We know this is a challenging time with complex circumstances. The university is committed to helping you through this time. Needing to temporarily isolate may be disappointing or cause some anxiety, but please know that our utmost concern is for your health and safety and that of the entire campus community. We are here to support you in the best ways possible. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the entire isolation process.
What Is Isolation?
Isolation is a public health strategy used to separate people who are expected to be infected with the virus from those who are not. Isolation reduces the spread of the virus and helps keep the rest of the community healthy.
How Long Is Isolation?
The amount of time each person spends in isolation may vary. To end isolation, UNL requires all three of the following criteria below be met. UNMC students may have different guidance to follow.
- Five full days have passed since the date your positive test was administered. Day 0 is the day you tested positive and day 6 is the soonest you can end isolation.
- Your temperature has been less than 100.4 (no fever) for the last 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 should all be gone or getting better
A repeat COVID-19 test is not needed to stop isolation, unless directed by your medical provider. If you meet criteria to end isolation after day 5, it is critical that you wear a mask at all times unless alone in a room until the end of 10 days after you tested positive.
If you reside in a congregate setting (residence hall or fraternity/sorority chapter facility) you should continue to isolate through day 10 per CDC guidance. If you are fever-free on day 6, you can begin to attend in-person class and work, but must return to isolation, especially to sleep and eat.
If you were asymptomatic when you tested positive and then develop symptoms while isolating, your isolation period starts over. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms.
After testing positive you should not get another PCR test (including UNL’s saliva testing) for 90 days unless directed by a medical provider, or you develop symptoms that could indicate a new infection later in the 90 days. A negative test is not required to end isolation. A negative test result after your positive PCR test will not change your need to isolate or shorten the isolation period.
Where to Isolate
The university will provide isolation housing at no additional cost to students who need it. Students who have tested positive and need a place to isolate should call 402-472-1717 to arrange for isolation housing. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who are trying to determine where to isolate, should consider the following factors.
- Will you have a separate space—a bedroom and a bathroom where only you can access without traveling through common spaces?
- Are your main caregivers NOT at high risk from COVID-19, meaning those not over age sixty or with underlying health issues?
- Can you limit physical contact with others (i.e., not allowing visitors who don’t have an essential need to be there)?
- Can you avoid using shared dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items?
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you should contact on-campus isolation housing.
What to Pack
If you need to isolate, here are some suggestions for supplies you might need to take with you.
- Self-care medications and items: Talk to your health provider about fever/pain reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). You may want throat lozenges or cough drops and should plan to bring a thermometer too.
- Prescription medications: Be sure to pack several days’ worth of prescription medications you might need.
- Comfort Food: Pack your favorite comfort snacks and drinks. The university will ensure meals are delivered to those isolating on campus, but sometimes your favorite snacks can provide comfort. Off-campus students should be knowledgeable about to how to order food delivery from the local grocery store.
- Comfortable Clothes: Pack a few days’ worth of comfortable clothes.
- Hygiene Supplies: Pack shampoos, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, lotion, etc.
- Face Coverings
- Phone Charger
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Laptop & Charger
- Any course materials such as textbooks, notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc.
How to Isolate (off-campus)
While in isolation, please follow these expectations:
- Stay in a separate room from other household members.
- Use a separate bathroom. If that’s not possible, you must thoroughly disinfect all surfaces after each use.
- Avoid contact with household members, friends, family, partners, and pets.
- Do not share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Wear a mask any time you are not alone.
- If your living unit includes a private outdoor space like a yard or balcony, you may go outside only if you can be assured that you’ll be alone.
- Finally, while it is important that you are physically distanced from others right now, it is equally important that you not be socially isolated. Stay virtually connected with friends and family via phone, text, email, video calls, and social media. You also can join numerous digital communities and events.
How to Self-Monitor
During isolation it is very important that you self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms including fever (100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or higher, measured twice a day) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
If any of these symptoms worsen, you should contact the University Health Center (UHC) at 402-472-5000 or other medical provider for immediate consultation. Be aware of emergency warning signs (trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face) and speak with a medical provider immediately if you are experiencing these signs. In the event of an emergency, call 911.
Student Support Resources
Counseling and Psychological Services | 402-472-7450
CAPS is available to provide mental health resources and counseling services.
Trained peers are here to help offer support. Schedule a Zoom appointment online.