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Health and Safety

Spring 2022: Student isolation and quarantine guidelines

PLEASE NOTE: Revisions to this guidance are forthcoming amid new CDC guidance to quarantine and isolation time periods. Please check back in for updates.

The below guidance was announced on January 4, 2022.


In light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s isolation and quarantine guidelines, the University of Rochester has revised its COVID-19 isolation protocol.

Effective immediately, students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for a minimum of five days and will be released from isolation upon receipt of a negative rapid antigen test result or a full 10-day isolation.

If the result of a rapid antigen test on Day 5 is positive, individuals may take a second rapid antigen test on Day 7. If the antigen test on Day 7 is negative, the individual can be released from isolation at that time. In the event the result is still positive, individuals must complete the full 10-day isolation period.

The University’s new isolation protocol is as follows:

Day 0: Day of positive result or first day of symptoms later confirmed by positive test

Day 0 – Day 4: All individuals isolate

Day 5: All individuals take an antigen test administered by University Health Service (UHS) and can leave isolation upon receipt of a negative test result

Day 7: Any individuals still in isolation take an antigen test administered by UHS and can leave upon receipt of a negative test result

Day 10: Any individuals still in isolation released

We are confident that this step will reinforce the safety of the University of Rochester community.

Guidelines for undergraduate students living in on-campus housing

The arrival and spread of the omicron variant suggest that we need to be prepared for the number of community members testing positive for COVID-19 to be greater than in prior terms. Given isolation space constraints, we have developed a two-phase isolation plan:

Phase A: Utilization of designated isolation space (same guidelines as the fall semester)

As we did in the fall semester, on campus residential students who test positive will be directed to an isolation space. For students who live in a single, they will be able to isolate in their dorm using a designated restroom and will be able to get grab and go dining during designated times and locations. If two roommates test positive in the same day, they will also be allowed to isolate in their rooms together during the isolation period.

Phase B: Isolate in residence halls

In the event the University exceeds designated isolation spaces, students in on-campus housing who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate in their residences.

We recognize that the new isolation protocols will, at times, be uncomfortable. At the same time, we are hopeful that the new isolation protocols (which have the potential for shorter isolation) will enable us to maintain our commitment to academic continuity for our students, including the staffing needed to preserve key services for students.

Frequently asked questions

What does it mean to be isolated in your residence for those living in residential halls?

  • In most instances, isolation in place will mean a student who tests positive for COVID-19 may be required to isolate with a roommate who has tested negative. Roommates who are negative will be offered a hotel room alternative.
  • Each campus residence hall or facility will have clearly marked restrooms designated for students who are isolating. To ensure the safety of others in the building, students who are isolating should only use designated restrooms.
  • Per the University’s face masking requirement, all students (including those who have not tested positive) should wear a face covering at all times when not in their rooms. We strongly encourage students to wear KN95 masks or double mask when possible.
  • Students who are required to isolate should contact their professors directly to devise a plan to keep up with their coursework.

What should I do if my roommate tests positive?

  • Per the University’s face masking requirement, all students (including those who have not tested positive) should wear a face covering at all times when not in their rooms. We strongly encourage students to wear KN95 masks or double mask when possible.
  • Roommates of students who have tested positive should continue to wear a face covering indoors, including if possible while in their residence.
  • If you have not tested in the last 48 hours, please test immediately. If you have tested in the past 48 hours, please test again on Day 5 of exposure (either when your roommate tested positive or started experiencing symptoms, whichever occurred first).
  • Please call UHS if you feel ill or are concerned about possible exposure. Find more information about the University’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
  • Students who have not tested positive should not use the COVID-19 isolation designated bathrooms, even if their roommate(s) have tested positive.

Guidelines for graduate students living in University housing

  • Graduate students who live in University housing and who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate in their campus apartment.
  • Students should isolate for five days and then come to UHS to receive a rapid antigen test on Day 5. If the result is negative, the student will be released from their isolation.

Guidelines for students living in off-campus housing

  • Students who live off-campus and who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at their residence.
  • Students should isolate for five days and then come to campus to receive a rapid antigen test on Day 5. If the result is negative, the student will be released from their isolation. If the result is positive, the student may receive another rapid antigen test on campus on Day 7. If the result is still positive, the student should continue to isolate until Day 10 and then will be released from isolation.
  • Please call UHS if you feel ill or are concerned about possible exposure. Find more information about the University’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Guidelines for students who test positive for COVID-19 before arriving on campus

Students who tested positive should begin their isolation immediately and email UHS a copy of their positive test result.

  • If you have isolated for 10 days after your positive test, return to campus as planned.
  • If you have isolated for fewer than 10 days, you may return to campus after you have completed at least five days in isolation and have received a negative antigen test result. On Day 5, take a rapid antigen test, which can be found over the counter at local pharmacies and drug stores among other places. If the result is negative, you may arrive on campus as planned. If you have a positive test result, take another rapid antigen test on Day 7. If you do not have a negative result on Day 5 or Day 7, isolate until Day 10 and then you may return to campus.
  • Upon receiving a negative antigen test result, email a copy of your negative antigen test result to UHS. Students do not need to wait for confirmation from UHS to return to campus.
  • Students who, per the above, are required to isolate beyond the start of the term should contact their professors directly to devise a plan to keep up with their coursework.

Thank you!

The University of Rochester thanks you for your dedication to the health and safety of our community. We are hopeful the reduced length of isolation and the new isolation protocols will allow us to continue our commitment to the University’s community and to provide an in-person learning experience when practicable.

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