What to do if you test positive
- If you test postive off-campus or using a personal test kit, complete the COVID19 Positive Survey to notify the COVID Response Center.
- As soon as possible, isolate in your room and wear a high-quality face covering (double surgical mask, KN95, KF94, or N95) at all times. You will receive a message with general instructions from COVID response team on next steps.
What to do if you have COVID-related symptoms
Students who have severe symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, or fever lasting more than 3 days) should seek clinical care immediately(click here for more information on symptoms); for mild symptoms, please stay home and rest. Student Health is available for telehealth visits or questions call 209-228-2273 to make an appointment or speak with clinical staff. Campus residents should contact their RA or their building's RA on call to request a COVID test kit.(Don't visit the RA; the RA will leave kit for you outside your room door)
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you are required to isolate for a minimum of 5 days but possibly up to ten days or longer*, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms.
The information provided below is based on current California Public Health Guidelines. (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Guidance-on-Iso...). For information related to campus, please refer to the Campus Ready page. (https://doyourpart.ucmerced.edu/).
Self-Isolation guidelines for on-campus housing
- Remain in your room with the door closed as much as possible, hosting no others than those assigned to your room, during this time.
- Do not go to class, work, or other campus facilities.
- Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask at all times when you are around others, including in your room, unless you do not have any roommates. This includes during sleep. An N95 mask is preferred; other good options include double-masking with regular surgical (paper) masks, KN95, or KF95. Instructions: How to use a N95 Mask, How to remove a mask.
- Keep the door to your room closed and windows open as much as possible. Opening windows may not be advised on hot days, as it stops the flow of HVAC cooled air into your room.
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have severe symptoms, including trouble breathing, seek emergency medical care immediately by calling 911 or by going to your local emergency room. For non-severe symptoms, call the SHS 24-hour nurse advice line at 209-228-2273.
You are strongly encouraged to share the news with your roommates and other close contacts so that everyone can take appropriate precautions. A close contact is anyone who was in the same indoor space as you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during your infectious period. (The infectious period is 2 days before your symptoms appear or 2 days before your positive test, if you do not have symptoms, through the end of your isolation).
Some people with chronic illnesses can benefit from early treatment of COVID-19 with medication. Reach out to your primary care provider or the Student Health Center at 209-228-2273, if you have questions about treatment or symptoms.
How long to isolate and criteria to end isolation
*Isolation is required for a minimum of 5 days but may be needed for up to 10 days or longer, for those with continued symptoms and those that are immunocompromised. (Day 0 is the date symptoms began or if without symptoms, the date of positive test).
Isolation can end on Day 6-10:
- If symptoms are not present or your symptoms are improving AND you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Continue to wear a well fitted mask for a total of 10 days.
- Masks may be removed sooner than 10 days ONLY if you have two negative Covid antigen self-tests 24 hours apart after Day 5. You may request to have antigen self-tests delivered to you from your RA.
- If you continue to test positive, you must keep your mask on until you have two negative tests 24 hours apart, which may extend past Day 10 of your isolation period.
Isolation should continue through Day 10:
- If your symptoms are not improving or you continue to have a fever, isolate until your symptoms start improving and you are fever free for 24 hours without use of medication.
- If you had moderate illness such as shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing, isolate through Day 10.
- If you had severe illness, were hospitalized or are immunocompromised, continue to isolate through Day 10 and consult your doctor before ending isolation.
The following exceptions are allowed for brief trips and then returning directly to your room:
- Use of the common bathroom. If possible, avoid heavy traffic times, and wash hands with soap as soon as you enter. Always keep your mask on except when brushing your teeth/brief showering. Wipe down any surfaces you have touched with a sani-wipe provided.
- Use the laundry facilities in your building only when absolutely necessary, and try to avoid peak times. Always keep your mask on and wipe down any surfaces you have touched with a sani wipe.
- Sit outside, away from others to get fresh air. You can go for a walk alone. Please wear your mask.
You are not permitted to:
- Go to in-person classes, labs, or workplaces
- Enter any campus building (excluding your residence hall or University Health Services, for timely/essential care)
- Be with others in groups.
- Attend group events like community service, outdoor concerts, and other gatherings that bring people together.
- Utilize any common areas in your residential building. Including, but not limited to, gyms, recreation facilities, lounges, or kitchens.
- Use public transport/rideshare services.
- Enter the Pavilion, YWDC, Lantern, or other campus dining building, except as directed.
If you are found doing any of the above during your isolation period, this may constitute a violation of the Housing Handbook and Code of Student Conduct.
Meals during isolation
Students who are isolating in place are permitted to enter the YWDC or the Pavilion for meals to go only after completing a sick tray form and under the following conditions:
- Student who is isolating in place submits a “sick tray form” at the start of their isolation period.
- Students must wear a face-covering at all times outside their assigned room.
- Students isolating in place will request a to-go box from the cashier and identify their requested items from the posted menu at the front of the dining center. Dining staff will pack their meal while the student waits, distanced from others.
- Students must leave the dining center and return to their assigned dorm room to eat OR eat outside, distanced from others.
Alternatively, students who are feeling too unwell to pick up meals may request a friend pick up a sick tray only after completing a sick tray form:
- Student who is isolating in place completes the “Sick Tray form” at the start of their isolation period.
- Students will designate one or more persons who can collect their meals for them.
- The designated person will collect the to-go box from the cashier and pack the meal.
- The designated person will take food to the student isolating in place.
What if your roommate tests positive
If your roommate, or other close contact, tests positive and you do not have symptoms, you are no longer required to quarantine, regardless of your vaccination status. Instead, test 5 days later, monitor for symptoms, and wear a mask around others. If you become symptomatic, test immediately and you are required to isolate (see self-isolation guidelines above).
If your roommate tests positive and you are at high risk of severe disease, contact the Student Health Center at 209-228-2273 to determine if alternate on-campus housing is available.