How to handle COVID-19 symptoms and infection among students

The following guidelines have been adopted for AU’s response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection among students on the university’s campuses. The guidelines come into force on 15 August 2020 and will be evaluated at the end of October 2020.

In practice, concrete COVID-19 cases are to be handled by local COVID-19 response teams at the faculties who coordinate their response with the Rector’s Office, including the central communication and press office.


1. Guidelines regarding students with symptoms of COVID-19

Students with symptoms of COVID-19 may not come to campus. Students who experiencing symptoms while on campus should go home as quickly as possible. The university may direct students with obvious symptoms to leave campus.

Students with symptoms must:

The university will only take further preventive steps in regard to students with symptoms in the event that they test positive.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection? Typical symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, headache, achy muscles and the loss of the sense of smell and taste, in some cases accompanied by congestion or a runny nose.


2. Handling COVID-19 infection among students

Students are not obligated to inform the university if they test positive for COVID-19, but are strongly encouraged to do so.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must:

The local COVID-19 response team must:

  • contact the student and help them identify close contacts on campus, as well as notifying and advising the student’s close contacts.
  • identify classes, classmates etc. that the student participated in the period leading up to the positive test.
  • notify the following early in the process: the dean, relevant heads of department/school.
  • inform Lea Sofie Staunsager, administrative officer at the Rector's Office, lss@au.dk, and Sys Christina Vestergaard, head of press and communication, scv@au.dk, about the case of infection. Please specify at which degree programme and semester the case of infection has occurred, and class number if applicable, as well as information about whether students/employees at AU are identified as ‘close contacts’. It must not be possible to link the information about the infected person to a specific individual, and if there are less than 10 students in the class, the class number should not be specified.

  • inform affected classes, classmates, etc., with due regard for GDPR and protection of personal data.
  • ensure that contact surfaces, etc. in affected rooms are cleaned immediately as needed.
  • assess whether there are grounds for additional measures to prevent infection in light of the individual case.
  • register the case in the AU COVID-19 register.

3. Additional measures in response to an outbreak

As a general rule, no additional measures will be taken in response to individual cases (such as cancellations, sending classes/employees home, etc.). However, multiple simultaneous cases may indicate an outbreak that necessitates such measures.

When deciding whether to take additional measures, the following applies:

  • The local response team is responsible for assessment of the situation and the decision, in consultation with the dean.
  • Any additional measures must be coordinated with local line managers, the rector/pro-rector and the central communication and press office.

Situations that are not confined to one faculty (because of shared facilities, co-taught subjects, etc.) should be handled by the rector/pro-rector, who will make a decision in consultation with the relevant deans.  


The following applies in the event that a class is sent home:

  • The students are to be sent home for one week, starting on the day on which the decision to send them home is made.
  • We recommend that students get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus after the one-week period ends.

4. Contact tracing

Contract tracing is based on the Danish Health Authority’s definition of ‘close contacts’.

AU’s responsibility in this connection is to assist infected students in determining whether they have close contacts among their fellow students or teachers. Internal contact tracing at AU must take place in consultation with the infected student, who is, as a rule, responsible for contacting their close contacts in collaboration with the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

The Danish Health Authority’s definition of close contacts:

  • People who cohabit with an infected person.
  • People who have had direct physical contact (such as a hug) with an infected person.
  • People who have had unprotected, direct contact with body fluids from an infected person (for example, have been coughed on or have touched used tissues, etc.).
  • People who have had close ‘face-to-face contact’ with an infected person: closer than one metre for more than fifteen minutes (for example, a conversation).
  • Healthcare personnel and others who have participated in caring for a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus who have not used PPE in accordance with the guidelines.

In connection with going to classes, using study spaces, and so on, students typically have a wide variety of more peripheral interactions with others that do not qualify as close contacts. For this reason, AU encourages all students to use the official contact tracing app [smitte|stop], which is designed to support more distant/peripheral contract tracing.