To protect the health of the campus community, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine protocols are in place for when individuals test positive for COVID-19.
This page addresses the following topics:
- What to do if you test positive
- Do you need to isolate?
- What if you have a ‘COVID rebound’?
- Do you need to quarantine?
What should I do if I test positive?
If you test positive through UCLA’s campus diagnostic testing, you’ll be contacted by campus health officials with instructions on isolation. Your “close contacts” — those who have been within 6 feet of you in an indoor setting for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period — will be notified (as resources allow) and provided with instructions on testing and possible quarantine.
If you test positive outside of UCLA — or if you are experiencing COVID-19–related symptoms and have been in contact with an infected person — you should contact:
Exposure Management Team
For faculty and staff
UCLA Occupational Health
Do you need to isolate?
If you test positive, or if you are symptomatic and awaiting test results after a recent exposure, you’ll need to isolate, either at home or on campus, regardless of your vaccination status. When isolating, you shouldn’t have visitors and should only leave to receive medical care.
UCLA will provide appropriate isolation accommodations for students living in on-campus housing. When isolating, you should bring with you enough personal belongings to last 10 days. Staff will monitor your health and arrange for meal delivery three times a day.
Students and employees living in non-UCLA housing should remain in a private room with a private bathroom, if possible, and arrange for meals and other essential needs.
You must wear a mask during your isolation period if you will be around others, including those you live with.
(Students who become infected during the course of travel for a class or other academic-related purpose will be provided instructions by their school or program, with join guidance from the UCLA Exposure Management Team.)
Early release from isolation
Isolation is expected to last for up to 5 days. You can end your isolation after Day 5 and return to work, class and campus activities early if you meet the following criteria:
Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases
(1) You’ve been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
(2) You’ve had no symptoms or your symptoms are mild and improving.
(3) You follow the masking and testing requirements below.
Masking following early release
Students: Students released from isolation on or after Day 5 must wear a highly protective mask around others through Day 10, but they may discontinue masking sooner if they have two negative COVID-19 tests in a row taken at least one day apart before Day 10.
Faculty and staff: It is required by Cal/OSHA that employees who return to work following early release from isolation wear a highly protective mask in the workplace through Day 10.
Testing for early release
A negative COVID-19 test is strongly recommended but no longer required for early release from isolation for most groups who meet the criteria.
However, health care workers — including student health care workers — need to follow specific protocols. Students in the following groups must submit a negative rapid antigen test to the Exposure Management Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for early release from isolation after Day 5:
- All medical students
- Dental and nursing students who are considered health care workers
Full 10-day isolation
For those isolating for the full period, isolation can end after 10 days if:
- Symptomatic cases: You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Asymptomatic cases: You have never developed symptoms of COVID-19.
What if you have a ‘COVID rebound’?
In some cases, your symptoms may return or get worse after you have ended your isolation period. This is known as “COVID-19 rebound.” If this happens, you must isolate away from others and again contact the Ashe COVID Hotline or UCLA Occupational Health for guidance.
If you are instructed to isolate again, follow the instructions above on isolation.
Do you need to quarantine?
If you know you are a close contact of an infected person — or have been identified as a close contact by contact tracers — but have no symptoms, you do not need to quarantine, regardless of your vaccination status. However, it is strongly recommended that you:
- Mask: Wear a highly protective mask around other people — especially in indoor settings and near those who are at high risk of severe illness — until 10 days have passed since your exposure to the infected person.
- Test: Take a PCR or rapid antigen test 3–5 days after your exposure and receive a negative result. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 31–90 days, use a rapid antigen test — not a PCR test. If you are — or live with others who are — at high risk of serious illness, it is recommended that you test as soon as possible after exposure; if you test negative before 3 days, test again in the 3–5-day window, with at least 24 hours before the first and second test. (If you test positive in any of these cases, follow the reporting and isolation instructions above.)
- Monitor: Check your symptoms for 10 days after exposure. If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and test as soon as possible — do not wait 3–5 days.
Additional exemption: If you are close contact but have tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 30 days, you do not need to test at 3–5 days.
Individuals who are close contacts of an infected person and who are not able to follow UCLA’s quarantine exemption requirements listed above must follow the full quarantine procedures outlined by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Note: This protocol does not apply to UCLA Health employees, who must follow protocols for health care settings, or to pre-K–12 schools and programs, which must follow the LACDPH’s protocol for K–12 schools (PDF) and exposure management plan (PDF).
For more information on isolation, quarantine and contact tracing procedures, see the following resources: