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COVID-19

Isolation and Quarantine

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Key Information

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are still required to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 are not required to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms and wear a mask indoors for 14 days following exposure.
  • On the Boston campus, Northeastern’s wellness team provides contact tracing and wellness housing for students who are in isolation and quarantine.

What Happens if Someone Tests Positive?

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Use the Daily Wellness Check to report a positive test and our COVID-19 Wellness Team will guide you on the next steps. Any student who tests positive will receive a phone call from our COVID-19 telehealth provider, Tufts Medical Center, and a member of our Northeastern contact tracing team to share the next steps and guide them in following the self-isolation protocol.

Are fully vaccinated individuals required to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19?

If a vaccinated individual tests positive they will need to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. Isolation typically lasts for 10 days but the exact duration is determined by a healthcare provider based on the person’s symptoms. Use the Daily Wellness Check to report a positive test and our COVID-19 Wellness Team will guide you on the next steps.

Will students who are in isolation still have access to classes?

Students who are in isolation can reach out to their instructors for accommodations and access to classes. Faculty have received information on options for accommodating these absences, which may include remote class participation and recording of lectures. Students who are having difficulty in making these arrangements should contact their academic advisor or contact We Care at 617.373.7591 or wecare@northeastern.edu.

How am I released from isolation?

You will need to remain in isolation until you receive a written notification that confirms the date and expectations to discontinue isolation.  Because the assessment of your risk of infecting others includes clinical judgment, you typically need to provide a letter from your healthcare provider that confirms that you meet the clinical criteria to finish isolation. For students on the Boston campus, the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team or University Health and Counseling Services will provide the letter. Only after the Wellness Team receives this letter will they make the final assessment and let you know when you may discontinue isolation and return to campus. It is very important to wait until you receive this email from the Wellness Team, even if your provider told you that you are released from isolation.

What happens if my roommate in university housing tests positive?

Assuming the roommate meets the definition of a “close contact,” the roommate would be notified by our contact tracers. If the roommate is unvaccinated with an approved exemption, they will also be notified if they need to move into quarantine. The contact tracers would not share nor confirm the identity of the person who tested positive, to follow privacy requirements and protect their private health information.

What actions should I take if I am a faculty member and a student in my class tests positive?

When anyone in the Northeastern community tests positive, our contact tracing team will work closely with local and state public health authorities to notify anyone who fits the definition of close contact about their exposure. Being in the classroom does not automatically make someone a close contact, but anyone—including fully vaccinated people—who fits the definition will be notified.

 If our contact tracing team identifies a faculty member or a student as a close contact, they will reach out to the individuals directly to let them know about the exposure and the next steps they should take. To protect the privacy of the person who tested positive, faculty members should not inform the student’s classmates of the positive case but allow our trained contact tracers to identify and notify all close contacts directly. Please continue to complete the Daily Wellness Check every day you are on campus, wear a mask, and wash your hands regularly.

Will faculty members be notified if any student in their class tests positive?

Faculty members will be notified if they’re a close contact—within six feet for longer than 15 minutes—of a student who tests positive. When a student tests positive, our contact tracing team will ask students to provide a list of all their classes and the student’s physical distance from the faculty member and other students.

What actions should I take if I am a student and my instructor or another student in my class tests positive?

If you are a close contact of the person who tests positive, our Northeastern contact tracing team will contact you directly to let you know about the exposure and the next actions you should take. Being in the classroom does not automatically make someone a close contact, but anyone—including fully vaccinated people—who fits the definition will be notified. To protect the privacy of the person who tested positive, please do not share information about another person’s positive test. Please continue to complete the Daily Wellness Check every day you are on campus, wear a mask, and wash your hands regularly.If you develop any new symptoms, immediately report it on the Daily Wellness Check and then stay in your room as much as possible until a healthcare provider directs you that it is safe to resume daily activities.

What Happens If Someone’s Exposed to COVID-19?

What is the definition of a close contact, or exposure to COVID-19?

You will be deemed a close contact if you’ve had this type of contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19:

  • If you’ve been within six feet for longer than 15 minutes
  • If you’ve had intimate physical contact such as kissing and hugging
  • If you’ve been coughed or sneezed on
  • If you’ve shared eating or drinking utensils such as dishes and cups
  • If you’ve played a sport that can involve close contact with other players, such as basketball, football, volleyball, etc.

What should I do if I’m exposed to COVID-19?

If the Northeastern contact tracing team identifies you as a close contact, they will notify you about the exposure and advise you on the next steps. If you learn about your exposure from another source—a friend, family member, or public health official—use the Daily Wellness Check to report exposure, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you are located on the Boston campus, you will be prompted to contact our COVID-19 Wellness Team, and a member of the team will advise you on the next steps. If you are located on another campus, you will be prompted to call a medical professional and should follow the next steps they give you.

 

Are unvaccinated individuals required to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19?

If you are unvaccinated with an approved exemption, you are required to quarantine for at least 7 days and up to 14 days, depending on your symptoms and test results. The Northeastern Wellness Team will provide you the guidance on testing and quarantine duration. Northeastern follows Massachusetts guidance on quarantine for students based in Boston. Use the Daily Wellness Check to report exposure and our COVID-19 Wellness Team will guide you on the next steps.

Are fully vaccinated individuals required to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19?

If a vaccinated individual is exposed to someone with COVID-19 (the same as being identified as a “close contact”), they are not required to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask indoors for 14 days following their exposure. Testing every two to three days is also recommended. Use the Daily Wellness Check to report exposure and our COVID-19 Wellness Team will guide you on the next steps.

Are roommates considered part of a ‘household’?

In off-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include other housemates living in the same house. In on-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include students who are living in the same suite and sharing a common area.

Which close contacts will Northeastern call?

Northeastern’s contact tracing team will call close contacts within the Northeastern community (students, staff, and faculty). Although vaccinated people who are close contacts are not required to quarantine, Northeastern will still call to notify them of exposure. If you have close contacts who are not Northeastern students, staff, and faculty, contact tracers from the contact’s local board of health or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will inform those contacts of their exposure and next steps for quarantine, if required.

Contact Tracing

Does Northeastern provide contact tracing for close contacts?

Yes, on the Boston campus. When anyone in the Northeastern community tests positive, our contact tracing team will be working closely with local and state public health authorities to notify anyone who fits the definition of close contact about their exposure.

If I test positive for COVID-19, what happens with the information I share with contact tracers?

Northeastern requires our community members to fully cooperate with contact tracers from Northeastern, the city, and the state to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information you share with contact tracers will be kept confidential and only shared on a need-to-know basis with a limited number of Northeastern employees who are responsible for cleaning and coordinating support for community members sick with or exposed to COVID-19, and with local and state public health authorities, as required by law.

Contact tracers from Northeastern, local boards of health, or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will call those identified as your close contacts during the infectious period when you could have spread COVID-19 to others. University contact tracers will only ask you about close contacts you’ve had on campus only. These contact tracers will keep your identity confidential and will only share the date of exposure and instructions for quarantine, if necessary. Please remember that you help your close contacts and the Northeastern community by informing accurately about their exposure in a timely manner.

If I tell contact tracers who I was around when I was infectious, will those people find out I have COVID-19?

If Northeastern’s contact tracing team identifies any close contacts after you receive a positive test result, the contact tracing team will follow up with close contacts to inform them that they were exposed, that they should begin to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, and that they should quarantine if they are unvaccinated. Contact tracers will never share any identifying information about you with close contacts, including your name, relationship to the close contact, and place or the exact time of exposure.

Am I required to report if I know of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Northeastern medical providers and contact tracers keep all information confidential, as required by HIPAA and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To encourage cooperation with efforts to reduce COVID-19 and avoid retaliation and stigma, we ask that all community members who learn of a positive COVID-19 test do not disclose this information to others. The Northeastern testing center and all other COVID-19 testing labs automatically report positive results to the state’s Department of Public Health.

Wellness Housing

Will the university have wellness housing and care available this fall for Boston-based students who test positive for COVID-19 or who are required to quarantine?

Yes. Wellness housing is available for students who need to isolate or quarantine, with meals delivered. Throughout their isolation period, students will have access to our Northeastern wellness team and a telehealth team that calls daily to check on their health.

What happens if I am a student living in university housing, get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and have to move into self-isolation?

A clinician from the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. If a vaccinated individual tests positive they will need to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. If you live on the Boston campus, you’ll move into our COVID-19 Wellness Housing so you can recover away from others. You’ll get a wellness package with a thermometer and an oximeter to measure your oxygen. A limited list of over-the-counter medications may be provided upon request to help manage minor symptoms. Food will be delivered, and our telehealth provider will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen.

What happens if I am a student living off-campus and get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis?

A clinician from our Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. If a vaccinated individual tests positive they will need to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. Any student living off-campus is encouraged to move to on-campus wellness housing, but it is not required. Wherever you choose to stay, a clinician from our telehealth team will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen. We will also connect you with We Care and Off-Campus Housing and Support Services for additional support.

What do Tufts Medical Center telehealth services cover?

Tufts Medical Center provides only COVID-19 related telehealth services, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. Any questions related to other Northeastern health services should be directed to University Health Counseling Services. Questions about COVID-19 campus operations should be directed to NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu.

Are Tufts Medical Center telehealth services covered by a students’ private insurance or by Northeastern?

Tufts Medical Center will provide COVID-19 related telehealth services to our student community in Boston, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. The cost of these telehealth services is covered by Northeastern at no charge to the student or to their insurance. If a student needs in-person care at a hospital or another health care provider, they would need to submit their insurance info to the health care provider for coverage. Students are welcome to get their in-person care at Tufts Medical Center but may choose to go elsewhere if another health care provider is in-network.

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