UT University Health Services

Guidance for Ending Self-Isolation and Returning to Regular Activities After COVID-19 Infection

When you can end self-isolation depends on your situation. Find U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations for your circumstances below:

I know (tested positive), or I think I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms I tested positive for COVID-19 (current illness) but had no symptoms

You can end self-isolation after:

  • At least 5 days* since symptoms first appeared, and
  • If you must be around others, then a negative rapid antigen test for COVID-19 on the evening of day 5 or morning of day 6 can reassure you and others that you are LESS LIKELY TO BE infectious. Rapid antigen tests are available at any of the free self-test kit distribution sites on campus. Test only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).
  • If you choose not to take the rapid antigen test, ensure you no longer have symptoms, or your symptoms are resolving. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until you have gone at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication.
  • Continue to wear a mask with a properly fit non-cloth mask (like a KN95) around others, including those who share your household for 5 additional days.
  • A follow-up test to show that you are “cured” is no longer recommended by the CDC to discontinue isolation or other precautions.

If you had severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g., were hospitalized, needed oxygen), follow your healthcare provider’s guidance.

If you need to provide documentation that you are clear to return to your housing unit or another activity, read “I need to provide an attestation that I completed my self-isolation” below.

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end self-isolation after 5 days* have passed since the date you had your positive test but should continue to wear a mask with a properly fit non-cloth mask (like a KN95) around others, including those who share your household for 5 additional days. A follow-up test to show that you are “cured” is no longer recommended by the CDC to discontinue isolation or other precautions.

If symptoms develop after initially testing positive, follow guidance above under “I know (tested positive for current illness) or I think I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”

If you need to provide documentation that you are clear to return to your housing unit or another activity, read the Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation Form for Housing Clearance and Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation for Other Activity Clearance sections below.

I know (tested positive), or I think I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms

You can end self-isolation after:

  • At least 5 days* since symptoms first appeared, and
  • If you must be around others, then a negative rapid antigen test for COVID-19 on the evening of day 5 or morning of day 6 can reassure you and others that you are LESS LIKELY TO BE infectious. Rapid antigen tests are available through Proactive Community Testing and rapid antigen home kits can be purchased at local pharmacies or picked up at any of the free self-test kit distribution sites on campus. Test only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).
  • If you choose not to take the rapid antigen test, ensure you no longer have symptoms or your symptoms are resolving. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until you have gone at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication.
  • Continue to wear a mask with a properly fit non-cloth mask (like a KN95) around others, including those who share your household for 5 additional days.
  • A follow-up test to show that you are “cured” is no longer recommended by the CDC to discontinue isolation or other precautions.

If you had severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. were hospitalized, needed oxygen), follow your healthcare provider’s guidance.

If you need to provide documentation that you are clear to return to your housing unit or another activity, read the Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation Form for Housing Clearance and Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation for Other Activity Clearance sections below.

I tested positive for COVID-19 (current illness) but had no symptoms

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end self-isolation after 5 days* have passed since the date you had your positive test but should continue to wear a mask with a properly fit non-cloth mask (like a KN95) around others, including those who share your household for 5 additional days. A follow-up test to show that you are “cured” is no longer recommended by the CDC to discontinue isolation or other precautions.

If symptoms develop after initially testing positive, follow guidance above under “I know (tested positive for current illness) or I think I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”

If you need to provide documentation that you are clear to return to your housing unit or another activity, read the Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation Form for Housing Clearance and Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation for Other Activity Clearance sections below.

*Five Day Isolation: Given there is small residual risk of transmission from days 5-10 in some cases, UT recommends minimizing time in public when possible (for example, work/study from home). For masking, a properly fit, non-cloth mask is preferred. Eat/drink in well-ventilated and socially distanced locations. If you must be around others, then a negative rapid antigen test for COVID-19 on the evening of day 5 or morning of day 6 can reassure you and others that you are LESS LIKELY TO BE infectious. Rapid antigen tests are available at any of the free self-test kit distribution sites on campus. Test only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). If you choose not to test, you must be 24+ hours fever-free without use of fever-reducing medications AND other COVID-19 symptoms have improved. If a rapid test is not available, consider staying home at least past day 7, as risk of transmitting from day 8-10 is minimal. PCR tests should not be used to end isolation.

Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation Form for Housing Clearance

Only complete this form if you need to declare the completion of your self-isolation to return to your housing unit in the university residence halls AND you meet all CDC criteria for discontinuing self-isolation:

  • 5+ days since symptom onset (if no symptoms, 5+ days since test date) AND
  • 24+ hours fever-free without use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • Other COVID-19 symptoms have improved

Declaration of Completion of Self-Isolation for Other Activity Clearance

Only complete this process if you need UHS to declare the completion of your self-isolation for another activity clearance, not to return to your housing unit in the university residence halls, AND you meet all CDC criteria for discontinuing self-isolation:

  • 5+ days since symptom onset (if no symptoms, 5+ days since test date) AND
  • 24+ hours fever-free without use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • Other COVID-19 symptoms have improved

Initiate this process by:

  1. Log into myUHS portal
  2. Clicking “Messages” on the left sidebar.
  3. Clicking “New Message.”
  4. Selecting “I want to fill out and submit a Self-Declaration of Release from COVID-19 Isolation to UHS.”
  5. Complete the form.
  6. Submit the secure message.

Can I stop preventive behaviors because I have recovered from COVID-19, including having a positive antibody test?

Having antibodies to the COVID-19 virus might provide protection from reinfection. However, there is currently not enough information to say with certainty whether someone will be immune to reinfection if they have a positive antibody test and, if so, for how long.

Therefore, those who have recovered from COVID-19 infection (even with a positive antibody test) are advised to continue following preventive measures in all their activities and are expected to comply with university guidance. There are no exemptions or special permissions for those who have convalesced.




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