Quarantine and isolation are public health strategies that are used to stop or drastically slow the spread of an infectious or contagious disease. As an off-campus student, you are also considered a resident of the City of Tacoma and Pierce County. We highly encourage you to be cautious and considerate of the quarantine and isolation protocol recommended by both CHWS and the Pierce County Health Department. Thank you for helping keep the Tacoma community safe by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Off-Campus Quarantine

Students will need to enter quarantine when they have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If you choose to remain in your off-campus housing while in quarantine you must assume that you could possibly infect others with COVID-19 and therefore limit contact as much as possible. In order to control the transmission of COVID-19, the quarantine period lasts for 14 days. During this time, you will monitor yourself for symptoms and retest for the virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during this time, you must notify Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services immediately. At the end of 14 days, if you remain symptom-free and have tested negative for COVID-19, your quarantine period will end. 

Off-Campus Isolation

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 must isolate until they are no longer contagious. A typical isolation period lasts for 10 days after a positive test result. During this time, CHWS encourages you to track your symptoms, rest, and recuperate. Most people can recover at home without being hospitalized, however, if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms, you need to contact a healthcare provider immediately for further instructions. At the end of 10 days, if your respiratory symptoms have improved and you have been fever-free for 72 hours, your isolation period will end.  

Monitoring Your Symptoms

It is important to monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (including but not limited to cough, sore throat, fever, loss of smell or taste), contact CWHS at 253.879.1555 (x1555).  If you need assistance on weekends or after 5pm, call the Multicare Consulting Nurse at 253.792.6411 (available 24/7). 

If you have severe symptoms and you need emergency medical assistance call 9-1-1. Notify the operator that you are in quarantine or isolation due to a COVID-19 exposure.

Be aware of warning signs for severe complications of COVID-19. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Bluish-colored lips or face 

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider or CHWS if you are experiencing any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

For students in quarantine or isolation, we recommend creating a symptom log to monitor any current or emerging symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Here is a Symptom Log Example from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

If you have a thermometer, we highly recommend you take and record your temperature at least twice a day. Other symptoms that should be recorded in a symptom log include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you develop a low grade fever (99०F-102.9०F or 37.2०C - 39.3०C), notify CHWS of this change as soon as possible. 

If you develop a high grade fever (above 103०F or 39.4०C), immediately contact CWHS or the MultiCare Consulting Nurse line (Available 24/7: 253.792.6411) for further instructions.  

Off-campus students will have a consistent contact tracer who will be checking in with you during your time in quarantine or isolation.


Guidelines From the Contact Tracing Team

Below are the guidelines the contact tracers will go through with each student over the phone when they first go into quarantine or isolation off campus. Please review and adhere to these guidelines.

  1. Do not have guests over to your home or in your room.  
  2. Always wear a mask, unless you are in your room.  
  3. Utilize to-go options and food delivery. Do not eat in restaurants, dining areas on campus, or around other people. 
  4. If you have to be in a shared space, such as a laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom, make sure no one else is there at the same time and that you are wearing a mask. Limit your time in that space to 15 minutes or less. Do not allow anyone else to use this space for at least 30 minutes after you have used it. If possible, open windows to allow outside air to circulate within the space while you are using it and after use. 
  5. Clean and disinfect any shared surfaces, including door handles, faucets, counters, cabinets, etc. 
  6. Use your own designated silverware and dishes. Wash any kitchen utensils or equipment used for cooking with hot, soapy water after use. 
  7. Do not share hand towels. Do not keep personal items, such as toothbrushes and towels, in a shared space. Keep these items in your room, and bring them into the bathroom with you and take them with you when you leave.


Accessing Food

We recommend that off-campus students utilize grocery and food delivery services while in quarantine or isolation. Below are a few options near campus.

Safeway, 2411 N Proctor St, Tacoma, WA 98406

Safeway, 1112 S M St. Tacoma, WA 98405

Orders can be made for Safeway’s Grocery Delivery service through Safeway.com. All orders over $35 will have free delivery and you receive $20 off of your first order.

Fred Meyer, 4505 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98405

If you have a friend or housemate that is willing and able, Fred Meyer offers a free Grocery Pickup service. While grocery pick-up is contactless, we do not advise students in quarantine or isolation to go to the store themselves. Check out the Fred Meyer website for more details.

If you are experiencing general food insecurity or difficulty accessing food during your quarantine/isolation period, please contact Alonna Mitz (Student Assistance Coordinator) at amitz@pugetsound.edu for support.


Going Outside

Fresh air and movement are important for your physical and mental well-being. While in quarantine or isolation, we encourage you to spend time outside safely by doing the following:

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Avoid passing directly by others on the sidewalk
  • Do not spend time with other people, even if you are distancing yourself
  • Do not enter campus buildings


Mental and Social Health


Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services provides workshops, groups, and peer support groups to students. 

  • Workshops, which are available to students residing in WA and outside of WA, can be joined at any time.
  • Groups are available to students residing in WA only. It is typically recommended that you join these groups near the beginning of the semester and attend consistently. However, sometimes it is possible to join a group midsemester, so we encourage you to reach out to a CHWS counselor by scheduling an R&R appointment, or talking to your counselor if you are being seen in CHWS, to learn more about the groups.
  • Peer Support Group is available to students residing in WA and outside of WA. The current group is All Addictions Anonymous (AAA) on Fridays from 12:15–1 p.m.

Check the Support Groups webpage for our spring 2021 offerings, group descriptions, and whom to contact to join.


TAO is a program CHWS utilizes for telehealth services. TAO provides students with 24/7 access to a variety of wellness-based learnings modules and workshops. All students have access to TAO at taoconnect.org.


For students searching for an on-campus counselor, contact CHWS at 253.879.1555, Monday–Friday between 8 a.m. and noon, and 1 and 5 p.m. If your call is not answered, please leave a message with your name and phone number.  Your call will be returned within one business day. If you do not hear back within the allotted time, it means that there has been a glitch somewhere and you should call back. The staff at CHWS genuinely wants to support Puget Sound students and encourage them to be persistent in advocating for their health and wellness.

For students searching for an off-campus counselor, contact the Student Assistance Coordinator Alonna Mitz at amitz@pugetsound.edu and/or complete the Student Assistance Intake Form. To access the form online:

  1. Log into the CHWS Communication Portal
  2. Create a new Secure Message
  3. Select Student Assistance Intake Form
  4. Complete form and submit


Communicating with Your House

It is imperative that individuals are open and honest with their housemates about their exposure to COVID-19 and their test results. We recognize that there is a stigma around contracting COVID-19, but by being up front about your exposure or possible exposure, you are demonstrating responsibility and compassion to those that you’ve come in contact and everyone that they might have come in contact with. Together we can reduce the stigma surrounding COVID-19 through honest conversation.

If you believe you have been exposed or you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is your responsibility to notify your housemates immediately. All positive test results also need to be reported to Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services, even if the test was not performed on campus.

In general, we encourage students to hold regular conversations with the members of their house about how they would like to respond to COVID-19 as a household. You and your housemates may have differing views about the virus, so it’s important to keep a level head and focus on mutual respect when setting household rules. Adhering to social distancing guidelines, wearing masks, frequently sanitizing hands and surfaces, and reducing the number of people you come in contact with each day will help slow the spread of the virus.


How Do You Know When It’s Over?


The CHWS staff will work together with you to determine when you may stop living in quarantine. The following guidelines are used to determine when people can finish quarantine, but each timeline may be different. You must fulfill ALL of the following requirements:

  • 14 days have passed since close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19
  • You have tested negative for COVID-19
  • You have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19


The CHWS staff will work together with you to determine when you may leave isolation. The following guidelines are used to determine when people can finish isolation, but each timeline may be different due to symptoms, risk factors, and living circumstances. You must experience ALL of the following:

  • 10 days have passed since the date on which you tested positive (do not count the day of the test into 10 day total) and 
  • 3 days without a fever (without the use of antipyretic medication) and
  • Respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)


Important Contacts 

  • Counseling, Health and Wellness Services (CHWS): 253.879.1555 (Call if you develop symptoms or with other health questions/concerns)
  • MultiCare Consulting Nurse (Available 24/7): 253.792.6411 (Call after 5 p.m. and on weekends for medical advice)
  • Student Accessibility and Accommodations: 253.879.3399, saa@pugetsound.edu(Call if you need support communicating with your professors)
  • Emergency Response On Campus: 253.879.3311 or Ext. 3311
  • Security Services: 253.879.3311 (Contact during business hours if you have a vehicle on campus and you need to park near your temporary quarantine/isolation residence)
    Student Assistance Coordinator Alonna Mitz: amitz@pugetsound.edu (Email if need help figuring out the best department/person to contact with your questions/concerns)


How Can We Improve This Resource?

Please contact Alonna Mitz (student assistance coordinator) at amitz@pugetsound.edu with any questions or feedback about this page. We are learning about COVID-19 at the same pace as the rest of the world and would appreciate students bringing to our attention ways in which we can improve this overwhelming experience for everyone.