that hasn’t been addressed here?

You are welcome to pose academic questions to

What if I have a question about something else related to the campus response to COVID-19?

You are welcome to pose non-academic questions to

Where can I go for more information about the University response to COVID-19?

Here are some resources you can check out: