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Isolation and Quarantine Information

Here’s what to expect when a student resident tests positive for COVID-19 while living in on-campus housing.

What to do if you test positive

  1. Immediately text (preferred) or call the UHS Covid Response Team at 510-220-7180 with your name, student ID number, your result, and state that you are currently living in campus housing. You are required to disclose a positive test result to the UHS Covid Response Team.
  2. In addition, send a message through etang.berkeley.edu to the COVID response team with the date of the positive test, and upload an image of the test result along with your student ID photo.
  3. Isolate in your room and wear a high quality face covering (double surgical mask, KN95, KF94, or N95) at all times. You will be called by the COVID response team to check in and to discuss your isolation duration. 
  4. Students who have severe symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, or fever lasting more than 3 days) should seek clinical care immediately; for milder symptoms, please stay home and rest.  Students who are unvaccinated, or at high risk of severe disease, may benefit from prompt prescription of Paxlovid or other medication, but a visit is not required. 
  5. If you test positive for COVID-19 and live in campus housing, regardless of your vaccination status and symptoms, the UHS COVID-19 Response Team will contact you through the eTang portal within 24 hours with next steps regarding Isolation-in-Place.

How to get help

Students with COVID who have questions or concerns about their health, and/or think they qualify for Paxlovid, can call the University Health Services (UHS) Advice Line 24/7 at 510-643-7197 for consultation or send a message through etang.berkeley.edu.  Students can also schedule a phone or video appointment online; if the UHS clinician feels you need to come in for care, they will facilitate.  For severe symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting), call 911.

What to do during isolation

If you have COVID-19, you are required to go into “isolation” for up to ten days*, regardless of vaccination status, in order to limit the spread of infection to others.  Remain in your room with the door closed as much as possible – and no visitors – during this time. 

Per our local Public Health officials: 

  • *Standard isolation requirement is 10 days (longer for immunocompromised).  You are most infectious until day 5 (inclusive) of symptoms.  Day 6-10, you may be able to leave “isolation” early, if your symptoms are resolved, and you test negative with a home antigen test, but you must still wear a mask until day 11.  Please note that this is uncommon – most people stay positive until at least day 7-8.   
    • To request early release from isolation after day 5, complete the early release from isolation attestation via eTang and upload a copy of your negative test results with the date along with a copy of your Cal ID in the image.
  • Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask at all times for the entire infectious period (10 days following onset of symptoms, or positive test if you don’t have symptoms). Your mask should be on at all times in your room, unless you do not have any roommates. An N95 mask is preferred; other good options include double-masking with regular surgical (paper) masks, KN95, or KF95. Instructions: How to use a N95 Mask, How to remove a mask.
  • Ask a friend to obtain N95 masks for you at the front desk of your residence hall.
  • You are strongly encouraged to share the news with your roommates and other close contacts, so that everyone can take appropriate precautions. 
    • A close contact is anyone who was in the same room (indoors) or vehicle with you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during your infectious period. 
    • The infectious period for COVID-19 starts 2 days before your symptoms appear (or 2 days before your positive test if you did not have symptoms) and continues until the end of your isolation.
  • Keep your door to your room closed and windows open as much as possible.

The following exceptions are allowed for brief trips and then returning directly to your room:  

  • Use the common bathroom.  If possible, avoid heavy traffic times, and wash hands with soap as soon as you enter.  Always keep your mask on except when brushing your teeth/brief showering. Wipe down any surfaces you have touched with a sani wipe provided.
  • Pick up food at the front of your closest campus dining commons, or outside your residence after food is delivered by an off-campus restaurant or delivery service. Eat in your room away from others, or outdoors.  
  • Use the laundry facilities in your building only when absolutely necessary, and try to avoid peak times.  
  • Sit outside, away from others to get fresh air.  You can go for a walk alone.  Please wear your mask.

You are  not permitted  to: 

  • Go to in-person classes, labs, or workplaces
  • Enter any campus building (excluding your Residence Hall, Apartment Building, or University Health Services, for timely/essential care)
  • Be with others in groups.
  • Attend group events like religious services, outdoor concerts, and other gatherings that bring people together. 
  • Utilize any common areas in your residential building. Including, but not limited to, gyms, recreation facilities, lounges, or kitchens.  
  • Use public transport/rideshare services.

If you are found doing any of the above during your isolation period, this may constitute a violation of the Residential Code of Conduct and Code of Student Conduct. 

How long to isolate and when you can officially end isolation

Per public health orders, isolation is required for a full ten days, however as listed above, you may be able to release early if you test negative. The Covid Response Team will discuss this option during your case interview. 

What if your roommate tests positive

If your roommate, or other close contact, tests positive and you do not have symptoms, you are no longer required to quarantine, regardless of your vaccination status.  Instead, get tested 3-5 days later, monitor for symptoms, and wear a facial covering around others. If you become symptomatic, you are required to isolate and get tested.

If your roommate tests positive and you are at high risk of severe disease, you may request a temporary move to another location (such as a hotel room) for the duration of the infectious period. Medically high-risk residents will be provided with accommodations, transportation, meals, and other basic needs at no extra cost. Students at high risk of severe disease can message the COVID Response Team through etang.berkeley.edu to confirm risk and initiate the process of moving to a different location (e.g., a hotel room) for the duration of a roommate’s infectious period.

If you witness a violation of the isolation protocols or the Residential Code of Conduct, you are encouraged to either report this information to your RA or send an email to residential.conduct@berkeley.edu with identifying information. Residential Life staff will then submit a conduct report on your behalf. Reporting what you witness will help protect your fellow students and our community. We are all in this together. 

What to do if you need Residential Life Staff support

Residential Life Staff Members (Including the Isolation Coordinators) do not provide guidance when it comes to your health status. 

Isolation Coordinators will be your primary point of contact for non-medical isolation questions. We encourage you to refer to your check in email that you received from ic.duty@berkeley.edu. 

Please refer to your check in email for information regarding appropriate phone numbers for support. 

If you are in need of in-person staff support, you are required to wear a high-quality face covering (double surgical mask, KN95, KF94, or N95). If you are not wearing one, you must let the staff member know, and they will bring you a face covering.