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If I test positive for COVID-19, how long must I remain in isolation?

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Any person with a positive test for COVID-19 OR symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms, must remain in isolation (i.e., stay away from others) until:

  • At least 10 days (minimum) have passed from the date of the positive test
  • No fever (i.e., no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) for at least 24 hours
  • Any symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) have improved
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset (Note: This means that people with symptoms may be required to quarantine for longer than the minimum 10 days if they have no symptoms on the date of testing but develop symptoms after.)
  • Your health-care provider has advised that it is safe to leave isolation.
Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:37am

I have been deemed an essential employee but a member of my household has COVID-19. Should I go to work?

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Employees who are well, but who have an ill household member at home with COVID-19, should not work. Employees should consult first with their healthcare provider and also notify their supervisor that a household member has COVID-19. (Note: If your school (e.g., TUSDM’s COVID-19 response team) has an exposure response team, please make sure to report any exposure/illness to that response team and follow the protocol of your school.) These situations typically require self-quarantine for members of your household. Please refer to the Q&As regarding self-quarantine.

If you test negative for COVID-19, but live in a household with someone who tests positive, it would be recommended that you quarantine for 14 days following your last close contact with the person who is positive. If household members are not able to avoid close contact with one another, the exposed person will need to quarantine for 14 days after the sick person is cleared by their health care professional.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:43am

My “Essential On-Campus Staff” member has someone at home with COVID-19. Should they report to work nonetheless?

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No. Consider that a staff member sharing a household with someone who has COVID-19 may be exposed themselves. Staff who are exposed to COVID-19 are required, per CDC guidance, to self-quarantine for 14 calendar days. Alternative work options may permit an affected staff member to work at home during this time. 

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:42am

How long does quarantine for close contacts last? When will I be able to return to in-person classes or work?

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Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan states that close contacts are to remain quarantined for:

• at least 14 days from the date of last exposure; or
• at least 10 days, provided all of the following are satisfied:
• there are no symptoms of COVID-19;
• a molecular diagnostic test (e.g., polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) to detect the presence of the virus is performed on day 8 or later of the quarantine;
• the molecular diagnostic test is negative; and
• the individual monitors themselves for symptoms for the full 14 days and if symptoms develop symptoms the individual mist should contact their health care provider and be re-tested.

Tufts students, faculty and staff who are close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are to remain in quarantine and follow the state guidelines referenced above. If a student, faculty or staff member is identified as a close contact and requires quarantine, a COVID-19 PCR test will be performed as soon as possible, on day 4-5 and again on day 8-10.

If the result of the test obtained on day 8-10 is negative, the individual will be able to resume normal activities on day 11; however, they must continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for the full 14 days and continue in routine COVID-19 surveillance testing provided by Tufts at their normal frequency (once, twice or three times per week).

Last update: Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020 - 10:35am

My health-care provider has advised me to self-quarantine. What should I do?

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Self-quarantine is recommended for individuals who may have been directly exposed to COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms. Follow the guidance of your health-care provider, and notify your supervisor that you cannot physically come to work.

If your work can be performed at home, you will be expected to work as directed and approved by your supervisor as long as you are asymptomatic during the self-quarantine, and you will receive your regular pay. Nonexempt staff must be sure to record and report their hours worked and should not work unauthorized overtime.

If you are unable to do your work from home, speak to your supervisor about alternative work options so that you can continue work at home. If no work is possible, you will receive your base pay for the self-quarantine period (two weeks). During the self-quarantine period please keep in touch with your supervisor regarding on-line training, professional development or other duties that you may be able to perform from home.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:44am

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to