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Quarantine and Isolation

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Exposure to COVID-19 can result in the need to quarantine or isolate. Clark adheres to these guidelines set out by the CDC:

  • People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms, in which case, a healthcare provider should be contacted for guidance.
  • Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and diligently wear a mask in all indoor spaces for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
  • People should quarantine for 14 days if they have been in close contact(within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19.
  • People who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive will be contacted by Health Services Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss this process.
  • Quarantining includes limiting direct contact with others for up to 14 days. It also requires paying attention to possible symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
  • During isolation, direct contact with others should be avoided until it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay in a separate room from others, use a separate bathroom if possible, and do not share personal household items.
  • Isolation can be discontinued for symptomatic students 10 days after symptom onset plus at least 3 days without fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • For asymptomatic people, isolation can be stopped 10 days after a positive test.

Want to Know More?

Learn more about quarantine and isolation on the CDC website.

FAQs About Clark’s Policies

A student who tests positive will be contacted by Clark Health Services, Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., to discuss next steps.

  • Residential students who test positive and live within driving distance of Clark are permitted to isolate at home. “Driving distance” would be for any student who can be picked up within approximately 12 hours of a positive diagnosis. If this is not possible, and the student is an on-campus resident, the student will move into designated isolation housing, bringing with them supplies needed for academic work and sufficient clothes and supplies to be in isolation for 14 days.
  • Students in quarantine and isolation housing will receive check-ins from health care professionals, Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clark Dining Services will also provide three meals per day. The Dean of Students Office (DOS) will communicate information to students regarding how to access support services and communicate with faculty, and will answer any questions as they arise.

Students placed in quarantine or isolation will be reached out to by a member of the Dean of Students office, who will be the student’s point of contact for all questions and concerns. The regularity and type of contact is determined by the student, and can include meetings with DOS staff, daily check-in phone calls, and emails. Meals are delivered to students in their rooms. Any health-related communication or intervention is overseen by Clark Health Services.

Yes. Students are permitted to isolate or quarantine at home.

Clark continues to receive guidance from the CDC and the Worcester Department of Public Health on close-contact protocols. Currently, if a student who has been vaccinated is identified as a close contact, they will be advised to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, monitor themselves for symptoms, and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. An unvaccinated student identified as a close contact will be required to quarantine.

At Clark, we are hopeful that our high vaccination rate coupled with our masking and testing protocols will substantially reduce the need for quarantine and isolation on campus this semester.

Clark has limited quarantine and isolation space available for residential students only who are currently living in our halls and houses. 

Non-residential students who test positive, will be encouraged first to return home (if possible) or to isolate in their off-campus home or apartment. For students who may live alone, learn more about food delivery services.

Clark Health Services will advise on best practices and appropriate measures for safely isolating. More information on monitoring your symptoms can be found on the CDC website. The CDC outlines processes for people isolating in a shared living environment, including tips for roommates. Staff members from the Dean of Students Office will check in with all isolating students and provide information on how to connect with other campus resources and communicate with faculty.

Residential students who are moved into Clark quarantine or isolation spaces will be checked on by Clark Health Services, Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and will be provided three meals a day from Clark Dining Services. Students also receive support from other Clark staff including the Dean of Students Office.

In their quarantine or isolation space, students receive a linen pack, which includes one fitted sheet, one top sheet, one pillow, one pillowcase, one blanket, one towel, and two facecloths. Students can request additional linens. Students also receive a Welcome Bag that includes soap, sanitizer, mask, mini tissue pack, disposable thermometer, individual Tylenol pack, coffee, creamer, stirrer, cups, tea, sugar, 2 bottles of water, fuzzy socks, and a few snacks to help make the stay a little more comfortable.

Please find below a list of online activities and resources to help students stay active in quarantine or isolation:

In the event a student’s condition worsens, they will be transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center for additional care.

As with any certified absence, students should work directly with their professor to develop an appropriate plan to keep current with the material or to catch up when they are well enough. Depending on the length of absence and the amount of work missed, an incomplete grade may be an option to allow more time to complete course materials. Faculty members have been encouraged to be very sensitive to the fluidity of health-related absences due to COVID and will be mindful of providing clear policies and contingencies for such cases.

  • At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom if available. If not, sanitize the space after each use.
  • Monitor symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures are recommended.