Quarantine and isolation

A person can be contagious with no symptoms or before symptoms begin, making isolating and quarantining critical strategies for containing the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC has updated and shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine period for general populations dealing with COVID-19. For the extended quarantine and isolation guidance, visit the CDC website.

Definitions

Quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected.

Isolate when you are sick or when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Exposure is contact with someone infected with COVID-19, in a way that increases the likelihood of getting infected with the virus.

A close contact is anyone less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (Ex. three individual five-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

Who does not need to quarantine

If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine:

  • If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are up to date with vaccination.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

Even if you don’t need to quarantine, you should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0) and get tested at least five days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the isolation section below.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).

Who should quarantine?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:

  • If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are NOT up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations.

What to do for quarantine

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least five days (day 0 through day five) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4°F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least five days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you have symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.

For more in-depth and situation-specific quarantine guidance, visit the CDC website.

Note: Residential Life requires a 10-day quarantine before a student is allowed to return to their residence hall assignment, or within any Residential Life facility. For more information, visit the residence halls page.

Isolation

Isolate from others if you are sick with COVID-19.

People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available.

Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least five full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional five days.

People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

What to do for isolation

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.

Ending isolation

  • You can end isolation after five full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.​) Count day 1 as the first full day after your symptoms appeared. If you tested positive and were asymptomatic, day 1 is considered the first full day after you were tested.
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for five additional days (day six through day 10) after the end of your five-day isolation period.

For more in-depth guidance on ending your isolation period, visit the CDC website.

Note: Residential Life requires a 10-day isolation before a student is allowed to return to their residence hall assignment, or within any Residential Life facility. For more information, visit the residence halls page.