Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and isolation help protect the public from those who may have COVID-19 by preventing further exposure.

  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to COVID-19 to see if they become sick.
  • Isolation separates people who have gotten a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 from people who do not have COVID-19, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.

Princeton has prepared our campus to offer adequate space for those students who need private locations for quarantine or isolation.

The COVID Testing and Public Health Guidance page on the UHS website contains information on procedures for employees and students to follow if an individual or close contact tests positive for COVID-19. 

Faculty, staff, and students must email communityhealth@princeton.edu if they have been tested for COVID-19, confirmed to have COVID-19, or quarantined by a healthcare provider or local health department as a close contact of someone who is confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. The University will comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws to protect the privacy of those making a report.

Exemption From Testing

In line with recommendations from the CDC and NJ DOH, faculty, staff and students who test positive, either through the asymptomatic testing program or by reporting an off-site positive to UHS, are exempt from the University's testing requirement for 90 days. This is because it is possible for a person who tested positive to continue to test positive for weeks or months, especially with the very sensitive PCR test, due to tiny amounts of residual virus remaining in the body, and not be able to spread the virus to others. 

Quarantine Protocols During the Semester

Per NJ guidelines, which follow updated recommendations from the CDC, individuals no longer need to quarantine after domestic travel or exposure if they are fully vaccinated.

If a student or staff member is required by University Health Services to enter quarantine during the course of the semester for any reason, there are strict guidelines that must be adhered to. Please see the fact sheets (in the Related Documents section at the bottom of the page) which vary depending on your status. Quarantine that is required due to exposure to a potentially infected or infected person or due to travel, is 10 days. 

Travel within the United States and U.S. territories does not require quarantine upon return to campus. However, if you are arriving to Princeton from an international location and have not been fully vaccinated, you are required to complete a COVID Risk Assessment Form in the 3-7 business days before you return to Princeton. The Global and Community Health Team at UHS will advise you whether quarantine will be required. 

If you have questions regarding quarantine guidelines, please email communityhealth@princeton.edu.  A reminder: violations of quarantine or isolation are very serious threats to public health and may trigger disciplinary consequences. These guidelines are not only University policies, but also policies from local health authorities. 

Isolation for Students

If a graduate or undergraduate student is sick with COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, staff will work with that person to isolate and monitor their health until they are cleared to resume normal daily activities. Isolation will be a minimum of 5 days for those that are vaccinated, and is 10 days minimum for those who are not vaccinated. The day of a positive test is considered day 0. 

Students living on campus may need to isolate in designated rooms on campus. If a student has a sleeping space to themselves (do not share a bedroom), they may also be assigned to isolate in their room. Meals and support services will be provided during isolation if students live on campus.

As with quarantine, violations of isolation are very serious threats to public health and may trigger disciplinary consequences, including involvement of local, off-campus public health authorities. 

Please see the Related Documents section at the bottom of this page for the fact sheet for students isolating on or near campus or this section of the "Receiving Results" page of the COVID website

Isolation for Employees

Employees who are mildly ill with COVID-19 can isolate at home during their illness and cannot be on campus during their isolation period. Isolation will be a minimum of 5 days for those who are fully vaccinated and a minimum of 10 days for those who are unvaccinated. The day of the positive test is considered day 0. Employees must be cleared by Global and Community Health before returning to campus, and further guidance is in the fact sheets below and on the "Receiving Results" page of the COVID site

COVID Public Health Guidance

Information on what to do if you come into contact with someone else who has tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 is available on the Public Health Guidance page on the UHS website. Information on what to do if you receive a positive result in the web app is available here on the "Receiving Results" page of this website.