The university continues to follow guidelines for colleges and universities for COVID-19 isolation, quarantine and outbreak from MSDH. In alignment with guidance from MSDH, fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic are not required to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure.
Quarantine and Isolation FAQs
How do I know if I need to quarantine or isolate?
If a vaccinated person is a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, the vaccinated person does not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic. They should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask in all indoor spaces while awaiting test results.
What if I have to isolate or quarantine?
The university is following current guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health on COVID-19 Isolation, Quarantine and Outbreak Guidelines for Colleges and Universities. The process for quarantining or isolating while living in Student Housing is outlined in the Department of Student Housing Guide to Isolation and Quarantine Process.
The university is committed to supporting students in quarantine or isolation. More information is outlined in this letter about Student Affairs Support for Student Quarantine & Isolation.
What is the current guidance for isolation and quarantine?
- University Health Services maintains updated guidance on quarantine and isolation on this page.
- Per the Mississippi State Department of Health statewide Order for the Isolation of Individuals Diagnosed with COVID-19, all persons residing in Mississippi must immediately home-isolate on first knowledge of infection with COVID-19.
Will the university provide quarantine and isolation space?
The university will provide a limited amount of quarantine and isolation space for on-campus residents (residence halls) for the Fall 2021 semester. Visit this page for additional details and FAQs.
What resources are available for residence hall students in on-campus quarantine or isolation housing?
- Meal delivery options are available to residence hall students in on-campus quarantine and isolation housing.
- Student Housing provides staff members at the front desk of Brown Hall to assist students in isolation, as well as on-call support incase students need assistance after-hours.
- Student Housing, Student Health, and Dean of Students staff members check-in with students frequently throughout the quarantine or isolation period to provide support and answer questions.
- Each quarantine and isolation room is supplied with campus and housing resources information and bottled water to assist in the transition process. Starting the week of Sept. 6, snacks will also begin being placed in each quarantine and isolation room as well.
- Students can submit a COVID-19 Student Self-Report Form to have university personnel provide additional outreach and support.
Visit this page for additional details and FAQs.
Do employees need to self-quarantine after travel?
Employees are not required to self-isolate after traveling for vacation. Supervisors cannot require an employee returning from vacation to self-isolate either by using personal leave or by working from home. More info about traveling is here.
How long is isolation? How long is quarantine?
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health:
The period of isolation is 10 days from the onset of symptoms (or the date of testing for those who are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis). Students and staff may return to work or school after 10 days of isolation if they meet the following criteria:
- It has been 10 days past the onset of symptoms (or date of test if they were asymptomatic);
- Have been fever free for at least 24 hours; and
- Have improvement of other symptoms.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) continues to strongly encourage a 14-day quarantine period for individuals who are exposed to a person infected with COVID-19. However, there are acceptable options for reduced quarantine:
- Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, OR,
- If testing is available, then quarantine can end after Day 7 if an RT-PCR diagnostic specimen is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
Please refer to the MSDH Guidance for Individuals with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposure (Aug 2021) for additional information.
How will the university handle outbreaks in classrooms, departments, residence halls, or other housing?
According to MSDH, an outbreak is identified if 3 or more individuals within a group of 30 or less (or 10% or more of larger groups) are diagnosed with COVID within a 14-day period. A group is defined as a collection of individuals in regular contact or proximity when social distancing of 6 feet or greater has not been strictly maintained. Examples might include sports teams, dorm floors, groups of employees working in the same setting, sorority or fraternity houses, shared living environments, clubs and in-person classes. All members of a group must be quarantined in the event of an outbreak, unless vaccinated. If there is absolute certainty that a subset of the group has had no contact with a case OR exposure to any of the identified contacts to that case, that subset may be excluded from quarantine precautions. This is accomplished through contact tracing.
Do I have to quarantine if I am a close contact?
Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after exposure even if they don’t have symptoms), and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90-days (proof must be shown), you are not required to quarantine after exposure if:
- You have fully recovered (10 days from symptom onset or date of test, and fever free for at least 24 hours), and
- You have been asymptomatic since your COVID-19 exposure.
For additional details, University Health Services maintains updated guidance on quarantine and isolation on this page.
Do I have to report a positive COVID-19 test to the university?
The university continues to expect faculty, staff, and students to report positive COVID-19 test results to the University Health Center. The anonymity and confidentiality of persons with COVID-19 will be protected during this process. University Health Services will collaborate with MSDH for contact tracing and to determine additional precautions that may be warranted.
How do I report my positive COVID-19 test to the university?
Any positive COVID-19 test should be reported to the University Health Center using one of these anonymous reporting methods:
- Call University Health Services: Students should call 662-915-7274, while employees should call 662-915-6550.
- All students must report positive tests to Student Health and employees must report positive tests to Employee Health, regardless of where the test was performed.
- Fill out the UHS Self Report form, scan or take a picture of your results and upload both the form and your results to our HIPAA compliant UMBOX. Only University Health Services personnel will view your documentation.
- Download the Everbridge App and select the Report Positive COVID-19 button. Then scan or take a picture of your results and upload it to our HIPAA compliant UMBOX. Only University Health Services personnel will be able to view your documentation.
Will the university conduct contact tracing?
The university’s contact tracing team will continue to service the campus community during the Fall 2021 semester. The team will do their best to identify close contacts identified by those who have COVID. The university’s contact tracing team has been an effective tool to identify positive patients quickly and quarantine others exposed to positive patients.
Should students in quarantine or isolation go to a face-to-face class?
Students in quarantine or isolation should not attend an in person class until the quarantine or isolation period is complete.
Should students contact their instructors if they are in quarantine or isolation?
Students should contact their instructors to inform them that they are in isolation or quarantine and unable to attend class.
What should faculty do if a student notifies them that they have been exposed to COVID-19?
Fully vaccinated persons in close contact with an infected person do NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms (fully vaccinated persons are recommended to receive COVID-19 testing 3-5 days after exposure to rule out infection).
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
Students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as close contacts to COVID-19, as outlined above, should be in Quarantine for a full 14 days. HOWEVER, there are additional options to the 14-day quarantine period from the school setting as follows:
• 10-day option: Quarantine can end after 10 days if the individual has no symptoms during the entire 10-day period,
• 7- day plus test option: If the individual has no symptoms for 7 days and has a negative COVID-19 test (molecular or antigen) collected on day 5, 6, or 7 of the quarantine period, the quarantine can be discontinued after day 7.
What is an exposure?
The current definition of exposure to COVID19 remains 15 minutes of cumulative contact over a 24-hour period at <6 feet. An infected person can spread COVID-19 up to 2 days before they have symptoms or 2 days prior to positive test if they have no symptoms, therefore, contacts should be identified who were exposed up to 2 days prior to onset or test date accordingly.
Who doesn’t have to quarantine?
- Fully vaccinated persons in close contact with an infected person do NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms (fully vaccinated persons are recommended to receive COVID-19 testing 3-5 days after exposure to rule out infection).
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
Does everyone in the class need to quarantine if a student reports receiving a positive test result after having attended class?
No. The fact that everyone in the class was wearing masks will minimize the likelihood of someone getting infected in the classroom. The CDC recommends that anyone within 6 feet of the person who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes should quarantine if they are unvaccinated, even if they were wearing masks.
If you know who the person was sitting next to the infected person in the classroom and they were within 6 feet of the person who received the positive test result, they can be told that if they are unvaccinated they should quarantine. If they are vaccinated, they do not need quarantine, unless they develop symptoms.
If the student or faculty member doesn’t know who was sitting next to him/her, then individuals in the class should closely monitor for symptoms, be vigilant about wearing a mask when around others and stay home and get tested if symptoms develop.