Isolation and Quarantine Policy
Updated January 25, 2022
It is critical to the safety of the Caltech community that all individuals reporting to campus or an off-site Caltech facility notify Student Wellness Services (SWS) if they develop symptoms of illness or have a known exposure to someone with a positive test for COVID-19. Close adherence to this reporting practice is what allows the Institute to support the measured resumption of regular activities in a way that balances community safety and respects individual routines. The protocols for isolation, quarantine and testing will be modified in response to local and national health orders.
On December 31, 2021 the Pasadena Public Health Department and Los Angeles County Department of Health updated their health officer orders for isolation and quarantine. These new measures outline more restrictive quarantine requirements for individuals who have not received a booster vaccine that will be implemented immediately. However, the updates to the health officer orders that now allow for an early release from isolation under specific circumstances, including testing and masking requirements, are still under review and may be implemented at Caltech once all of the Institute's administrative supports are in place. In the meantime, Caltech continues to require that individuals with a positive test result must complete the 10-day isolation period as outlined below.
If you have a positive, laboratory-confirmed test for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms, you must make a report to SWS via the COVID-19 Reporting Application. You must isolate until:
1) You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and
2) Your respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath) and
3) You have returned a negative viral test result on day 5 or later. If you choose not to test, you must remain in isolation for at least 10 days since your symptoms first appeared or you received a positive test result, (whichever is earlier).
If you are a close contact, meaning that you have been exposed to someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a positive viral COVID-19 test result (including rapid tests taken at home) or clinician diagnosis (i.e., you were within six feet of that individual for a total of 15 minutes within a 24 hour period), you must make a report to SWS via the COVID-19 Reporting Application.
All unvaccinated individuals or fully vaccinated individuals who are eligible for a booster but have not yet received their booster dose, are required to quarantine for 5 days after their last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Per health officer orders:
1) While you are in quarantine, you must not leave your place of quarantine or enter any other public or private place, except to receive necessary medical care or a test for COVID-19.
2) You must test on Day 5 after your last exposure. (Please note: Day 0 is the day of your last contact/exposure with the infected person. Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.) You should consider testing immediately after notification of the exposure, if practicable, especially if you or someone you live with is at increased risk for severe illness.
3) You must monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days from your last contact with the infected person during their infectious period (48 hours prior to onset of their symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test).
4) As long as you do not develop symptoms of COVID-19, you may end your quarantine period under the following conditions:
5) If you choose not to test on or after Day 5, you must continue to quarantine for 10 days following your exposure.
6)) If you develop symptoms at any point during this period, you must immediately isolate per the instructions above and report your symptoms through the COVID-19 application. You will be instructed to test for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Close Contacts Exempted From Quarantine
If you have received a booster vaccine, or if you are fully vaccinated but not yet eligible for a booster (i.e. fewer than 5 months have passed since a second dose of a mRNA 2-dose series, or fewer than 2 months have passed since single-dose J&J vaccine), or you have recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, you.
1) Should test for COVID-19 immediately after learning you are a close contact AND test for COVID-19 on DAY 5 after exposure. Due to very high volumes of illness reports, please do not seek testing at SWS; you may submit a surveillance sample or seek community testing on days that the surveillance testing lab is closed.