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.

Undergraduate and graduate students

As soon as you receive a positive result

  • Return to your local bedroom, whether that's in a dorm, apartment, or off-campus housing
  • Implement your isolation plan and send an email to isolationhelp@princeton.edu indicating where you are isolating.
  • If you have questions or need assistance implementing your isolation plan, please email isolationhelp@princeton.edu. An isolation coordinator will monitor and answer emails from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. 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 p.m.
  • For questions or concerns about meals while in isolation, contact Campus Dining by emailing ptiger@princeton.edu
  • 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. If you have a test report, attach a copy or photo of it to the email. You would be expected to provide a copy or photo of your test by submitting a form to UHS.


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.
  • 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 with information about the type of test (PCR, rapid antigen) and the date of the testing. If you have a test report, attach a copy or photo of it to the email.
  • 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.
  • 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

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.