Contact tracing

Contact tracing is an important strategy for supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Any individual who has possibly been exposed will receive a call from a contact tracer with the date of possible exposure. If you are contacted by a contact tracer follow their instructions, even if you aren’t currently experiencing symptoms. Individuals who may have been exposed should expect to quarantine for 14 days. Those who are fully vaccinated that have been in close contact with a positive individual may not have to quarantine unless they become symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19.

Log your vaccine

Students, faculty and staff are strongly urged to get vaccinated and upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination records or cards. If you are fully vaccinated, you may not have to quarantine if you are exposed to COVID-19 and show no symptoms. Having your confidential vaccine information on hand will assist our case investigators and contact tracers.

We ask that students upload their records even if they previously sent this information when submitting other vaccination records. Vaccine information will be kept confidential. 

Should I only quarantine if someone contacts me?

If you find out you are a close contact to a positive individual and are not fully vaccinated or have had COVID in the last 3 months, quarantine immediately. Do not wait for a contact tracer to call you.  Remember that even asymptomatic individuals can be contagious after first contact.

Contact and exposure information

What to expect if you test positive

Once an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to create a list of any person they have come into contact with during the 48 hours before exhibiting symptoms (if symptomatic) or the positive diagnosis (if asymptomatic). Individuals should consider making a list before they are contacted by a contact tracer.

Any individual who was possibly exposed to COVID-19 will receive a call from a contact tracer with the date of possible exposure and expectations for a 14-day quarantine. Close contacts will not be informed of the name or any other identifying information of the person who potentially exposed them due to federal privacy laws. Individuals asked to quarantine will receive regular wellness check calls during that time.

Those who test positive are expected to follow their case investigator’s instructions for isolation.

What constitutes as a close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • They sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

Requirements on isolation and quarantine will be decided by the case investigators and contact tracers in the context of your individual case. Note that outside of health care settings, wearing a face covering does not necessarily preclude you from being identified as a close contact for the purposes of case investigation and contact tracing when you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Close contacts waiting to be tested

Contact tracers will notify and manage next steps with anyone who is considered a close contact. Quarantine and restrict activities while you wait for test results.  Students in quarantine awaiting testing may wish to inform their instructors of their absence from any in-person class.

Students who test positive are required to notify the university within four hours of receiving their positive test results by submitting a secure online form, and they must notify their instructors they will not be attending class to make arrangements to continue their studies remotely, if they are able.

Employees who test positive should notify their supervisor immediately.

If you have been exposed but aren’t identified as a close contact

If you believe you may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact the MU Student Health Center or your own health care provider. Do not come to campus if you believe you may have contracted the virus.

If you become aware of someone else’s positive test

Do not share any personal or personally identifying information about the individual. This is prohibited under federal privacy laws.

Only close contacts will be contacted by the contact tracing team. If contact tracers reach out to you, you will be asked to quarantine for an appropriate period of time.