What should I do if I test positive for COVID?

If you test positive for COVID, you will need to self-isolate for 5 days minimum (the day of your positive test result is day 0), and will be required to wear a KN95 mask when around others for days 6-10. Do not remove your mask to eat or drink around others. You cannot be on campus during your isolation period. Visit the Isolation for Students or Isolation for Employees for more details about isolation.

If you receive a positive COVID result outside of the on-campus testing program, email Princeton’s Global and Community Health (GCH) Team immediately at communityhealth@princeton.edu and attach proof of your positive result, such as a photo of your positive antigen test. GCH will be in touch with you as soon as they can.

Letters of Recovery from COVID-19 are only available to those who either tested positive through the on-campus testing process, or who immediately notified Global and Community Health (GCH) of their positive test results conducted off-campus. If you need a Letter of Recovery and meet these requirements, please email GCH at communityhealth@princeton.edu

Undergraduate and graduate students

As soon as you receive a positive result

  • Please return to your local bedroom (whether that's in a dorm, apartment, or off-campus housing).
  • Isolation coordinators will contact students who test positive M-F between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist with their isolation planning. Students who share a sleeping space have been asked to develop an isolation plan in advance if they receive a positive test result before isolation coordinators reach out to them.
  • If it is a weekday and you do not hear from an isolation coordinator within 2-3 hours, email isolationhelp@princeton.edu with the subject line "I'm isolating in my room" so that staff can easily see your email in their inbox. 
  • Please check your Princeton email regularly, make sure your cell phone is close by and that the ringer is on. Also, check to make sure your voicemail inbox is set up and not full, in case someone needs to leave you a message. 
  • If you have a roommate, partner or significant other that shares a bedroom with you, ask them to stay elsewhere until the plans for your isolation have been completed.
  • You may opt to isolate elsewhere, such as your family residence,  but only if you are able to arrange private transport and not use public transportation to get there. If you return home, please email the address where you will be isolating to GCH at communityhealth@princeton.edu


As soon as you receive a positive result

  • If you receive your result while you are still at home, do not go to work. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible to alert them that you will be on a medically-supported absence. 
  • If you are at work, please let your supervisor know you will need to leave for a medically-supported absence, and head home right away. If you will be taking public transportation to reach your home, make sure to double-mask and do not sit or stand within 6 feet of others.
  • You should isolate yourself from the people that you live with. If you live with someone who is not vaccinated and you cannot remain separated from them for your entire isolation period, your unvaccinated household contact will need to quarantine for another 5 days following the day you are released from isolation, and they will need to wear a KN95 mask for days 6-10.
  • You do not need a confirmatory test if you received a positive result via an antigen or PCR test.

In the Next Few Days

  • UHS will send an email to your supervisor confirming that you are on a medically-supported leave.
  • If you are having symptoms, please contact your primary medical provider.
  • Make sure to complete the Symptom Check you receive by email or text, as this may impact your release from isolation and return to campus. 

Ending Isolation and Returning to Work

  • You will receive an email from Global and Community Health at UHS that you are clear to stop isolation.
  • Do not come to campus until you receive this email.
  • You will not need a negative test to return to work. You should not test again on campus for 90 days. Do not submit another test to the testing program during this 90-day period.

Contact Tracing

You are encouraged but not required to alert those with whom you have been in close contact in the past 3-5 days that you are positive for COVID. Your close contacts will not necessarily receive a phone call or an email that they have been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive.

Following guidance from the CDC and the NJ Department of Health, UHS is prioritizing contact tracing for populations that are at the highest risk of transmission on campus: students and service personnel.

Information for Your Close Contacts

When sharing with a contact that you have tested positive, you can give them the following guidance:

  • If they are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose, they do not need to quarantine
  • They should monitor how they are feeling for the next several days
  • If they experience any symptoms that might be associated with COVID, they should be tested
    • During this time period, they should wear a face covering consistently inside, except when sleeping or eating. Maintain physical distance (6 feet or 2 meters) from others when eating, both while inside and outside, until they have received a negative result. 
  • If they do not feel any symptoms, they should wait 3-5 days since the last time they were in contact with you and then consider getting tested

Please visit the CDC’s website for more information on if you test positive.