If you are returning from international travel, you may need to prepare for quarantine upon arrival due to risks related to the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Quarantine means staying in a specific designated location (i.e., home) away from others for the purpose of observing and monitoring your health status for the development of symptoms. Typically, a COVID-19-related quarantine lasts for a 14-day period upon departure from the affected area, but is determined by the local health department. Quarantine is used for people who are not sick and is similar to, but not the same as, isolation, which is used when a person is sick.
STEP 1: Determine guidance for your location.
Review the “Coronavirus Disease 2018 Information for Travel” provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This page lists countries currently affected by COVID-19, along with their relative risk associated. Risk is assessed as either Level 1, 2, or 3, with 3 being the highest level of risk. Check this list frequently for updates.
STEP 2: Assess whether you need to quarantine.
Any Cornell student, faculty or staff member returning to the United States from a CDC Level 3 country or Japan is currently required to undergo quarantine for a minimum of 14 days before returning to campus. (This guidance may change as the public health situation evolves.)
- If yes...You should plan to be in quarantine at your permanent home residence, not on campus. If undergoing quarantine at your permanent residence is not possible due to extraordinary circumstances, contact Student and Campus Life at email@example.com.
How to be in quarantine
Personal items to have on hand
To make your stay more enjoyable, you will want to have enough clean and comfortable clothes for the number of days you’ll be laying low, a favorite pillow or blanket, your cell phone, and laptop. You’ll also need a toiletry kit, and any prescription and non-prescription medications or eye-wear.
Health care supplies
In addition to your personal items, you should have the following supplies with you during the time you are in quarantine:
- Digital thermometer (for daily use)
- Temperature & symptom log
- Hand sanitizer (for times you can’t wash)
- Alcohol wipes (for cleaning, as needed)
- Water bottle (stay hydrated!)
- Face masks (when available) to wear if in a shared space, or to a health care appointment if needed
- Watch for symptoms
Symptoms related to COVID-19 include:
- fever (above 100.4 ˚F)
- shortness of breath
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications. This seems more prevalent in older individuals and in those with other health conditions.
Connect with your local health department
Please contact your local health department (wherever you are staying within 14 days of international travel) to:
- let them know where you have traveled
- register your return from travel dates
- discuss your plans for quarantine.
Monitor your symptoms
While in quarantine, it is important that you take your temperature daily and record any symptoms on a health log (see sample on this page). If you develop a fever (above 100.4 ˚F) or need medical triage or other assistance while in quarantine, please call your local health department, whose staff can help determine if you should leave the premises to seek medical attention.
Follow the rules while you're laying low
You can still connect with friends and family via computer and phone. However, it’s important you do not break quarantine until after 14 days is over, or until 14 days after the last returning traveler joins your shared living space, (if applicable). Limits that apply to you during your time in quarantine:
- Do not leave your quarantine location for any non-essential reason.
- Do not use public transportation or go to shopping centers.
- Do not have friends or family with you in your isolation room or apartment, unless they have been approved by your health care provider.
- Do wear a face mask if you need to use a shared bathroom, go to a health care appointment, etc.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that require changes in location or behavior. When you’re out of circulation for a few days, you may experience a range of feelings, including:
- Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your health status or that of others
- Feeling special; like you’re having an adventure
- Anger or resentment of the inconvenience
- Worry about not having your things with you or not doing your usual routine
- Uncertainty or concern about how long you will need to remain in this situation
- Excitement to have some alone time to rest and catch up on reading
- Loneliness or feeling cut off
- Boredom and frustration
- Sadness or depression
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Coping with COVID-19/Coronavirus
These online resources provide perspective and helpful tips for coping with quarantine:
- Helpful Links to Deal with Covid-19 Anxiety
- How to Manage Anxiety and Isolation During Quarantine
- How to Pause Lockdown Anxiety and Actually Get Work Done
- Self-Isolation Doesn’t Have to be Lonely
- Why Boredom is Good for You
Support is a call or text away
Students who need support can contact:
- Cornell Health (24/7) to speak with a licensed therapist: call 607-255-5155 and press 2.
- Ithaca Crisisline: 800-273-8255
- National Crisis text line: Text HELLO to 741741
- Steve Fund crisis text line: Text STEVE to 741741 (connects you to a crisis counselor of color)
- Trevor Project text line: Text START to 678678 (for LGBTQ+ students)