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, shortness of breath, fatigue, new loss of sense of smell, or body ache), they should get a UNL saliva test immediately. They may also want to consult a medical provider. The University Health Center can be reached at (402) 472-5000. If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, they'll need to follow isolation guidance, which may include moving into UNL's isolation housing.
  • If a student has been in close contact with or has had confirmed exposure to COVID-19, their course of action depends on whether or not they are vaccinated, how long ago they were fully vaccinated, if they have received a booster, and if they’ve recently tested positive. Follow the What Do I Do if I Was Exposed? section found on the Exposure Information webpage.
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
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • New 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). Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing should email reslifecare@unl.edu. 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:

  • Not visit people outside of isolation.
  • 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.
  • Wear a mask when leaving their room in isolation.

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. Five full days have passed since the date the positive test was administered. Day 0 is the day of the positive test and Day 6 is the soonest isolation can end.
  2. The student's temperature has been less than 100.4 (no fever) for the last 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. If needed, a thermometer is available upon request with meal delivery.
  3. 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 a medical provider. If a student meets criteria to end isolation between 5 and 10 days after they tested positive, it is critical that they wear a mask at all times unless alone in a room until the end of 10 days after testing positive.

If a student resides in a congregate setting (residence hall or fraternity/sorority chapter facility) they should continue to isolate through Day 10 per CDC guidance. If the student is fever-free on Day 6, they can begin to attend in-person class and work, but must return to isolation, especially to sleep and eat.

If the student was asymptomatic when they tested positive and then developed symptoms while isolating, their isolation period starts over. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms.

Once a student meets all 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.

Testing Guidance

After testing positive students should not get another PCR test (including UNL's saliva testing) for 90 days unless directed by a medical provider, or due to symptoms that could indicate a new infection later in the 90-day period. A negative test is not required to end isolation. A negative test result after a positive PCR test will not change the need to isolate or shorten the isolation period.

Isolation Housing


For the summer isolation housing is in a four bedroom apartment. This means every students will have a private bedroom and shared living area/bathrooms with 1-3 other students. Students in isolation housing will receive:

  • An extra-long, twin bed with sheets, pillow, pillowcase, and blanket.
  • Two towels and two washcloths.
  • A full-size fridge shared with other apartment occupants.
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

Apartments will be fully cleaned and sanitized between occupants. Cleaning supplies for fixtures and bathrooms will be available to occupants during their stay for use as needed.

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.