COVID-19 Notification FAQs

Why am I receiving a DSO COVID-19 Notification? 

The Dean of Students Office - Office of Student Assistance, will be providing notice to relevant faculty of students who need to be absent from class per university public health guidelines.  Such notice will be provided when: (1) a student in the faculty member’s class tests positive for COVID-19 and needs to follow CDC guidelines for isolation and (2) a student in the faculty member’s class is notified through contact tracing of exposure to a positive COVID-19 case and needs to follow CDC / IDPH guidelines for quarantine. This information is received from Thielen Student Health Center and our office sends these notices after the contact tracing process occurs for students. We are not privy to individual student information.  

Please note Winter Term faculty may receive DSO COVID-19 Notifications for students no longer in current classes.  Winter Term classes are categorized with Spring Term classes in the registration system and therefore Winter Term faculty will receive DSO COVID-19 Notifications throughout the Spring Term.  


Who receives this DSO COVID-19 Notification? 

These notifications are sent to instructor of record and their department chair, student’s adviser, and the student. 


Why is there no end date or return to class date included in the DSO COVID-19 Notification like there was during the fall semester? 

To help streamline the process of notification delivery and given the variety of factors that could affect the date (or correcting the date), this change was made to reduce confusion and encourage communication between students and faculty.  Students will be advised of the date they can end isolation or quarantine and can resume attending in-person classes.  They can share this date with faculty as requested, but due to various factors that date may change.  


The student is in class right now, said they tested negative or have not been contacted by the Contact Tracing team, what do we do? 

The Dean of Students Office receives information for the DSO COVID Notification from Thielen Staff after the contact tracing process has happened.  Students should be encouraged to check their phone/email as it is likely someone from the Contact Tracing team has reached out to them to discuss either a positive COVID test, or to let them know that they were in contact with someone who had tested positive. If the student believes this is still an error or needs documentation to confirm when they can return to class, they should connect to the ISU Public Health Team at Thielen (and would then have documentation via email to ensure they have accurate information and can share with faculty if they are able to be in class).


Can you provide additional information regarding student status of a DSO COVID-19 Notification – positive or close contact? 

The Dean of Students Office does not have any additional information to share regarding the student's status.  Our office sends these notices after the contact tracing process occurs for students and we are not privy to individual student information. 


What if a class has an in-person component that cannot be missed, is it possible to make an exception to allow the student on-campus with social distancing? 

The Dean of Students Office is not aware of the nuances of each student situation (if they are a close contact, positive case, etc.) and are provided the information from Thielen after the testing/contact tracing.  There are no exceptions to the policy - students are not to come to campus while quarantine/isolating.  


What if a student tells their instructor they need to miss class due to COVID-19 and the faculty hasn’t received any notice from the Dean of Students Office? 

As outlined in the Cyclones Care campaign, students and employees are instructed to stay home if they are not feeling well. This is considered an excused absence. You will not receive notification from any central source. 

If a student received a positive test outside of ISU’s testing program, they should report their result to the ISU Public Health Team via this form. If faculty are told this information and are unsure if the student will do so, then forward the information to

Faculty have been asked to be as flexible as possible during this challenging and unprecedented time, but it may not be possible in all cases to have a substitute for the missed material. It may become necessary for a student to take an incomplete in situations when a substantial amount of the course is missed. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate proactively and make up the material. 


What should a student do if their instructor is not accommodating absences due to COVID symptoms, isolation, or quarantine? 

If a student has discussed the issue with the instructor and doesn’t t feel a resolution could be reached, they may wish to file an academic grievance. The academic grievance process is explained more thoroughly on the Student Assistance website.  Student Assistance staff is are available to meet by phone or video for additional guidance.