If You Test Positive or Are Diagnosed With COVID

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and refer to the following FAQs for more information.

I am a faculty or staff member that has tested positive for COVID-19 off-campus. What should I do?
If you tested positive outside of Suffolk’s testing program (e.g., at-home test, off-campus test), please notify your manager and report the details to our COVID-19 Nurse Practitioner that is dedicated to employees, Elizabeth Scanlan.

I am a residential student, but I have not moved back to campus yet. I tested positive off campus. What should I do?
If you are a residential student who has not yet returned to campus, you should stay home until you have completed BOTH your isolation and masking period. An individual can be infectious with COVID-19 for up to 10 days. For this reason, unless you are able to wear a mask 100% of the time when you are with other people and do not share a bedroom, you should not return to campus for 10 full days from the beginning of your symptoms or since your positive test if you had no symptoms at the time you tested positive. The date of symptom onset or positive test (if you had no symptoms) is day 0; return on day 11 if no fever and symptoms are significantly improved.

If you tested positive outside of Suffolk’s testing program (e.g., at-home test, off-campus test), please complete and submit the Positive COVID Test Result form by selecting the forms tab on the CHW student health portal.

Please carefully review and comply with the CDC guidance described in the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

I am a commuter student and face-to-face classes have not yet resumed. I tested positive off campus. What should I do?
If you are a commuter student who has not yet returned to campus, you should stay home until you have completed your initial 5 day isolation period and you meet the CDC criteria to end your isolation. The date of symptom onset or positive test (if you had no symptoms) is day 0; you may come to campus on day 6 if you have no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and your symptoms are significantly improved ONLY IF you wear a KN95 or N95 mask (not a cloth mask) at ALL times for the second 5 days.

If you tested positive outside of Suffolk’s testing program (e.g., at-home test, off-campus test), please complete and submit the Positive COVID Test Result form by selecting the forms tab on the CHW student health portal.

Please carefully review and comply with the CDC guidance described in the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

I am a residential student, currently living on campus, and I have tested positive for COVID.
If you are currently living in a Suffolk residence hall, you should stay in your room to complete your isolation, unless you are able to go home. You must stay out of class and avoid contact with others. See additional questions and answers below.

If you tested positive outside of Suffolk’s testing program (e.g., at-home test, off-campus test), please complete and submit the Positive COVID Test Result form by selecting the forms tab on the CHW student health portal.

Please carefully review and comply with the CDC guidance described in the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

I am a residential student who tested positive, and I have roommates. What should I do?

If you are currently living in a Suffolk residence hall, you should choose to complete your isolation at home OR reach out to your Residence Life staff to request a temporary room reassignment. Each case is handled in collaboration with the CHW clinical team and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Ideally, you should be alone in your room for the duration of your isolation and masking periods (at least 10 full days). Please refer roommates to the information below for close contacts. Roommates should also read the FAQs For Potential Close Contacts

I tested positive. How do I know if I exposed others?
Your infectious period begins two days before your symptoms started or two days before you tested positive, if you had no symptoms at the time of your test. Your infectious period can continue for as long as 10 days from the start of your symptoms or the date of your positive test, if you have no symptoms.

According to the CDC, a close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from you for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (e.g., three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

I tested positive, and I was in close contact with others during my infectious period.
It is your responsibility to alert any close contacts (roommates, family members, friends, etc.) who would have been exposed to you during your infectious period. Send them the information outlined below:

What do I tell my close contacts?
Message for close contacts:

You have been exposed to COVID-19. If you are properly vaccinated, including a booster shot if it has been more than 5 months since your mRNA vaccine or 2 months since your J&J vaccine, you do not need to quarantine. If you have symptoms, however, you should obtain a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. If you do not have symptoms, you should obtain a test 5-7 days after your exposure.

You are expected to quarantine if:

  • it has been more than five months following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna) or two months following vaccination with the J&J vaccine and you have not yet received a COVID-19 booster shot
  • you received a non-WHO approved vaccine in another country and have not received a booster shot with one of the FDA approved vaccines here in the US - you are not vaccinated due to a medical or religious exemption

You must test negative for COVID on/after day 5 before leaving your quarantine in these cases. You must also wear a KN95 or N95 mask (not a cloth mask) at ALL times when around ALL others for an additional 5 full days.

Please carefully review and comply with the CDC guidance described in the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

I am a Suffolk athlete and I tested positive off campus. What should I do?
Please contact your coach and the Suffolk Athletics training staff for additional guidance. Do not return to athletic activities until you have completed your isolation period. (See additional questions and answers below.) The Athletics staff will determine your actual return to play date.

If you tested positive outside of Suffolk’s testing program (e.g., at-home test, off-campus test), please complete and submit the Positive COVID Test Result form by selecting the forms tab on the CHW student health portal.

Please carefully review and comply with the CDC guidance described in the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

I am a student that tested positive for COVID, and I have COVID symptoms.
You are not obligated to report your symptoms to CHW but the team of nurse practitioners is available to provide care in the form of a telehealth appointment during clinic hours: Monday – Friday 9AM to 5PM. Make a same-day appointment at https://studenthealthportal.suffolk.edu. The portal opens up for same-day appointments during the overnight.

If you have concerns about your symptoms at any time, please seek medical advice from your primary care provider’s office or go to an urgent care site. Please call 911 or go to the Emergency Department if you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, high fever (over 102.9F) or any other concerning symptoms.

I am a student and I have COVID symptoms but I have not tested positive. I don’t know if it is COVID.
The team of CHW nurse practitioners is available to provide care in the form of a telehealth appointment during clinic hours: Monday – Friday 9AM to 5PM. Make a same-day appointment at https://studenthealthportal.suffolk.edu. The portal opens up for same-day appointments during the overnight.

If you are a residential student, you should go to your residential test site to conduct an unobserved COVID-19 PCR test and drop it in the box provided. If you are a commuter student, you should obtain testing at the 73 Tremont Amenities Room at any time.

I am a residential student. May I return home for my isolation and masking period?
You may return home for your isolation and masking period, provided you will not use any public mode of transportation (subway, train, plane) AND anyone transporting you is both vaccinated and boosted, or recovered from COVID within the past 90 days. You and the driver should both wear high quality masks and ensure ventilation in the car during the trip.

An individual can be infectious with COVID-19 for up to 10 days. For this reason, unless you are able to wear a mask 100% of the time when you are with other people and do not share a bedroom, you should not move back to campus for 10 full days from the beginning of your symptoms or since your positive test if you had no symptoms at the time you tested positive.

I am a residential student. How do I obtain food during my isolation period?
You should order food from our campus vendor while in isolation. You must wear a KN95 or N95 mask (not a cloth mask) to leave your room to obtain food at the meal delivery site in your residence hall lobby. If you do not own a K95 or N95 mask, you may wear a well-fitting surgical mask to the lobby and pick-up an N95 there, at the same meal delivery site, the first time you pick-up a meal. You must return to your room to eat.

Instructions for ordering meals follows:

“Emergency” Meal Request: Text our Emergency Meal text line (857-763-5518) to request an emergency meal kit that will carry you to the next scheduled delivery. Please include the following information in YOUR FIRST TEXT to our text line:

  • First and Last Name
  • Suffolk University ID number
  • Phone number where you can be reached
  • Resident Hall name and room number
  • Please list any allergies or dietary restrictions

After your initial emergency meal request, your next step is to sign-up using the following link: https://signup.com/go/ORijyGi/

Once logged in, you will be able to place your meal order for the next day. Please fill in all registration information; you must include first and last name. NOTE: Meals are ONLY available for students who are currently in isolation or quarantine.

How do I calculate my isolation period?
You must isolate for at least 5 full days from the beginning of your symptoms (first day of symptoms is day 0; isolation ends on day 6), or since your positive test, if you had no symptoms at the time of your test (date of positive test is day 0; isolation ends on day 6). You may leave isolation after 5 full days ONLY IF 1) any symptoms have resolved or substantially improved AND 2) you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. You must remain in isolation if these conditions are not met.

Should I test during my isolation if I already tested positive?
A test is not required to leave isolation. If you have access to a rapid antigen test near the end of the initial 5 days of isolation, you are welcome to test yourself. Antigen tests will tell you if the viral burden in your body means additional time is isolation is warranted. If your test is positive, you must remain in isolation for an additional 5 days (10 full days of isolation). A PCR test (they type conducted at Suffolk test sites) should not be performed after 5 days. PCR tests are likely to remain positive long after a person is no longer infectious. A negative test of any type does not allow you to leave isolation early.

I tested myself with an at-home test during my isolation, and I am negative. Can I leave isolation?
A negative test does not allow you to leave isolation early. If you have already completed 5 full days of isolation AND you meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation, you may discontinue strict isolation on day 6. Please follow the CDC guidance for strict masking for an additional 5 full days. Note that you may leave isolation after 5 full days ONLY IF 1) any symptoms have resolved or substantially improved AND 2) you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

I have completed my 5-day isolation. Now what?
If you meet the conditions for leaving isolation after 5 full days, the CDC requires that you wear a well-fitting surgical or N95 mask (not a cloth mask) at ALL times when around ALL others FOR AN ADDITIONAL 5 FULL DAYS. Note that you may leave isolation after 5 full days ONLY IF 1) any symptoms have resolved or substantially improved AND 2) you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

I have completed my 5-day masking period. Now what?
Provided you are symptom-free, you may return to normal activities. If you are an athlete, your training staff will guide your return to play.

Please seek medical guidance immediately should you develop any new symptoms over the next 90 days, in particular any difficulty breathing, chest pain, new fevers, swelling of lower extremities, or any other concerning symptom.

When should I start testing again?
PCR tests are likely to remain positive long after a person is no longer infectious. Because you may continue to test positive via PCR tests for up to 90 days, the CDC recommends that you refrain from PCR COVID testing for 90 days. If you are required to test on campus, you will be exempt from testing during this time.

Please seek medical guidance if you develop COVID-like symptoms during your 90-day immunity period. The team of CHW nurse practitioners is available to provide care in the form of a telehealth appointment during clinic hours: Monday – Friday 9AM to 5PM. Make a same-day appointment at https://studenthealthportal.suffolk.edu. The portal opens up for same-day appointments during the overnight.

When can I receive my COVID booster shot?
If you have successfully completed your 5 full days of isolation and 5 full days of masking, and you are feeling well, you may seek a COVID booster when you are eligible. Per the CDC, you are considered eligible for a COVID booster when five months have passed following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna) or two months have passed following vaccination with the J&J vaccine.

In order to avoid the need to quarantine if/when you are exposed to COVID-19, you should obtain a booster shot as soon as you are eligible. Consequences for remaining un-boosted will take effect March 1, 2022.

What should I do if I need to miss classes?
CAS and SBS Students: Please contact your professors to alert them to your absences.  Your professors will determine if your absence is excused and will work with you to make a plan for making up missed work.  The Student Affairs Office does not excuse absences.  However, if you miss classes for a consecutive week or more for a documented extenuating circumstance or have another concern about being absent, please contact a Case Manager in the Student Affairs Office at 617-573-8239 or email Student Affairs to schedule a meeting to see how we might be able to help.

Law Students: Please contact your professors to alert them to your absences.  The Law School attendance policy automatically permits enough absences that should cover a cumulative two weeks out of school for the semester for most classes. If a student exceeds this limit for extraordinary reasons (such as COVID), the policy permits the Dean of Students and professor to determine if there is a way for the student to reasonably make up additional absences. If you are not feeling well or need to be out for another COVID-related reason on the day of an exam, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 617-573-8157 or email. Because of the exam anonymity, you MUST NOT alert your professor(s) to the issue. The Dean of Students Office will assist you. More information can be found in the Exam Postponement Policy