Guidance on Isolation and Precautions for Individuals with COVID-19 or Exposed to COVID-19

Guidance on Isolation and Precautions for Individuals with COVID-19 or Exposed to COVID-19

Updated Sept. 21, 2022

Please review this information, make plans, and pack a kit before you come to campus. Be prepared and discuss how you will manage COVID-19 with your family and any roommates you may have.

The university follows the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health Guidance on Isolation and Precautions for Individuals with COVID-19 and Individuals exposed to COVID-19.

We strongly advise that every student prepare a COVID preparedness kit before their arrival to campus. It should include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), thermometer, snacks, prescription medication, personal care items (cough drops, contact lens fluid, tissues), masks, disinfectant wipes, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and home antigen tests.

What to do and expect if you test positive for COVID-19:

This information is for students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 with either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test whether or not they have symptoms or have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you test through University Health Services (UHS) or if you self-report a positive rapid antigen test to testing@umass.edu, you will receive a call, text or email message from the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) nurse team who will ask you questions, connect you to resources and support you throughout the process.

Calculating Isolation:  Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected. If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms, isolate for at least five days.  See COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance for the General Public

Days to Isolate:

  • Day 0, first day of symptoms OR day the positive test was taken, whichever is earlier
  • Days 1-4, continue to isolate
  • Day 5, last day of isolation if asymptomatic or symptoms are improving
  • Day 6, leave isolation (if you are able to wear a mask at all times when around other people, including in your household, through day 10). You may remove your mask prior to day 10, if you have had two negative tests taken 48 hours

Once you learn you are positive:

  • Isolate away from others immediately, do not go to class, work, or events or socialize with anyone.
  • Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others that you live or share residential space.

  • Wear a high-quality mask for the full 10-day isolation period - especially if you return to class or work after your at-home isolation period

  • Monitor your health and take your temperature daily.
     
  • Take steps to improve the ventilation in your living space: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html#ventilation
  • Do not share any personal items and use a separate bathroom if possible.

  • Avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 for at least 10 days.

  • Complete the daily PHPC wellness checks by reporting your temperature and symptoms. If you need to speak to a nurse, indicate it on your daily symptom check and a PHPC nurse will contact you.
     
  • If you are concerned about your symptoms call the University Health Services Nurse Triage Line at 413-577-5229 for advice or an appointment. Make sure to let them know you tested positive.
     
  • Take care of your mental health. It can be stressful and lonely to be separated from others, particularly if you have concerns about your health. Call the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health at 413-545-2337 or the Employee Counseling and Consultation Office if you are not coping well.
     
  • We strongly urge you to use a high-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94 or N95, or double mask when you need to use the bathroom or go to a health appointment. Cloth masks should be used only when double masking with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath.
    • You and those who you live with can get KN95 masks at the vending machines on lower level of the Campus Center. Ask a friend to pick them up for you.
       
  • Do not attend class in person for any reason for the duration of your isolation.
    • Students are responsible for ensuring that they keep up with their courses when they go into isolation for COVID-19.
    • Students should make arrangements with other students to exchange notes if they must miss class.
    • Students are responsible for notifying their instructor as soon as possible to coordinate alternative methods of learning.
    • Students should let their instructor know if they are not feeling well enough to carry on with their work to see what flexibility might be possible.
       
  • Do not attend on or off campus in-person university events or activities.
     
  • If you have an on or off campus job, make sure to call your supervisor to let them know you will be out for a few days.

If you are an on-campus student: If possible, it is best if you leave campus ASAP to isolate in the comfort of your own home separated from other household members there. You cannot use public transportation to go home.

Isolate-in-place in the residence hall if you cannot leave campus because you are unable to travel in a private vehicle or it is unsafe to go home to high-risk household members.

Isolation-In-place guidance students in residential halls or group homes such as fraternities or sororities:

  • If your roommate is not positive and circumstances do not allow you to leave, inform your roommate ASAP and protect them and others from exposure by staying in your room (except for bathrooms, food pick-up or medical appointments) and always wear a tight-fitting high-quality mask – KN95 or N95.
  • Ventilate your room. If possible, open the window and if you have a fan, reverse the flow so the room air is drawn outdoors.
  • Do not allow visitors into your room, but you can keep in touch with your friends and family electronically.
  • Have friends pick-up a Sick Meal or Grab 'N' Go meals or supplies you might need and drop them off for you at your door if possible. If it is not possible for others to pick up for you, make your trips brief and always wear a mask.
  • Bathrooms: If you use a community bathroom, please make sure that you are masked unless showering, bathing, or performing facial grooming or oral hygiene tasks. Please limit your time in the bathroom and remain masked while entering and exiting. If possible, time unmasked activities when restroom is unoccupied. Hallway bathrooms will continue to be cleaned and disinfected by custodial staff. Please do not enter the space while the custodial staff are working. 
  • Do not do your laundry until your isolation period is completed.
  • Trash removal. Please time any exits for trash removal to coincide with other trips (bathroom, food delivery pick-up) to minimize the amount of time outside of your room.

What to do if you are exposed someone with COVID-19:

This information is for individuals who are exposed to an active case of COVID-19 and have not tested positive – including those who are roommates of a positive case who needs to isolate-in-place. You may receive an email from the Public Health Promotion (PHHPC) team or be notified by the individual who tested positive.

If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by an individual or a public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection.