COVID-19 Medical
Response Office

There is an increased risk of spreading and contracting the virus when traveling and interacting with people you have not come in close contact with for some time. Thus, we offer the following advice for students to help protect your family, friends, and loved ones at home as you plan travel at the end of the fall term. We suggest that you develop a plan in consultation with your family to ensure that everyone involved is aware of and comfortable with the precautions you plan to take.

Shelter-in-Place for 14 days total, 10 days on campus. We strongly advise you to shelter in place for at least 14 days before interacting with others at home without wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing. This means that students should limit close contacts and extracurricular activities in order to lower the risk of exposure to the virus. However, as detailed below, going to classes and other academic activities is permitted.  

The beginning of the shelter-in-place period should start at least 10 days before you plan to leave the campus to minimize your exposure to the virus in the days leading up to your departure. Ideally you will spend at least four days of this shelter-in-place period at home. This is to ensure that you do not spread the virus when arriving at home. To that end, a shelter-in-place period will begin on November 12 for all undergraduates on all campuses, as this allows you to complete your shelter-in-place period before the Thanksgiving holiday. 

During the time you are sheltering in place on campus, we urge you to do the following:

  1. Limit close contacts. The safest protocol is to limit all close contacts, wear a face covering, and be physically distant at all times when around other people. The next best approach is to reestablish pods based on those with whom you cohabitate (a hallmark of quarantine or shelter-in-place protocols). This could be your original pod from campus arrival and move in, but may be different if your housing situation has changed since the start of the term. You could be unmasked in the presence of your pod mates. Avoid new close contacts.

    For students with family or friends who are at higher risk or with vulnerable persons at home, you should combine shelter-in-place with masking and physical distancing even within your pod or network to provide an increased degree of protection for your transition home.

    If you’ve developed a set of close contacts outside your pod, we highly encourage you to keep this group of close contacts very small during the shelter-in-place period. Shelter in place is the time to use virtual and technology-based connections for socializing. Ideally, all members of your pod and any other close contacts should shelter in place on the same days. We realize that the end of semester is a temptation for parties, but such social gatherings have been the cause of many of the positive cases in our community.
  2.  Interact virtually. During the shelter-in-place period prior to traveling home, students should only leave their rooms or apartments to attend classes, labs, or clinicals in person; pick up food; exercise safely; study in the library; work when necessary; and shop for essentials and medical needs. Group work for classes and student activities should be held virtually. Although it may vary by campus, the University will close some public spaces that are high risk or difficult to monitor or control, beginning November 12:
University Public Spaces
(availability varies by campus)
Dine-in Campus Dining No
Grab-and-Go Campus Dining Yes
Gyms and Recreation Spaces in Residence Halls No
Campus Recreation Facilities and Campus-wide
Gyms for indoor and outdoor exercise. Reservations required.
University Libraries for studying.
Please check library hours.
Lounges in Residence Halls No
Kitchens in Residence Halls No


Attendance at all non-academic events and activities including home football games is discouraged. 

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Daily Health Check app during all 14 days of the shelter in place.

Shelter-in-Place at home. The best things you can do to keep your loved ones safe when you arrive home are to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and continue to use hand gel or frequently wash your hands for at least four days after you depart campus.

While sheltering in place once you arrive at home, you should do the following for at least four days:

  • Only leave the household for work, medicines, food or emergency situations.
  • Modify your exercise routines by maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet, when possible, or by wearing a face covering when 6 feet of separation is unlikely.      
  • Wear a face covering and maintain a safe physical distance around any household member.
  • Eat separately if members of your household are unable or unwilling to keep a safe distance.

In addition, students should follow state and local guidelines regarding quarantine following travel.

Please note that this advice applies to students who are asymptomatic at the end of the term. If you are symptomatic or in isolation or quarantine at the time that your shelter-in-place period would begin, consult with Student Health Service regarding a plan for your transition home. 

Optional At-Home Testing. In accordance with public health guidelines, we will not conduct mass testing due to the risk of false negatives. However, we understand that some of you are interested in including a testing component as part of your campus departure strategy. To that end, the University is exploring options to make at-home testing available to those students who are interested in being tested before interacting with family and friends without a face covering or physical distance. More details on this program will be provided in the following days.

Those who elect to do this testing should remember that a negative test result a day or two after you arrive home does not prove you do not have the virus in your body. Rather, it may only mean that the virus has not yet reached detectable levels in your nose. Therefore, extra precaution like face coverings and physical distancing should continue through at least the remaining days of your shelter-in-place period.