Important update about COVID isolation protocols for students

Aug. 19, 2022

Dear students,

As you prepare to arrive to campus for the start of the fall semester, we wanted to provide an update about what to expect related to COVID-19 isolation protocols this year. 

As we all learn how to live responsibly with COVID-19, isolation procedures on campus have changed. Students living in dormitories who test positive for COVID-19 and share a room with another student will not automatically be transferred to isolation rooms.

Please read below for information about how isolation protocols will operate this year, how to seek assistance, and where to find more information.

Make a Plan

Prior to or upon arriving on campus, discuss with your roommate(s) what you plan to do if one of you tests positive. If you do not want to stay in your room while your roommate is isolating, consider where you might stay during your roommate’s isolation period.

Options may include:

  • The well roommate(s) stay in the room with the roommate who tested positive, especially if the well roommate(s) tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. 
  • The well roommate(s) stay in a common room if part of a suite.
  • The well roommate(s) stay with a friend.
  • The student who tested positive goes home or to a place off-campus.

If none of these options is possible and there are compelling reasons for either the positive student to move to an isolation room or the well roommate(s) to move to another space, the University will provide assistance. Isolation spaces are limited, and taking advantage of personal off-campus or on-campus alternatives will help preserve these spaces for those who do not have that flexibility.

Each student who shares a sleeping space should have a rapid antigen test in their room for use by the student(s) who did not test positive. Even if the rapid antigen test is negative, they should submit a saliva sample to the University testing program unless they have had COVID within the last 90 days. Some students will choose to stay in their room because of the likelihood that they will become positive as well.

Make a plan before someone tests positive.

If You Test Positive

If you test positive, you must send an email to isolationhelp@princeton.edu indicating where you are isolating. 

If your positive test result is not from the University’s testing laboratory or McCosh, send an email to communityhealth@princeton.edu with information about the type of test (PCR, rapid antigen) and the date of the testing. You would be expected to provide a copy or photo of your test by submitting a form to UHS.

If you have questions or need assistance, email isolationhelp@princeton.edu

  • From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week, an isolation coordinator will monitor and answer emails. We encourage students who are home-testing to do so during these hours.
  • Outside of these hours, if you have an urgent issue that cannot wait:
    • For medical questions or concerns, call the Infirmary at 609-258-3141.
    • For other issues, contact Public Safety at 609-258-1000 to have Public Safety connect you with the Dean on Call.
    • Please note that if you need to relocate to an isolation space, transportation will not be available after 8:00 pm.

For questions or concerns about meals while in isolation, contact Campus Dining by emailing ptiger@princeton.edu

If Your Roommate Tests Positive

If your roommate tests positive and you share a sleeping space, you are likely considered a close contact and need to follow the protocols for close contacts.

  1. If you HAVE tested positive within the past 90 days, your risk of being re-infected with COVID-19 is low and staying with your roommate would be a good option. 
  2. If you have NOT tested positive within the past 90 days, test yourself using a rapid antigen test. If you don’t have one, kits are available in the Residential College offices, Lakeside Apartment offices, Clio Hall, and McCosh Health Center.
    1. If you test positive, follow the instructions above and isolate with your roommate.
    2. If you test negative, submit a saliva sample to the campus testing lab. Drop another saliva sample to the campus testing lab two and four days after your roommate’s positive test.
  3. If you would like to stay separate from your positive roommate, activate your isolation plan, which may include you moving to another space while your roommate isolates. 
    1. If you are unable to find a place to stay and there are compelling reasons for staying separate from your roommate, send an email to isolationhelp@princeton.edu
    2. If you need immediate assistance outside of the 9:00 am to 5:00 pm hours that the isolation coordinators are available, 
      1. Contact Public Safety at 609-258-1000 and ask to be connected with the Dean on Call for other issues.
      2. Contact the Infirmary at 609-258-3141 with medical questions or concerns.
  4. Wear a good quality mask, such as a KN95 mask, when around other people for 10 days unless you have not been in close contact with your positive roommate, as recommended by the CDC and the NJ Department of Health.

COVID-19 Resources

For more details about isolation and other COVID-related information, visit the COVID Resources site. You may also submit inquiries to the COVID Connector by emailing covidconnector@princeton.edu or calling 609-258-7000, Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you back on campus and wish you a healthy, engaging, and successful year ahead.

Sincerely, 
Robin Izzo, Assistant Vice President, Office of Environmental Health and Safety
Melissa Marks, M.D., Director, Medical Services, University Health Services
Irini Daskalaki, M.D., Physician, Global and Community Health, University Health Services