COVID-19 Case Investigation Protocol

November 2021

The Graduate Center requires staff, faculty, researchers, students, and anyone else who has been on campus to report positive cases to the college using the confidential COVID-19 Case Collection form. The Graduate Center also receives information about any positive cases through the on-campus testing program platform, Cleared4. This information is collected and communicated through the CUNY COVID-19 Safety Tracker dashboard.

College Notification of a Positive Case

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and it is reported more than 48 hours after the positive test or the individual developing symptoms, the following steps are taken:

  1. The individual is contacted as soon as possible. Students are contacted by a member of the Campus Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) team. Employees, visitors, vendors/contractors are contacted by one of the HR Liaisons. Depending on when the report is submitted (evening, weekend, etc.) it may take up to 12 hours to contact the individual after the submission.

  2. The individual is advised that 10 days of isolation is required for all diagnosed with COVID-19. If the individual has symptoms, isolation must extend at least 24 hours after having no fever (without fever-reducing medication) and with all symptoms improving. The individual will also be:

    • Asked to provide details of the test if it was conducted outside of CUNY.

    • Asked the date of the individuals last day on campus and the next scheduled visit to campus.

    • Asked of the individual’s location on their last day on campus, whether in class or a center, in the library or department lounge, or at an event or activity. If the individual was in a class, was the class a lecture or lab? Can the individual identify close contact(s) and supply any other helpful information about the interactions had while on campus?

    • Informed that their Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass will be paused for the period of isolation and until they have provided a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result. If a negative result cannot be achieved, then appropriate medical clearance to return to work/class is required to return to campus.

  3. Students may choose to divulge their medical status to faculty. Faculty should urge students to report a case formally using the Case Collection Form or by contacting the LVA team. Employees, visitors, vendors/contractors, must also report to the college using the Case Collection Form or by contacting one of the HR Liaisons.

  4. The college coronavirus designees will disable the Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass and reports the case to CUNY.

  5. If fewer than three days have elapsed since the individual was on campus, Facilities Services will provide additional cleaning and disinfection.

Close Contact Determination

If the individual was on campus fewer than 48 hours prior to a positive test or developing symptoms, a contact tracing/investigation will be conducted. This includes the following:

  1. “Close contact” is defined as an individual who spent a total of 10 minutes or more within six feet of a positive individual or an individual suspected of being positive during the 48 hours prior to that individual obtaining a positive test or developing symptoms. Use of a mask by either of the parties is not considered when making this determination.

  2. The college coronavirus designees work with the LVA’s and/or HR Liaisons to establish the plan for tracing all contacts of the individual while on campus, in accordance with New York State Contact Tracing Guidelines. This may involve reaching out to instructors, executive officers, and assistant program officers to determine class configuration, department activities and/or student-to-student, student-to-staff, or student-to-faculty interactions.

  3. The LVA’s and/or the HR Liaisons will work with the individual to identify all possible close contacts.

  4. In cases where the individual cannot recall or name close contacts with certainty, the college coronavirus designees will determine whether to broaden the number of close contacts (e.g. entire class populations, event participants, department teams, etc.).

  5. The LVA’s, the HR Liaisons, the college coronavirus designees must adhere to workplace and medical privacy laws and protections. The college may divulge only that a COVID-positive individual has been identified and/or that an exposure has occurred.

Close Contact Notifications

The LVA’s or the HR Liaisons send an e-mail notification to those identified as close contacts. The notification states that an exposure has occurred. It does not share names or other personal information that may identify the positive individual. The e-mail includes the following CUNY guidelines for possible exposure:

  1. Unvaccinated close contacts are required to self-quarantine for 10 days.

  2. Fully vaccinated close contacts are required to get tested three to five days after the exposure and will not be allowed on campus until after receiving a negative test result.

  3. Individuals who are included in contact tracing will be:

    • Asked to pivot to remote work/learning.

    • Informed that their Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass will be paused until they have provided a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result.

In those cases where an individual volunteers that they have tested positive or should a faculty/staff member become aware of a positive case among their students or work groups, the case should not be discussed. The individual should be instructed to report the case to the LVA’s or the HR Liaisons and to leave campus. Likewise, if an individual notes that they are not feeling well, they should be advised to stay home, rest, seek appropriate medical care, and test before returning to campus.

Class Modality Change

If it is determined that a class needs to be placed online (e.g. all or most students in a class are close contacts), the executive office and faculty member will be informed. The faculty will be asked to notify all students that the class has been placed online.

Return to in-person instruction depends on the availability of an in-person instructor for the class and each individual identified for contact tracing submitting a negative test result.

Instructors who become aware of a positive student associated with a class may assume that the in-person class/activity should continue without change unless notified otherwise.

Campus Access Management

The college coronavirus designees, LVA’s and HR Liaisons review a log of positive cases and close contacts on a daily basis; monitoring case updates and communications with close contacts.

Campus access for affected individuals – those testing positive and those identified as close contacts is disabled via Cleared4, pending clearance for return to campus per CUNY guidelines and college’s reopening plan.

College Coronavirus Designees:
Pinar Ozgu, Interim Vice President
Brian Peterson, Interim Senior Vice President

HR Liaisons:
Employees may contact the HR Liaisons via email with questions on CUNY’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program and their Cleared4 accounts.

Location Vaccination Authority:
Students may contact the Location Vaccination Authority via with questions on CUNY’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Cleared4 accounts.

Cleared4 Technical Support:
For technical support with the CUNY Access Pass and Cleared4 accounts email

CUNY Testing Program:
Visit for general technical assistance on CUNY’s testing program

General Questions:
For general questions on the Graduate Center’s reopening plan, reporting a positive COVID case, and CUNY’s testing program email