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Quarantine and isolation information for students and employees

The most up-to-date information about UW-Madison’s COVID-19 response can be found at covidresponse.wisc.edu.

Campus isolation & quarantine FAQs CDC isolation & quarantine guidance

Guidance for current UW housing residents

Isolation (You Tested Positive for COVID-19)

If you test positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself immediately. Stay home. Do not go to work, class, or any other campus or public areas. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as much as possible. Residence hall students will be provided isolation space.

Isolate at home and do not leave isolation until: 

  • It has been at least 5 days since the first day you had symptoms (day 0 is the day your symptoms start), or since you tested positive if you do not have symptoms (day 0 is the day of your test), AND  
  • You have been at least 24 hours without a fever (without fever-reducing medicine), AND 
  • Your other symptoms are resolving.  

Five days is a minimum and some people may need to isolate longer.

If you do not meet the criteria after 5 days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free for 24-hours without fever reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Isolate longer if you are instructed to do so by a contact tracer or medical professional. 

If you meet the criteria to leave isolation after 5 days, and a contact tracer or medical professional did not instruct you to isolate for longer, you must continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 additional days. 

  • If you are unable to wear a mask around others, isolate for a full 10 days. 
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease until after 10 days. 
  • Avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms or your positive test. 
  • Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and gyms, until 10 days has passed since your symptoms started or you tested positive. 

You may also choose to test before leaving isolation if you meet the criteria for ending after 5 days. If you’re able, use an antigen test toward the end of your 5-day isolation. If you test positive, continue to isolate until day 10. 

You should also: 

  • Notify your close contacts and work with contact tracers. 
  • Take leave or seek flexibility for work; contact your instructors for flexibility with classes and assignments. 
  • If you test positive on a rapid antigen test but do not have symptoms, try to receive a follow-up PCR test within 48 hours to confirm the result.  
  • Monitor your symptoms and call before visiting your doctor. If you have an appointment, be sure you tell them you have or may have COVID-19. 
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to help you feel better. 
  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-share. 
  • Call 911 if you experience a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing. 

Review self-isolation guidance from Public Health Madison-Dane County for next steps and symptoms tracking. Additional questions after testing positive for COVID-19? Review what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine (You are a Close Contact of Someone Who Tested Positive for COVID-19)

Regardless of your vaccination status, following an exposure (close contact) you should:  

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days starting with your last contact (the day of your most recent close contact is day 0), AND  
  • Get tested (rapid antigen test or PCR) 5 days after your last contact if possible, and at any point if you develop symptoms. 

You do not need to quarantine if: 

  • You are fully vaccinated and boosted.  
  • You received one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and are not yet eligible for a booster. 
  • You tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 90 days.  
  • You should still wear a mask for 10 days and get a test at any point if you develop symptoms. 

You should quarantine for at least 5 days starting with your last contact if: 

  • You have not received a booster but you are eligible.  
  • You are not fully vaccinated. 
  • Keep up with weekly testing if you are required to test.
  • Limit your interactions with others, avoid shared and public transportation, and wear a mask. 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19

You should get tested and isolate immediately regardless of your vaccination status or whether you previously tested positive. If you have symptoms and your test result is negative on an antigen test, you should seek a PCR test and consult a health care provider before returning to work or class.  

Booster doses

Everyone who is eligible for a booster dose is recommended to get one as soon as possible. If you received a booster shot off-campus, let UHS know by sharing your records through the MyUHS website or app.

If you would like to grant UHS permission to access your COVID-19 vaccine records, including COVID-19 boosters, in your Wisconsin Immunization Record, fill out this form. If you received your booster at UHS, or you previously gave permission to UHS to access your Wisconsin Immunization Record and you received a booster in Wisconsin, you don’t need to take any further action to share your vaccine record.

Off-Campus Students & Employees

  • If you develop symptoms while in quarantine, you should get tested for COVID-19.
  • For employees and student employees, if you have questions or needs related to your work assignment, contact your Division Disability Representative (DDR) for assistance.
  • Some individuals may receive instructions from UHS or a private health care provider that differ from the information here. You should follow the instructions provided to you by a health care provider. Contact UHS at 608-265-5600 if you need help.