Quarantine & Isolation

Isolation and quarantine are ways to keep healthy individuals separated from individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or from close contacts of individuals who have tested positive. Harvard has developed quarantine and isolation procedures to reduce the risk of outbreaks on campus and to provide the necessary support for individuals who may need to quarantine or isolate.

When and How to Quarantine

Upon arrival to campus

Any individual moving into on-campus dorm or House residences will be quarantined in two phases.

Phase 1 (~24 hours):

  • Once you have moved in, you must stay in your room until you get results from your initial viral test.
    • You can only leave your room to use the bathroom, if you have an urgent medical need, or if there is a life-threatening emergency. If you must leave your building for an emergency, wear a mask and follow protocols for physical distancing and good hygiene at all times.
    • Each School will initiate meal delivery while you are quarantining for the first 24 hours.
  • If you receive a negative test result from your initial test, you will then start phase two of the arrival quarantine plan.
    • If you receive a positive result, HUHS contact you and follow the isolation protocol.

Phase 2 (7 days):

  • As long as you follow all public health guidelines, including wearing a face covering and practice physical distancing, you will be allowed to:
    • Move about your room and suite, or into the hallway if your bathroom is located there.
    • Go to dining halls to pick up “to go” food; go to the mailroom; go to the nearest viral testing locations. Outside of these activities, you should not access any indoor spaces aside from your residence hall room.
    • Go outside alone or in pairs, utilizing a 6-foot physical distancing guideline, for short (30 minute) periods of time in space contiguous to their residence, meaning the courtyard, quad, or area immediately adjacent to the dorm or house.
  • You will continue to follow your prescribed testing schedule during phase 2 quarantine. After your third negative test, your Phase 2 quarantine will be complete.

After a confirmed exposure to COVID-19

As part of HUHS' contact tracing procedure, HUHS will notify you if you have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once you receive a notification to quarantine, it's incredibly important to minimize your movement and exposure to others. HUHS will discuss your quarantine requirements and determine your ability to self-quarantine.

If you're moving into quarantine housing, you'll have time to gather the belongings you'll need for the duration of quarantine and bring them to your assigned room, adhering to HUHS' protocols for a safe move.

Quarantine protocols

You'll need to stay in your room for the duration of your quarantine, leaving only to use the restroom, to continue with your prescribed testing frequency, for an urgent medical matter, or to evacuate for a life-threatening emergency. If you test positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, you'll be moved to isolation.

When and How to Isolate

After a positive test result for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19, HUHS will contact you to discuss your isolation requirements and determine your ability to self-isolate. Some Schools will have separate isolation locations while others will have you isolate in your room. In the time between receiving your positive test result and moving into isolation, it's incredibly important to minimize your movement and exposure to others.

If you're moving into isolation housing, you'll have time to gather the belongings you'll need for the duration of isolation and bring them to your assigned room, adhering to HUHS' protocols for a safe move.

Isolation protocols

Isolation usually lasts 10 days and possibly up to 14 days. You'll stay in your room for the duration of your isolation (with the exception of evacuating the building for a life-threatening emergency).

At the end of your isolation period, HUHS will notify you and your School representative of your release date and time. Your School representative will share procedures for cleaning your room and bathroom.

Quarantine and Isolation Support Services

Although you'll be in quarantine or isolation, you're not alone. Harvard administrators have established a multi-layered system to support you.

  • HUHS will conduct daily health and wellness checks.
  • If you live in a school operated residence hall, your campus dining service provider will deliver your daily meals, beverages, snacks, and disposable utensils, napkins, cups, and plates. You'll order your food each day following the instruction of your campus dining operator.
  • If you live in a school operated residence hall, your campus Operations staff will deliver a 7-day bundle of necessary supplies including medical supplies, and cleaning products), remove your trash daily, and replenish your supplies as needed.
    • Schools are not positioned to deliver meals and supplies to students residing in Harvard University Housing or other off-campus housing locations.
  • A School representative will contact you daily regarding academic support, the specifics for supporting your isolation period, and to address any other needed supports.