Students – Testing Positive, Quarantine & Isolation

Test Result Notification

Students participating in the on-campus testing program can get their test results from the self-service portal.

Access test results:

  1. Go to the COVID Results application.
  2. Click on the login icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Enter PennKey and Password.

If you test positive and/or have had an exposure:

First and foremost, no one is ever penalized for being sick or exposed to a communicable illness. Your privacy and ability to maintain an active role in the public health process is of utmost importance.

After testing positive, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation are some of the many ways the University is helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the Penn community. Those who test positive will be contacted and connected to care and contact tracing teams.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 should not schedule a screening test for 90 days. Individuals should use PennOpen Pass every day in case new symptoms or exposures arise during the 90-day period.

Notify Your School or Center

You should feel empowered to participate in these important public health activities, and you are encouraged to notify your School or Center yourself of your need to be out of class, clinicals, or work. If that is not an option, or if you feel uncomfortable doing so, the contact tracers will notify the appropriate people on your behalf. School advisors and instructors are also aware of this policy and will not require documentation should someone indicate they are unable to attend class, clinicals, or work due to illness or isolation.

There are additional protocols in place for those with in-person clinical requirements, and the contact tracers will coordinate patient outreach with the School or Center if the individual has had recent patient interactions.

Clearance for Study

The University follows existing protocols for clearing participants from quarantine and/or isolation to return to class or work based on the following:

Quarantine
Students are required to quarantine for 10 days in length based on the date of exposure, type of exposure, and date of notification of exposure.

Isolation
Symptomatic COVID-19 cases can be removed from isolation after 10 days if they have had at least 24 hours without fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and improved symptoms.

Asymptomatic cases can be removed from isolation 10 days after a positive test.

Contact Tracing

A contact tracer will follow-up with anyone who tests positive to ensure the person isolates and gets the needed healthcare. The contact tracer will also ask about activities leading up to infection and the contacts they may have had. These conversations are thorough, nuanced, and require collaboration between the individual and contact tracer.

The notification of contacts is performed without identifying the source and notifies others who have had high-risk exposure.

  • One goal of contact tracing is to trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Contact tracers notify individuals of their exposure through their student medical record.
  • The second goal is to support the quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission.

Close contacts are identified as housemates, roommates, intimate partners, and those who spent 15+ minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case. 

In the case of clinical and lab settings, PPE often mitigates the risk of proximity and length of exposure. In these cases, the contact tracing team will ask very detailed questions about these interactions to ensure the appropriate risk is assigned. These risk levels vary as public health guidance changes. Working collaboratively with the contact tracer is critical.

Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and isolation are public health measures used to reduce or prevent the spread of illness.

Quarantine
Quarantine means separating a healthy person or group of healthy people away from others due to exposure to a contagious disease.

A recommendation to quarantine includes the advice to stay at home, limit the sharing of bathrooms and common areas (e.g. kitchens, living rooms) with others, increase cleaning of common areas, and physically distancing from others in your home or apartment as much as possible. Penn community members who are asked to quarantine should not travel, go to class, work, or participate in any social activities. They should not host friends or gatherings, and they should not attend gatherings.

In quarantine, food and groceries should be ordered online and delivered as much as possible, or have meals and groceries dropped off by friends. Wear a mask or face covering anytime you are not alone.

Isolation
Isolation refers to separating a sick person with a contagious disease away from others. Students living on campus will be moved into an isolation facility where they will have their own bathroom and kitchen.

For all Penn community members off-campus, isolation means staying at home, alone in your bedroom, except to use the bathroom. All people in isolation should order food in or ask a friend/family member/roommate to drop off groceries or a meal. Masks or facial coverings must be worn anytime you are outside of the bedroom. Do not travel, go to class, work, or participate in any social activities. Do not host friends or gatherings. Do not attend gatherings.

Quarantine and Isolation Planning
Students who live locally may go home to quarantine or isolate. However, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health requires a conversation between the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), and campus contact tracers to review the quarantine plan. Depending on capacity, students living off-campus may also be moved into the isolation facility. 

Penn Dining
During COVID-19 it is important that students on a dining plan understand how to access their meals when they are sick, in quarantine or isolation or have a Red PennOpen Pass due to noncompliance. Only students with a Green PennOpen Pass are allowed to enter dining facilities. Students with a Red PennOpen Pass can follow instructions on the Penn Dining site.

COVID Navigator
In all instances of quarantine and isolation, students will receive continued care and support from Wellness at Penn through COVID Navigator, an automated, text-based support program that monitors students and connects them with wellness resources based on a student's individual needs. 

The Wellness resources include:

  • Medical care through Student Health Service
  • Mental health services through CAPS
  • Quarantine and isolation guidance and support through Campus Health
  • Resources for those needing help with food access, academic support and more through the Social Needs Response Team (SNRT)

Find out more about the COVID Navigator program.