FAQs - Quarantine & Isolation
Quarantine means to separate and restrict the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to an illness to see if they become sick; isolation is used to separate people who are sick from people who are healthy. If students test positive for COVID-19 as a result of either their arrival/onboarding test or their surveillance/routine tests during the semester, if they live on campus, they will be moved to on-campus modular residential units (the mods) for isolation and health monitoring. For those living off-campus with a positive test, we strongly encourage them to use the modular housing on campus so they may be monitored medically.
Please find here some of the most frequently asked questions—and answers—about quarantine and isolation at Tufts.
Will my faculty members be notified if I need to quarantine?
Your faculty members will be notified that you will not be coming to class in person, and you will be expected to participate in your coursework remotely. If you experience challenges with your coursework due to being in quarantine, contact your advising dean. More information (including for both on- and off-campus students) is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
What is the difference between self-quarantine, self-isolation, and self-monitoring?
Isolation is the term used to separate people who are sick from people who are healthy. Quarantine means to separate and restrict the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to an illness to see if they become sick. Monitoring means to monitor themselves for symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a dry cough, or fever by taking their temperature twice a day and remaining alert for coughing or difficulty breathing.
Under what circumstances will I be asked to quarantine?
If the contact tracing process indicates that you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be asked to quarantine. More information about quarantine (for both on- and off-campus students) is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
What is required of me when I quarantine?
There are a variety of requirements for students who are in quarantine. More information (including for both on- and off-campus students) is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
Will my family be informed of my test result?
Parents and guardians will not be informed of your test result, but we encourage you to inform your families of your results. The university will only disclose your health information (including the results of the COVID-19 test) in the unlikely event your situation becomes life-threatening or the university is otherwise authorized or required by applicable law to disclose your circumstances or if you have signed a consent authorizing us to disclose your results to your parents/guardians or legally authorized representative.
Under what circumstances will I be asked to be in isolation? Is the situation different for on- and off-campus students? What about SMFA students?
If/when students test positive for COVID-19 as a result of either their arrival/onboarding test or their surveillance/routine tests during the semester, if they live on campus, they will be moved to on-campus modular residential units (the mods) for isolation and health monitoring. For those living off-campus with a positive test, we will strongly encourage them to use the modular housing on campus so they may be monitored medically. For those students attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and living off-campus in Boston, Brewster Ambulance Services will provide transport from Boston to the mods in Medford/Somerville campus. More information about isolation is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
If I test positive for COVID-19, how long must I remain in isolation?
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.
What will the modular housing units be used for? What will they offer to students?
The modular housing units are only be used for students in isolation—not for general housing. Each unit is a single—with heat and air conditioning—and shares a bathroom with one other unit. Each unit has a bed with drawers underneath, a desk and chair, and a wardrobe/dresser. The units are connected to the Tufts network, giving students full Internet connectivity.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, can they go home rather than into isolation housing?
This is generally not advised, but may be possible in unique circumstances. People are in isolation because they are contagious; a contagious person travelling or living with people who aren’t infected may put others at risk. It is expected that many students who are in temporary isolation will experience mild or no symptoms and will be able to participate in temporary isolation effectively.
I have been deemed an essential employee but a member of my household has COVID-19. Should I go to work?
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.