Campus Residents & COVID-19
Here’s what to expect when a student resident tests positive for COVID-19 while living in on-campus housing.
Changes to COVID-19 Response Effective Winter Quarter 2023
Since the initial shelter-in-place directives of 2020, with the partnership of several strategic campus teams, Housing Services has remained open and has successfully maintained a COVID-19 response program that has kept positivity rates low while providing a quality housing program for students living on campus. Just as we have pivoted and adjusted with each phase of the pandemic, we are again advancing our approach to COVID-19, influenced by the following facts:
- Widespread adoption of related vaccines and boosters
- Significantly reduced positivity rates
- Significantly increased community immunity levels
- Virus mutations associated with milder illness
As we enter our fourth Winter Quarter impacted by COVID-19, student residents who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be placed in isolation housing. Rather, they will isolate in their campus housing room or, of course, they can choose to return home for the necessary quarantine period. The isolation-in-place strategy is one that other UC campuses have already adopted or will soon be adopting. At least one campus opened for the fall using this approach and has seen low transmission rates between roommates. It is important to keep in mind that campus housing residents who become sick with other illnesses, such as the flu or a cold, usually remain in shared rooms with their roommate(s) while recovering.
Given the facts enumerated above and the apparent success of in-room isolation at other campuses thus far, we have confidence in this adjusted strategy. In consideration of this decision, we also consulted with and have approval from campus Environmental Health and Safety, the campus’ chief physician, and campus leadership.
We will continue to provide resource contacts and information about how to isolate and the steps to take to mitigate risk to others. Mitigation measures include:
- Wearing a high-quality face covering at all times when around others (i.e. double layer surgical, N95, KN95, or KF94). This includes while in room if others are present, in hallways, stairwells, and in the bathroom.
- Getting meals to-go from the residential restaurants or a third party food delivery service, and not eating inside with other students.
- Not attending classes, labs, work, or other events or activities.
Roommates at high risk of severe disease (per CDC criteria) can speak with a Housing Services representative about relocating to a temporary space until the infectious period of their roommate is over.
Housing Services and our partners will continue to provide appropriate cleaning/sanitizing practices in our communities, as well as access to sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and high quality face coverings.
With the above measures in place, as well as the standing vaccine and booster mandate for all students, we are in a place where residents isolating in their rooms presents a significantly reduced risk to others. We are well-positioned to continue to serve our current residents, as well as operate at the high levels being demanded by the changing pandemic climate.
If you have questions about our isolation program, please don't hesitate to email us.
What Do I Do If I Test Positive?
- All students who test positive must report their result to the University.
- If you test positive using an at-home antigen test, please report your result in the COVID Screening Check.
- If you receive a positive result through a campus-administered test, the result will be automatically reported.
A campus representative will reach out by email within 24 hours with further details about isolation protocol.
- Isolate-in-place by staying in your room unless you need to go to the bathroom, get food, or evacuate for a building emergency.
Wear a high quality face covering (i.e. double surgical mask, N95, KN95, or KF94) at all times when you must leave your room or be around others.
Guests are not permitted in your room. Only roommates may be in a room with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- You are strongly encouraged to share the news with your roommate(s) and other close contacts, so that everyone can take appropriate precautions.
A close contact is anyone who was in the same room (indoors) or vehicle with you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during your infectious period. The infectious period for COVID-19 starts two days before your symptoms appear (or two days before your positive test if you did not have symptoms) and continues until the end of your isolation.
How Do I Get Help?
Students who have severe symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, or a fever lasting more than three days) should seek help immediately by calling 911.
For milder symptoms, please stay home and rest. Students who are unvaccinated, or at high risk of severe disease, may benefit from a prompt prescription of Paxlovid or other medication, but a clinical visit is not required.
Students with COVID-19 who have questions or concerns about their health, and/or think they qualify for Paxlovid, can contact the Student Health Services Nurse Line 24/7 at (877) 351-3457. Students can also log into their patient portal or call (951) 827-3031 to schedule a telehealth appointment. If the clinician feels you need to come in for care, they will facilitate an in-person appointment for you.
How Do I Isolate-in-Place?
- Distance yourself from others as much as possible. When you are in your room, keep the windows open if outdoor conditions allow, and keep the room door closed.
- You must wear a face covering if leaving your room or the building. If leaving the building, it is preferable to take the stairs.
You are permitted to briefly leave your room for the following reasons:
- To use the bathroom. If possible, avoid high-traffic times and wash your hands as you enter and exit. Always keep your mask on unless you are brushing your teeth or taking a brief shower.
- To pick up food. You must be masked at all times. You may request a to-go/sick meal for pick-up at a residential restaurant or may pick up a food delivery outside of your community after food is delivered by an off-campus restaurant or delivery service. You may eat your meal outside or in your room, but not inside any dining locations, indoor public space, or another student's room. If others eat outside with you, you should maintain physical distance. Do not eat in high traffic areas.
- To use laundry facilities. Use the laundry facilities in your building only when absolutely necessary, and try to avoid peak times.
- To attend a medical appointment.
- To go outside for fresh air or a walk. Please wear a mask. Sit outside, away from others to get fresh air. Go for a walk alone.
- If there is a building emergency.
The following are not permitted while you isolate-in-place:
If you are found doing any of the following activities during your isolation period, it will likely constitute a violation of the residential Conduct Policy and the UCR Code of Student Conduct.
- Go to in-person classes, labs, or workplaces
- Enter any campus building (excluding your residence hall, apartment building, or Student Health Services for timely or essential care)
- Be with others in groups.
- Attend group events such as religious services, outdoor concerts, or other gatherings that bring people together.
- Utilize any common areas in your residential building, including, but not limited to, fitness rooms, recreation facilities, lounges, kitchens, or study areas.
- Use public transport/rideshare services.
How Long Must I Isolate and When Can I Officially End Isolation?
Per public health orders, if you have COVID-19 isolation is required for up to ten (10) days regardless of vaccination status. However, you may be able to release early if you test negative.
Standard isolation is 10 days. You are most infectious until day five (inclusive) of symptoms. Day 6-10, you may be able to leave “isolation” early if your symptoms are resolved and you test negative with a home antigen test. However, you must still wear a mask until day 11. (Please note that this is uncommon. Most people stay positive until at least day 7-8.)
To request early release from isolation after day five, contact Student Health Services for more instruction.
The infectious period for COVID-19 starts two days before your symptoms appear (or two days before your positive test if you did not have symptoms) and continues until the end of your isolation.
Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask at all times for the entire infectious period. Your mask should be on at all times in your room, unless you do not have a roommate. Ask a friend to obtain KN95/N95/KF94 masks for you at your Resident Services Office (RSO), if necessary.
Keep your door to your room closed and windows open as much as possible.
What Do I Do If My Roommate Tests Positive?
- Indoor masking is no longer required, but it is highly encouraged if your roommate tests positive.
- You must monitor for symptoms and strictly adhere to campus COVID-19 precautions for 10 days from your last exposure.
- If you are asymptomatic, you do not need to quarantine, regardless of your vaccination status. Instead, get tested 3-5 days after exposure, monitor your symptoms, and wear a face covering to help protect yourself and others.
- If you develop symptoms, schedule a symptomatic testing appointment with Student Health Services.
- If you are at high risk of severe disease, you may request a temporary move to an alternative housing location for the duration of your roommate’s infectious period.
- If you witness a violation of the isolation protocols or the residential Conduct Policy, you are encouraged to either report this information to your RA or send an email to email@example.com with identifying information. Residential Life staff will then submit a conduct report on your behalf. Reporting what you witness will help protect your fellow students and our community. After all, we are all in this together.
How Do I Get Food While in Isolation?
If you have a Dining Plan:
- Request a to-go/sick meal online for any scheduled meal period.
- You will be allowed to leave your room to retrieve a pre-requested to-go meal at the Lothian Residential Restaurant.
- You are required to wear a mask when entering the residential restaurant.
- Tell the cashier that you requested the to-go/sick meal option online.
- Swipe in as you normally would.
- You may not dine within the facility.
- You may eat outside or return to your room.
If you do not have a Dining Plan:
- You may wear a mask and pick up a food delivery outside of your community after food is delivered by an off-campus restaurant or delivery service.
- Utilize the usual food storage and prep areas of your apartment.
- Partner with your apartment-mate(s) to create staggered meal times.
- Wear a mask while in the kitchen area.
- Eat your meal outside or go back to your room. Do not eat inside any dining locations, indoor public space, or another student's room. If others eat outside with you, you should maintain physical distance. Do not eat in high traffic areas.