Quarantine & Isolation Housing for COVID-19

Our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our students and that of the entire university community. While we plan to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and use of face coverings and hand sanitizer, we recognize the likelihood that some students will become ill or test positive for COVID-19 during the academic year. To ensure the health and safety of our campus community, University Housing has developed the following protocols in conjunction with university leadership, the University Health Center and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Please note that protocols are subject to change as new health directives and guidelines are provided by local, state, and/or federal resources.

Quarantine limits contact between someone who may have been exposed to the virus and other members of the community.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.


Quarantine is a public health strategy used to limit contact between someone who may have been exposed to the virus and other members of the community. During quarantine students in residence halls will stay in their assigned room, but limit contact with others.

This helps prevent the spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms (being asymptomatic). Quarantine helps keep the rest of the community healthy and is how we look out for our fellow Huskers.

Who Should Quarantine
  • If a student experiences COVID-19 symptoms (fever/chills, cough, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, intestinal issues, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of sense of smell, or body ache), they should contact the University Health Center at (402) 472-5000 and quarantine until all symptoms are no longer present for a minimum of 48 hours or until a medical professional has given additional instructions.
  • If a student has been in close contact with or has had confirmed exposure to COVID-19, they must quarantine in a space shared with no more than 4 persons. This may be determined by the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) or Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) through investigation and surveillance of current active COVID-19 cases. If a roommate tests positive for COVID-19, the student is expected to quarantine in their room and the roommate will move to isolation housing.
  • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days and those who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine after close contact exposure. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and have not tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they are not displaying any symptoms at that time. Please use UNL’s free saliva testing. All close contacts should wear a face covering at all times indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces and self-monitor for symptoms in the 14 days after an exposure. If even minor symptoms develop at any point during these 14 days, get tested right away and/or seek medical advice.
Symptom Monitoring

It’s important that students self-monitor for the development or worsening of the following symptoms:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Intestinal issues
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Body aches

If a student develops or has worsening symptoms, they should contact the University Health Center (402-472-5000) or another medical provider. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Community Connection

While in quarantine, RAs will continue to ensure that students are an active member of the residential community, to the extent students wish to engage. Some initial measures that will be taken to ensure students remain a valued member of the community include:

  • RAs will be available to ensure that students have the Housing resources necessary to still be academically and socially successful.
  • Invitations to participate virtually in hall engagement opportunities.
  • Connection to campus resources to help students navigate this time.

If students need professional staff assistance during this time, they should reach out to the following assistant directors and area coordinator depending on the complex in which they live in:

How to Quarantine

Students should quarantine in their room and are not encouraged to return home to quarantine with family or caregivers. If they do quarantine elsewhere, they are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. Students must contact Residence Life if they are beginning to quarantine (reslifecare@unl.edu or https://go.unl.edu/quarantine).

The CDC offers several options for quarantine length. The university strongly recommends individuals quarantine for at least 10 days after close contact exposure. If COVID-19 symptoms develop during quarantine, individuals should get tested.

Students in quarantine should:

  • Notify roommate(s) that they are quarantining.
  • Stay in their room or assigned housing unit and out of public spaces.
  • Not attend work, in-person classes, events, or other social or religious gatherings.
  • Use their meal plan only to get take-out food. They may not eat in dining centers.
  • Limit contact with others.
  • Stay 6 feet away from other individuals at all times.
  • Wear a face covering any time they leave their assigned room.
  • Cough or sneeze into their arm and never cough in the direction of someone else.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wash/sanitize after coughing/sneezing directly into their hands or after handling used tissues.
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until they are no longer asked to quarantine.
  • Keep their surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, they should try to clean surfaces that are shared with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that they sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant such as Clorox wipes. Wash their hands after cleaning the area.
  • Self-monitor for signs of possible infection, 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.
  • Notify Residence Life (reslifecare@unl.edu) when the quarantine period has ended.

All residents are required to abide by policies in the Contract Policies Booklet and Community Living Guide at all times.



Isolation is a public health strategy to separate sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Students are not encouraged to isolate at home with family or caregivers. University Housing will provide on-campus isolation housing in a separate building.

Who Should Isolate
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they should isolate.
  • If a student is directed to isolate by a medical provider, regardless of testing status, they should follow this instruction.

Students who need to isolate must immediately notify University Housing via the Isolation Reporting Hotline (402-472-1717). There is no additional cost to students for isolation housing.

How to Isolate

After contacting University Housing to arrange for isolation housing, students should:

  • Return to their original room to collect personal items.
  • Stay in their original room until receiving a call that their temporary room in isolation housing is ready. This will be less than two hours.
  • Notify their roommate(s) that they are temporarily moving out to isolate. Any student whose roommate has tested positive for COVID-19 should follow the quarantine instructions.

Once in isolation housing, students must:

  • Have no in-person interactions with anyone outside of isolation once moved into isolation housing.
  • Not leave the building during any point during the stay.
  • Wear a mask when leaving the delivered.
  • Not allow guests, including friends and family, into the building. We encourage that students stay virtually connected with friends and family via phone, text, email, video calls, and social media.

All students in isolation housing are required to follow policies in the Contract Policies Booklet and Community Living Guide.

All three of the following criteria must be met before isolation can end:

  1. Ten full days have passed since the date your positive test was administered. The date of testing is day one to begin counting the ten days.
  2. No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  3. Symptoms of COVID-19 should all be getting better for at least 3 days.

Once a student meets all three criteria, they may call (402) 472-1717 for assistance with checking out of isolation housing and moving back to their assigned residence hall. Learn more about isolation.

Isolation Housing


Room assignments will be double occupancy. Students in isolation housing will receive:

  • An extra-long, twin bed with sheets, pillow, pillowcase, and blanket.
  • Two towels and two washcloths.
  • A thermometer.
  • A small fridge.
Food Service

Students can place a daily order for food to be delivered from campus dining. When entering isolation housing, students will be provided instructions for doing so.

Cleaning & Sanitization

All common areas (bathrooms, hallways, lounge, etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis. The cleaning schedule for each floor will be posted on the bathroom door. Individuals will be asked to remain in their room during this time. In between daily bathroom cleanings, individuals will be asked to use the cleaning supplies in the bathroom to clean fixtures after they have used them. Trash should be taken from the room to the large receptacle in the bathroom.

Mail & Packages

Items sent to individual’s permanent residence hall room will be held upon their return. Individuals should not have items sent directly to isolation housing. Delivery services (United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.) will not have access to the building. If an individual must receive an urgent package (prescription medication refill, etc.) they should contact Residence Life at 402-472-1717.

Health and Support

Emergency Care

Any student displaying emergency warning signs (difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to rouse, bluish lips or face) should call 911.

Academic Accommodations

All students in quarantine or isolation, regardless of symptoms being present, are expected to participate in classes, recitations, and labs remotely. Once the quarantine or isolation period has ended, students may resume in-person instruction. Students in quarantine or isolation who are experiencing illness may request academic accommodations, including extensions. While in quarantine or isolation, students can receive support by contacting the Student Advocacy and Support team.

Mental Health Support

Big Red Resilience & Well-being offers a variety of support options for students including well-being coaching, money coaching, virtual workshops and on-demand online resources. Students are encouraged to explore these resources to help improve their personal well-being. Additionally, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers remote and telehealth short-term counseling at no cost to students. If students need additional support, they may schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Residence Life Support

While students are in isolation, the Residence Life Staff will continue to ensure students are an active member of the community, to the extent the student wishes to engage. Some initial measures that will be taken to ensure students remain a valued member of the community include:

  • Periodic phone call check-ins from a Residence Life staff member to ensure students have the housing resources necessary to still be academically and socially successful.
  • Invitations to participate virtually in hall engagement opportunities, where possible.
  • Connection to campus resources to help navigate the notification process to faculty, receive meals from dining, and notify other necessary parties that deemed appropriate.

Students needing professional staff assistance should reach out to Residence Life at reslifecare@unl.edu.