Exposure Quarantine Guidance for Students

Guidance for Exempt Students Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

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


You have been identified as an exempt (i.e., not fully vaccinated or boosted) student who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) has placed your medical portal account in quarantine status and that is reflected on your badge and GWorld account.  You must now self-quarantine immediately and take the following actions. Self-quarantine means staying 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 face covering. 

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

  1. Begin self-quarantine and indicate the exposure on your daily symptom screening survey.
  2. Notify your professors/supervisors you are sick and will not be reporting to class/work. You do not need to tell them if your COVID-19 test was positive. 
  3. Contact the Colonial Health Center (CHC) if you need medical assistance, 202-994-5300. 
  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 test site. 
  6. You must have two negative tests before you are released from quarantine. Only CCST can release you from quarantine.  

Step 1: Begin to Self-Quarantine 

While you are in quarantine, a hold will be placed on your GWorld card restricting your access to campus spaces. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. 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 speak with a health care provider if any symptoms develop. 

Steps to Quarantine: 

  • You will need to quarantine in your home (off-campus students) and monitor yourself for symptoms. For residential (on-campus) students, a member of the Campus Living and Residential Education (CLRE) team will assess your living situation and provide a recommendation about the best campus location to quarantine.  Regardless of your test results, the safest course of action is to remain in self-quarantine for 6 days, unless a provider clears you to return to campus (see Ending Quarantine below for more details). 
  • For students who live with other people, stay in a specific room and away from other people and use a separate bathroom, if available. More guidelines for quarantining in your home where you live with others can be found in the CDC's Living in Shared Housing
  • Restrict contact with pets and other animals unless they are for emotional support or trained service animals.
  • Avoid contact with others and prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in your home. 
  • 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 (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. 
  • Clean and disinfect your space, especially any shared areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. More details can be found in the CDC's Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home
  • For additional quarantine guidance, please see the CDC's Quarantine Instructions
Step 2: Notify Your Professors and/or Supervisors 

As you would for any illness which would keep you out of school or work, you should notify your professors/supervisors that you are sick and will not be reporting to class/work. You do not need to tell them about your COVID-19 status.

Step 3: Contact the Colonial Health Center (CHC) for Medical Assistance

You may reach the CHC at 202-994-5300. 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. 

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 CHC 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. Use acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) if possible. Avoid Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen or Aleve. 
  • 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 CHC consultation and 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, 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 CHC. 
  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.

Supporting You in Quarantine: 

  • The Colonial Health Center:  Telehealth services are available via phone and Zoom video with CHC providers including:
    • Counseling and psychological services 
    • Medical services 
    • Psychiatry services 
  • While in quarantine, please communicate with your professors to ensure you can stay up to date with lessons and work. 

Contact Information: 

  • Colonial Health Center: 202-994-5300 
  • Medical Emergencies: 
    • On campus, GWU Police: 202-994-6111 
    • Off campus, DC Police: 911 
  • Campus COVID-19 Support Team: [email protected] (please include your GWID in all messages) 

Additional Resources: 

You may request medications from any pharmacy, and some may provide delivery service. 

Whole Foods Foggy Bottom offers grocery delivery services to both residential and off-campus students.  The Campus Living and Residential Education team (CLRE) can help residential students with grocery deliveries or you can have food delivered to your residence hall