Isolation for Students

The purpose of isolation is to lower the risk of spreading the illness to others. You are to restrict activities outside your residence, except for getting medical care. Do not go to class or work, and avoid common areas or public spaces. Do not use public transportation, ride-sharing like Uber or Lyft, or taxis. For both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, the isolation period is a minimum of 5 days from the date of your positive test results. After 5 days, you will be reassessed for symptoms to see if isolation must continue. 

Make an isolation plan before someone tests positive

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.

If you test positive for COVID-19

Visit the page What should I do if I test positive for COVID? for detailed instructions.

Some other tips to keep in mind while you're isolating:

  • Stay away from others: With the exception of retrieving meals from where you are instructed to, or receiving medical care, stay in your bedroom and away from other people.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you develop symptoms or symptoms worsen (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  • Call ahead before visiting your medical provider: If you need medical care during UHS’ operational hours, call 609-258-3141 first. If you need urgent medical care or are calling UHS after hours, dial 911 to be connected to the Department of Public Safety, call 911.
  • Wear a high-quality face mask: if you must leave your room (including every time you pick up your meals and when entering a medical facility), wear a high-quality face mask (such as an KN95).
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands frequently by washing them with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Follow by washing your hands.
  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people.
  • Clean high touch surfaces daily with disinfectant wipes. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.  

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 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 for 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.