The foundational tools in public health, and in particular for COVID-19, of testing, tracing, and tracking are key to ensuring a safe and successful fall semester
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August 25, 2020
August 17 marked the return of thousands of students, faculty, and staff to the Coral Gables and Marine campuses. The foundational tools in public health, and in particular for COVID-19, of testing, tracing, and tracking are key to ensuring a safe and successful fall semester by helping to slow the spread of the virus in our University population.

Below is a quick guide to the essentials of testing, tracing, and tracking. For the purposes of when certain protocols are triggered, the CDC defines a close contact as someone with whom you have shared more than 15 minutes of time, in less than six feet of space. The questionnaire or interviews described below may bring to light others who meet the close contact criteria.

Please note that the Medical Campus, which has been fully functional throughout the outbreak and has been on the frontline of responding to the pandemic, operates under different guidelines for its students, faculty, and staff. Members of the Medical Campus community should contact 305-243-8378 for any testing questions.


  • Before their arrival on campus, all students who plan to attend classes in person are required to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test result.
    • Students who tested negative were cleared to return to campus.
    • Students who tested positive were instructed to self-isolate and contact tracing was initiated.
  • Students, faculty, and staff scheduled to return to the Coral Gables or Marine campus who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who may have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, should:
    • Work or attend class remotely.
    • Call 305-243-ONE-U to speak with a UHealth provider for an evaluation of your exposure risk and to schedule testing or initiate quarantining, if indicated.
    • Report all COVID-19 positive test results taken outside of the University to


More formally known as contact tracing, tracing is the backbone of slowing the spread of COVID-19 across the University by identifying those individuals who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.
  • Contact tracing is required for all persons who test positive. This involves answering a short survey to identify all the positive individual’s close contacts who may be at risk of exposure.
  • The identity of the COVID-19 positive individual is never shared.
  • You will be contacted by the U-Trace team if you have been identified as a close contact of someone testing positive and may be instructed to quarantine and/or schedule a test.
  • Students may share their positive test results and isolation status with faculty in advance of formal notification by the U-Trace team. Faculty may rest assured that official contact tracing will quickly assess and identify any potential exposure within your classroom.
  • Faculty do not need to notify their students of a positive case in classes involving classroom teaching. In order to provide the clearest and most accurate information, the responsibility and process of contact tracing will be coordinated by the University, which will quickly identify any close contacts and advise them of any potential exposure and need to quarantine.
  • All employees should make sure their contact information is updated in Workday to ensure they can be reached by the U-Trace team if necessary. For the same reason, students should ensure their contact information, including their current local address, is updated in CaneLink.


Tracking provides robust data that helps illustrate not only individual incidences of COVID-19 but also any trends in the number of positive cases and other indicators that can signal possible community spread on our campuses. Tracking is comprised of four complementary strategies:
  • Mandatory use of the Daily Symptom Checker by all students, faculty, and staff who have been cleared to return to our campuses. Based on responses provided to a brief set of questions, you will either be cleared to return to campus or instructed to remain off campus and follow additional instructions as required.
    • Data gathered by the symptom checker can help provide important information about areas of concern for possible spread, both on campus and off campus.
  • Random surveillance through testing of students, faculty, staff, and essential vendors to estimate the prevalence of asymptomatic infections.
    • COVID-19 nasal swab testing, which is both easy and painless, will go live this week for the Coral Gables and Marine campuses, followed by the Medical Campus at a later date.
    • Approximately 700 students will be tested weekly.
    • Approximately 300 faculty, staff, and vendors will be tested monthly.
  • Random sero-prevalence antibody screening for students, faculty, staff, and essential vendors to establish prevalence of previous infection across all three campuses.
    • Beginning next month, approximately 350 participants will be screened monthly.
  • Wastewater sampling will look at the presence of infection across all campuses and UHealth Tower and can provide an early warning of possible community spread in the University population. This tracking tool will go live next month and is being led by Professor Helena Solo-Gabriele from the College of Engineering.

Yesterday, the University launched a COVID-19 dashboard that provides the community access to important indicators, updated daily, regarding coronavirus at the University. The dashboard can be viewed at

For more information on testing, tracing, tracking, and other health and wellness guidelines, please visit
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