Quarantine and isolation
Isolation separates those who test positive for COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of those who may have been exposed to see if they become sick. These definitions are according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What to do if you are vaccinated against COVID-19
Fully vaccinated students and employees are exempt from quarantine, meaning you do not need to quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless you have symptoms. Here are some measures to take:
- Get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- If you do present with COVID-like symptoms, quarantine until you can be tested and receive a negative result. Call 804-MY-COVID (804-692-6843) to connect with University Student Health Services or Employee Health to report any symptoms and receive help arranging a COVID-19 test.
- If you do test positive: Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who are diagnosed as having COVID-19 by a health care provider will be told to isolate and will be instructed to not report to in-person work, class, or other community or clinical engagements until cleared by Student Health Services or Employee Health. “In-person,” regardless of location, includes student clinical training and other experiential learning activities off-campus.
What to do if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19
When to quarantine: There are two typical situations in which a student who is not vaccinated will be instructed to quarantine:
- If you are exposed to a known positive case of COVID-19. In this situation, you will be instructed, per the CDC's guidelines, to quarantine for 5 days after your last known exposure. If you do not have symptoms after 5 days, you may return in-person to work, class, or other community or clinical engagements; you will also need to follow strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Full details are available on the CDC website.
- If you are being tested for COVID-19 because you have symptoms, you will be instructed to quarantine while awaiting test results.
When to isolate: Students and employees who test positive will be instructed to isolate at home (or other appropriate location). Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 or who are being tested for COVID by a health care provider will be advised not to report to in-person work, class, or other community or clinical engagements until cleared by Student Health Services or Employee Health. “In-person,” regardless of location, includes student clinical training and other experiential learning activities off-campus. If you have tested positive, report your test result to the Call Center at 804-MY-COVID (804-692-6843).
When to return to in-person activities: Per CDC guidelines, you can be around others after:
- 5 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving
Note that the CDC guidance instructs individuals to follow strict masking when around others for five days after being cleared from isolation.
Students can contact Student Health through the Call Center to be cleared to return to any in-person university activity, including class.
Faculty and staff can contact Employee Health through the Call Center to be cleared for permission to return to campus or any other VCU location. Employee Health will send employees an email formally authorizing their return.
Students who live on campus
Unvaccinated students living on-campus will be instructed to quarantine, if exposed. Students who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms.
All students who test positive will isolate in designated on-campus isolation housing; basic needs will be coordinated with VCU Dining Services, and medical case management will be facilitated by Student Health Services.
Returning home or to a location with friends or family after testing positive for COVID-19 is not recommended by VCU’s Public Health Response Team; however, students may elect this option after considering the risk of transmitting the virus to others (for example, having a high-risk family member).
More information about quarantine and isolation for students living on-campus is available on the Residential Life and Housing website.
Student-athletes follow quarantine guidance based on VDH, NCAA and A-10 guidelines.
Travel and quarantine
If you are planning domestic or internation travel, please refer to the CDC's website for the latest guidance.
Students residing in VCU residence halls should contact University Student Health Services and refer to the Residential Life and Housing website for additional quarantine and isolation requirements.