Isolation and exposure guidelines

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the university has established isolation and post-exposure 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.

We recognize that requiring 7 days of isolation is a departure from the 5-day guidance outlined by the CDC. UIC’s isolation policy recognizes that people can remain contagious until day 8 of illness, according to recent studies.

Note: The following guidance is intended for the general campus. UI Health faculty and staff and 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 October 4, 2022)

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

Asymptomatic IndividualsSymptomatic Individuals 
Required to isolate for 7 days from test date with STRICT ADHERENCE TO MASKING IN ALL SETTINGS ON UIC'S CAMPUS through day 10 from test date.

*Day 0 begins on the day you tested positive for COVID-19.
For those whose symptoms have improved:
• isolate for 7 days from symptom onset
• symptoms must have improved for two consecutive days
• fever-free for 24-hours without using fever reducing medication, and
• feel well enough to do every day activities (chores, errands, etc.)

STRICT ADHERENCE TO MASKING IN ALL SETTINGS ON UIC'S CAMPUS through day 10 from symptom onset.

*Day 0 begins on the day your COVID-19 symptoms started.
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 guidance for individuals exposed to COVID-19

I was not exposed by someone in my household, or the exposure was not considered high-risk*I was exposed by someone in my household, or the exposure was considered high-risk*
Wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) any time you are around others inside your home or in public and IN ALL SETTINGS ON UIC’S CAMPUS through day 10 from your last exposure.
• Avoid areas where you are unable to mask.
• Avoid crowded areas in public.


Seek PCR testing no sooner than 5 days after you are exposed.
Campus saliva testing is a quick and convenient testing option.
• If you test positive refer to, “I have tested positive for COVID-19” (above).


Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days from your last exposure.
• If you develop symptoms report to UIC Contact Tracing.


If you are re-exposed or are unable to avoid contact with a COVID-19 positive person, be sure to report to UIC Contact Tracing for further guidance.

***Take extra precautions if you will be around someone at high-risk for severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19.
Wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) any time you are around others inside your home or in public and IN ALL SETTINGS ON UIC’S CAMPUS through day 10 from your last exposure.
• Avoid areas where you are unable to mask.
• Avoid crowded areas in public.


Seek PCR testing 48 hours after your household member developed symptoms or tested positive (whichever came first).
• If you test positive refer to, “I have tested positive for COVID-19” (above).
• If exposure was not in the household, but was considered high-risk, test 48 hours after the exposure.


Repeat PCR testing 48 hours after your first test.
Campus saliva testing is a quick and convenient testing option.
• If you test positive refer to, “I have tested positive for COVID-19” (above).


Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days from your last exposure.
• If you develop symptoms report to UIC Contact Tracing


If you are re-exposed or are unable to avoid contact with a COVID-19 positive person, be sure to report to UIC Contact Tracing for further guidance.

**Take extra precautions if you were exposed by someone in your household or another high-risk setting as you are more likely to develop COVID-19.

***Take extra precautions if you will be around someone at high-risk for severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19.
*Note: Examples of high-risk exposures include sexual activity, sharing of food, drink, or smoking paraphernalia, or prolonged/ongoing unmasked exposure to an individual*Note: Examples of high-risk exposures include sexual activity, sharing of food, drink, or smoking paraphernalia, or prolonged/ongoing unmasked exposure to an individual
Report to UIC contact tracing Report to UIC contact tracing