Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide for Fall 2021

Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide for Fall 2021

UMass Amherst uses key public health tools known as isolation and quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID‐ 19 among the campus community. Due to full occupancy in residence halls, quarantine and isolation space on campus is limited. Isolation and quarantine for on-campus students should take place at their permanent/home residence. On-campus quarantine and isolation space will be made available only in limited instances. Since there is typically little time to prepare for isolation or quarantine when instructed to do so, the university has developed this planning guide to help individuals anticipate what they may need if they must isolate or quarantine.

Current CDC guidance updated on July 27, 2021 states that all individuals infected with COVID-19 as indicated by a positive test isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status. Provided is an overview of procedures someone is identified as a close contact to COVID-19–fully vaccinated and close contact un-fully-vaccinated.

Fully Vaccinated close contacts must monitor their health and, wear a mask for 14 days indoors or until they receive a negative test result.

  • If asymptomatic, they should test on day 3-5 post-exposure.
  • If symptomatic they should test immediately, and self-isolate until they receive the result.
    If test is positive, they are required to isolate for 10 days.
  • If negative they should self-isolate (in their on or off-campus residence), wear a mask and socially distance until symptoms resolve, and retake a test if symptoms persist. Un-fully-vaccinated individuals are required to quarantine:
    • For seven days of strict quarantine if they remain symptom free and test negative on day 5, 6, or 7 – individuals will be released on day 8 with continuing active self-monitoring for another 7 days.

Exposed Individuals to COVID-19 – Fully Vaccinated and Non-Vaccinated                         

flow chart


What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

  • Isolation is the separation of someone who is ill with or has tested positive for COVID‐19 from people who are not sick. Individuals who test positive for COVID‐19 typically isolate for at least 10 days from the time they are tested or symptoms first appeared, but could be isolated for longer periods of time if symptoms persist.

  • Quarantine is the separation of someone who has been exposed to a COVID‐19 positive individual from those that are not sick or exposed in case the exposed person becomes sick or tests positive for COVID‐19. A typical quarantine period lasts 7‐14 days.

Do I need to plan for isolation and quarantine?

Yes, all students are required to have an isolation and quarantine plan. The university has set aside a very limit amount of isolation and quarantine space.  On campus quarantine and isolation space is reserved on limited basis for on-campus students unable to return to their permanent / home residence.

How do I prepare for isolation and quarantine?

Communicate with Your Family

  • Discuss the following with your family before coming to campus:
    • Where you can isolate or quarantine and how you will get there:
      • If you are instructed to isolate or quarantine, you cannot travel on any public transportation (bus, train, plane, Uber, Lyft, taxi, etc.) as you may expose others.
      • If someone from your family plans to pick you up from campus to take you home to isolate or quarantine, how much time will they need to arrive (hours or even a day or two)?
    • Are you able to distance yourself from others in your home to keep other family members safe?
    • If you cannot isolate or quarantine at home, how will your family communicate with you (i.e., FaceTime, Zoom, GoogleChat, etc.)?

Assemble a Go‐Kit

If you are asked to isolate or quarantine on campus by the Public Health Promotion Center, you will not be able to go back to your on‐campus housing to gather supplies. Additionally, you will not be able to leave your isolation or quarantine space during isolation/quarantine. To prepare for this, assemble a Go‐Kit before you arrive on campus.

Someone can easily pick it up and drop it off to you when you are in isolation or quarantine.

Supplies for Your Go ‐Kit

  • Thermometer: Pack a digital thermometer that works under your tongue, is easy to use, and not expensive to purchase. Make sure you have one with new batteries.
  • Self‐care medications: Pack fever/pain reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). Do not use multi‐symptom medications in combination with these as it can be easy to take too much. You may want lozenges for sore throats or cough medications.
  • Prescription medications: Pack 10‐14 days’ worth of any prescription medications you need.
  • Cleaning supplies: Pack EPA approved disinfecting wipes to use in your living spaces before, during, and after any possible isolation or quarantine. You will need to use these in any common areas of your residence while you are in isolation, quarantine, or anytime you are not feeling well.
  • Face coverings: Pack multiple face coverings so that you can wear a fresh one each day.
  • Comfort food: Pack your favorite comfort snacks and drinks. Although the university will ensure meals are delivered to those isolating or quarantining on campus, sometimes your favorite snacks can provide comfort. Off‐campus students should maintain a supply of foods in their home and be knowledgeable about to how to order food delivery from their local grocery store.
  • Comfortable clothes: Pack 10‐14 days’ worth of comfortable clothes.
  • Hygiene supplies: Pack shampoo, soap, tooth brush, toothpaste, menstrual products, etc.
  • Towels
  • Spare set of twin XL sheets: You can use your pillow and blanket from your current bed.
  • Phone charger: And any other electronic items and accessories you may need.

In addition to your Go‐Kit, you should make sure your academic materials (laptop, books, etc.) are readily accessible to be brought to you.