Isolation Guidance for Those Who Test Positive

Effective September 18, 2023

An important strategy for reducing transmission of COVID-19 is to identify those with infections and instruct them to isolate while they are infectious. It is also important to identify close contacts of infected individuals and provide guidance on how to take care of themselves and prevent transmission to others. 

Note: Day 0 = day of a positive test result.

Isolation Guidelines for Faculty, Staff, Undergraduates, and Graduate/Professional Students (non-health care workers)

  • Length of isolation is a minimum of 5 full days.
  • Return to work/class on day 6 if no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms have improved. Wear a well-fitting mask until day 10. 
  • Follow the isolation guidance provided through email communications. Read Positive Case Notification Guidance.
  • The Housing Office provides guidance for undergraduate students living on campus. Read Housing Isolation Guidance.

Isolation Guidelines for Health Care Workers and Students Working in Clinical Settings


Effective treatments are available for those with mild or moderate symptoms who are within the first 5 days of illness and may be at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness. This would include individuals who are over age 50 or have other risk factors. If you have symptoms, call your primary care provider to see if you are eligible for treatment.

What to Watch for

Most cases of COVID-19 are mild, but you need to take symptoms seriously. You may use Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever or body aches. If you develop worrisome new symptoms or your symptoms are getting worse, call your primary care provider or after hours, Acute Care: 203-432-0123.

Call 911 immediately if you develop:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

COVID-19 Vaccination After Infection

You may have a COVID vaccine as early as 10 days after infection. However, most healthy individuals  may wish to wait 90 days to achieve the maximal boosting effect; older individuals or those with chronic illness may wish to boost sooner.

If you have additional questions after reviewing the information above, call the Campus COVID Resource Line at 203-432-6604.

Additional Information

If there is a need to isolate due to COVID diagnosis or recover from a vaccine/booster, will Yale pay me or my staff member a normal salary and/or will we have to use paid time off?
Staff members who need to isolate due to COVID or are recovering from a reaction to a vaccine/booster are encouraged to use sick time.

How should instructors provide instruction to students who are sick or isolating?
Instructors are encouraged to be as accommodating as possible—to the extent pedagogically and practically feasible—with students who are required to miss class because they are experiencing cold symptoms or are in isolation. While instructors may make short-term individual arrangements for remote instruction for students who are isolating, they may not approve such arrangements for a period of more than two weeks. Longer term absences must be approved by the student’s dean or the dean’s designee. Deans or their designees have the agency to determine reasonable school- or unit-specific arrangements.