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If You Are Infected or Exposed to COVID-19

If you are experiencing symptoms, were exposed, or have tested positive for COVID-19, notify Drexel by emailing (if you are a student) or (if you are an employee). Here's a guide to next steps.

What should I do if...
 I have a positive COVID-19 test?  I have COVID-19 symptoms, but no known exposure?
 I was exposed to COVID-19?
IN ALL CASES of symptoms, exposure, or positive COVID test: Notify Drexel by emailing (if you are a student) or (if you are a Drexel employee). 
  • Stay home and start self-isolation.
  • Report test results through Drexel Health Checker if test was obtained outside of Drexel.
  • Expect a call from Drexel Contact Tracing, and an email with home care instructions.
  • You cannot return to campus activities until notified by Occupational Health partners/Worknet Occupational Medicine (employees) or the contact tracing team (students).
  • Wear a mask around other people at all times for 5 days after isolation ends.
  • Stay home, report symptoms to Drexel Health Checker, and schedule test* within 24 hours.
  • Isolate until test results return.
    • Negative test result: Continue to stay home until symptoms end, then return to normal activity.
    • Positive test result: See positive test instructions.
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and schedule a test.*
  • You will receive a call from Drexel Contact Tracing.
  • In all cases of exposure, take a test (or retest)* 5 days from last exposure. If you test positive on day 5, follow Positive Test directions.
  • If you’re fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, you can otherwise continue normal activity, BUT for 10 days after exposure you must:
    • Wear a mask around others.
    • Avoid sharing a bedroom.
    • Self-monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, isolate yourself and take a test within 24 hours.
  • If you’re not fully vaccinated, in addition to the steps above, you must quarantine for the first 5 days after last exposure.

 *A PCR test is preferred (Drexel testing sites use PCR tests), rather than an at-home antigen test.

For any health questions or concerns, please consult your primary care physician.

If you have been exposed to someone with a known case of COVID-19, if you have similar symptoms, or if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you may need to separate yourself from other people to avoid potentially infecting them with the virus. Drexel follows Philadelphia Department of Public Health, state and federal guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine policies.


If you have been diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19, even if you have no symptoms, you will be asked to self-isolate.


If you haven’t been diagnosed, but were exposed to the virus or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you may be asked to quarantine. Quarantine separates people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can monitor their health for the development of symptoms and obtain testing. Fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.

Information for Students

Students should report exposures, positive tests, or development of symptoms related to COVID-19 through the Drexel Health Checker or email A staff member of the COVID Tracing Team will contact the student to facilitate testing and assist with isolation or quarantine if needed. In conjunction with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Student Health will also try to identify where the student may have been exposed to the infection and work to identify and confidentially alert additional contacts so they do not spread the virus. Make sure to answer your phone so that contact tracers can reach you. If you are experiencing COVID symptoms and feel you need medical attention or have additional questions, please call the Student Health Center right away by phone (215.220.4700).

Drexel Health Checker

If a student living on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19, Drexel will identify the area(s) of exposure and follow CDC and Philadelphia Health Department guidelines in order to clean and disinfect areas used by the ill student. Isolation and quarantine processes specific to students have been developed and are under the direction of Student Health Services.

Revised Isolation Procedures

New isolation guidelines effective May 2, 2022 provide an avenue for certain students who either do not develop respiratory symptoms, or whose illness resolves quickly, AND who have a rapid negative test for COVID-19 after a week. Under the new guidelines, certain students who have a negative rapid antigen test may be able to return to normal housing and classes on Day 8 as opposed to the normal average of Day 11 (see below). However, they must continue to wear a mask in all public spaces for the next two days after isolation. Here is what the process looks like:

  • Day 0: Student tests positive for COVID and enters isolation.
  • Days 0-4: Student isolates and checks in daily to report symptoms via email or calls that come from the COVID surveillance team.
  • Day 5: Student with NO respiratory symptoms will be cleared to return to normal housing and classes on Day 6.
  • Students who continue to have symptoms must continue to isolate and contact tracing team will send an email on Day 7 with instructions for Day 7 rapid testing.
  • Day 7: Students who still have symptoms report to a Drexel testing site at a designated time and receive a rapid COVID test.
  • If test is negative, they can be released from isolation housing and return to classes on Day 8 but must continue to wear a mask in public spaces for 2 more days.
  • If the test result is positive, they will be required to complete a full 10-day isolation and will be cleared to return to normal housing and classes on Day 11.

At this time, most vaccinated, young adults do not get seriously ill from COVID—and some may even have few symptoms. Instituting this change in our procedures will improve efficiency and minimize unnecessary isolation days without providing additional risk to the community.

Support Services

Student Health Services will also provide ongoing support for students who have tested positive for COVID-19. These services may include:

  • Same-day virtual appointments for prompt evaluation of students with symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Frequent symptomatic telehealth check-ins until improvement of illness
  • Visits to patients’ isolation location for medical support
  • Communication of short-term medical leave and coordination with academic advisors to provide academic materials and study support for students during the isolation or quarantine period
  • For students currently living on-campus (and also for off-campus students who can't isolate in their current housing), the University can provide on-campus quarantine/isolation housing by request as housing availability permits. For students who are quarantining or isolating in on-campus housing, we can also provide the following services:
    • Meal delivery through Aramark, with meals ordered by the student to suit dietary needs
    • Opt-in, no-contact weekly laundry service
    • No-contact trash removal
    • Front desk staff available for questions or concerns

Note: Drexel will not provide a quarantine location for non-residential students.

Complete information about isolation and quarantine procedures for Drexel students, as well as the services and support Drexel offers to students, can be found in our Isolation and Quarantine Guide [PDF].

Read a quick guide to services for students in quarantine/isolation [PDF].

Learn what to bring with you for quarantine/isolation [PDF].

Information for Faculty & Professional Staff

If you test positive

First, stay home and self-isolate (separate yourself from others in your household)

Seek medical care by calling your primary care physician and ask to be evaluated for COVID-19. Immediately after calling your provider, please contact and provide your name and phone number. A Drexel representative will contact you and continue to monitor your symptoms until you are cleared to return to work. It is imperative that the University is aware of any exposure risk to members of the Drexel community.

Continue to isolate at home

If you have been diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19, you must continue to self-isolate until: at least 24 hours after resolution of fever, without the assistance of fever‐reducing medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), and resolution of respiratory symptoms; and

  • at least 5 days have passed since positive test or start of symptoms and
  • you are cleared by your primary care physician and Drexel’s third party occupational health provider to work (see “When to Return to Work” below).

Individuals with severe disease or severely weakened immune systems may be asked to isolate longer.

If you're notified of a COVID-19 exposure (close contact with a confirmed COVID‐19 case)

If you are vaccinated and have a household contact with a confirmed COVID‐19 case and do not become ill, you may continue normal activity, but you MUST:

  • Wear a mask while around others for a minimum of 10 days.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms for a minimum of 10 days after last exposure and retest on day 5. If you develop symptoms at any point, report them and schedule a test within 24 hours.
  • Take a COVID test at day 5 after exposure, even if you don't have symptoms.

Our contact tracing team will help you determine how long you will have to self-monitor for symptoms if you have an ongoing exposure.

If you are NOT fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for 5 days (if the exposure is within your household, you must quarantine while the ill household member is isolating, and for 5 days AFTER the isolation period for the ill household member has been discontinued), with negative test at day 5. If you develop symptoms during this time, get a test within 24 hours and continue to quarantine for an additional 5 days. You should continue to wear a mask while around other people for 5 days after quarantine ends.

Unable to work for more than three days due to COVID-19

If you are unable to work for more than three days because you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or because you are caring for a family member with COVID-19, you may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Drexel’s Non‐FMLA Medical Leave policy. Please email to notify the University of your possible or confirmed exposure. Faculty and professional staff members are encouraged to contact our Leave of Absence Administrator, Lincoln Financial Group. You may file for a leave of absence by phone at 1.888.992.0549 or online by logging in to DrexelOne and selecting “Leave of Absence” in the Benefits Administration section under the “Employee” tab. Go to FMLA or Drexel’s Non‐FMLA Medical Leave policy for more information.

For more information on how to care for yourself or someone else who is sick, visit the CDC COVID-19 website.

When to Return to Work

You will be permitted to return to work on‐campus only when the following criteria are met:

  • For individuals diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19, you have satisfied the self‐isolation requirements set forth above, including the resolution of fever and respiratory symptoms; and you have been cleared by Drexel’s third‐party occupational health physician.
  • If you haven’t been diagnosed, but were exposed to the virus, you have satisfied quarantine requirements set forth above, including active monitoring of symptoms and completing the outlined quarantine period with or without testing.

The steps for obtaining medical clearance to return to work are:

  • Email stating that you are ready to return to work. A Drexel Environmental Health & Safety representative will contact you to schedule an appointment with a third‐party occupational health physician.
  • If you have had COVID‐19 symptoms and/or diagnosis, you will be required to obtain a return to work note from your primary care or treating physician and submit it to the third‐party occupational health physician for review.
  • If return to work clearance is granted, a Drexel Human Resources representative will notify you and your manager that you can return to work.


Drexel's testing program is based on the latest scientific evidence and best practices outlined by health and industry experts. For information on COVID testing at Drexel, go to our COVID-19 Testing page. Please also download the Drexel Health Checker to schedule and get test results.

>>More: COVID-19 Testing

Updated July 13, 2022