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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.

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

I am a neighbor of Tufts University. What happens if a Tufts student living in my neighborhood becomes infected with COVID-19?

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Through its contact tracing program in partnership with the Jumbo Health Center, Tufts quickly identifies anyone, including students, who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive and ensures that they are notified and told to self-quarantine for the required 14 days.

Students who have tested positive are directed to isolate. Those who live on-campus and test positive move to specialty isolation housing. Those who live off-campus are strongly encouraged to do so at the isolation units on the Tufts campus, where they will be monitored by a clinician. If they isolate off-campus, Tufts provides the resources they need during their recovery so they can remain safely in their residence. Students in isolation are not permitted to leave until they have medical clearance. The identity of anyone who tests positive will remain confidential to protect their privacy as well as those who may have been in close contact with them.

It is worth remembering that people can get COVID-19 without doing anything wrong and being in quarantine or isolation does not imply that an individual was irresponsible or violated any rules.

For more information on isolation for students, see For more on quarantine, see

Last update: Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020 - 11:05am

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