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Isolation and Quarantine Definitions 

While often used interchangeably, the terms “isolation” and “quarantine” refer to two distinct processes that are used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

Isolation separates students, faculty, and staff who either test positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing significant COVID-19 like symptoms from all others. WPI’s isolation protocol will be initiated whenever a student, faculty member, or staff member tests positive – due to symptomatic testing, ongoing routine testing, onboarding testing, or rapid testing.  

Quarantine restricts the movement of students, faculty, and staff who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. WPI’s quarantine protocol will be initiated whenever a student, faculty member, or staff member is identified as a close contact by WPI or a local Board of Health.  If someone in quarantine develops COVID-19-like symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, WPI will initiate its isolation protocols. 

Travel quarantine restricts the movement of students, faculty, and staff who are complying with the CDC travel guidelines. Read about WPI's travel guidelines

Information for Students 

WPI Health Services supports all our students, whether they live on or off campus, and WPI’s Isolation/Quarantine Coordinator will provide support for isolation and quarantining. Students who feel ill should report it in the Symptom Tracker; anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or (if on campus) contact WPI Police at 508-831-5555.     

Students in Isolation 

Students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be advised by the Public Health Team to isolate at home, at their off-campus residence, or at one of the isolation spaces on-campus. Students will remain in isolation until cleared by Health Services or local public health officials in accordance with current CDC guidelines on home isolation.  

Isolation at Off-Campus Residence – Students living off-campus who test positive will isolate in their off-campus residence. Students will be under the care of Health Services, who will check in on students periodically.  Students will have full remote access to their classes.  

Isolation in an Isolation Space on Campus – Students living in the residence halls or fraternity/sorority houses who test positive will isolate in one of the dedicated isolation spaces on campus. The isolation spaces have their own kitchen, bathroom, and in-unit laundry. The Public Health Team will provide isolated students with food delivered through Chartwells, medicine, and other necessary resources and support. Students will be under the care of Health Services, who will check in on students periodically.  

Students in Quarantine 

If you are identified as a close contact, you will be notified and provided with guidance. All close contacts will be tested; there are important distinctions between what would then happen for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated students: 

  • Fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine; they must self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. 
    • Symptomatic students are immediately evaluated and tested. 
    • Non-symptomatic students are tested again 3-5 days post exposure. 
    • Avoid visiting with higher risk friends or family (even fully vaccinated ones) until they know they are not at risk for spreading COVID. 
  • Unvaccinated close contacts must quarantine for at least seven days are test immediately and, if necessary, also test on days four and seven. They are only released from quarantine on day eight if they remain symptom free and have a negative test result. 
    • Symptomatic students are immediately evaluated and tested; they may need to quarantine for up to 14 days, based on healthcare provider assessment, symptom progression, and likely diagnosis. 

Symptomatic employees and students who feel unwell (with fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a cough) should stay in your residence hall or home; and use WPI’s Symptom Tracker. 

Information for Employees

WPI’s Public Health Team will oversee the implementation of isolation and quarantine protocols for employees who want to schedule their return to work. Employees who feel ill should call their healthcare provider or, in an emergency, 911 or WPI Police at 508-831-5555 (if on campus).  

Employees in isolation must remain at home and not return to campus until they have met WPI’s isolation and quarantine protocols and have been cleared to return to work by Reliant Medical. WPI’s isolation and quarantine protocols are based on CDC guidelines.  

Employees who are identified as a close contact will be notified and provided with guidance. All close contacts will be tested; there are important distinctions between what would then happen for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated students: 

  • Fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine; they must self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. 
    • Symptomatic employees should reach out to their PCP for evaluation and testing. 
    • Non-symptomatic employees need to be tested 3-5 days post exposure. Contact the testingcoordinator@wpi.edu for help with testing. 
    • Avoid visiting with higher risk friends or family (even fully vaccinated ones) until they know they are not at risk for spreading COVID. 
  • Unvaccinated close contacts must quarantine for at least seven days and must receive a negative test day 5 or later post exposure. They are only released from quarantine on day eight if they remain symptom free and have a negative test result. 
    • Symptomatic employees should be evaluated by their PCP and tested; they may need to quarantine for up to 14 days, based on healthcare provider assessment, symptom progression, and likely diagnosis. 

Employees are advised to contact their healthcare provider or Tufts Virtual Health Services (for Tufts Health Plan members) upon receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or being informed that they are a close contact. 

WPI Health Services supports all our students, whether they live on or off campus, and will provide support for isolation and quarantining. Students who feel ill should call Health Services at 508-831-5520 between 8:30am-4:30pm weekdays.  After hours or on weekends should call 508-334-8830. In an emergency, 911 or WPI Police at 508-831-5555.  

Additional adjustments to our operations may be needed based on updated guidance and public health trends. We recommend you check back regularly for the latest updates.