If You Test Positive or Are Diagnosed With COVID

Updated September 1, 2022

COVID-19 Testing at Suffolk - Fall 2022

COVID-19 PCR testing is available to students through CHW by appointment. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and isolate yourself from others, except to seek medical care or testing. For in-person medical evaluation, please book an in-person medical appointment through the student health portal. Telehealth appointments are also available. If you have questions about COVID-19 or want to schedule a test without in-person medical evaluation, please book a medical telehealth appointment for “COVID Concern” to connect via Zoom with a CHW nurse practitioner. While students may request COVID-19 PCR testing through CHW for travel, CHW is unable to guarantee a specific turnaround time for results, as there can occasionally be test result delays through the lab or a specimen might be deemed inadequate. Please have a back-up testing plan in place for travel, in case your test is not processed in time for your travel plans.
Employees should access testing through their health care provider, a local testing site, or by using a rapid antigen/at-home test.

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. 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 student and I tested positive. What should I do?
The team of nurse practitioners at CHW is available to provide care via either an in-person or a telehealth appointment during clinic hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Make an appointment through the student health portal.

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.

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 link below. 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 are a commuter student, you should stay home until you have completed your initial 5 day isolation period and you meet the CDC criteria to end your isolation.

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. 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 Individuals Who Are Exposed to COVID-19. In cases in which students share a residential space, both the infected individual and the non-infected roommate are advised to wear well-fitting, high quality masks at all times while occupying shared spaces.

You must stay out of class and avoid contact with others. During isolation, both on and off campus, students should only leave their home for medical appointments or to obtain food/essential items.
Students – both those who are infected and those who share a residential space with an infected individual – are encouraged to make a “COVID Concern” telehealth appointment with a CHW Nurse Practitioner to have their questions answered, to obtain medical advice, and to reach a clear understanding of the public health guidance related to COVID-19. Appointments can be made in advance and same-day through the student health portal.

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.

The CDC has historically defined a close contact as 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?
An example of what to say to your close contacts:

“Hi. I need to talk to you about something important. Do you have a few minutes to talk privately? I was diagnosed with COVID-19 (or tested positive) on [xxx date]. We spent time together on [xxx date], and I wanted to let you know, so that you can follow recommendations to monitor for symptoms, get tested at the appropriate times, and wear a mask to protect those around you. ”

Here are webpages with important information for close contacts:

CDC protocols
Suffolk protocols

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. 

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.

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 well-fitting N95 or KN95 mask to leave your room to obtain food at the meal delivery site in your dorm lobby. KN95 masks are available upon request at the security desk of each Suffolk building and residence hall. 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.

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.

I have completed my 5-day isolation. Now what?
After you have completed at least 5 full days of isolation, when you are feeling better (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms improving),

  • Continue wearing your well-fitting mask around ALL OTHERS through day 10. N95 or KN95 masks are preferred, as they offer better protection than other types of face coverings . KN95 masks are available upon request at the security desk of each Suffolk building and residence hall.

OR

  • If you have access to antigen tests, you should consider using them. With two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10.

Note: If your antigen test results are positive, you may still be infectious. You should continue wearing a mask and wait at least 48 hours before taking another test. Continue taking antigen tests at least 48 hours apart until you have two sequential negative results. This may mean you need to continue wearing a mask and testing beyond day 10.

I have completed my 5-day masking period following COVID-19 isolation. Now what?
Provided you are symptom-free, you may return to normal activities.

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 during clinic hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Make an appointment through the student health portal.

When can I receive my COVID booster shot?
If you have successfully completed your 5 full days of isolation and masking period, 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.

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

What if I have more questions or concerns?
CHW nurse practitioners are available for in-person and telehealth appointments Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Make an appointment through the student health portal.