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As UT begins the new academic year, there is some additional guidance regarding contact tracing for The University of Tampa community. 

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keep the community healthy and safe, and continue face-to-face instruction, UT has partnered with a local, independent contact tracing team, Rapid-Trace, that is dedicated to providing support for those diagnosed with COVID-19 and tracing and contacting individuals who have been exposed.  

In addition to working closely with UT health and wellness staff and Human Resources, Rapid-Trace also works closely with – and is in compliance with all guidelines of – the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The point person for all student contact tracing for Rapid-Trace is Gina Firth, associate dean of wellness, at gfirth@ut.edu. Tara Peters, benefits manager in Human Resources, is the point person for faculty and staff and can be reached at tpeters@ut.edu.

Types of Close Contact That Will be Traced:

There are three types of contact that Rapid-Trace will look for when a case has been identified:

  • Physical contact – touching without proper PPE
  • Close contact – within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, with or without a mask. This time period of 15 minutes is cumulative over 24 hours.
    • 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 symptom onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test date) would be considered a close contact
  • Proximate contact – More than 6 feet, but in the same room for an extended period (an hour or more)
    • Please Note: If students, faculty and staff were wearing masks and were 6 feet or more apart, then they would NOT be considered close contacts, regardless of class time or time in a room together.

In a classroom setting, if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has any other medical issue in which they cannot physically attend class for a period of time, a notification will be sent to the professors from either the Dickey Health and Wellness Center or the Dean of Student’s office. Due to confidentiality regulations, this notification cannot disclose the type of medical issue. 

Rapid-Trace will contact someone directly if there is a concern about any exposures to a class or to the individual. If faculty members do not hear from contact tracers, they do not have to do anything different with their class except work with the student who needs remote learning. 

Faculty will need to maintain seating charts for all classes, and a depository of these charts will need to be electronically available for contact tracers within the first week of class.

All student events and programs should be tracked through the Engage platform. Contact tracers have direct access to review students’ campus engagement outside of the classroom. Events and programs should be registered through Engage and set up for electronic student and faculty and staff check in. For information and instruction, please contact Angela Ward, coordinator of student engagement, at award@ut.edu.

In any other situation, such as an office setting or group gathering, the same principles would apply.

Student Contact Tracing

When a student is diagnosed in the Dickey Health and Wellness Center, contact tracing will begin automatically. 

Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 off-campus should confidentially self-report to Rapid-Trace. Rapid-Trace will confidentially notify anyone else who may have been exposed.
Rapid-Trace can be reached at (813) 699-3551 (daily from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., with after-hours voicemail available) or selfreport@rapid-trace.com.

The contact tracers can assist students with information and resources available to make a full recovery and to be successful in completing the semester.

Faculty and Staff Contact Tracing

If a faculty or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19, needs information on testing or additional guidance, they should contact Tara Peters in Human Resources to begin the process of support and contact tracing with Rapid-Trace.

Update Your Cell Phone Number

Being able to reach you quickly is important for contact tracing. If you haven’t yet updated your cell-phone information in Workday, please do so. A global message with instructions was distributed on Aug. 19, 2020.