Isolation & Quarantine

As we all work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, members of our community may encounter instances in which isolation or quarantine become necessary under public health guidelines.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation refers to the separation of a person with a communicable disease in order to prevent spread. A person should isolate if they are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine refers to the separation of a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease in order to prevent spread. A person should quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are awaiting test results.
 

Who will notify me if I need to isolate or quarantine?

Students will be notified of the need to isolate or quarantine by Student Health Services. They may be required to temporarily move to a different room or to isolate in their own living space depending on the situation. Meals will be brought to them, and SHS will notify them when isolation or quarantine is ending.

For additional questions, students can contact their class dean:

Staff and faculty will need to follow public health protocols as directed by the Hamilton Health Box nurse, who should be contacted at the onset of symptoms or a potential exposure. The HHB nurse also will be the source of clearance for return to campus for employees.

What is the definition of exposure and how will I know I am exposed?

A person is considered to have been exposed if they were within six feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, even if a mask was worn. A person can also be exposed if they had unprotected contact with the infected person's body fluids and/or secretions of a person with confirmed or suspected COVID‐19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, sharing utensils or saliva, or providing care without using appropriate protective equipment.)

When a faculty member, staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, a medical professional will undertake contact tracing. The contact tracer will interview the infected person to get a detailed accounting of that person’s whereabouts and who they interacted with. Based on this information, the nurse will reach out to the people who meet the definition of close contact and advise them on next steps. For faculty and staff, the Hamilton Health Box nurse will do the contact tracing. For students, a contact tracer from Student Health Services will undertake this effort. Members of the Pomona College community are expected to cooperate with contact tracing.

Under what circumstances will I have to quarantine or isolate?

The guidelines for quarantine and isolation depend on several factors.

If you are vaccinated and symptomatic but not exposed to someone with COVID-19:

  • Isolate immediately.
  • Consult with Student Health Services (for students) or the the Hamilton Health Box nurse (for faculty and staff) and get tested for COVID-19.
  • If you are positive:
    • You will need to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. You can return to your usual activities if you show improved symptoms and remain without a fever for 24 hours without the use of medication.
  • If you are negative:
    • You may return to your usual activities before the 10-day isolation period if your symptoms improve and you remain fever-free for 24 hours without medication.

If you are vaccinated, symptomatic, and exposed to someone with COVID-19:

  • Isolate immediately and get tested for COVID-19.
  • If you are positive:
    • You will need to isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms. You can return to your usual activities if you show improved symptoms and remain without a fever for at least 24 hours without medication upon the ninth day of isolation.
  • If you are negative:
    • You can return to your usual activities before the 10-day isolation period ends if your symptoms have improved and you remain fever-free for 24 hours.

If you are vaccinated, asymptomatic, and exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • Faculty and staff should consult with the Hamilton Healthbox nurse; students should consult with Student Health Services.
  • For faculty and staff:  if you are asymptomatic you should monitor your symptoms and get tested 3-5 days after exposure.
    • If you receive a positive COVID-19 test, you must isolate for 10 days.
    • If you receive a negative COVID-19 test, you do not need to quarantine.
  • For students: if you are asymptomatic you should monitor your symptoms and quarantine in your room and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. While in this “modified quarantine” you can go to class, pick up food in dining halls and attend other academic events. You should not attend social events or eat inside the dining halls.
    • If you receive a positive COVID-19 test, you must isolate for 10 days.
    • If you receive a negative COVID-19 test, you no longer need to quarantine.

If you are unvaccinated, symptomatic, and exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • Isolate immediately.
  • If you test positive:
    • You must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from onset of symptoms and may safely end isolation to return your usual activities after completing a 10-day isolation if your symptoms improve and you remain without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of anti-fever medications upon the ninth day of isolation.
  • If you test negative:
    • You must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms and may safely end quarantine upon receiving an alternative diagnosis or after completing a 10-day quarantine, if your symptoms improve and you remain without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of anti-fever medications upon the ninth day of quarantine.

If you are unvaccinated, asymptomatic, and exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • Quarantine immediately.
  • Faculty and staff should contact the Hamilton Healthbox nurse and students should contact Student Health Services for consultation.
  • Test for COVID-19 upon direction from Hamilton Health Box or Student Health Services.
  • If symptoms develop at any point during the designated period of quarantine, then follow the protocols above for symptomatic cases. Get medical evaluation if you have trouble breathing, confusion, chest pain or are turning blue or if you are an individual at higher risk for serious disease (if you are ≥65 years old or you have co-morbid conditions).
  • If you test positive:
    • You must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the date that test specimens were collected and may safely end isolation to return to campus after completing 10-day isolation.
  • If you test negative:
    • You must remain quarantined and test again on day seven to exit quarantine with a negative test.

Guidelines for Faculty

A student in my class told me that they have tested positive. What do I need to do?

Student Health Services conducts the testing for students, and students will be notified of the need to isolate or quarantine and when they will be cleared to leave isolation/quarantine. (As always, you should not discuss a students’ medical information with others. You can always point a student to SHS for assistance.) For further background, details on isolation and quarantine procedures are found on our COVID-19 web.

A student in my class told me that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive. What do I need to do?

Public health officials focus on close contacts, which are defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period, even if a mask was worn. 

When a faculty member, staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, a medical professional will undertake contact tracing and will determine the next appropriate steps. The contact tracer will interview the infected person to get a detailed accounting of that person’s whereabouts and who they interacted with. For students, a contact tracer from Student Health Services will undertake this effort. Our on-campus nurse (Stephanie Garcia-Barragan) at the Hamilton Health Box (HHB) clinic on campus will undertake contact tracing if s Pomona faculty and or staff member is infected or possibly exposed. Members of the Pomona College community are expected to cooperate with contact tracing. 

If I have come into close contact with a student from off campus who has tested positive, will I be notified?

You will be contacted by the on-campus nurse under the procedures noted above.

I have come into contact with someone off campus who subsequently tested positive. What do I need to do?

Pomona faculty and staff have access to the on-campus Hamilton Health Box clinic at 118 Eighth Street for testing and consultation. You can reach Nurse Stephanie Garcia-Barragan at (909) 607-0616.

Someone in my household has come into contact with someone off campus who has tested positive. What do I need to do?

Pomona faculty and staff have access to the on-campus Hamilton Health Box clinic at 118 Eighth Street for testing and consultation. You can reach Nurse Stephanie Garcia-Barragan at (909) 607-0616.

You can consult with her so she can advise on the next steps to include testing you for COVID-19 and conduct contact tracing.