Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide

Cal Poly is here to support students who have received a positive COVID-19 test, who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms or has the virus.

The university has created a plan and support team to guide students who need to quarantine, quarantine in place, or isolate to help ensure they don’t spread the virus to others.

As our response to the pandemic continues to evolve, please continue to check back for any updates to this support guide.

Monitor Yourself for Symptoms

We are asking all students to monitor their health. Take your temperature twice daily and stay home if you feel sick. Wear a face covering when outside your home and when around others who are not from your household. If you think you have COVID-19, call Health Services at 805-756-1211 for further instruction.

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Current and enrolled students will be able to access COVID-19 diagnostic testing at Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) free of charge, which will perform in-house viral testing of symptomatic students and close contacts if indicated.

Current and enrolled students who are symptomatic will be directed to self-quarantine in their rooms while an appointment is scheduled for viral testing with CHW.

What is Quarantine and Isolation?

Quarantine and isolation are two ways to prevent transmission of COVID-19 from one individual to another. Quarantine is a precautionary measure that keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. Isolation separates those who have COVID-19 from others.

If you are in quarantine or isolation, you should monitor your health and seek medical attention if your condition worsens or if you need help.

Testing Compliance Notification 

Students must follow CDC guidelines to test on days 5 and 9 of quarantine or quarantine-in-place to remain in compliance with the university’s Testing Compliance Program. Students placed in quarantine or quarantine-in-place will receive a letter with instructions from the Isolation and Quarantine Support Team to schedule tests at the Cal Poly Health Center. 

Non-compliant students will lose access to over 200 Cal Poly Technology applications, including portal access, email/Office 365, Canvas, Zoom for virtual classes, and all other services requiring Cal Poly login. In addition, access to some facilities and services will be restricted based upon the status of your daily campus pass

For additional information, including on- and off-campus testing options, verification requirements for off-campus tests, regaining access to SSO and more, visit the Testing Compliance page

Quarantine

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must self-quarantine for 14 days by county health order. Call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211 and a provider will discuss your situation. You may be asked to take a COVID-19 test. If you are required to participate in Cal Poly's ongoing testing program, do not test at the Performing Arts Center or Poly Canyon Village during this time.

Students who are already vaccinated do not need to QIP or quarantine. (An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of the vaccine.) Students need to email IQST at iqst@calpoly.edu and share the dates of when they got vaccinated and the type of vaccine. Students still need to monitor themselves for 14 days for any symptoms.

If you live on campus

You will receive regular communications to assess your symptoms. You are also encouraged to call IQ Support at 805-242-3204 or the Health Center at any time if you have any concerns. A member of the university support team will contact you to coordinate your needs during the 14-day period. You may be moved to a separate room or apartment to quarantine.

Support provided to students in quarantine on campus

  • IT support: Provided virtually through the Student Affairs Technology group. Go to the UH website and submit a help request for support.
  • Laundry: Service will be provided by Kare Team Cleaning Service, a local family owned business. Please contact University Housing for any further support at housingiqsupport@calpoly.edu.
  • Self-cleaning: Supplies and directions for cleaning will be provided. Students should leave their trash outside their door for Kare Team to pick up. University Housing will share the exact time and date of pick up.
  • Campus Dining is committed to providing nutritional meals and food for all students living on campus who are in isolation or quarantine. Each student will have a menu of meal options to choose from, including vegan and vegetarian dishes. 
    • In order to accommodate a variety of dietary needs, students in isolation and quarantine will complete a form to determine their meal choices and submit it by 3 p.m. each day so their selections can be prepared for delivery the following day. Lunch, dinner and a cold breakfast for the next day will be delivered to their door between 12-1 p.m. We are dedicated to doing our part to help students get back to their studies.
  • Medication: Students will be responsible for coordinating the delivery of personal medications. An exception may be made on a case-by-case basis.   

Students on or off campus in quarantine should:

  • Stay in your room/apartment. Do not leave for any reason, including to attend in-person class or work.
  • If you have in-person classes, contact your faculty member to make alternate arrangements.
  • Avoid contact with other people, and wear a face covering in shared spaces, such as a shared restroom, at all times.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Self-monitor body temperature and overall health and wellness.
  • Stay in close contact with and follow the advice of a health care provider, the university and/or local public health officials.
  • Call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211 if changes occur to your overall health and well-being during the 14-day period, especially if you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
  • After the quarantine period ends, resume testing through Cal Poly's ongoing testing program.

Quarantine in Place

In the event of possible exposures in University Housing facilities, the university can, as a precaution, place floors, sections of buildings or apartments on “Quarantine in Place” in consultation with San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health. Based on evolving public health conditions and in order to support campus access to as many on-campus residents as possible to in-person classes, student employment and campus services, Cal Poly's Campus Health and Wellbeing, University Housing and the Isolation and Quarantine Support Team (IQST) are adjusting QIP procedures for spring 2021.

Rather than put all residents of a residence hall floor in QIP, students who test positive will attest to their close contacts to minimize the number of students who are required to QIP to those with significant exposure to the positive individual. This student-centric protocol has been approved by San Luis Obispo County Public Health and was developed in concert with student feedback to support equitability to all campus residents.

Students who are already vaccinated do not need to QIP or quarantine. (An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of the vaccine.) Students need to email IQST at iqst@calpoly.edu and share the dates of when they got vaccinated and the type of vaccine. Students still need to monitor themselves for 14 days for any symptoms. Continue participating in ongoing testing to fulfill the Cal Poly testing compliance program requirements.

If you live on campus and are directed to quarantine in place

  • All residences who are in QIP will be asked to test on day 5 and day 9. QIP students will continue get nasal swab testing at CHW before 11 a.m. on weekdays. Do not participate in saliva testing at the PAC or PCV.
    • On day 10, if IQST does not have day 9 test results, the residents on QIP will not be released from QIP
  • Residence halls
    • Per the San Luis Obispo County Health Department, residence halls floors will only be put in quarantine in place if there is three or more positive cases within a rolling 14-day period on the floor. Once there are three or more positive cases and the trend doesn't stop, CHW and IQST would discuss the next step of potentially quarantining the whole floor in isolation apartments for 10 days.
  • Apartments
    • Any residents living in apartments during spring quarter on campus will continue to abide by same process as winter quarter — if anyone in their apartment tests positive, the whole apartment will be placed on QIP. 
    • Apartment-mates are considered close contacts due to the nature of their close living proximity and kitchen/bathroom sharing.
    • As spring quarter evolves and students have greater access to vaccines this process will be revisited.
  • During quarantine in place, students in the affected areas are asked to stay in their rooms with their doors closed as much as possible. This includes not attending in-person classes or workplaces. Students may — while wearing a face covering — leave their rooms briefly for food and mail pickup or essential supplies, to obtain healthcare, to take out trash, to use common bathroom facilities, or to walk or sit by themselves, away from others.  
  • Students attending in-person classes who are asked to quarantine in place are directed to connect as soon as possible with their faculty members to discuss accommodations.
  • Resume testing through Cal Poly's ongoing testing program after the quarantine-in-place period ends.

Support provided to students who are directed to quarantine in place

  • The university will stay in contact with students to provide support and coordination for housing and health education, as well as provide regular mental and physical health checks for the students in on-campus isolation or quarantine.
  • Faculty may be contacted as needed to provide accommodations to students in isolation or quarantine.
  • The university will test affected students for COVID-19 twice during the quarantine period, at dates specified by the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health.

Isolation

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be directed by county health order to separate yourself from others who are not sick by self-isolating for at least 10 days. Per the CDC, you can be around others if it has been at least 10 days since your symptoms first appeared, you haven’t had a fever in at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and your symptoms have improved.

If you receive a positive COVID-19 test and live on campus

  • A representative from Campus Health and Wellbeing will contact you with further instructions.
  • You will be moved to a designated isolation space on or off campus.
  • A member of the university support team will contact you to arrange your move and will coordinate your move back to your apartment or residence hall once you are cleared to return.
  • You will receive regular communications to assess your symptoms. Call Health Services at 805-756-1211 at any time if you have any concerns. 
  • If you have in-person classes, contact your faculty member to make alternate arrangements.
  • Isolation ends when you are released from isolation by the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.
  • Students who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to participate in ongoing testing. Resume testing after the 90-day period ends.

Support provided to students in isolation on campus

  • IT support: Provided virtually through the Student Affairs Technology group. Go to the UH website and submit a help request for support.
  • Laundry: Service will be provided by Kare Teem Cleaning Service, a local family owned business.
  • Self-cleaning: Supplies and directions for cleaning will be provided. Students should leave their trash outside their door for custodial services to pick up
  • Campus Dining is committed to providing nutritional meals and food for all students living on campus who are in isolation or quarantine. Each student will have a menu of meal options to choose from, including vegan and vegetarian dishes. 
    • In order to accommodate a variety of dietary needs, students in isolation and quarantine will complete a form to determine their meal choices and submit it by 3 p.m. each day so their selections can be prepared for delivery the following day. Lunch, dinner and a cold breakfast for the next day will be delivered to their door between 12-1 p.m. We are dedicated to doing our part to help students get back to their studies.
  • Medication: Students will be responsible for coordinating the delivery of personal medications. An exception may be made on a case-by-case basis.   

If you have any questions, email iqst@calpoly.edu.

If you receive a positive COVID-19 test and live off campus

  • Off-campus students should expect to quarantine or isolate at home. You will be directed to self-isolate in your home/room for at least 10 days by county health order.
  • If you do not have a place to isolate, let the county public health official know or contact the Dean of Students office.
  • If you have in-person classes, contact your faculty member to make alternate arrangements.
  • Stay in your home/room and avoid contact with other people. You should remain in isolation for at least 10 days. Do not leave for any reason, including to attend in-person class or work.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Self-monitor your temperature and overall health and wellness. Call Health Services at 805-756-1211 if any changes occur to your overall health and well-being.
  • Seek medical care immediately if your condition worsens, if you have difficulty breathing, or other health concerns.

Contact Tracing and Notifications

  • Students who test positive will receive a letter with instructions on how to notify others correctly. You are directed to notify your close contacts. Who is a close contact? People you:
    • Have been around for more than 15 minutes.
    • Have been closer than 6 feet from each other.
    • Have seen within the last two days regardless of your symptoms.
    • Have been around with or without mask.
  • When reaching out to your close contacts, share the following:
    • I have tested positive for a communicable disease.
    • You are being directed to quarantine in place (QIP) for 10 days.
    • You must contact Isolation and Quarantine Support Team at iqst@calpoly.edu for next steps.
    • Share the Cal Poly Isolation and Quarantine Support Guidelines for more information while they wait for a response from the Isolation and Quarantine Support Team.
  • If you do not feel comfortable telling your close contact that you have tested positive for COVID-19 fill out this form for a local contact tracer.

What to Bring

If you are living on campus and asked to move to an isolation or quarantine room on campus, you will have time to pack necessary items. Bring only what you need for up to 14 days, leave most of your belongings in your permanent room. These could include:

  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Identification cards
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Thermometer and fever-reducing medications
  • Personal care items (e.g., feminine hygiene products)
  • Cell phone, and/or tablet, and/or laptop, plus chargers
  • School materials (e.g. textbooks, notebooks, etc.) needed to continue classwork
  • Pet and pet supplies for students with preapproved Emotional Support Animals & Service Animals

Once you leave your room no one will be able to re-enter — please pack accordingly. 

Learn more about University Housing support for students in isolation and quarantine.

Support

Students are encouraged to reach out to the following Cal Poly supportive services to help their transition into quarantine or isolation.

Campus Health and Wellbeing

Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) has a 24/7 after-hours nurse advice line to discuss any health-related concerns privately and confidentially.

CHW has Peer Wellness Coaching available Monday through Friday to offer support and connection. Please attend one of the open Zoom rooms to connect with a Cal Poly peer.

  • Call-ins: call or text 805-242-6322, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.
  • Zoom Room: Tuesday and Thursday, between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m, Zoom Room (99165022742)
  • Virtual Meetings: Contact Wellbeing@calpoly.edu (subject line: Connect & Support)

Counseling Services

Counseling Services remains committed to supporting the well-being of all students during these challenging times. The full range of services is has been transitioned to a virtual format. Visit the Counseling website for more information or call to schedule an appointment.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

How the DRC Can Help
The DRC is available to explore accommodations for students who are COVID-19 positive and having challenges with progressing in their coursework. Examples of possible accommodations include excused absences, note taking support, extended testing time, make-up exams and extended due dates.

DRC assistance is also available for students with disability related needs in the area of interacting with others or managing day to day life activities.

If you're quarantined and experiencing challenges with receiving accommodations from an instructor, the DRC can help you navigate those conversations.

DRC Contact Information

Academic Advising

First-year students with academic questions and concerns should contact the Mustang Success Center, which includes virtual drop-in advising.

Continuing students and incoming transfer students should contact their college advising center for virtual advising.

Advising Websites

If you have any questions, email the Isolation and Quarantine support team at iqst@calpoly.edu or call 805-242-3204 between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Travel Guidance for Students in Isolation or Quarantine 

The university has a robust plan in place as our campus transitions for the academic break. If you have COVID-19 or have been quarantined by county health officials and haven’t been cleared prior to your departure, do not travel home. We strongly recommend students remain in their current residential location if they are under a county public health order to isolate or quarantine.

Can I travel if I'm on county-mandated orders?

If a student in on-campus isolation insists on traveling home, they must make a telehealth appointment with a medical provider at Campus Health and Wellbeing to discuss the risks. 

Any student on a county-mandated order must further comply with the following: 

  • Absolutely no travel using public transportation (bus, train, airplane, ride-share, Uber, etc.).
  • Travel only via private car with no stops and no other passengers.
  • Family may transport the student if they are aware and accept the increased risk. 
  • Student must isolate and quarantine at their destination (private room and private bathroom).
  • Must accept responsibility of increased infectious risk to family, destination occupants. 
  • Adhere strictly to public health guidelines (wear mask, physical distance, etc.).

​For additional travel guidelines, please visit the Travel and Study Abroad page.

Expectations: On Campus and in San Luis Obispo County

During the school year, all students and their supporters must comply with local public health recommendations in all circumstances to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes on-campus and off-campus activities. Local public health recommendations include:

  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when in public.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Avoid in-person gatherings with people who don’t live with you.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

The university also expects students to comply with the safety enhancement zone established by the city of San Luis Obispo.

It is critical for the health and safety of our campus community that everyone follows all COVID-19 related protocols, including physical distancing, proper wearing of face coverings, and following local ordinances related to gatherings.

All students are expected to comply with these protocols.

Failure to follow the campus protocols will result in student conduct action, which could include suspension or expulsion. More information can be found on the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

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