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How and where to self-isolate

Your health care provider or the university’s contact tracing team will determine whether you need to quarantine or isolate.

Updated: May 07, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fully vaccinated people and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine or be tested if they are exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms.
  • If you are asked to quarantine or isolate, you will have access to guidance and support throughout the process.

There are two types of self-isolation.

  • Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed because of close contact with a COVID-19 case, travel, or other reasons.
  • Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.

After you complete a COVID-19 self-isolation form, the contact tracing team will follow up with you—generally within 24 hours, but the response time can vary depending on case loads. The campus contact tracing team, or your health care provider, will determine whether you need to quarantine or isolate.

Until you hear from contact tracing, you need to:

  • Stay in and limit trips to essential outings such as visits to a health care provider or buying food or necessities. Avoid public transportation. Maintain social distancing and wear a mask.
  • Do not go to in-person classes or participate in extracurricular activities.
  • If you share a room or living space, clean all shared surfaces with disinfecting wipes and wear your mask around others.
  • Avoid close contact with others.

If you are asked to quarantine or isolate, you will have access to guidance and support throughout the process. You can check your status, provide updates, and find more information at covidsupport.utk.edu.

Guidance for fully vaccinated individuals

Being fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past your final dose of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

Fully vaccinated students and employees do not need to quarantine or isolate, or be tested, if they are exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms.

Fully vaccinated students and employees should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they are a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case. If symptoms develop, you should isolate and be tested for COVID-19 regardless of your vaccination status.

Learn more about getting vaccinated.

Guidance for people who have recovered from COVID-19

According to the CDC, people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and completed their isolation do not need to self-isolate or be tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within three months of a COVID-19 diagnosis should consult a health care provider. Continue to monitor your health daily for symptoms and stay home anytime you do not feel well.

Length of quarantine for unvaccinated individuals

In general:

If you were exposed but do not have symptoms, you should be tested for COVID-19 and if negative complete a 10-day quarantine. This quarantine period begins the day after your last suspected exposure.

If you live off campus, you may be able to leave quarantine early if you remain symptom-free and test negative for COVID-19 on a PCR-based test performed at least six days after your last exposure date. Testing out is not an option for students living on campus, a precaution consistent with CDC guidelines for residential facilities.

Length of isolation for unvaccinated individuals

In general:

  • If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, you are required to complete a minimum 10-day isolation period. This isolation period begins the day after your symptom onset or the day after your test specimen collection date if you have not experienced symptoms. Additionally, you must be fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours, and your symptoms, if any, must be steadily improving.
  • Close contacts who develop symptoms of COVID-19 need to be tested and isolate until the results are known. If they are positive, they have to isolate for at least 10 days. If they are negative, they still have to complete a 10-day quarantine.
  • If you develop symptoms and have no known close contacts, you may be required to complete a 10-day isolation period. This isolation period begins the day after the onset of symptoms. We encourage symptomatic individuals to consult a health care provider and have testing performed if the provider recommends it.
  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested and report their result to the university for contact tracing.

Each situation is unique, and students and employees should follow the guidance of their health care provider or the contact tracing team about ending their quarantine or isolation.

Where to quarantine or isolate

  • Employees and students who live off campus can typically quarantine or isolate where they live.
  • Students living on campus during the summer will quarantine or isolate in place if possible. If there is a need to relocate, contact tracing will work with students to make those arrangements. If relocation is needed, students should bring two weeks of essential items such as clothes, medications, and school materials. Linens (bedding and bath) will be provided.

Transportation

The university will provide transportation if needed for residential students who need to temporarily relocate. Students can also request transportation for appointments and follow-up care at the Student Health Center.

  1. Request transportation at covidsupport.utk.edu or by calling Facilities Services at 865-946-7777.
  2. Go to the pickup location with your belongings at the scheduled time.

Food

Students living on campus will automatically be enrolled in meal delivery. Students can opt out of delivery when they complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form. They can update their meal delivery status anytime at covidsupport.utk.edu.

Students on a regular meal plan will be charged meal swipes. Students on a flex plan or who use Dining Dollars will not be charged for meals while in university-provided isolation or quarantine housing.

During summer break, meals for on-campus students will arrive one-time daily and include lunch, dinner, a snack, and the next day’s breakfast. Meals will be delivered chilled, in microwavable containers, and ready for reheating in a microwave. Depending on when students are assigned to isolation or quarantine, they may need to safely arrange for food until deliveries start.

Students in a fraternity or sorority house who have a meal plan with their organization will make meal arrangements through their chapter house.

For students living off campus, options include food delivery apps and restaurant delivery services.

Health and care

If you develop new or worsening symptoms while in quarantine or isolation, you should contact your health care provider or, if needed, your local emergency room.

View the CDC’s list of COVID-19 symptoms.

Learn more about when to self-isolate.

Students with health concerns can call the Student Health Center nurse triage line at 865-974-5080. The university has a nurse available to speak to students by phone 24 hours a day. After-hours care has been arranged for eligible students through the UT Medical Center emergency room at 865-305-9000. Learn more about Student Health Center eligibility and cost.

Always call 911 in case of emergency.

Members of the contact tracing team and isolation and quarantine support team regularly check on students in quarantine and isolation.

The university is not able to provide in-residence medical care, laundry, or cleaning services. As with any other serious illness, if you need additional support the preferred option will be for you to receive it at home or with your own caregiver off campus.

Your mental health is also important as you quarantine or isolate. Multiple resources are available, including 24/7 assistance for students and employees in distress.

Learn more about coping and support resources.

Academics

After students complete a COVID-19 self-isolation form, the Division of Student Success will contact them to check if they need academic support. They will also notify the students’ instructors.

Students should also communicate with their instructors. Unless they are too ill to do so, students should complete any online coursework and continue to attend online class sessions. Instructors are asked to be creative, compassionate, and flexible in working with students to help them stay on track if they need to miss class.

University-arranged quarantine and isolation spaces should have adequate Wi-Fi to take classes remotely. Students can contact the Office of Information Technology if they need assistance or the Wi-Fi is not working well.

Helpful CDC resources

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
865-974-1000


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