Exposure Quarantine Guidance for Faculty and Staff

For Exempt Faculty and Staff Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

Only the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) can place faculty and staff in, and release them from, exposure quarantine.


You have been identified as an exempt (i.e, not fully vaccinated or boosted, if eligible) faculty or staff member who may have been exposed to COVID-19. You must self-quarantine immediately and take the following actions. Self-quarantine means staying at home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering. 

There are several important steps you must take now. Details of each step are described below: 

  1. Begin self-quarantine 
  2. Notify your supervisor you are sick and will not be reporting to work. You do not need to tell them you may have been exposed to COVID-19. 
  3. Contact Occupational Health (202) 677-6230 if medical assistance is needed. The phone is answered 24/7. 
  4. Monitor symptoms/Seek medical care immediately for any serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort or feeling faint. 
  5. Schedule two COVID-19 tests at a university testing site immediately. You must remain in quarantine until you have been cleared by CCST. 
  6. End your quarantine.


Step 1: Begin to Self-Quarantine 

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. While you are in quarantine, a hold will be placed on your GWorld card restricting your access to campus spaces. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. We recommend that you maintain quarantine for 6 days, self-monitor your symptoms, and consult with a health care provider if any symptoms develop (see Ending Quarantine below for more details).

Steps to Quarantine: 

  • You will need to quarantine in your home and monitor yourself for symptoms. Regardless of your test results, the safest course of action is to remain in self-quarantine for 6 days, unless GW CCST clears you to return to campus (see Ending Quarantine below for more details). 
  • If you live alone, many grocery stores and pharmacies offer delivery. A friend or relative may also bring you the supplies you need, however they should not spend significant time in your home. 
  • Avoid contact with others and prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in your home. 
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people who live in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick. More guidelines for quarantining in your home where you live with others can be found in the CDC’s Shared-Housing Guidelines
  • Wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets, and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are short of breath when wearing a mask, then people who live with you should wear a face covering if they are in the same room as you. 
  • Clean your hands often: wash with soap and water, at least 20 seconds, or although less preferable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. 
  • Wash hands especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and clean your hands immediately. 
  • Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. More details can be found in the CDC’s Disinfecting-Your-Home Guidelines
  • For additional quarantine guidance, please see the CDC's Quarantine Instructions.


Step 2: Notify Your Supervisor 

You should notify your supervisor that you will not be reporting to work. You do not need to tell them about your COVID-19 status. Additionally, the GW Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will be contacting you very soon to discuss your COVID-19 exposure and review the quarantine instructions if they haven’t already. If you have any questions about your leave from work, please contact your Human Resources Business partner. 

Step 3: Contact Occupational Health for Medical Assistance

GW Occupational Health is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 202-677-6230. When you call, they will do a screening for any symptoms you may have that could be from COVID-19. They can provide medical care for you by tele-health if needed and provide any follow up care or testing recommended by their providers. There will be no charge for your first tele-health visit, but any follow up testing or healthcare services will be billed to your insurance. You may choose to seek care from your personal physician; however, only CCST can clear you to return to campus after you are finished quarantine.

Step 4: Monitor Yourself for Symptoms 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following: fever (subjective or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), 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, or otherwise feeling unwell. 

  • CCST will enroll you in a daily email symptom screen to assist in monitoring you until you are cleared to return to campus. 
  • Call Occupational Health or seek immediate medical care for severe or worrisome symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face. 

Treat your Symptoms: 

  • There is no known cure for COVID-19 infection. Treatment is supportive. 
  • Hydrate well. 
  • Control your fever. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Rest. 
  • Stay well nourished. 


Step 5: Schedule Two COVID-19 Tests 

You will need to schedule two tests for COVID-19.  The first test should be as soon as possible, while the second should be 3-5 days after your last exposure to a positive COVID case (if your first test is negative). However, if you develop symptoms, do not wait the 3-5 days and schedule a test for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Based on the results of your COVID-19 test result, one of the following will occur. 

  1. If your test result is positive for COVID-19, then you have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. You will then immediately begin self-isolation, per DC Health, Virginia Department of Health, or Maryland Department of Health isolation instructions. The GW Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will contact you to discuss your positive result and to coordinate your clinical care with Occupational Health. 
  2. If your test result is negative for COVID-19, see Step 6 for Ending Quarantine. 

Step 6: Ending Quarantine 

Only CCST can end your quarantine. You may not take yourself out of quarantine. After your release from quarantine, you should continue to monitor your symptoms for up to 10 days from your exposure date.


Contact Information: 

  • GW Occupational Health: 202-677-6230 
  • Medical Emergencies: 
    • On campus, GW Police: 202-994-6111 
    • Off campus, DC Police: 911 
  • Campus COVID-19 Support Team: [email protected] (please include your GWID in all messages)