Updated rules and requirements are effective Aug. 20, 2021.

Quarantine is used to  keep someone who  might t have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others since it is possible to be contagious even before someone develops symptoms. Someone in quarantine stays in their home, place of residence or other designated facility since it is possible to be contagious, even before someone develops symptoms. 

Isolation is used to  separate sick people from healthy people. This term refers to someone known or presumed by a medical professional to have COVID-19. Someone in isolation is staying in their home, place of residence or other designated facility due to illness. 

Close contact  is defined by the CDC as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a person known or presumed by a medical professional to have COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer within 24 hours, with or without a face covering, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of someone known or presumed to be COVID-19 positive. 

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

Regardless of vaccination status, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate. Students who live on campus will be moved into University-supported isolation housing or have the option to return to their permanent residence to isolate there. Students living off campus who test positive, including graduate and professional students, will be contacted by Student Health Services to discuss their isolation requirements and options. Students living off-campus may be offered the option of moving into University-supported isolation housing.

A dedicated care team will support those students living in University-supported isolation housing. They will have daily check-ins with medical professionals and a support team, meals delivered and other resources available.

Faculty and staff members should notify MyHealth@Work and isolate at home.

How long do I have to stay in isolation?

This will vary from person to person depending on the duration of symptoms. Generally, though, the length of time is 10 days in isolation, as long as symptoms have improved. Student Health Service will monitor your recovery—regardless of where you are isolating—and release you from isolation when it is medically safe to do so.

What happens if I’m a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

Whenever someone tests positive for COVID-19, our contact tracers will reach out to their close contacts to instruct them on next steps. Per CDC guidance, if you are fully vaccinated, you will be required to wear a mask in public for 14 days and should be tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if symptoms are not present. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of last contact and monitor for symptoms, but quarantine may be shorted to 10 days from last contact if you test negative by PCR on day 8. Testing for anyone with an exposure is strongly encouraged regardless of symptoms.

What happens if contact tracers outside of the University tell me I need to quarantine, or a close contact not affiliated with Pitt tells me they tested positive for COVID-19?

In these cases, people should follow the guidance of the contact tracers, which will likely mirror the CDC guidance above. Students should call Student Health Service at their campus, and staff and faculty should contact MyHealth@Work at 412-647-4949 to help keep the University informed. You will be asked about any symptoms you may be experiencing, connected with Pitt's contact tracing team, provided with information on taking a COVID-19 test and instructed on the appropriate next steps for your case.

Where do I go if I need to quarantine?

Most students living on campus will quarantine within their residence hall room or suite. In some cases, students may quarantine elsewhere if quarantining in their residence hall is not advised. Students living off campus will typically quarantine in their off-campus housing. Students may also choose to quarantine in their permanent residence.

What should I do if I begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

Call Student Health Service at 412-383-1800.


If you have more questions about quarantine and isolation, please contact the COVID-19 Medical Response Office