Isolation, Quarantine, Contact Tracing FAQ

Students who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 will be isolated until they are determined to no longer be contagious based on CDC criteria. SUNY System recommends that students who test positive be sent home, unless they are not able to travel home or do not feel safe returning home. If a student is unable to travel home or they do not feel safe returning home, SUNY Fredonia has made arrangements for on-campus students by setting aside distinct spaces that can provide single rooms with private bathrooms and a refrigerator for food supplies, and infected students will be isolated in these spaces.

Students living on campus who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be instructed to quarantine in one of these private rooms until the CDC criteria for quarantine after exposure have been met (14 days). These students who are in isolation or in quarantine AND are living on campus will have meals delivered to them. 

Students in quarantine will be required to continue daily symptom screening. Students who develop symptoms while in quarantine will be contacted by the Student Health Center to discuss their symptoms and connect them with appropriate medical evaluation.

Students in isolation (confirmed to have COVID-19) will be contacted daily by the Student Health Center for symptom monitoring and support; additional medical intervention will take place as needed. 

Off-campus students confirmed with or exposed to COVID-19, will be directed to isolate or quarantine at home or in their off-campus dwellings.

Students in quarantine are expected to continue their studies, and to bring materials with them that will allow them to do their work remotely. Faculty have been asked to provide students who are in quarantine with coursework necessary so that they can stay on track in their courses. 

When someone is told to quarantine, it may be because they have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (or to satisfy a travel requirement). If your roommate is quarantining, that does not mean that you must, also; however, you and others sharing the living space should practice physical distancing and wear a face covering. You should also monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Contact the Student Health Center at 716-673-3131 with questions or if you develop any symptoms.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop symptoms, you should contact the Student Health Center (716-673-3131) or your primary care physician if you are not living in the SUNY Fredonia area. It is important that you call before going to any healthcare facility to describe your symptoms and how you may have been exposed. Visit the CDC website to learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19.

Students should immediately notify the Student Health Center of any positive COVID-19 test results or of orders to quarantine by any health department or medical provider. If this occurs after normal business hours, contact University Police, 716-673-3333. 

Students who are awaiting test results should follow the directives of the provider who administered the test. See CDC recommendations for 3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Result for additional guidance.

The goal in contact tracing is to find individuals who have been exposed to a case of COVID-19 and separate them from others that they might infect if they develop COVID-19.

Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are isolated from others until their symptoms resolve and their risk of infecting others has gone – usually at least 10 days; if they have no symptoms, this 10 days would be from the time they had a positive test.

Individuals who are exposed to a person with COVID-19 are quarantined for the period of time felt by public health experts to be the length of time most people will develop COVID-19 if exposed (14 days). Because individuals can have COVID-19 without symptoms, it is important for the individuals who have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19 to remain separated (“quarantined”) from others until the time has passed when they would no longer be considered at risk.

Students who are suspected to have or are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be isolated. Their personal identifying information (name, location, etc) will not be provided by the University or the Student Health Center. Any close contacts will be identified, contacted, and provided guidance on what to do concerning the exposure.

Also, as of 09/05/2020, if, through contact tracing, it is identified that a student who has tested positive attended a class that lasted longer than 60 minutes, the Chautauqua County Health Department will notify the campus. The faculty member will be notified by ESS, asked to verify that students who attended that day wore masks and were physically distanced, and asked to share a letter from the Chautauqua County Health Department (CCHD) with all class attendees. The CCHD letter asks for all class participants to monitor their symptoms and to keep a temperature log. If a class participant notes any new symptoms or an elevated temperature, they should contact the Student Health Center (students) or their primary care physician (faculty). 

The CDC and the Department of Health define a close contact as having been closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer to someone who has COVID-19 during the time they are contagious (infectious). Individuals are contagious 2 days before they develop symptoms through at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Close contact also includes fewer than 15 minutes if there is intimate contact (kissing, hugging, etc.) or contact with secretions (being coughed on, etc.).

The Student Health Center at Fredonia works with the Chautauqua County Health Department and the individual student who has been found to be positive for COVID to determine where they were, and who they were in direct contact with two days prior to their onset of symptoms, up to and including the date in which they are found to be positive for COVID. 

This contact tracing does include their classes, but looks at the duration of time, the distance from others (6ft or less) as well as if the individual had a mask in place. It is a thorough process. Those individuals who are found to have had direct contact with the individual are then contacted by the Chautauqua County Health Department to inform the individual about their need to quarantine.


If someone in a classroom tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone has maintained the 6 feet or more of distance, and there was no close contact (closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer), no one in the classroom would need to quarantine. If, however, someone did spend 15 minutes or longer at fewer than 6 feet, they would need to quarantine. 


Per the CDC, If you have been around someone who was identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, closely monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. You do not need to self-quarantine unless you develop symptoms or if the person identified as a close contact develops COVID-19.

The use of a cloth face covering or mask does not eliminate the need for quarantine if someone meets CDC criteria for close contact (closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) as the way individuals wear masks may not be protective enough. The likelihood of becoming infected, however, is less than if no mask was worn.

State and county health departments do not allow a negative COVID-19 test to replace the need for quarantine. Individuals can develop infection and become contagious during the first 14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Tests for COVID-19 try to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVD-19. Depending on the timing of the test, and other factors, testing may miss someone who is infected with the virus. Releasing from quarantine early would increase the risk of that individual spreading infection to others in the community.

The true purpose of testing after an exposure to identify those individuals who are infected, but may not develop symptoms. If their test is positive, then we would begin contact tracing individuals who they may have exposed to further reduce the spread of infection in our community.

Testing for students demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms is available at the Student Health Center. For assistance with testing, call 716-673-3131. 

Information is available on the Chautauqua County Health Department’s website for local testing recommendations. If you are living outside of Chautauqua County, contact your local/state health department for testing options in your area.

If a member of the SUNY Fredonia community tests positive for COVID-19, the COVID-19 dashboard will be updated. 

In order to comply with medical privacy laws, SUNY Fredonia cannot release names of infected students. The Student Health Center, in conjunction with the Chautauqua County Health Department, will be in touch with any close contacts identified by the affected student. Those close contacts will be advised of the need to quarantine and monitor for symptoms.


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