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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

COVID Exposure & Symptomatic Testing

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Here's a quick guide to quarantine/isolation, masking, and testing for students who have tested positive, are symptomatic, or have been exposed.

COVID Exposure & Symptomatic Guidance

If you have tested positive, are symptomatic, or were exposed to COVID, review the chart below for guidance.
Tested positive? Here's more detailed guidance on what to do next.



Isolate for at least 5 days. 

Isolation means no class, work, or lab. Wear a high-quality mask to pick up meals at dining halls, and then eat outdoors or in your room.
Review full Stanford guidance on in-place isolation, here

Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for 10 full days (e.g., KN95), especially in indoor settings, even if released from isolation earlier than 10 full days.One initial positive test was completed. 
SymptomaticQuarantine until a negative test, no fever for 24 hours, and symptoms are mild and improving. 

Quarantine means no class, work, or lab. Wear a high-quality mask to pick up meals at dining halls, and then eat outdoors or in your room.
Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask until symptoms resolve (e.g., KN95), including when seeking medical attention or food from dining halls. Eat outside or in your own room.

Test immediately when symptoms begin. 

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the guidelines above.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19, you can return to normal activities after you have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and other symptoms are mild and improving. Consider continuing quarantine and re-testing in 1-2 days. If new symptoms develop, isolate and get tested again.

(without symptoms)

(i.e. unmasked within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more)

No indoor unmasked activity. 

You can attend class, lab, work, and get food from dining halls to eat outside or in your own room. Social distance where possible and avoid unmasked contact with others.


Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask (e.g., KN95) around others for 10 days after your last exposure, especially in indoor settings.


Test within 3-5 days after your last exposure.

  • If you test negative, consider testing again 48 hours later, then again 48 hours after the second negative test.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. Follow the symptomatic guidelines above. 
 * The last day of exposure for a roommate living with a positive COVID case is the day your roommate completes isolation.  

COVID Test Pick Up Location

Rapid tests are available at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons. You can pick up as many as 4 rapid tests, per visit, up to 8 rapid tests per month. 

To pick up rapid tests, you’ll need your Stanford ID and cell phone. You’ll be asked to scan a QR code while in line to display your pick-up authorization badge on your phone. Staff will check your badge before giving you the tests. If you don’t have a phone, a staff member will manually check your records to verify eligibility.

Rapid test kits are also available for purchase at many retail outlets and online. Some health insurance plans now also permit enrollees to obtain kits from pharmacies at no additional out-of-pocket cost.

Dining Halls

Students who are ill or have tested positive for COVID may go to the dining hall, mask up (KN95 mask preferred), select their meal, and then take their plate outdoors or to their room to eat physically distanced from others. Please return your plate.

  • If you are severely symptomatic and don’t feel well enough to leave your room, reach out to a Resident Director for assistance with meals.

Shared Housing

All students who test positive will isolate in their assigned residences (in-place). 

Temporary alternative housing may be available for students who have critical health conditions (i.e. students undergoing cancer chemotherapy). If you have a critical health condition and you have been instructed by your medical care team not to share a living space with a COVID-positive individual, contact Student Support.

COVID Symptoms

COVID symptoms most commonly appear within 2-5 days after exposure to the virus. In general, symptoms tend to be less severe in those who have recently received a booster.

Common Symptoms Include

  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Headache 
  • Coughing/chest congestion
  • Pink eye

If You Have Symptoms

  • Take a COVID test immediately, following the chart's quarantine guidance above.
    • Rapid antigen tests, self-administered home tests with immediate results, can be very effective in diagnosing COVID in people with symptoms, and a positive rapid test should be treated as a true positive. 
    •  A single negative rapid test does not entirely rule out COVID, as it can be a less sensitive test early in infection. Re-test over the next few days if your illness continues.

You can find general advice on managing symptoms here.

If You Are Waiting For COVID-19 Test Results

  • Call Vaden Medical Services at 650.498.2336 if you need urgent medical advice.
  • Keep away from others, and wear a mask around roommates, apartment mates, and family members.
  • Request academic support if needed: Email your professors and academic advisor if you cannot participate in in-person academic activities. 
    • Undergraduate Students: Contact your Undergraduate Advising Director for assistance.
    • Graduate students, professional students, and postdocs: Please contact your schools, departments, and instructors for assistance.

To learn more about how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that can increase or decrease that risk, review CDC guidance here.

When In Doubt, Get Tested
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