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COVID-19 Info

 

Updated Campus Protocols

Fall 2021

Though campus returned to normal operations Aug. 1, we still strongly encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated, wear a mask in public indoor settings, frequently wash hands, and maintain physical distance when possible.

Though these precautions are not required, actions like these are known to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Review the information below to find out more.

Vaccine

Vaccination will remain voluntary and strongly encouraged. In compliance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-35, the university will not require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or provide proof of vaccination. We strongly encourage the SFA community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to further secure a fully in-person education experience. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you and your fellow Lumberjacks safe. Do your part in getting vaccinated today!

We encourage everyone to complete SFA’s voluntary vaccine reporting survey, now live on the home page of mySFA. By completing this confidential survey, individuals assist the campus in identifying SFA’s overall vaccination rate.

SFA recommends unvaccinated individuals follow CDC guidelines and continue to practice COVID-19 protocols.

SFA employees and students have assisted in the administration of more than 20,000+ COVID-19 vaccinations in Nacogdoches County in 2021. In Texas, vaccine eligibility has been extended to all individuals 12 years of age and older and will be made available to students throughout the fall semester.

Face Coverings

These mandates have been lifted in all areas on campus. This change has allowed the university to comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36 which states the following:

“No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no governmental official may require any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering.”

Occupancy Levels and Physical Distance

Occupancy on campus will open to 100% in all areas, with no physical distancing required.

Lumberjack Distancing Bands

As we continue to enjoy being back on campus, it is important to honor everyone's various comfort levels regarding physical distancing and interaction. Lumberjack Distancing Bands may be worn to reflect your level of comfort with physical contact. Distance bands are available at locations around campus, including:

  • the Baker Pattillo Student Center Information Desk
  • Food Hall 1923
  • Steen Library
  • Student Recreation Center
  • and the Field House.

Classrooms and Laboratories

Classrooms and labs will be open at 100% capacity with flexible modality available.

Travel and Transportation

Face coverings will not be required in any SFA/state-owned or rented vehicles including public transportation. Also, all vehicle and public transportation occupancy is at 100%.

Sanitation/Cleaning

All areas on campus will continue to be cleaned and sanitized. Custodians will return to their regular cleaning schedule.

Dining

Dining halls will be open at full capacity and will retain options for self-serve and to-go meals.

Residence Life

Residence hall move-in will be staggered over three days. Residents will be assigned a two-hour window to move in and may bring two helpers. All residence halls will be open at 100%.

Recreation Center

The Student Recreation Center will be open at 100% capacity and enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place.

Athletic Events

Athletic events will be open at 100% capacity.

Visitors

It is recommended that all unvaccinated visitors continue to follow COVID-19 protocols to protect themselves and the SFA community from possible transmission.

Health Clinic Testing, Contact Tracing and Isolation Rooms

All will remain in operation through the beginning of the fall semester and will be re-evaluated periodically.

If You Are Sick, Stay Home

It is important for individuals to remain vigilant of their health and symptoms. Individuals should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms daily. If they feel sick, they must stay home. If they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if an unvaccinated person has been in close contact with someone who has, they must follow quarantine and isolation guidelines and get tested. If an individual tests positive, they should report it in mySFA.

Report Positive Tests

Those who test positive for COVID-19 should report positive test results through the reporting link on the mySFA homepage. Reporting test results accelerates contact tracing and cleaning to decrease overall risk of spreading COVID-19 at SFA.

Monitoring

SFA will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases reported on campus throughout the Fall semester to ensure no additional protocols are necessary as the year progresses. The current case count for campus can be seen on the COVID-19 Cases webpage.

Vaccines

Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Is the vaccine required?

No. Vaccination is voluntary and strongly encouraged. In compliance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-35, the university will not require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or provide proof of vaccination. We strongly encourage the SFA community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to further secure a fully in-person fall semester. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you and your fellow Lumberjacks safe.

Do your part in getting vaccinated today, Vax ‘Em, Jacks!

Where can I be vaccinated?

Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination provider near you today!

Nacogdoches County COVID-19 vaccination clinics and their sign-up forms are available by visiting bettertogethernac.com/vaccination-clinics.

Please recognize that some members of our campus community may not be able to get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. As part of the principle of respect in The SFA Way, Lumberjacks are considerate of others and tolerant of differences.

Who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible to be vaccinated.

What COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized in the U.S.?

The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech dose should be given three weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna dose should be given one month (28 days) apart
  • Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine.

Do I have to quarantine after being exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 if I’ve been vaccinated?

Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., more than two weeks following receipt of the second dose in a two-dose series, or more than two weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

Please recognize that some members of our campus community may not be able to get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. As part of the principle of respect in The SFA Way, Lumberjacks are considerate of others and tolerant of differences.

Face Coverings

Effective date: May 18, 2021

In compliance with Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-36, all mask requirements at SFA are rescinded.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current COVID-19 protocol?

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on July 1.

Updated COVID-19 Campus Protocols

Beginning August 1, 2021, Stephen F. Austin State University will transition the campus pandemic safety protocols back to Status 1 (Normal Operations). This change adheres to evolving guidelines produced by the CDC and state mandates.

With this transition, we look forward to the return of pre-pandemic operational norms in class formats, student life and other university traditions at SFA! Though most protocols will be lifted through this operational status change, some pandemic resources will remain as we begin the Fall semester.

Vaccination – Vaccination will remain voluntary and strongly encouraged. In compliance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36, the university will not require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or provide proof of vaccination. We strongly encourage the SFA community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to further secure a fully in-person education experience. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you and your fellow Lumberjacks safe. Do your part in getting vaccinated today!

We encourage everyone to complete SFA’s voluntary vaccine reporting survey, now live on the home page of MySFA. By completing this confidential survey, individuals assist the campus in identifying SFA’s overall vaccination rate.

SFA recommends unvaccinated individuals follow CDC guidelines and continue to practice COVID-19 protocols.

SFA employees and students have assisted in the administration of more than 20,000+ COVID-19 vaccinations in Nacogdoches County in 2021. In Texas, vaccine eligibility has been extended to all individuals 12 years of age and older and will be made available to students throughout the fall semester.

Face coverings – These mandates have been lifted in all areas on campus. This change has allowed the university to comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36 which states the following:

“No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no governmental official may require any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering.”

Occupancy Levels and Physical Distancing – Occupancy on campus will open to 100% in all areas, with no physical distancing required.

Classrooms and Laboratories – Classrooms and labs will be open at 100% capacity with flexible modality available.

Travel and Transportation – Face coverings will not be required in any SFA/state-owned or rented vehicles including public transportation. Also, all vehicle and public transportation occupancy is at 100%.

Sanitation/Cleaning – All areas on campus will continue to be cleaned and sanitized. Custodians will return to their regular cleaning schedule.

Dining – Dining halls will be open at full capacity and will retain options for self-serve and to-go meals.

Residence Life – Residence hall move-in will be staggered over three days. Residents will be assigned a two-hour window to move in and may bring two helpers. All residence halls will be open at 100%.

Recreation Center – The Student Recreation Center will be open at 100% capacity and enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place.

Athletic Events – Athletic events will be open at 100% capacity.

Visitors – It is recommended that all unvaccinated visitors continue to follow COVID-19 protocols to protect themselves and the SFA community from possible transmission.

Health Clinic Testing, Contact Tracing and Isolation Rooms – All will remain in operation through the beginning of the fall semester and will be re-evaluated periodically.

If You Are Sick, Stay Home – It is important for individuals to remain vigilant of their health and symptoms. Individuals should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms daily. If they feel sick, they must stay home. If they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if an unvaccinated person has been in close contact with someone who has, they must follow quarantine and isolation guidelines and get tested. If an individual tests positive, they should report it in MySFA.

Report Positive Tests – Those who test positive for COVID-19 should report positive test results through the reporting link on the MySFA homepage. Reporting test results accelerates contact tracing and cleaning to decrease overall risk of spreading COVID-19 at SFA.

Monitoring – SFA will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases reported on campus throughout the Fall semester to ensure no additional protocols are necessary as the year progresses. The current case count for campus can be seen here.

Any additional questions may be directed to Jeremy Higgins at ext. 4532.

How many cases of COVID-19 are on campus?

Daily figures are provided on our reported positive cases page.

Where can I be tested for COVID-19?

For SFA students and employees only:

SFA Student Health Clinic - Walk-in COVID-19 testing is available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Students, faculty and staff are eligible to receive the test, and the process should take approximately 10 minutes.

Results will be provided within three hours via text message.

Individuals needing a test should complete the online registration form.

After completing the form, you will be able to print or take a screen shot of the QR code to bring to Health Services. You will not be tested without the QR code.

When arriving at the Tucker Health Services Building, proceed to door three, located closest to Hall 14. A member of the testing team will let you in, paperwork will be completed, and the test will be administered. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, let the testing team know before entering the building.

If you have any questions, contact Health Services at 936.468.4008. You can also make an appointment online!

For students and employees in Nacogdoches:

What happens when a test report is submitted?

When a test report is submitted, four protocols will be initiated:

Contact Tracing*: The case will be assigned to a contact tracer(s) who will work with the test-pending individual to identify those who may have been in close contact with him or her on campus. The contact tracer(s) will reach out to those identified to inform them of the potential exposure and provide guidance on next steps. Be sure to answer calls to the number you post on the report form so the tracer can connect with you. If you miss a call, please call back as soon as possible.

Student Affairs/Residence Life Support: If the student reporting resides on campus, he or she will be advised to complete the quarantine or isolation period at home when possible. If off-campus quarantine or isolation is not feasible or poses a higher risk, Residence Life will coordinate on-campus quarantine and/or isolation options with the student. Students needing additional support or assistance may reach out to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs by calling 936.468.7249 or emailing DOSA@sfasu.edu.

Cleaning/Disinfecting of Physical Spaces: Physical spaces on campus that have been impacted will be cleaned and disinfected. The Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management will coordinate with the Physical Plant and/or Residence Life to facilitate the appropriate cleaning and disinfection processes in place for such instances.

Notification**: Should a test result be positive, the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management will coordinate notification of the positive case via the 'Reported Cases' website. This is an informational notification only. Notification of a person's potential 'close contact' with the individual would come from the contact tracing team, not via this notification.

What if I am notified that I have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Any person who is notified that he or she has been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with an infected individual is required to quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms.

Quarantine - the separation of a person or group of people possibly exposed to but not yet infected by a communicable disease from others who have not been exposed to prevent possible spread of the disease.
The preferred quarantine period remains 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 

  • Please note that the day of exposure is Day 0.
  • However, your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 10 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test. After day 10, you must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is recommended, physical distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. After day 10, you must continue to monitor yourself for symptoms, and if you experience any symptoms you should return to quarantine, consult your primary care provider, and a get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is readily available on campus and you are recommended to test prior to exiting either a 10 or 14 day quarantine. 
  • Watch for fever (100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • You may leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.

* This excludes people who had COVID-19 within the past 3 months, have recovered, and remain symptom free, as well as, those who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine and remain symptom free.

If I've already had COVID-19, do I have to quarantine after coming in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

You do not need to stay home after coming in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 if you've had COVID-19 with in the last three months, you've recovered and you remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell).

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have symptoms, it is important to stay away from others (quarantine) and be screened for COVID-19. You should contact your personal healthcare provider or the SFA Health Services (936.468.4008) to determine if testing would be appropriate.

If I travel out of the country for any reason, will I need to quarantine when I return?

The proper entry and exit steps while traveling internationally will vary by country. Please visit the CDC’s Travel website for the necessary steps to take upon return from your destination.

What triggers a requirement to quarantine?

A student who tests positive for COVID-19 must quarantine regardless of symptoms. Additionally, a quarantine would be required for any person who has been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with an infected person. The preferred quarantine period remains 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. This excludes people who had COVID-19 within the past 3 months, have recovered, and remain symptom free, as well as, those who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine and remain symptom free.

  • Please note that the day of exposure is Day 0.
  • However, your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 10 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test. After day 10, you must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is recommended, physical distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. After day 10, you must continue to monitor yourself for symptoms, and if you experience any symptoms you should return to quarantine, consult your primary care provider, and a get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is readily available on campus and you are recommended to test prior to exiting either a 10 or 14 day quarantine. 
  • Watch for fever (100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • You may leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.

If a person in a class tests positive for COVID-19, will the entire class have to quarantine?

No, in most cases students and employees will be able to obtain physical distance necessary to avoid quarantine. In cases where unvaccinated students and employees were not physically distanced, contact tracers will be able to identify those who should quarantine.

What is the protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after a positive test for students, including those living on campus and student employees?

A student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the classroom or on-campus activities when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications), and
  • the individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

A person with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 who has not been evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19 should be assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to the classroom or on-campus activities until they have completed the same criteria listed above. If the student has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to the classroom or on-campus activities before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain written clearance based on an alternative diagnosis from a medical professional.

A student with known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 should not return to the classroom or any on-campus activity until the end of a self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure. The preferred quarantine period remains 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 

  • Please note that the day of exposure is Day 0
  • However, your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 10 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test. After day 10, you must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is recommended, physical distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. After day 10, you must continue to monitor yourself for symptoms, and if you experience any symptoms you should return to quarantine, consult your primary care provider, and a get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is readily available on campus and you are recommended to test prior to exiting either a 10 or 14 day quarantine. 
  • Watch for fever (100.4° F), cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • You may leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.

* This excludes people who had COVID-19 within the past 3 months, have recovered, and remain symptom free, as well as, those who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine and remain symptom free.

Will students face consequences for going to class if they know they are positive for COVID-19?

If a student comes to class while knowingly being infected with COVID-19, they may face charges under the Code of Student Conduct. The student can be reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities using the standard General Incident Reporting Form.

What if the student refuses to leave when they are presumed to be sick or are presumed to have COVID-19?

Students who refuse to leave the classroom when directed by faculty can be reported by contacting UPD from any campus phone by calling 911 from a land line or (936) 468-2608 from mobile phone. Please indicate whether the students are making threats or behaving in a violent manner. Faculty who determine that students should be restricted from the course can work with their chair/director to ensure all policies are followed. Faculty may also report these incidents to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities using the standard General Incident Reporting Form.

What will happen to students who are found responsible

The circumstances of the incident and the student’s prior history inform any sanctions which may be assigned to a student. Those students who are continually non-compliant may face more severe sanctions.

When can an employee return to work after testing positive for COVID-19?

An employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the workplace when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • and there has been an improvement in all other symptoms
  • and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If an employee was unable to work during their period of isolation, they should be prepared to provide medical certification to their supervisor that they are able to return to the workplace.

What is the protocol for returning to the class, campus activities or work after a negative test for COVID-19?

The appropriate protocol depends on why you were tested:

  • Close Contact: If you were tested because you had been in close contact with a person who was infected, it is recommended that you quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. However, your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 10 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test. Be advised, an infection can emerge for up to 14 days after being exposed, so it's advisable to use extreme care until that time period has passed.
  • Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you had symptoms, your last day of quarantine is 24 hours after all of your symptoms resolve without the use of medicine. The illness that is causing your symptoms may still be contagious.
  • No Close Contact and No Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you were curious about your status, you do not have to quarantine.
  • Vaccinated: If you are fully vaccinated and test negative, you will not be required to quarantine.

What if I have had symptoms, but I was never tested?

A person with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 who does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19 should be assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to the workplace, class, or any on-campus activities until he or she has completed the same criteria listed for a person who has tested positive.

How will I know how many positive tests have been reported on-campus?

The Reported Positive Cases website is updated regularly and indicates the total number of reported tests and the number of tests that returned with positive results for those SFA faculty, staff or students who may have been present on campus during the time of their infection. Since the information is self-reported, confirmation of the results of each test cannot be definitively verified.

For updates across all counties in Texas, consult the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard.

Can faculty members or supervisors ask students if they are vaccinated?

No. Students and employees should not be asked to disclose personal health information, including vaccination status, to faculty, supervisors, co-workers or fellow students. The university cannot legally require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the university cannot legally require proof of vaccination or otherwise confirm their vaccination status. See the governor’s executive order GA-38.

Some examples of questions NOT to ask:

  • Are you vaccinated?
  • When are you getting vaccinated?
  • Why haven’t you been vaccinated?
  • Do you have a medical or religious reason for not being vaccinated?

Who do I contact if I have a question or concern about COVID-19 protocols?

You may contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at 936.468.4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu.

Medical Related Questions: You may contact SFA Health Services, at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu.

What mental health services are available to me?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to students beyond those traditionally associated with adjusting to college. These may include feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression and grief. The following mental health services are available:
  • Free and confidential counseling sessions are available to SFA students from the professional counselors in Counseling Services. Individual, couples and group counseling sessions are all available via telehealth appointment. Call (936) 468-2401 to schedule an initial consultation.
  • For a brief 10-to-15-minute consultation with a counselor, students can call during "Call-a-Counselor" hours from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Although counseling sessions are reserved for students, counselors can also provide consultations and referral services to faculty, staff and students. To access a list of community health providers or to learn more, call Counseling Services at (936) 468-2401 or visit sfasu.edu/counselingservices.
  • Graduate students in the School of Human Sciences' Counselor Education Program provide on-campus counseling services in a separate counseling clinic to both SFA students and the general public. For more information, visit the SFA Counseling Clinic website or call 936.468.1041.

COVID-19 Test Reporting

You are required to report when you have taken a test for COVID-19 by using the Report a COVID-19 Test online form. Do not wait until you receive your test results to report.

Since it is currently taking a number of days to receive the results of a test, this earlier notification allows our response efforts to begin more quickly.

Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management

The Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management department serves as the lead department in the university’s COVID-19 Operations Group and oversees the central collection of all test reports from both students and employees. This department works with others across campus to initiate the protocols designed to reduce the spread of the virus while also protecting the confidentiality of the affected individuals’ information to the extent possible. 

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 Reporting Process, please contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety & risk management, at (936) 468-4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu

General Guidelines for Employees and Students

Employee

If:

  • You are tested for COVID-19, or
  • You have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;

you must:

  • stay home,
  • notify your supervisor of your absence, and
  • immediately complete the COVID-19 Test Report Form (selecting "Self" as the reporter).

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website) or you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in your household has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay home and notify your supervisor of your absence.

Student

If:

  • You are tested for COVID-19, or
  • You have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;

you must:

  • stay home,
  • notify your faculty members of your absence, and
  • immediately complete the COVID-19 Test Report Form (selecting "Self" as the reporter.)

You must stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website); or you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in your household (including a roommate or housemate) has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay home and notify your faculty members of your absence. Students who suspect that they may have COVID-19 also are encouraged to contact SFA Health Services or their preferred health care provider for health advice.

Student Employee

If you are a student employee who works on campus, you must follow the steps above and also notify your work supervisor.

Both Students and Employees

When you report you have been tested for COVID-19, or if an infected person reports a close contact with you, you will be contacted by a "contact tracer." This person will provide guidance and answer questions about COVID-19.  

Reported Cases

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to report when I have been tested for COVID-19?

Yes. If you were tested for COVID-19 due to having symptoms, you are required to notify the university as soon as possible using the Report a COVID-19 Test online form. These reports can be initiated by the student or by others on the student's behalf, if needed.

You should self-quarantine after your test until you receive the test results. The results of your test will determine next steps.

Where does my submitted report go?

The Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management department oversees the central collection of all test reports from both students and employees. This department works with others across campus to initiate the protocols listed above.

What do I do if my COVID-19 test result is positive?

Continue to isolate yourself away from others. You will have been given instructions on how to report your test results to the university when you are contacted about your test-pending report.

The protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after testing positive is outlined below.

Student employees should discuss with their supervisor telecommuting or potential leave options that may apply for the period of isolation.

What is the difference between "quarantine" and "isolation?"

Quarantine - the separation of a person or group of people possibly exposed to but not yet infected by a communicable disease from others who have not been exposed to prevent possible spread of the disease.

The preferred quarantine period remains 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 

  • Please note that the day of exposure is Day 0.
  • However, your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 10 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test. After day 10, you must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is recommended, physical distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. After day 10, you must continue to monitor yourself for symptoms, and if you experience any symptoms you should return to quarantine, consult your primary care provider, and a get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is readily available on campus and you are recommended to test prior to exiting either a 10 or 14 day quarantine. 
  • Watch for fever (100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • You may leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.

* This excludes people who had COVID-19 within the past 3 months, have recovered, and remain symptom free, as well as, those who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine and remain symptom free.

Isolation - the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent possible spread of the disease.

An individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the classroom or on-campus activities when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications), and
  • the individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

What is considered to be a "Close Contact?"

The CDC defines a "close contact" someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

Will this guidance change?

Possibly. All SFA-issued guidance is based on guidance available from public health authorities and agencies. Our guidance may change as circumstances change or as the guidance we receive from others evolves.

Who do I contact if I have a question or concern about COVID-19 protocols?

You may contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at 936.468.4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu.

Medical Related Questions: You may contact SFA Health Services, at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu.

Employees

Can supervisors ask employees if they are vaccinated?

No. Students and employees should not be asked to disclose personal health information, including vaccination status, to faculty, supervisors, co-workers or fellow students. The university cannot legally require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the university cannot legally require proof of vaccination or otherwise confirm their vaccination status. See the governor’s executive order GA-38.

Some examples of questions NOT to ask:

  • Are you vaccinated?
  • When are you getting vaccinated?
  • Why haven’t you been vaccinated?
  • Do you have a medical or religious reason for not being vaccinated?

Can supervisors ask employees to get tested for COVID-19?

Supervisors can ask employees to get tested for COVID-19 as part of providing information in a conversation with an employee who is experiencing symptoms.

Testing may shorten the amount of time the employee has to quarantine.

Employees cannot be required to get tested for COVID-19.

If someone I supervise is advised by an SFA contact tracer to quarantine, will I be notified?

When an SFA contact tracer advises an employee to quarantine, the employee is reminded to notify their supervisor. This notification is the responsibility of the employee.

Someone I supervise has been tested for COVID-19. What do I do?

First, ensure the employee does not return to the workplace and advise the employee to self-quarantine until the result of his or her test is known. Next, instruct the employee to complete the Report a COVID-19 Test online form.

If the employee cannot complete the report for some reason, you should submit the report on their behalf completing as much of the information requested as possible.

This report triggers the necessary contact tracing, human resources support, and any cleaning/disinfecting that is needed.

What are my leave options if I get sick?

If employees are unable to perform work at their regularly assigned work location or another location, there are different types of leave available depending on the reason for the absence (employee is quarantining or isolating due to their own COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis or on the advice of a contact tracer, or the employee is quarantining due to a household member having COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis). Contact the Human Resources Department at 936.468.2304 or hr@sfasu.edu to discuss the different types of leave and determine what applies to your situation.

  • Sick leave: Sick leave may be taken when sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement prevent the employee's performance of duty, or when a member of the employee's immediate family is actually ill.
  • Vacation leave: Vacation leave is available for use and must be authorized in advance.
  • Compensatory (comp) time: Comp time is available for use and must be authorized in advance.
  • Leave without pay: All accumulated paid leave entitlements must be exhausted before granting such leave.
  • Family and Medical Leave: Family and medical leave may be used for an employee's own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition. FML can run concurrently with other paid leave or leave without pay.

Previous COVID-19 Correspondence

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on May 18.

Mask requirements immediately lifted in compliance with Govenor's executive order

Dear members of the SFA community:

Effective immediately, to comply with an executive order issued today by Governor Greg Abbott, all mask requirements at Stephen F. Austin State University are rescinded.

Governmental entities in Texas are now prohibited from requiring mask wearing, or they will face penalties beginning this Friday, May 21. The SFA Charter School is permitted to continue with its mandates until June 4.

Individuals may choose to wear masks, but they cannot be mandated to do so. Previous requirements that mask-wearing be mandated in classrooms, labs and on public transportation are now lifted.

We continue to encourage everyone to practice proper hygiene, stay home if you are sick, report positive tests in MySFA, and pursue vaccination to keep our community healthy.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to bringing COVD-19 levels down through your previous compliance and care for each other.

If you have any additional questions Please contact Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at higginsjk@sfasu.edu or ext. 4532.

Axe ’em,

Scott A. Gordon, President

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on May 14.

Updated COVID-19 Campus Protocols

Overview

This coming Monday, May 17, marks an important change in the campus’s COVID-19 safety protocols and bringing us to Status 1.5 before an anticipated return to full classroom occupancy and normal operations Status 1 in Fall 2021.

Most notably, face coverings will only be required in indoor classrooms, labs and public transportation. Physical distancing will reduce from six feet to three feet. All occupancy rates will return to 100%.

With the latest CDC guidelines issued May 13, individuals who are vaccinated are free to safely go without a face covering in all other locations. Those who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing face coverings when in:

  • Elevators,
  • Hallways,
  • Lobbies,
  • Restrooms,
  • Conference and meeting rooms,
  • Break rooms,
  • Office settings,
  • Outdoor spaces,
  • SFA-owned vehicles.

Remember, these protocols are not just about protecting yourself, but others around you. When you are vaccinated or wear a face covering, you protect yourself and you do your duty to keep others around you and in our community safe.

If you have any additional questions Please contact Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at higginsjk@sfasu.edu or ext. 4532.

Axe ’em,

Scott A. Gordon, President

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on April 6.

Overview

With expanded vaccine availability and limited impact from spring break travel, COVID-19 conditions are trending in a promising direction on campus, in Nacogdoches, within the local trauma service area (TSA H), and within the State of Texas.

As of April 5, there are three active cases connected to campus – three students and zero employees – while available capacity at North and South halls for quarantine/isolation is at 99% respectively.

The COVID-19 Operations Team, Faculty Senate and Chairs Forum leadership, members of the President’s Cabinet, along with representation from the Student Government Association, have met and updated recommendations for campus COVID-19 protocols. I have reviewed and accepted their recommendations and put forward the following campus protocols for Summer and Fall 2021 terms.

This plan offers a path to move from Campus Operation Status 2 (which has been the status since Fall 2020) to a Status 1.5 in Summer 2021 before reaching Status 1 (normal operations) in Fall 2021.

Status 1.5 is recommended to take effect May 17, 2021, and remain in place until the beginning of the fall semester.

Summer 2021 - Status 1.5

Face Coverings

Individuals must continue to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth in indoor classrooms and labs, until further notice. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household. The face covering exemptions process will remain the same.

Physical Distance

Campus physical distance requirements have been adjusted from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms and shared spaces.

Occupancy Levels and Physical Distance

Occupancy on campus will open to 100%, with the exception of classrooms, laboratories and shared spaces requiring a physical distance of 3 feet.

Travel and Transportation

Face coverings will remain mandatory on all public transportation. It is strongly encouraged in SFA/state-owned or -rented vehicles.

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on March 5.

Happy Friday, Lumberjacks.

Before spring break officially begins, I wanted to provide you with information regarding our COVID-19 policies and, specifically, the face-covering requirement. After receiving input from the Student Government Association and our Faculty Senate, our SFA COVID-19 Operations Team has recommended that the face-covering requirement remain in effect on campus until the end of the spring semester.

I concur with this recommendation, and as a result SFA’s face-covering requirement will remain in place until further notice.

Although Gov. Abbott rescinded the statewide mandate, his order encouraged institutions of higher education to establish standards provided by the Texas Education Agency. The Texas Education Agency responded by updating their protocols to include this statement:

Every student, teacher or staff member shall wear a mask over the nose and mouth when inside a school building, school facility, facility used for school activities, or when in an outdoor space on school property...wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household..

Additionally, federal public health officials have strongly urged Americans to continue wearing face masks to control the spread of COVID-19 and limit the emergence of potentially more dangerous variants.

The well-being of our faculty, staff and students remains our highest priority, and we are committed to maintaining a campus environment that is as safe as possible and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. I hope you will commit to complying with the safety measures that protect our ability to safely hold face-to-face classes and other events.

I appreciate the work of our COVID-19 Operations Team and support the team’s decision regarding face coverings. We will review the policy again at the end of the semester and keep you informed when any changes are made.

Have a fabulous and safe spring break.

Axe ’em!

President Gordon

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on March 3.

Dear Colleagues and Students,

I hope the first half of the semester has gone well for you and you were able to successfully navigate the extreme weather challenges we experienced. It is my hope for all of us that the remainder of the spring semester will be smooth sailing!

With many traveling or taking some much-deserved time off during Spring Break next week, I want to encourage you to keep yourself and those around you safe. It’s now been one year since we began battling COVID-19, and I understand that this is still top of mind for many of us. It is a substantial health risk, and when we return from Spring Break, the university will continue to work to minimize the risks and limit the spread of the virus.

Although Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that will lift the statewide mask mandate effective March 10, the SFA COVID Team will be meeting this week and seeking guidance from health agencies and vested entities regarding any changes to the campus safety and health protocols. Until that time, all of our SFA safety protocols will remain in effect.

SFA will continue to make the health and safety of all Lumberjacks a top priority, and I encourage you to visit the university’s COVID-19 page for updates regarding health, student and campus services.

If you are traveling during the upcoming week, make sure someone you trust knows where you are going, when you plan to return, and has contact information for someone at home if you are in need of help. When you arrive at your destination, learn your surroundings and ensure you know how you will return before going out by yourself or in a group.

Whether you are staying home or traveling, I encourage you to take care of one another this coming week. Enjoy yourself, use good judgment, respect those around you, wash your hands, and return to campus rested and ready for the final portion of the academic year. And, as always…

Axe 'em, Jacks!

President Gordon