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Isolation and Exposure to COVID-19

To limit the spread of COVID-19, people infected by the coronavirus are instructed to avoid contact with other people until they are no longer in danger of infecting others. These steps are critical for controlling the spread of disease among our campus communities, which is how IU can continue to offer in-person education as safely as possible.

If you start experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, you need to isolate and get tested.

The below guidance is for students, faculty and staff. Those working in specialized areas, such as healthcare/clinical settings or childcare settings, may be provided different guidance from their clinical or childcare setting.

Tested positive for COVID-19?

  1. Isolate: Stay home for at least 5 days and avoid all contact with others per CDC guidelines.
  2. Let IU know of your positive test: Complete the self-report form to let IU know you've tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. Check your IU email: Look for an email from IU with information and instructions on isolation.
  4. Monitor your health: Assess your symptoms daily to ensure they're improving. If symptoms worsen or you feel you need medical attention, contact your medical provider.
  5. Ending your isolation: Isolation may end on day 6 as long as you have no symptoms or your symptoms are getting better. If you have a fever or other symptoms, continue to stay in isolation for 10 days or until you have been fever-free for 24 hours with no medication.
  6. Removing your mask after isolation: Individuals should wear a mask until they test negative on two antigen tests 48 hours apart or until day 10 following exposure.


Exposed to someone with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact?

No symptoms?

  1. Wear a mask for the 10 days following your exposure when around others.
  2. Get tested 5 days after you were exposed even if you do not have any symptoms.

No one needs to quarantine following exposure (regardless of vaccination / booster status) per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most updated COVID-19 guidelines.


  1. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (regardless of vaccination / booster status), should get tested for COVID-19.
  2. If you test negative, but continue to have symptoms, stay home until you're feeling better. Wear a mask when around others for 10 days following your exposure.
  3. If you test positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination / booster status, you'll need to isolate and self-report your positive test result.

How to isolate 

The ideal place to isolate is somewhere that you have your own bedroom and bathroom—with no common areas that you share with others.

If you live with other people, stay in your bedroom and try to have food brought to your door so you can eat it in your room. If you must share a bathroom, you and those you share it with should make sure to thoroughly clean bathroom facilities after every use—especially high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, toilet handles/levers and faucets. The same strict cleaning protocol should be applied to any additional rooms that you have to share with others.

If you can't avoid being in the same room as someone else, always wear a face mask and maintain 6 feet of distance away from others.

Do not leave your home for any reason (errands, carry out food, etc.), including coming to campus for class or work.

Keeping others safe while you're in isolation

  • Keep 6 feet away from other people at all times.
  • Wear your mask at all times if you do have to be around other people. Any person you come in contact with in your household should wash their hands often and wear a mask if possible whenever they are in close contact with you. If this isn’t possible, limit your time with them to 5 minutes or less.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • You will need to sleep alone in a separate room if possible.
  • If possible, use a separate bathroom.
  • You should use your own plate, bowl, and utensils – do not share food with anyone.
  • Avoid sharing other personal household items (combs, toothbrush, cups, sheets/blankets etc.). Wash your laundry separately with detergent; bleach can be used but is not needed.
  • Cover your mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away.
  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Always wash your hands:
    • Before and after preparing food for yourself (do not prepare food for others).
    • Before and after eating.
    • After going to the bathroom.
    • After sneezing, blowing your nose, or touching your face.
  • Wipe down surfaces that you touch frequently with disposable cloths using bleach if possible or household cleaners. Your bathrooms should be cleaned every day using a household disinfectant. Wear gloves while cleaning if possible.
  • Your gloves, tissues, masks, and other trash should be put in a bag, tied closed, and put with other household trash.
  • Anyone you come in contact with (including anyone in your home) must watch themselves for fever, cough, and other symptoms of COVID-19.

Take care of yourself

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Find IU resources if you need help or someone to talk to.

If you think you're sick

You should avoid other people and get a COVID-19 test if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you're experiencing severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately.