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Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation and quarantine are important public health tools that are being used to minimize the spread of COVID-19 within our community. COVID-positive individuals are encouraged to fully isolate to the best of their ability. 

Residential Students - Isolation and Quarantine

For students in residential halls or apartments who may need to isolate or quarantine during the semester.

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 5 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 5 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Residential students will be isolated and quarantined in their residential rooms or apartment. Students in isolation or quarantine must remain in their room until their isolation period has ended and may not:

  • Leave your room, unless to pick up meals from the dining hall and use the restroom
  • Access campus
  • Access the broader Ithaca community
  • Have visitors or guests

Off Campus Students - Isolation and Quaratine

For students in off campus living arrangments who may need to isolate or quarantine during the semester.

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 5 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 5 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Off campus students must isolate or quarantine in their off campus living arrangement, or make separate arrangements for where isolation or quarantine will occur. Residence halls on campus are not available for off campus student isolation or quarantine and Tompkins County does not pay for or provide isolation or quarantine facilities for students.

More information for students in independent living arrangements is available on Off Campus Living webpage.

Employees - Isolation and Quarantine

For employees required to isolate or quarantine

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 5 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 5 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Employees will isolate or quarantine in their own home or other arrangements approved by your local health department. Employees should following the COVID-19 notification procedures with Human Resources and are also encouraged to access the COVID-19 Employee Resources.

When in isolation or quarantine, you may not access campus or the broader Ithaca community until cleared by your local health department.

For Faculty - Positive Case Notification Within a Classroom

Students are not required to share private health information with faculty. Students are expected to reach out to the faculty member if they learn they will miss class due to illness or any other reason.

Hammond Health Center, in working with students, encourages them to notify faculty members that they will be absent from class to determine how to make up missed work based on the faculty member's course policies. The Health Center does not make any representations to students about how missed coursework will be handled by faculty. This is a discussion between the faculty member and the student in accordance with course policies.

No. Faculty members should not be asking for this level of detail. If faculty have a concern about a specific student, please email healthcenter@ithaca.edu with the student name and the concern. Please be aware that faculty members should not expect a response from the Health Center with specific information about a student.

As described in the message shared with faculty on August 13, 2021 from the Office of the Provost, faculty should anticipate that they may be contacted by students who are subject to public health-ordered isolation or quarantine and may not be able to attend class. Faculty are not required to provide dual instruction. Students are advised to reach out to the faculty member if they learn they will miss class due to illness or any other reason. Faculty are not required to record or livestream classes for students in isolation or quarantine, and absent students should reach out to you if they need support making up missed classwork. Please plan your semester with the knowledge that it is possible that a student may be isolated/quarantined for at least 5 days; if this happens, the student may seek your guidance/support in staying current with their course responsibilities. Faculty have different methods for accommodating students including asking classmates to share notes electronically, providing alternative assignments, extending deadlines, or any other approach deemed appropriate by the faculty member. 

We do not advise that faculty make this statement to students. The risk of spread in a classroom environment where all or most individuals are vaccinated and wearing face coverings is minimal. A flood of asymptomatic students seeking testing, without an exposure verified by a contact tracer, places additional strain on testing resources and Hammond Health unnecessarily. If testing is warranted, the timing of when testing occurs after an exposure is important and will be determined by the contact tracer or health department.

Additionally, in smaller-sized classes, essentially, you would be sharing personal health information as it would be clear that a single absent student is positive for COVID-19. If a student is displaying symptoms or not feeling well, they should not come to class and should instead contact Hammond Health Center for evaluation.

No. A person in quarantine may have been exposed to a positive case, but may not in fact be infected themselves. Regardless, there is little evidence of spread in classroom settings, so moving courses online is not warranted at this time, especially based on a student’s quarantine status. The high level of vaccination and use of face coverings provides layers of protection that science shows are effective in mitigating transmission.

It is not necessary to move your course online. The risk of spread in a classroom environment where all or most individuals are vaccinated and wearing face coverings is minimal. The availability of a structured, in-person environment where students can learn is very important to student success. Faculty members should continue to remind students throughout the semester of the importance of completing their daily health screening to maintain a "green" IC Health Badge and wearing face coverings indoors. And, if they are displaying symptoms or not feeling well, they should not come to class and should instead contact Hammond Health Center for evaluation.

In the unlikely event that a significant portion of a classroom is positive for COVID-19 and must isolate, it may make sense for a faculty member to move the course online for pedagogical reasons. Students are responsible for working with faculty members if they must miss class for any reason due to illness. COVID-19 presents a unique challenge in that it may be possible to have enough students in a class absent that presents significant administrative challenges for a faculty member to continue to meet learning objectives. If 1/3 or more of your students are out (either ill, in quarantine, or in isolation), you should feel free to temporarily shift from in-person to remote instruction. We recognize that given the wide variation in course offerings at Ithaca College this threshold may not be appropriate in all circumstances, and faculty members in such cases should consult with their chairs and deans for guidance, remembering that structured, in-person environments where students can learn is very important to student success. 

At this time, we do not anticipate many students in a course to be required to quarantine for long durations as almost all our students are vaccinated, and the health department releases them from quarantine as soon as vaccination and symptom status is verified. 

We also have a campus-wide color-coded system available on the COVID dashboard that helps with guiding decisions regarding operational status given the prevalence and distribution of cases within our campus community. 

Ithaca College did require the use of seating charts during the spring 2021 semester. These were used as part of the contact tracing process when we were aware that a positive case had been in a classroom. We monitored all people in quarantine throughout the spring and found no evidence of transmission in the classroom. This was a similar process to those used at other higher education institutions in the area. As a result of the lessons learned in the beginning of the pandemic, the health department no longer quarantines entire higher education classrooms.  

However, if a faculty member would like to create a seating chart, we encourage you to do so. Should you create a seating chart, we recommend that you put this on your Canvas site so that students in the class are able to access it to refer to if needed for discussions with a contact tracer. Alternatively, helping students to get to know the names of individuals who they are seated next to in class would also be helpful.  

Please note that this may be a different process than they use in K-12 as there are differences in vaccination rates, student-staff interactions, and staffing levels in those environments.