Quarantine for COVID-19

Travel-related quarantine

Please refer to the following information for travelers: 

The purpose of quarantine is to separate a healthy person from others while they are monitored for the possible development of COVID-19.

Reasons for quarantine 

Students may directed by Cornell University, Cornell Health, or the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) to quarantine. 

Unvaccinated students are directed to quarantine if they are identified as a "close contact" of someone who has COVID-19. The length of time is typically 10 days from exposure. 

Fully vaccinated students do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone with COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

How to quarantine 

Students may be directed to quarantine in their off-campus residence if the contact tracer determines they can do so safely and according to the guidelines set by Tompkins County Health Department. On-campus students may not quarantine in residence hall rooms. 

Those who are directed to quarantine must follow these guidelines: 

  • Do not leave your quarantine location for any non-essential reason.
  • Do wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and sanitize high-touch areas if you have been approved to quarantine in a shared living space.
  • Do not have visitors to your quarantine location, unless they have been approved by your health care provider.
  • Do have food and supplies delivered:

If you are directed by a medical provider to temporarily leave your quarantine location (for example, to get tested for COVID-19, or to attend a related medical appointment): 

  • Do walk or drive alone to your destination (avoiding the use of public or shared transportation). 
  • Do wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times. 
  • Do return immediately to your quarantine location when you are finished. 

Monitoring your symptoms

It is important to take your temperature daily and closely monitor symptoms while quarantining.

Students who are in quarantine due to known COVID-19 exposure are contacted daily by Cornell Health staff members to help them monitor their health and any symptoms that may emerge. Symptoms may appear 2-10 days after exposure to the virus. 

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • 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

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, call Cornell Health during business hours (607-255-5155) to consult with a nurse. You may also call Cornell Health after hours for consultation with an on-call provider about symptoms or concerns. 

If you or someone else develop life-threatening symptoms – including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face – call 911 immediately.

    About contact tracing

    If you test positive for COVID-19 and are asked to identify people with whom you have recently interacted, your honesty is crucial to helping control the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The information you provide will not be used to penalize any student for their behavior.  

    Caring for your mental health