How to handle COVID-19 symptoms and infection among students

Aarhus University adheres to the Danish Health Authority’s transitional guidelines for handling symptoms at educational institutions, and the following guidelines apply to AU’s handling of COVID-19 infection among students on the university’s campuses.

Cases are to be handled by local COVID-19 response teams at the faculties which 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 are on campus when their symptoms emerge should go home as quickly as possible. The university’s employees may direct students with obvious symptoms to leave campus.

Students with symptoms must follow the health authorities' guidelines for people with symptoms of COVID-19. 

No immediate steps will be taken in the event that a student has symptoms on campus. The procedures for handling cases of Covid-19 will only be initiated in the event that a student tests positive.        

2. Procedure in relation to students who test positive for Covid-19

Students are strongly encouraged to inform the university about their COVID-19 infection. This will enable the university to take steps to prevent the spread of infection via contact tracing. Studies administration should be contacted via the AU coronavirus form.

Students who test positive after taking an antigen test ( rapid test/self-test) must do the following:  

  • Follow the health authorities' guidelines on self-isolation and take a follow-up PCR test as soon as possible to confirm the results of the rapid test. 
  • Inform studies administration about the positive test result after the antigen test. Fill out the AU coronavirus form to alert studies administration.
  • As explained in the health authorities' guidelines, you will then get a call from a member of the contact tracing team (a unit under the Danish Patient Safety Authority). You also have the option of contacting the coronavirus contact tracing team yourself at tel. nr. 3232 0511. The corona contact tracing team can put you at the front of the queue for a PCR test
  • If your follow-up PCR test is negative and you do not have symptoms, you can end your self-isolation. Please inform studies administration about the results of the PCR test.
  • If the PCR is test positive, see below.

Students whose PCR test result is positive must:

  • Follow the health authorities' guidelines for people who have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Fill out and submit AU’s coronavirus form to studies administration. If you are already in dialogue with studies administration following a positive antigen test, you can simply continue this dialogue, and you do not need to submit a new form.
  • Cooperate with the Danish Patient Safety Authority to start the contract tracing process.
  • Cooperate with AU to trace contacts at the university and map movements on campus during the period of infection.

3. The local infection team’s procedure in response to positive test results

In the event of a positive antigen test, the local infection response team must proceed as follows:  

  • Contact the student and get an overview of classes, etc. the student participated in prior to testing positive.
  • If there is one positive antigen test in one core group/in the class, contact tracing and isolation of close contacts should not be initiated until the results of the follow-up PCR test are available.
  • If there is more than one person with a positive antigen test in a core group/in a class, contact tracing must begin immediately – i.e. before the results of the follow-up PCR test become available.

In the event of a positive PCR test, the infection response team must proceed as follows:

  • Contact the student and assist them with defining and mapping close contacts as well as other contacts on campus, in addition to determining how they are to be notified.
  • Establish an overview of classes, etc., which the student participated prior to testing positive, if this was not already done in connection with a positive antigen test.
  • Notify about the case of infection. The following information must be included: on what degree programme and in which semester the case has occurred, core group/class identification number (where relevant), any information about links to other cases at AU. 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.

4. Additional measures in response to an outbreak

As a general rule, no additional steps will be taken in the event of infection (such as cancellations, sending classes/teams home, etc.). Classes/teams should only be sent home in exceptional cases, for example ‘super spreader events’ involving multiple persons who are infected on the same occasion. More detailed guidance is available in the Danish Health Authority’s transitional guidelines. 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 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.    

5. Contact tracing

The university’s contact tracing procedures are based on the Danish Health Authority’s transitional guidelines for handling symptoms at educational institutions.

AU’s responsibility in this connection is to assist infected students in determining whether they have contacts among their fellow students or lecturers who should go into self-isolation and get tested. Internal contact tracing at AU takes place in consultation with the infected individual, who is, as a general rule ,responsible for informing close contacts who should go into self-isolation, in collaboration with the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

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.