Isolation and Quarantine

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the university has established isolation and quarantine procedures for all members of the UIC community who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19.

Isolation is used to keep someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 away from people who are not sick.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease such as COVID-19. It is used to help reduce the potential risk of transmission of contagious disease. Quarantine is different than isolation.

UIC’s updated isolation and quarantine procedures utilize Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education. UIC only deviates from the CDC guidelines with regards to isolation, not quarantine. While the CDC permits release from isolation on day 5, it does not allow individuals to eat around others, unmask around others in their household or workplace, or travel for an additional 5 days. By retaining a 10-day isolation period, UIC is providing an additional safety measure.  

Note: The following guidance is intended for the general campus. Health Sciences students who are currently on a clinical rotation or are engaged in patient-facing activities should follow guidance provided by University Health Services contact tracing.

(Last updated Jan. 11, 2022)

General campus isolation guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19

Asymptomatic IndividualsSymptomatic Individuals 
Required to isolate for 10 days from test dateMust isolate for 10 days from symptom onset

Symptoms must be resolving (except loss of taste and smell), and individuals must be fever-free for 1 day without fever reducing medications to be released from quarantine
Protocol for individuals in campus housing who test positive:
• A confirmed positive test result notification is received by UIC.
• The Director of Campus Housing is alerted to confirm this individual is a campus housing resident.
• Campus Housing staff will assign the individual to an isolation location and arrange for transport and other logistical needs.
• If the campus housing resident choses to isolate on campus, they will stay in the isolation dorm designated for positive cases (Polk Street Residence, Bldg. 937) for the remainder of their isolation period.
* Note: The Polk Street Residence has capacity for 70 individuals. Each student will have their own bedroom; every two bedrooms will share one bathroom.

Protocol for all other individuals who do not live in campus housing, but test positive:
• A confirmed positive test result notification is received by UIC.
• The individual will be instructed to isolate in their place of residence and isolate from household members.

General campus quarantine guidance for individuals exposed to infection

 UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
OR
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED(2) AND NOT BOOSTED, BUT ARE ELIGIBLE FOR BOOSTER VACCINATION
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED AND BOOSTED
OR
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED(2) AND NOT YET ELIGIBLE FOR THE BOOSTER VACCINATION
 
NON-HOUSEHOLD, NON-HIGH RISK (LOW AND MEDIUM RISK EXPOSURES(1)Release from quarantine is based on whether an individual seeks diagnostic testing

To be released from quarantine for those who seek diagnostic testing, individuals must:
• Be asymptomatic
• Test negative (PCR test must be performed no sooner than 5 days after last exposure to a COVID-positive person)(3)
• Quarantine for at least 5 days after their last exposure
• Monitor symptoms for 10 days from exposure and report any COVID-19 symptoms to contact tracing immediately

To be released from quarantine for those who do not seek diagnostic testing:
• Must be asymptomatic
• Must quarantine for 10 days after last exposure
* Note: If testing availability is not limited, a test before return is preferred.
No quarantine is required

Individuals should receive PCR testing between
days 5 and 9 after their last exposure

Individual must symptom monitor for 10 days after exposure and report any COVID-19 symptoms to contact tracing immediately
HOUSEHOLD AND
HIGH-RISK EXPOSURES
Release from quarantine is based on whether an individual seeks diagnostic testing

To be released from quarantine for those who seek diagnostic testing, individuals must:
• Be asymptomatic
• Test negative (PCR test must be performed no sooner than 5 days after last exposure to a COVID-positive person)(3)
• Quarantine for at least 5 days after their last exposure
• Monitor symptoms for 10 days from exposure and report any COVID-19 symptoms to contact tracing immediately

To be released from quarantine for those who do not seek diagnostic testing:
• Must be asymptomatic
• Must quarantine for 10 days after last exposure
* Note: If testing availability is not limited, a test before return is preferred.
Release from quarantine is based on whether an individual seeks diagnostic testing

To be released from quarantine for those who seek diagnostic testing, individuals must:
• Be asymptomatic
• Test negative (PCR test must be performed no sooner than 5 days after last exposure to a COVID-positive person)(3)
• Quarantine for at least 5 days after their last exposure
• Monitor symptoms for 10 days from exposure and report any COVID-19 symptoms to contact tracing immediately

To be released from quarantine for those who do not seek diagnostic testing:
• Must be asymptomatic
• Must quarantine for 10 days after last exposure
* Note: If testing availability is not limited, a test before return is preferred.
(1) Contact tracing will assist in determining the type of exposure that an individual has
(2) ‘Fully vaccinated’ means at least 14 days have passed after receiving the last dose of the vaccine series (for a two-dose vaccine, this would be after the second dose) before being exposed to someone with COVID-19 or testing positive for COVID-19.
(3) Individuals may not use any other type of test (e.g., antigen or home tests) to be released from quarantine sooner than 10 days after last exposure

Additional notes for all individuals:

• If an individual has a new exposure, the quarantine period starts over.
• If an exposed individual develops COVID-19 infection the isolation time starts over (see above isolation guidance for COVID-19 positive individuals).
• Those returning from quarantine are required to begin or resume regular saliva testing per campus guidelines.

Protocol for individuals in campus housing who are exposed to COVID-19:

• Contact tracing will identify the campus housing resident who has been exposed.
• The Director of Campus Housing is alerted to confirm this individual is a campus housing resident.
• The campus housing resident will be notified of their exposure and will be provided with quarantine guidance, if applicable.
* Note: Contact tracing will also assess whether roommate or dorm mates should also quarantine.
• If quarantine is needed, campus housing staff will assist in arranging for transport and other logistical needs.
* If the campus housing resident chooses to quarantine on campus, they will stay in the quarantine dorm designated for exposed individuals (Single Student Residency “SSR”) for the remainder of their quarantine period. Campus Housing Residents who choose to isolate off-campus must also comply with the 10-day isolation guidelines.
* Note: SSR has capacity for 100 students, and the potential capacity for an additional 41 students if required.

Protocol for all other individuals who do not live in campus housing, but are exposed to COVID-19:

• Contact tracing will identify the individual who has been exposed.
• The individual will be notified of their exposure and will be provided with quarantine guidance, if applicable.
* If quarantine is needed, the individual will be instructed to quarantine in their place of residence.