COVID-19 Isolation/Quarantine Protocols 2022/2023

WashU will be following best practices set forth by the CDC and our local departments of health for isolating in place if students test positive for COVID-19.

Under this protocol, residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate in their own room/suite-even though their roommates may be negative for COVID-19.

WashU has undertaken a thorough review of the HVAC systems in residential spaces.  Additional measures, where needed, including upgraded filtration, extended run time of air systems, and increased outdoor air supply were implemented in 2021 so that these spaces met CDC and ASHRAE guidelines

In addition, N95 masks as well as portable HEPA filters will be made available upon request for any residential life COVID positive student and their roommate assigned to a double room during their isolation period.

The university has set aside a limited number of separate spaces to use on an as needed basis in high-risk situations where an immunocompromised roommate may need to be temporarily moved from their housing assignment.  Students with the following conditions may ask to be moved: chronic lung disease, cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure, diabetes, pregnancy, cancer, organ transplant, or actively taking immunosuppressive medications.

Students will be given the following information.

Recommended practices during isolation

  • Separate your living/sleeping quarters and bathroom facilities from other people if possible.
  • If you are sharing a room with someone, remain masked at all times (except during sleep)
  • If you are sharing a bathroom, use this space at a separate time than others in your suite/apartment. Wipe down all surfaces in this area after use with disinfecting cloths.
  • For those using communal baths on a residential hall floor, try to limit your time there to when others are not using this space, and remain masked except for showering or oral hygiene. Wipe down all surfaces in this area after use with disinfecting cloths.
  • Have food and other necessities delivered to your living quarters and eat at a time that others are not in the room.
  • Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other similar items with people in your living quarters. After using such items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

What You Need to Do if exposed

Guidance for people exposed to COVID-19 depends on your vaccination status, whether you have symptoms or not, and whether you have had a previous COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days.

  • Please follow the instructions in CDC Guidance on quarantine and testing.
  • You are expected to take additional precautions for 10 full days after the day you were last exposed (with the exposure day being day 0), regardless of whether you have symptoms of COVID-19. This means if you are sharing a bedroom with someone who is positive for COVID-19, you will need to follow additional precautions while your roommate is isolating in place and for an additional 10 days after your roommate ends isolation.
  • If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested. Antigen tests are available in the lobby at Habif Health and Wellness Center. If your antigen test is negative and you are experiencing symptoms, you must contact Habif Health and Wellness Center to obtain a PCR test to confirm this result.

Do not invite any visitors to your room/suite until your roommate’s isolation period is over.

The following set of guidelines may help you understand what you need to do during your isolation or quarantine.

Sometimes “isolation” and “quarantine” are used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions between them-and in the protocols you must follow.

  • Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Quarantine is for people who have been exposed to the virus to see if they become infected.

The Basics

Stay in your room

During this period, it is important that you do not leave your room or apartment except for an emergency or to seek medical care (or required testing). If you must leave your room, wear a well-fitting mask while you are out. You will be given detailed instructions from our isolation team.

If you are isolating or quarantining in a shared suite, you should remain in your room unless you need to use the suite bathroom and be sure to wear a mask when you do.

Please do not leave to exercise, go shopping, or even take a walk.

Take care of yourself

Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen for fever, headache, or body aches and a cough suppressant to help you feel better. Do not exercise strenuously.

Monitor your symptoms. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • New or worsening cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell

Call us at 314-935-4959 during business hours if you are concerned about any of your symptoms. If you are on campus and have concerning symptoms after hours, call WUPD at 314-935-5555; members of the Emergency Support Team will assess you. Off campus, call 911. Let the emergency providers know you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

When to seek emergency medical attention:  Warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are still experiencing fever or concerning symptoms within 24 hours of your expected release from isolation, you must reach out to our Isolation Team.

Mental Health Support

Reach out to Habif Mental Health (on or off campus): 314-935-6695 during office hours. After hours, please sign up to speak to a mental health counselor virtually at Timely Care.

Help Protect Others

  • Avoid contact with others in your room/suite, as much as possible. You and your roommates should not invite visitors to your room/suite until your isolation period is over.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask at all times when you are around other people in your room/suite. For those in a double room in residential life housing, you and your roommate can request an N95 mask.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation in your apartment by opening the windows, if possible and safe to do so.  Students isolating in double rooms in residential life housing can request a portable HEPA filter for your room during your isolation period.

Meals and Groceries

  • Order through a food or grocery delivery service (eg. GrubHub, DoorDash, etc.).
  • You will be able to leave your room briefly to pick up your food in the lobby of your building.


  • If you test positive, it is your responsibility to inform your roommates, suitemates, and other close contacts. You will be given detailed instructions from our isolation nurses.
  • Please share with them these instructions for what to do if they were exposed.
  • You must notify Residential life within 24 hours of your positive result.
  • You should notify your instructors that you will not be participating in in-person classes due to illness and can share the email you receive from our isolation nurses.

Keep Germs Away

Follow the CDC recommendations on the best way to clean high touch areas (light switches, door knobs, counters, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) in order to reduce the incidence of infection.

When to End Isolation

The following criteria has been set forth by Washington University to end isolation:

  • These include being fever free for 24 hours without taking fever reducing medications.
  • And that your symptoms are improving after 7 days from your positive test or onset of symptoms.

Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or your test specimen was collected. You must remain fully masked while around others until 10 days have passed since the time your isolation began. You will receive a detailed email from our isolation nurses outlining the process and releasing you from isolation.

When to End Quarantine

Quarantine instructions


Failure to comply may be considered an egregious violation of university public health policies and may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If you are found responsible for violation of this Order or other university policies, you may be subject to sanctions, including removal from campus, suspension, and/or expulsion