Quarantine, Isolation, and Contact Tracing

Updated September 2021

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have had significant exposure to someone with COVID-19 will need to separate themselves physically until medically cleared.

There are two types of separation, isolation, and quarantine:

  • Isolation is for those with a positive test or a presumptive positive diagnosis by a physician (known as positive and probable cases).
  • Quarantine is for those, identified through contact tracing by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), who have had close personal contact with a person with a positive or probable case, such as a roommate.


Miami will have isolation and quarantine space available for those living on campus. Please note however that space is limited and cannot be guaranteed. All students should have contingency plans for isolation and quarantine housing in the event they are exposed or test positive for COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated and who have a confirmed exposure to Covid-19 are not required to quarantine at this time; however, according to public health guidelines, they should get a COVID test 3-5 days after their last exposure to someone who tested positive.

For additional information, please refer to Miami University's COVID-19 Policy.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing will be conducted by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) for the Oxford campus and appropriate local health departments for the Regional Campuses in the event a student, faculty, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

To assist with contact tracing efforts, faculty, staff, and student leaders should maintain attendance sheets for classes and in-person meetings, including student organization meetings, in case they are requested.

General Quarantine and Isolation FAQs

How will I know if I have to enter Miami’s quarantine or isolation protocol?

You will receive an initial notice from either the Ohio Department of Health/Butler County General Health District or from Student Life and the COVID management team. You may also be notified by the staff at Student Health Services if that is your first point of contact.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

If you have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis (whether or not you are experiencing symptoms) or a presumptive positive diagnosis from a health care provider, you will be required to isolate.

If you have been identified through ODH contact tracing as having been in close contact with an ill student (whether or not you are experiencing symptoms), you will be required to quarantine.

Who is making decisions about if I need to isolate or quarantine?

ODH determines if a student needs to be placed into isolation or quarantine in partnership with the Student Life and the COVID Management Team. Communication regarding the order will come via phone or email from either ODH or Student Life.

If I am quarantined or isolated, how long will I have to remain in my assigned space?

For isolation, the duration is typically 10 days from the onset of your symptoms. For quarantine, it is typically a 10-day period from the last known exposure.

If I’m in Oxford when I find out I have to be quarantined or isolated, can I just go home and quarantine or isolate at my permanent residence?

If you are an on-campus student and you are ordered to quarantine or isolate, you may choose to quarantine or isolate at one of the following locations:

  1. A place designated by Miami University
  2. The home you lived in immediately before coming to Miami University if the following conditions are met:
    1. It is within driving distance of Oxford and you can drive there without making any stops (no use of commercial transportation options such as buses or airplanes).
    2. You have a private bedroom in which to stay until your release date.
    3. You agree to register your location with Miami University, the Ohio Department of Health, and the health district where your home is located.
    4. Anyone living in your home understands the risks of having you there. (They may get COVID-19 from you, and they too may need to quarantine or isolate).
    5. You agree to follow all requirements for isolation/quarantine. If you do not have access to your own vehicle, we recommend that you stay in your assigned on-campus isolation or quarantine space. However, a parent can pick you up if the above criteria are met.

Can I get a COVID-19 test instead of entering quarantine?

No. Due to the potential incubation period of the illness, ODH requires anyone entering quarantine to remain there for 10 days to determine whether or not they develop symptoms of the illness regardless of a negative test result.

What should I do if I am in quarantine and start experiencing symptoms?

You should stay in quarantine unless it is a medical emergency. If it is a medical emergency, call 911. If it is not a medical emergency, call Student Health Service (SHS) to make a phone consultation appointment. Tell them you are in quarantine and experiencing symptoms. SHS will schedule a phone consultation with a provider or nurse who will determine if an in-person visit is necessary. If it is deemed necessary, the provider will visit you in your quarantine space. Again, it is important that you do not leave quarantine to go to SHS. 

Can I go outside to exercise if I’m in quarantine or isolation?

No, unfortunately, the orders do not permit movement outside of your assigned space unless there is an emergency.

What can I do if I am struggling with my mental health during quarantine or isolation? 

For mental health concerns, you can call Student Counseling Service during normal business hours at 513-529-4634 to schedule a virtual counseling session. For after-hours support (evening and weekends), you can call the HOPE Line at 855-249-5649 to be connected with a licensed mental health counselor 24/7.

What should I do if I’m struggling academically during my quarantine or isolation period?

Talk to your professors. It is our expectation that professors be understanding and supportive during this challenging time. If you have academic questions or needs that your professors aren’t able to address, contact the Student Success Center at 513-529-0007 or studentsuccess@MiamiOH.edu

What information will be shared with others about my quarantine/isolation status?

Personally identifiable student information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Your privacy is important, and we will not share any personal medical information except as described below.

  • In the event of isolation, your faculty members will be informed that you are absent due to illness (will not specify the type of illness) and your expected date of return if known. You may opt out of this faculty notification.
  • Personally identifiable information will be shared as required with public health officials in order to facilitate contact tracing and notification.
  • During contract tracing, your name and identity will not be revealed to your potential contacts.

What happens if I don’t follow ODH’s or Miami’s guidelines for quarantine or isolation?

If you don’t follow these guidelines, you may be subject to significant consequences, including legal action through the Ohio Department of Health, disciplinary action through Miami University, and/or resetting of the quarantine/isolation time period.

Can parents quarantine or isolate with their students so they are not alone?

No. Quarantine and isolation, by design, are individual experiences. The Office of Residence Life will be checking in with students regularly, and students will have access to telehealth and telecounseling while in quarantine or isolation.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

The emails you receive from ODH and Student Life will contain contact information for a variety of resources. Upon arrival into your assigned space (for on-campus students), a flyer with additional on-campus contacts will be provided. If you have questions leading up to your arrival, please email the COVID Management Team in Student Life at COVID19@MiamiOH.edu. Please note that we will be able to respond much more quickly to email than to a phone message due to the volume of contacts we are currently receiving.

FAQs for On-Campus Residential Students

How does Miami determine my quarantine or isolation room assignment?

Miami has designated quarantine and isolation spaces. Upon notice of quarantine or isolation, you will be assigned one of these spaces based on current availability and informed of your room assignment.

If I receive notice requiring quarantine or isolation, can I return to my permanent room assignment to gather belongings?

Yes, you will be permitted to make a quick visit to your room to gather belongings to accommodate you for 10 days. You should take precautions to limit spread (at minimum, maintain 6 feet distance, wear a mask, and wash hands). During the quarantine or isolation period, you will be unable to access your permanent room assignment.

If you have a significant need for an item left in your permanent room assignment, you can contact Residence Life (at the number listed on the in-room flyer) to request assistance.

If I am quarantining or isolating on campus, how will I get food?

During your time in quarantine or isolation, food and beverages will be available to you via delivery. Directions related to ordering will be provided to students at the time of room assignment via email.

You can order contactless food delivery from local businesses after 7 p.m. and before 8 a.m. You must wear a mask when retrieving your food and the transaction must be contactless. The hallways must be completely clear when going to retrieve your order, to ensure dining and custodial staff are not exposed to ill students.

How will students in quarantine or isolation do their laundry?

Laundry facilities will not be accessible while in quarantine. Students going into quarantine will need to pack accordingly—quarantine is typically 10 days. Laundry facilities may be accessible while in isolation. Reference the room assignment letter you receive from the Office of the Dean of Students for more information.

What is the cleaning process for on-campus quarantine/isolation spaces?

The Physical Facilities Department will remove all trash, linens, and towels, and then disinfect the room using CDC guidelines for cleaning protocols.

Can I receive packages or mail while in quarantine or isolation?

If you receive a package while you are in quarantine or isolation you have three options. Once you receive notification of delivery from the Mail and Package Center, you can:

  • Request an extension with a new date.
  • Arrange for a friend to pick it up.
  • Ask to return the package to the sender.

All of this should be arranged directly with the Mail and Package Center through email (packagecenter@MiamiOH.edu).

Can I bring my Emotional Support or Service Animal with me to quarantine or isolation?

The Office of the Dean of Students will engage with the student to determine whether the university can accommodate the presence of the ESA during any period of on-campus quarantine or isolation.

FAQs for Off-Campus Students

If I live off-campus will I be required to isolate or quarantine?

If you live off-campus and are notified by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) or Student Life s to quarantine or isolate, you will need to comply with the official county-issued quarantine or isolation orders. The letter will outline the dates of your required period as well as instructions about what you can and cannot do during your quarantine or isolation.

Non-compliance may subject you to significant consequences including legal action through the ODH, disciplinary action through Miami University, and/or resetting of the quarantine/isolation time period.

If your living arrangements meet the criteria for suitable quarantine or isolation space (as deemed by ODH) you will be permitted to quarantine or isolate at your off-campus address. If you are unable to comply with the order due to your off-campus living arrangements, contact the COVID Management Team in Student Life, and they will work to assist you in identifying suitable quarantine or isolation space.

Since I live off campus, can I just stay where I am to quarantine or isolate, or do I have to move to an on-campus location?

If your living arrangements meet the criteria for suitable quarantine or isolation space (as deemed by ODH), you will be permitted to quarantine or isolate at your off-campus address. If you are unable to comply with the order due to your off-campus living arrangements, contact the COVID Management Team in Student Life, and they will work to assist you in identifying suitable quarantine or isolation space.