Isolation and Quarantine

Fall 2022

Given that broad access to vaccines is available, on-campus quarantine and isolation housing will be limited this year and cannot be guaranteed at any time. All students should have individual plans for isolation and quarantine housing in the event they are exposed or have a positive COVID-19 test.

Please note that isolation and quarantine guidance may vary based on specific circumstances, including for health care personnel and the immunocompromised. This webpage provides general guidance. The Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team will provide specific guidance to individuals based on their circumstances.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you are tested outside of Ohio State and test positive, notify the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (CICTT) by uploading your result to go.osu.edu/selfreporttest

If you are tested at an Ohio State site (either Student Health Services or a Wexner Medical Center swab station), you will be notified by secure message about the positive result and will be provided initial guidance for the management of your illness.

Guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19:

  • Isolate at home for at least five days (from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms or from the date of test for asymptomatic positive individuals).
  • You can leave your house after five days if you have no fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and no other symptoms (or your symptoms are generally resolving).
  • While not required, you may opt to complete an isolation test. This test must be an antigen test and it should not be taken prior to your 5th day in isolation. If your test results are positive, you must remain in isolation for up to 5 additional days. Once you exit isolation, continue to wear a well-fitted mask for five additional days when in all environments when near others (within six feet, especially indoors). If you share a living space with others, you must remain masked at all times. This masking guidance is required to exit your isolation housing after day 5. For activities like brushing teeth, showering or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • If you are immunocompromised (as diagnosed by a physician), please consult with your health care provider because your time in isolation may be longer.

More information about positive test results is available here: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus/patient-care/covid-19-testing/positive-test

Students

  • If you test positive via Student Health Services (SHS), you will be notified by secure message via BuckMD and will be provided initial guidance for the management of your illness.
    • If you are tested at another Ohio State site and test positive, the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team will be directly notified of the result and the actions above will begin.
    • If you are tested outside of Ohio State and test positive, notify the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team by uploading your result to go.osu.edu/selfreporttest. If you have not received an email within 36 hours of submitting your results, please call (614-688-2273) or email (ContactTracing@osu.edu) us with your preferred contact information. 
  • Follow isolation protocols (listed below).
  • If you are ill with COVID-19, have symptoms, or are otherwise unable to attend in-person classes/work, you should contact your faculty members/instructors/supervisors as soon as you can to arrange for accommodations and plans for making up work
    • You are not required to tell anyone including faculty members or instructors that you have COVID-19 if you have tested positive.
    • Once you report your results to the CICTT at go.osu.edu/selfreporttest, you will receive an SLDS remote learning accommodation letter. Please use this letter as documentation to excuse your classroom absence.
  • The CICTT will collaborate with your local health department to share any pertinent contact tracing information for those outside the university community.
  • If you have a Primary Care Provider (PCP), that provider will have the primary role in advising you on your medical condition. If you have any medical concerns but do not have a PCP, please schedule an appointment at Student Health Services.
  • Employees (faculty and staff) of the university who learn of a possible or positive COVID-19 test result for a student are not authorized to share the student's health information. Please advise the student to upload their positive test results to the CICTT via the self-report form (go.osu.edu/selfreporttest). The CICTT will provide the appropriate follow up, including documentation required for work/school absences.

Employees (faculty and staff)

  • Employees should ensure they are following unit call off procedures.
  • If you are tested outside of Ohio State (e.g. a local pharmacy, physician’s office, or at home) and test positive, notify the CICTT by uploading your result to ​​​​​go.osu.edu/selfreporttest​​​​
    • If you are tested at an Ohio State site, the CICTT ​​​​​and Columbus Public Health will be notified of the positive result.
    • The CICTT will be in touch via email. If you have not received an email within 36 hours of submitting your results, please call (614-688-2273) or email (ContactTracing@osu.edu) us with your preferred contact information.  
  • Follow isolation protocols (listed below).
  • If you learn of a COVID-19 positive or possible COVID-19 positive employee in your unit, do not share the employee's health information. Please work with EHS and the CICTT to provide the appropriate follow up.

 

Isolation

Isolation separates and restricts the movement of those with a contagious disease from those who are not sick.

Students

Actions to TakeOptions for Residential Students

Isolate for a minimum of 5 days, followed by 5 additional days of strict masking

 

Reach out to your instructors; send Student Life Disability Services statement of support to your instructors if needed

At home

In your residence hall room if you live in a single room or if all roommates in a room are confirmed, reported positive cases.

Another off-campus location you identify

*Emergency housing for isolation purposes will be extremely limited this year and cannot be guaranteed at any time. More information about emergency housing will be shared via email in your isolation instructions from the CICTT. If you have not yet received an email from the CICTT, please use the online form to report your positive test results.

  • Students who test positive will be ordered to isolate for five days.
  • Students working in health care settings may receive additional isolation guidance.
  • Students should complete the wellness check daily
  • If symptoms are resolving and they have completed the wellness check daily, students will receive a release from isolation letter to return to in-person activities on day 6. If symptoms are not improving, isolation may be extended.
  • Students are not required to complete antigen testing on day 5 of isolation. However, if students opt to test and the results are positive, they must complete the full 10-day isolation period.
  • Upon leaving physical isolation, the student will be required to strictly wear a well-fitting mask in every environment, including at home in a shared living space, for an additional 5 days. For activities like brushing teeth, showering or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.

Faculty and Staff

  • Employees who test positive will be ordered to isolate for a minimum of five days. Employees who work in health care settings may receive additional isolation guidance. 
  • Employees should complete the wellness check daily.
  • If symptoms are resolving and they have completed the wellness check daily, employees will receive a release from isolation letter to return to work and in-person activities on day 6.
  • If symptoms are worsening at day 5, employees should continue to isolate.
  • Upon leaving physical isolation, the employee will be required to strictly wear a well-fitting mask in every environment, including at home in a shared living space, for an additional 5 days. For activities like brushing teeth, showering or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.

Note: These guidelines do not apply to Wexner Medical Center employees. Please refer to information for employees who work in health care settings.

 

What to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19

Students

  • Plan to test as soon as possible and again 5 days after your exposure. If you are feeling symptomatic, please plan to test immediately.
  • PCR testing and at-home test kit locations and details are available on the testing page. Test even if you don’t develop symptoms.
  • Begin masking as soon as you are made aware of your exposure. Continue wearing a well-fitted mask for 10 full days after your exposure. 
  • Physical quarantine is not required after an exposure for those who are asymptomatic. If you develop symptoms, please test immediately and remain isolated until you receive your test results. Please email the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (ContactTracing@osu.edu) to report your exposure. Please include “self-reported exposure” in your subject line. In your email, please provide a description of your exposure, as well as the date and duration. 

Employees (faculty and staff)

  • Plan to test as soon as possible and again 5 days after your exposure. If you are feeling symptomatic, please plan to test immediately.
  • PCR testing and at-home test kit locations and details are available on the testing page. Test even if you don’t develop symptoms.
  • Begin masking as soon as you are made aware of your exposure. Continue wearing a well-fitted mask for 10 full days after your exposure. 
  • Physical quarantine is not required after an exposure for those who are asymptomatic. If you develop symptoms, please test immediately and remain isolated until you receive your test results. Please email the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (ContactTracing@osu.edu) to report your exposure. Please include “self-reported exposure” in your subject line. In your email, please provide a description of your exposure, as well as the date and duration. 

Close Contacts and Quarantine 

Only those who are symptomatic after an exposure need to physically quarantine. Please plan to test immediately. If your test results are positive, please see above guidance on positive test results and isolation. If you test negative, you may leave physical isolation but must remain masked for 10 full days from the date of your last exposure. 

Given the current positive caseload, COVID-19 vaccination availability, increased public awareness, and recent CDC quarantine updates, Ohio State is prioritizing the containment of positive cases.

Residential Students

  • Automatic close contact notifications will be emailed to the roommates of students in university housing who test positive.
  • Residential students who are automatically notified of an exposure should begin masking immediately and remain masked while around others for 10 full days. For activities like brushing teeth, showering, or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • If asymptomatic, students should schedule a test at an on-campus testing location via MyChart as soon as possible and 5 days after the close contact exposure. Students may pick up an at-home antigen test kit available at various on-campus locations or independently schedule PCR testing from a third-party location. 
  • Students who are symptomatic, should plan to test immediately. Students should schedule a test at an on campus symptomatic testing location. Students should remain isolated until they receive their test results. If positive, students must follow current isolation policies. If negative, students may exit their self-quarantine, but must remain masked. 
  • Students are able to leave their room fully masked to pick up food from any dining facility and attend class during their post-exposure masking period.
  • Students should complete the wellness check daily.
  • After a minimum 10-day masking period, if symptom-free, reported by completing the daily wellness check, students may continue in-person activities with no post-exposure masking restrictions. 

Non-residential Students

  • Off-campus students who learn they are a close contact of a positive case should facilitate their own quarantine according to their symptom status and testing results. 
  • Upon notification of an exposure, the student will be required to strictly wear a well-fitting mask in every environment, including at home in a shared living space, for 10 days. For activities like brushing teeth, showering, or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • If asymptomatic, students should schedule a test at an on-campus testing location via MyChart as soon as possible and 5 days after the close contact exposure.
  • Students who are symptomatic, should plan to test immediately. Students should schedule a test at an on campus symptomatic testing location. Students should remain isolated until they receive their test results. If positive, students must follow current isolation policies. If negative, students may exit their self-quarantine, but must remain masked. 
  • Students should complete the wellness check daily.
  • After a minimum 10-day masking period, if symptom-free, reported by completing the daily wellness check, students may continue in-person activities with no post-exposure masking restrictions. 

Employees

  • Employees who learn they are a close contact of a positive case should facilitate their own quarantine according to their symptom status and testing results.
  • Upon notification of an exposure, the employee will be required to strictly wear a well-fitting mask in every environment, including at home in a shared living space, for 10 days. For activities like brushing teeth, showering, or eating, masks should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • If asymptomatic, employees should schedule a test at an on-campus testing location via MyChart as soon as possible and 5 days after the close contact exposure. If symptomatic, employees should arrange for alternative testing options via their primary care provider or the COVID call center.
  • Employees should complete the wellness check daily.
  • After a minimum 10-day period masking, if symptom-free, reported by completing the daily wellness check, employees may continue in-person activities with no post-exposure masking restrictions. 
  • Faculty and staff who receive a close contact exposure notice from the university need to wait for confirmation from the contact tracing team to return to work.

 

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team

The university’s Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (CICTT) is tracking cases associated with the university and managing quarantine and isolation orders for the Ohio State community. If you tested positive for COVID-19 through an antigen test or at a non-university site, please upload your results to the university’s CICTT at go.osu.edu/selfreporttest.

The CICTT is available by phone (614-688-2273) Monday through Friday, 10am – 1pm. Our email (ContactTracing@osu.edu) inbox is monitored Monday through Friday, 9am – 6pm and Saturday 11am – 3pm. 

Accountability measures

Accountability measures are in place for those who choose not to abide by required health and safety guidelines. These accountability measures may range from additional training and informal coaching to formal disciplinary action based on existing structures for students, faculty and staff.

Frequently asked questions

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Do I need to check in at my residence hall desk when I return to campus from isolation?

No, you do not need to check in at the residence hall front desk upon your return. You may proceed to your residence hall room as normal.

How do I report my positive test result?

If you are tested outside of Ohio State (e.g. a local pharmacy, physician’s office, or at home) and test positive, notify the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (CICTT) by uploading your result to go.osu.edu/selfreporttest.

How long do isolation last? And when does the clock start?

Those who test positive for COVID-19, should isolate at home for at least five days (from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms or from the date of test for asymptomatic positive individuals). After five days if you have no fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and other symptoms are improving/resolved, you will be released from physical isolation.

Currently, those working in a health care setting may be required to isolate longer than 5 days. Specific guidance for each situation will be provided by the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team. Upon exiting physical isolation, individuals must continue to wear a well-fitted mask for five additional days when in public or when indoors in close proximity to others (within six feet). If you share a living space with others, you must remain masked at all times.

The clock starts the day after the test/symptom onset (whichever is earlier). The test date/symptom onset date is day 0, isolation is a minimum of 5 full days, with a release on day 6.  

I am a contracted employee and currently work at OSU, what do I do if I test positive or have an exposure?

The CICTT is not currently completing the contact tracing for contracted staff. Please seek guidance from your primary employment agency, along with your local health department. If you have any questions or need help identifying your local health department, please contact the CICTT via phone (614-688-2273) or email (ContactTracing@osu.edu).

I received a positive test result. Will the university call me to give me instructions on how to isolate?

No.  The university will not be calling students to provide isolation instructions.  All students should begin to implement their isolation plan immediately upon receiving your results by either leaving your campus residence hall or beginning your isolation in your off-campus residence.  

If you tested outside of Ohio State, or using an at-home antigen test, you must upload your results to go.osu.edu/selfreporttest to receive isolation instructions.

I tested positive for COVID. What should I do while I wait for my transportation away from campus to pick me up?

During this time, you must take safety measures including wearing a mask properly and making sure anybody who lives with you is masked and maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet. If you have to use a shared bathroom or leave the room for food and water during this waiting period, wear a mask, stay physically distant from others and return immediately to your room.  You do NOT need to wait for the university to contact you to leave campus to begin your isolation.

I tested positive, but later tested negative. Why do I have to stay in isolation?

For the safety of the Buckeye community, and the broader community, we are following scientific recommendations and erring on the side of caution. By requiring all people with a positive COVID-19 test to stay in isolation, this increases the chances we will limit infections. We are not currently recommending re-testing for anyone who has had a recent positive test. A positive test means the COVID-19 virus was detected in the provided sample. A negative test means the test did not detect the virus, but this doesn't rule out that you could have an infection.

My dependent child tested positive for COVID-19, what do I need to do?

Please communicate directly with your child regarding their COVID-19 isolation plan and duration. The CICTT is not able to disclose COVID-19 status or related information to anyone other than the student themselves. Certain circumstances may override this policy, for example, if your child is a minor or has given clear consent to share their information. 

My roommate has tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do? What should I expect?

Residents who test positive are asked to leave their residence hall room within 24 hours of testing positive to begin their isolation away from campus. Roommates who are determined to be close contacts and are required to wear a tight fitting mask for 10 days, get tested, and watch for symptoms. Please see the FAQ ‘What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?’ to determine if other precautions are required. The university is making every effort to assist with next steps quickly. If you have to use a shared bathroom or leave the room for food and water during this waiting period, wear a mask, stay physically distant from others and return immediately to your room. Students who want to self-report exposure to someone with COVID-19, please contact the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team at 614-688-CASE or ContactTracing@osu.edu.

What are my responsibilities as a supervisor if an employee notifies me of possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection?

  • Instruct the employee not come to work or campus except to receive health care and to follow the steps outlined in the appropriate scenario described on the Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine page.
  • Ask the employee to submit their test results to the CICTT via the self-report form (go.osu.edu/selfreporttest).
  • If possible, make arrangements for the employee to telework or for the employee’s duties to be covered as needed.
  • Ensure the employee is aware of their leave options and has submitted the appropriate leave request.
  • Do not notify other team members or others in your college or unit. Maintain the employee’s medical privacy. Assessing possible exposures and notifying those who are at potential risk is the responsibility of the public health contact tracing team.
  • Communicate directly with the employee regarding their return-to-work dates.
  • If the employee is contracted staff, do not instruct them to use the self-report form. Have them seek guidance from their primary employment agency and their local health department.

What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

People who have a significant COVID-19 exposure (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) should take the following actions regardless of their vaccination status:

  • Begin wearing a well-fitted mask immediately and continue masking for 10 full days.
  • Schedule a COVID-19 test immediately, and plan to test again after 5 days.
  • If you are symptomatic, please plan to self-isolate while you wait for your test results. If your results are negative, you may exit your self-isolation, but continue masking. If your results are positive, you must follow current isolation protocol.
  • Self-report your COVID-19 exposure to the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team at 614-688-CASE or ContactTracing@osu.edu.

Students currently experiencing symptoms should schedule a COVID-19 test via an on campus symptomatic testing location.

Employees should contact their primary care provider (PCP) or The Ohio State University COVID Call Center at 614-293-4000 to assess the need for testing and to arrange a COVID-19 test if indicated.

What information will the contact tracing team be able to access?

Contact tracers are permitted to access information only for use in the university’s pandemic response. The contact tracing team will use individuals’ contact information to get in touch, positive test results to learn whether others may have been infected and monitor the spread of COVID-19, and vaccination status to properly assess quarantine needs.  

Some examples of general location information include:

  • Student and instructor class roster, residence hall address and office address
  • Primary affiliation (student, staff, faculty), contact information, and COVID-19 status

 
The Responsible Use of Computing and Network Resources Policy explains the collection, use and sharing of data from information systems. Members of the university community consent to this policy when setting up their name.# and when they use Ohio State information systems, like OSU Wireless or university laptops or PCs.

Visit the web privacy statement to learn more or email privacy@osu.edu with questions about privacy at Ohio State.

What is considered an exposure to COVID-19?

 An exposure is when you have come in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact exposure is contact for at least 15 minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet from a person with COVID-19. To count as close contact, the exposure must occur in the 48 hours prior to the other person developing COVID-19 symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19.

Types of contact NOT currently considered an “exposure” to an individual with COVID-19 include:

  • Standing in line to order coffee behind an individual with COVID-19 for three minutes
  • Having classes in the same building as someone who tests positive
  • Walking past a person with COVID-19 in the hallway of your residence hall or on the Oval

 

What type of information will the CICTT need to collect from me?

The CICTT will need to collect any information that is relevant to contact tracing and case investigation. This includes information on symptoms, test dates, exposure details, and contact information, including address of isolation. This information is only used for public health and contact tracing and is not shared outside of this context.

Who should I tell if I learn that someone has contracted COVID-19?

  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a member of the faculty or staff, you should tell your supervisor and follow appropriate protocol.
  • If you are a supervisor and an employee reports an infection to you, you should contact your Human Resources business partner. Do not notify any other employees, maintaining the individual’s medical privacy.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a student, please contact the CICTT by using the self-report form (go.osu.edu/selfreporttest) if you already have positive test results.
  • Students are not required to report the specific reason for their illness, including COVID-19 infection, to their instructors. Students will receive a letter from Student Life and Disability Services for COVID-19 related remote learning accommodations during isolation.
  • Faculty, staff and students who are made aware of or suspect that someone else has COVID-19 should not share that information with others, with the exception of supervisors reporting to Human Resources. You may also contact the CICTT directly via phone (614-688-2273) or email (ContactTracing@osu.edu).
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a member of the faculty or staff, you should tell your supervisor and follow appropriate protocol.
  • If you are a supervisor and an employee reports an infection to you, you should contact your Human Resources business partner. Do not notify any other employees, maintaining the individual’s medical privacy.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a student, please contact the CICTT by using the self-report form (go.osu.edu/selfreporttest) if you already have positive test results.
  • Students are not required to report the specific reason for their illness, including COVID-19 infection, to their instructors. Students will receive a letter from Student Life and Disability Services for COVID-19 related remote learning accommodations during isolation.
  • Faculty, staff and students who are made aware of or suspect that someone else has COVID-19 should not share that information with others, with the exception of supervisors reporting to Human Resources. You may also contact the CICTT directly via phone (614-688-2273) or email (ContactTracing@osu.edu).

Will I be informed if my coworker gets sick?

Not necessarily. Co-workers will be notified only if they have been identified as someone at risk based on scientific standards for determining potential exposure. Close, prolonged contact without proper public health precautions (physical distancing, wearing of face masks) increases the risk of infection. Working in the same building with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive does not, in and of itself, put an individual at risk.


Please reference this website for the most up-to-date guidelines. The university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force’s Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup will continue monitoring changing conditions and consult with local and state health authorities. Recommendations and requirements will be refined as needed.