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Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide

Cal Poly is here to support students who have received a positive COVID-19 test, who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. As our response to the pandemic continues to evolve, please continue to check back for any updates to this support guide.

What to do if you have symptoms 

We are asking all students to monitor their health. Stay home if you feel sick and wear a face covering when you are around others. If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, call Health Services at 805-756-1211 for evaluation and testing.

Current and enrolled students who are symptomatic should self-isolate in their rooms until their diagnosis is known. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Current and enrolled students who have symptoms will be able to access COVID-19 medical care at Campus Health and Wellbeing (CH&W) free of charge.

If you have possible symptoms of COVID-19, please seek medical care even if you are fully immunized. It is possible to have breakthrough cases of COVID-19 despite vaccination, and though these cases are likely less severe, you are still infectious to people around you.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

All students who have been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. Please see the Quarantine section below. 

What is the difference between Quarantine and Isolation? 

Quarantine and isolation are two ways to prevent transmission of COVID-19 from one individual to another. Quarantine is a precautionary measure that keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others to prevent transmission if they later develop COVID-19. Isolation separates those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 from others to prevent spreading the infection. If you are in quarantine or isolation, you should monitor your health and seek medical attention if your condition worsens or if you need help.

Quarantine

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you will self-quarantine a minimum of 10 days, up to 14 days by county health order. This is mandatory for students who are not vaccinated.

Exceptions: You do not need to quarantine if: 

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days and have fully recovered and do not have any symptoms, or 

  • You have been fully vaccinated and do not have any symptoms. An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of the vaccine.

    • For any students who have been fully vaccinated, exposed and do not have symptoms, saliva testing is still highly recommended regardless of vaccination status Breakthrough cases are possible. The best days to be tested are on Days 3-5 after exposure, and Day 10 (twice during the first 10 days after exposure).  

    • Note: If you have been fully vaccinated, exposed to someone with COVID-19, and have symptoms, you should self-isolate until you know that you do not have COVID-19.  Call CH&W for an appointment to test.  If that test is negative, you will be released to have a Green Pass, but it is your responsibility to stay home until your symptoms have resolved so you don’t pass on this illness.  It is still highly recommended to get another COVID-19 test at Saliva Lab close to Day 10.

For Quarantine, students need to monitor themselves for a minimum of 10 days (14 days if high risk) for any symptoms.Please see the required step-by-step instructions from the SLO County Public Health order for Quarantine.

Please self-report on the Daily Screener that you have been exposed to COVID-19.

Anyone who is immunocompromised should discuss their exposure with their medical provider as they may have an extended quarantine period of 14 days to be safe.  If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during quarantine (even if you have already had COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated) or have any other medical concerns, please call Campus Health and Wellbeing for an appointment for testing. 

 

The SLO County Public Health Department does not recommend that you travel home during quarantine, as you may be an asymptomatic carrier of this communicable disease.  This may lead to an unintentional infection of someone along your travels or those that are at home.  If you are considering this, please see the Travel section below. 

If you are in quarantine ON campus

  • Get tested at the Saliva Lab. The best days to be tested are on Days 3-5 after exposure, and Day 10 after exposure (twice during the 10 days after exposure). Call for an appointment at CH&W to test if you develop symptoms.
  • Remain in your room with the door closed as much as possible.
  • You are not permitted to
    • Leave the Cal Poly campus, except for an emergency evacuation. 
    • Be with others in groups. 
    • Attend group events like religious services, outdoor concerts, and other gatherings that bring people together. 
    • Utilize the Recreation Center. 
    • Enter other residential communities. 
    • Go to in-person classes, labs, or workplaces.

The following exceptions are allowed for brief trips and then returning directly to your room: 

  • Use the common bathroom 
  • Pick up food on-campus after ordering on GrubHub. 
  • Pick up food outside your residence after being delivered by an off-campus restaurant or other delivery service. 
  • Pick up mail or packages  
  • Take out trash 
  • Visit the University Store to obtain necessary academic supplies. 
  • Attend a previously scheduled medical appointment or pick up medications at the pharmacy on or off-campus. 
  • Use the laundry facilities in your building and following the schedule for your floor or wing provided by University Housing.  Please contact your community Coordinator of Student Development (CSD) for more information. 
  • Sit outside away from others to get fresh air.  You can go for a walk by yourself away from others. 

University Housing will provide additional cleaning supplies for the bathroom, including disinfectant wipes. Please submit a work order in your housing portal if you need more supplies.  University Housing will also provide a microwave oven.  Please wipe it down after you use it with disinfectant wipes. 

You will have a yellow pass during your quarantine on campus period. 

If you are in quarantine OFF campus

  • Get tested at the Saliva Lab.  The best days to be tested are on Days 3-5 after exposure, and Day 8-10 after exposure (twice during the 10 days after exposure). Please make an appointment instead at CH&W if you develop symptoms. 
  • Please follow the SLO County Public Health Quarantine Instructions 
  • Remain in your residence with the door closed, ideally in a room by yourself.   
  • Do not allow visitors or delivery people in your residence. 
  • Food and essential supplies.  Consider using a delivery service such as Instacart which is available for stores such as Ralphs, CVS, Food 4 Less, Vons, Staples, Rite Aid, and Sprouts.  Arrange safe delivery.  A County quarantine order prohibits you from visiting store or restaurants.  If you need assistance beyond what your household members can provide, please call the SLO County Public Health Department at (805) 781-5500.   
  • You will be prohibited from visiting campus during this time for any reason except for testing or medical care. Your daily self-screening pass will be disabled throughout your quarantine. 

All students in quarantine

  • Call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211 for an appointment if you develop new symptoms of COVID-19 during the quarantine period or have any other concerns.  You are allowed on-campus to visit testing facilities or medical services. 
  • Call Cal Poly Counseling Services at (805) 756-2511 if you have any mental health concerns. Crisis care is available.
  • If you have in-person classes, please read guidance on the instructor notification of student absences process. If your professor needs verification, please have them contact the Dean of Students Office.
  • Avoid contact with other people within your residence as much as possible, and wear a face covering in shared spaces, such as a shared restroom, or hallways at all times.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Self-monitor body temperature and overall health and wellness.
  • Follow the advice of your health care provider, the university and/or local public health officials.

How to be officially released at the end of your quarantine period

This process is mandatory to ensure that you have recovered, and our campus stays safe.  

Wait until the last 3 days of your quarantine period, then follow this process for consideration of release:

  1. For example, if your quarantine period is November 1-11, start this process on November 9th, 10th or 11th for consideration of release on the morning of the 12th. You must still fulfill the full 10 days of quarantine despite obtaining the letter a few days early
  2. Remember to complete your end of quarantine test at the Saliva Lab. 

Do you meet the criteria for release from quarantine?  If so, fill out the  SLO County Release from Isolation or Quarantine document no earlier than your appropriate date.  Please be sure to sign and date the document.  

  • Respond to the email you received from the Isolation & Quarantine Support Team and attach that document.
  • The Isolation and Quarantine Support Team will review your submission, and if cleared, you will receive a Green Pass.

If you are not recovering and not feeling well, please contact your healthcare provider or Campus Health & Wellbeing for further instructions.  

Isolation

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be directed by a county health department order to separate yourself from others who are not sick by isolating for at least 10 days.

Your campus pass will be determined by your test date. The beginning of your isolation period will start on the date of your positive test.  For instance, if you tested positive on 9/1, your isolation period will be ten full days through 9/11, and you will be eligible for a green pass starting the morning of 9/12.  Any other definition of isolation dates must be documented in writing by the SLO Public Health Department or the county in which you were tested.  The documentation must be then attached to an email reply to the Isolation and Quarantine Support Team for review. 

If you were tested on-campus, a medical provider will call you regarding further detailed instructions. You can also call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211 for any questions. Please see the required step-by-step instructions from the SLO County Public Health order for Isolation.

This also includes contact tracing requirements to inform others who you may have exposed to COVID-19. Please read carefully and give your contacts the instructions for self-quarantine on the public health website. If you do not feel comfortable notifying your contacts, please call the SLO County Health Department at 805-781-5500 with your contacts’ names and phone numbers so they can be called.

If you are living on-campus or in the SLO community, please self-report on your Daily Screener.

The SLO County Public Health Department does not recommend that you travel home during isolation as you are infectious.  This may lead to an unintentional infection of someone along your travels or those that are at home.  If you are considering this, please see the Travel section below.   

If you have COVID-19 and live ON campus

  • A member of the Isolation and Quarantine Support Team will contact you to arrange your move to isolation housing and will coordinate your move back to your apartment or residence hall once you are released to return.
  • Leave most of your belongings in your permanent room. Bring only what you need for up to 10 days. These could include:
    • Clothing
    • Toiletries
    • Identification cards
    • Medications and prescriptions
    • Thermometer and fever-reducing medications
    • Personal care items (e.g., feminine hygiene products)
    • Personal snacks
    • Cell phone, and/or tablet, and/or laptop, plus chargers
    • School materials (e.g. textbooks, notebooks, project supplies, etc.) needed to continue classwork
    • Pet and pet supplies for students with preapproved Emotional Support Animals & Service Animals
    • Once you leave your room you will not be able to re-enter — please pack accordingly.
    • You are required by the public health department to remain in your isolation housing apartment for the duration of your isolation except for a medical or other type of emergency. Do not enter the main hallway of the floor, the elevator, or other isolation housing, or other residences in the building. You need to remain in your isolation housing. You are not allowed anywhere else on- or off-campus.
    • For on-campus isolation support, please call the Front Desk at 805-756-6790.   

Additional support for students in isolation ON campus

  • IT support: Provided virtually through the Student Affairs Technology group. Go to the SAT website and submit a help request for support.
  • Laundry: Service will be provided by Kare Teem Cleaning Service, a local family-owned business.
  • Self-cleaning: Supplies and directions for cleaning will be provided. Students should leave their trash outside their door for custodial services to pick up.
  • Campus Dining is committed to providing nutritional meals and food for all students living on campus who are in isolation or quarantine. Each student will have a menu of meal options to choose from, including vegan and vegetarian dishes.
  • To accommodate a variety of dietary needs, students in isolation and quarantine will complete a form to determine their meal choices and submit it by 3 p.m. each day so their selections can be prepared for delivery the following day. Lunch, dinner and a cold breakfast for the next day will be delivered to their door between 12-1 p.m. We are dedicated to doing our part to help students get back to their studies.
  • Medication: Students will be responsible for coordinating the delivery of personal medications. An exception may be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • If you have any questions, email iqst@calpoly.edu or call the Front Desk at 805-756-6790.

If you have COVID-19 and live OFF campus

  • If you do not have a place to isolate, let the county public health official know at 805-781-5500 or contact the Dean of Students office.
  • You are required by the public health department to remain in isolation for the duration of your isolation period except for a medical or other type of emergency.
  • Call Health Services at 805-756-1211 at any time if you have any medical concerns. Seek medical care immediately if your condition worsens, if you have difficulty breathing, or other health concerns. Call 911 for any health emergency.
  • Please call Counseling Services at (805)756-2511 if you have any mental health concerns. Crisis counselors are available virtually.
  • If you have in-person classes, please read guidance on the instructor notification of student absences process.
  • Stay in your home/room and avoid contact with other people as much as possible. You are allowed to be in contact with others in your isolation housing that are in your apartment. You should remain in isolation for at least 10 days. Do not leave for any reason, including attending in-person class or work, restaurants, grocery stores, or any public place.
  • Do not allow delivery people or visitors in your residence.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Follow the advice of your health care provider, the university and local public health officials.

All students in isolation

  • Call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211 if you develop any worrisome symptoms of COVID-19 during the 10 day period or have any other concerns. 
  • Call Cal Poly Counseling Services at (805) 756-2511 if you have any mental health concerns. Crisis care is available. 

  • If you have in-person classes, please read guidance on the instructor notification of student absences process.

  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. 

  • Self-monitor body temperature and overall health and wellness. 

  • Follow the advice of your health care provider, the university and/or local public health officials. 

How to be officially released at the end of your isolation period

This process is mandatory to ensure that you have recovered, and our campus stays safe.   

 
Wait until the last 3 days of your isolation period, then complete the following process for consideration of release.
  • For example, if your isolation period is November 1-11, start this process on November 9th, 10th or 11th for consideration of release on the morning of the 12th.  
Please review the SLO County Isolation website criteria for release (see STEP 4) and fill out the SLO County Release from Isolation document no earlier than your appropriate date. Sign and date the document.
  • Respond to the email you received from the Isolation & Quarantine Support Team and attach that document  
  • The Isolation and Quarantine Support Team will review your submission, and if cleared, you will receive a Green Pass and can return to your original residence.

If you are not recovering and not feeling well, please contact your healthcare provider or Campus Health & Wellbeing for further instructions.

Additional Support for All Students

Students are encouraged to reach out to the following Cal Poly supportive services to help during quarantine or isolation.

Campus Health and Wellbeing

  • Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) has a 24/7 after-hours nurse advice line to discuss any health-related concerns privately and confidentially.
  • Website: Campus Health and Wellbeing
  • Phone: 805-756-1211

Counseling Services and Crisis Services

  • Counseling Services remains committed to supporting the well-being of all students during these challenging times. The full range of services has been transitioned to a virtual format. Visit the Counseling website for more information or call to schedule an appointment.
  • Website: Counseling Services
  • Phone: 805-756-2511

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

  • How the DRC Can Help The DRC is available to explore accommodations for students who are COVID-19 positive and having challenges with progressing in their coursework. Examples of possible accommodations include excused absences, note taking support, extended testing time, make-up exams and extended due dates.
  • DRC assistance is also available for students with disability related needs in the area of interacting with others or managing day-to-day life activities.
  • If you're quarantined and experiencing challenges with receiving accommodation from an instructor, the DRC can help you navigate those conversations.
  • DRC Contact Information:
  • Website: DRC Website
  • Disability Resource Center
  • Email: DRC@calpoly.edu
  • Phone: 805-756-1395

Academic Advising

 

Travel Guidance for Students in Isolation or Quarantine

We recommend students to remain in their residential locations (or move to isolation housing for on-campus students) during isolation or quarantine. However, if you would feel safer in a different location off-campus to complete your required period, such as going home, please read the Cal Poly and public health department mandates for travel and location of quarantine and isolation.       

Can I travel if I'm on county-mandated orders?

If a student in quarantine or isolation wants to travel home, they must make an appointment with a medical provider at Campus Health and Wellbeing to discuss and accept the risks associated with that decision.

Any student on a county-mandated order for quarantine or isolation must further comply with the following:

  • Absolutely no travel using public transportation (bus, train, airplane, ride-share, Uber, etc.).
  • Travel only via private car with no stops and no other passengers.
  • Family may transport the student only if they are aware and accept the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from the student.
  • Student must isolate and quarantine at their destination (private room and private bathroom).
  • Student and destination occupants must accept responsibility of increased infectious risk.

For additional travel guidelines, please visit the Travel and Study Abroad page.

 

If you are exposed to COVID-19

Students and employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 should follow this guidance based on whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated

  • Unvaccinated students and employees who are exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 10 days and monitor their symptoms.
  • Students can get food and exercise outside but should not attend class, visit the Rec Center or participate in events on campus. Unvaccinated students under quarantine should wear masks at all times unless in their room or alone outside.
  • Students without symptoms (asymptomatic) should test three to five days after exposure. The on-campus asymptomatic testing sites are closed for the summer and will reopen in September. Students can get tested at a community testing sites and urgent care providers in San Luis Obispo County.
  • Symptomatic students should test at Campus Health and Wellbeing or their local provider. Symptomatic employees should test with their local health care provider.

Vaccinated

  • Vaccinated students and employees who are exposed to COVID-19 should monitor their symptoms but should not quarantine.
  • Students can attend class, visit the Rec Center and participate in events on campus.
  • Students without symptoms (asymptomatic) should test three to five days after exposure.  Students can get tested at community testing sites and urgent care providers in San Luis Obispo County.
  • Symptomatic students should test at Campus Health and Wellbeing or their local provider. Symptomatic employees should test with their local health care provider.

 

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