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.

Students have access to COVID Navigator, a collaboration between Wellness at Penn and Penn Medicine that provides automated remote monitoring for students with a red PennOpen Pass. COVID Navigator checks in to see how you are feeling and helps escalate needs and care to the appropriate office.

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 have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 90 days should test if new symptoms present. Individuals should use PennOpen Pass every day in case new symptoms or exposures arise during the 90-day period.

If you test positive on an at-home test, be sure to report the result in PennOpen Pass and go to a PennCares facility to receive a confirmatory PCR test right away.

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.

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.

Flow chart: 


Quarantine and Isolation

Visit the Public Health Guidance page for information about quarantine and isolation guidance.

Visit the Student COVID-19 FAQ page for specific information about isolating in place.


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 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 or in Isolation.

Sick: You do not have COVID but you have the stomach flu, or you have an illness that incapacitates you so that you cannot leave your room to visit a dining cafe.

Isolation: You have been instructed by Wellness at Penn and you are being moved to Sansom Place East.

For more information visit 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.