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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

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.

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COVID Exposure & Symptomatic Guidance

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






Isolate for a full 5-10 days from a positive test.
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.
See more on isolation guidance here

Wear a high-quality mask for 10 full days (e.g., KN95) around others, even if released from isolation earlier than 10 full days with a negative rapid test.

Rapid test to be cleared from isolation. If no fever for 48 hours and symptoms are resolved or mild, take a rapid test day 5 or later. If negative and cleared by Vaden, leave isolation on day 6 or later.
(Note: The date the first positive test was taken is day 0.)


Quarantine until no fever for 48 hours AND symptoms improving AND 2 days of negative tests, 2nd test at day 3 of symptoms.
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 mask until symptoms resolve (e.g., KN95), including when seeking medical attention or food from dining halls. Must eat outside or in your own room.


  • Rapid Test Day 0
  • Color Test Day 1
  • Rapid Test Day 3

You need 2 consecutive days of negative tests to exit quarantine.
(Note: If you have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days, do not use Color testing. Rapid test only)


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

No indoor unmasked activity. 
Can attend class, lab, work, 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 mask (e.g., KN95) around others until 5 days after your last exposure*, especially in indoor settings.



  • Rapid test immediately, day 0  
  • Rapid/Color - every 3 days while continuously exposed to a positive COVID case
  • Color test 3 days after last exposure*
  • Rapid test 5 days after last exposure*  
  • Rapid test whenever symptomatic

(Note: If you have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days, do not use Color testing. Rapid test only)

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The last day of exposure for a roommate living with a positive COVID case is the day your roommate is cleared from isolation.

COVID Test Pick Up Locations 

  • Color tests are available at locations listed herePlease note, Color testing will end for students on June 18, 2023, at the end of the spring quarter.
  • Rapid tests are available to non-COVID positive students at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons. 
  • Rapid tests are available to COVID-positive students in isolation at the Quarantine/Isolation Housing Front Desk located at 143 Ayrshire Farm Lane, Apartment 104, Stanford, CA 94305.


Quarantine is used when you have not yet been diagnosed with COVID by a confirmatory test, but have symptoms and we want to prevent exposing others. (Students should quarantine in-place and do not need to request isolation spaces.) 


  • While quarantining, do not eat inside dining halls, or go to class, work, lab, or other communal indoor spaces on campus. 
  • Wear a mask when grabbing food from dining halls and eat outside or in your own room
  • When indoors, you should avoid any unmasked contact with others. 
  • When outdoors, maintain proper physical distance when unmasked.
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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.
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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.

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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 exposure 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.

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While Waiting For Your 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.

You have an increased risk of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have

  • traveled in the past 10 days. 
  • attended a wedding or other social event. 
  • been to a bar, concert, or other off-campus gatherings. 
  • had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • are NOT boosted.
  • are NOT vaccinated.
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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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