For students and employees who live, study, or work in New York, NYU has assembled comprehensive guidance on the steps you should take if you have symptoms of COVID-19, may have been exposed, or test positive for COVID-19.

Since guidance may differ in different regions, we urge students and employees in locations other than New York City to contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider to inquire about resources.  

While NYU is no longer conducting universal contact tracing, we remain committed to providing COVID-19 related support for the community. This approach is in line with the NYS announcement that no longer requires local health departments to conduct universal contact tracing following positive COVID-19 test results.

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Updated: June 7

What to Do if You Test Positive

If you test positive, you are required to isolate until you are no longer infectious, regardless of your vaccination status. You are not permitted to enter NYU buildings or participate in NYU-sponsored in-person activities until you meet the criteria for ending isolation.

You must complete the COVID-19 Report Form to receive guidance on:

  • How to isolate
  • Communicating your absence from in-person attendance
  • Notifying your close contacts
  • How to end isolation
  • Returning to in-person activities
  • Medical care

In addition to submitting the form, students who live in an NYU residence hall should also review How to Quarantine or Isolate in NYU Housing for answers to many common questions about meals, mail and packages, academics, activities, services, and more.

What to Do if You Have Symptoms

People with COVID-19 report a wide range of symptoms – from mild discomfort to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Get Tested as Soon as Possible

While you are waiting for your test result(s), you should assume you have COVID-19 and stay home following the instructions below.  

You can use an at-home antigen test or get tested at a testing facility (which may offer antigen or PCR testing, depending on the facility). PCR tests are more accurate at detecting COVID-19 but usually take longer to receive the result. Antigen tests are less accurate at detecting COVID-19, and if you test negative, you will need to repeat testing for several days.  A single, negative antigen test result does not rule out infection.

If you tested positive in the past 90 days, you should follow CDC’s Guidance for Choosing a COVID-19 Test.  

If you test positive

You must follow the guidance for what to do if you test positive, regardless of whether you took an antigen or a PCR test. You do not need to repeat testing after receiving a positive result to confirm you have COVID-19.  If you have multiple tests and one is positive, you should follow the guidance for What to Do if You Test Positive. 

If you test negative

If you test negative, your next steps depend on whether you took an antigen or a PCR test. 

If you took a PCR test, you may have COVID-19, but tested before the virus was detectable, or you may have another illness. 

  • If you continue to have symptoms, even if you test negative, please continue to stay home until you have been fever free for more than 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and your symptoms are improving.

If you took an antigen test, follow the FDA instructions on repeat testing. A single antigen test does not rule out infection. You must take additional tests over several days to determine if you are infected with the virus.  

  • If any of your antigen test results are positive, you must follow the guidance for What to Do if You Test Positive.
  • If you continue to test negative and continue to have symptoms, please continue to stay home until you have been fever free for more than 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and your symptoms are improving.

Stay Home and Avoid Contact With Others

  • If you live with other people, separate yourself from them as much as you can. Wear a high quality and well-fitting mask at all times when you are around other people.
  • Do not go out except to get tested or for essential medical care that cannot be rescheduled.
    • You are not permitted to enter NYU buildings or participate in NYU-sponsored in-person activities. Do not go to in-person classes or work.
    • Wear a well-fitting mask if you must leave home.
    • Call ahead before going to any healthcare facility (including pharmacy).
    • Do not use public transportation or ride sharing.
  • Students who live in an NYU residence hall should review How to Quarantine or Isolate in NYU Housing for answers to many common questions about meals, mail and packages, academics, activities, services, and more.
  • Communicate your absence from in-person classes or work.
    • Students: If required, you should notify your instructors that you will not be attending in-person classes due to illness.
    • Employees/Faculty: Please follow your unit/school/department’s standard call out procedures.

When communicating your absence, you are not required to share any personal medical information with your professors or supervisors (including test results, vaccination status, quarantine/isolation requirements).  

Seek Medical Care, If You Need It

  • Students can schedule a virtual appointment at the Student Health Center or or call (212) 443-1000 and ask to speak with a nurse.
  • Employees should contact their healthcare provider.
  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

What to Do if You Were Exposed

Being exposed to COVID-19 means you were in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Regardless of whether or not you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are expected to take the following precautions for 10 full days after the day you were last exposed (with the exposure day being day 0).
  • Wear a high quality and well-fitting mask anytime you are around others, including at home/your residence halls room, on-campus, and in public.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants,  dining halls, gyms, or events with food (indoor and outdoor), and avoid eating around others at home and at work.
  • If you are a residential student, you may enter the dining halls to pick up a Grab & Go meal that you eat in your room.
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, nursing homes, and other high-risk settings.

If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Follow the guidance for What to Do if You Have Symptoms

  • In addition to the instructions outlined in that section

    • Keep in mind, if the person you were exposed to is someone who lives in your household and you are not able to separate from them, your last day of exposure is the last day you were (or will be) exposed to them during their isolation period. 

  • You should test again 5 days after the end of their isolation period.

If You Do Not Have COVID-19 Symptoms

  • You do not need to quarantine as long as you remain symptom-free.

  • Get tested 5 days after your last exposure (with the exposure day being day 0).  

    • If the person you were exposed to is someone who lives in your household and you are not able to separate from them, your last day of exposure is the last day you were (or will be) exposed to them during their isolation period.

    • You can use an at-home antigen test or get tested at a testing facility (which may offer antigen or PCR testing, depending on the facility).  PCR tests are more accurate at detecting COVID-19 but usually take longer to receive the result. Antigen tests are less accurate at detecting COVID-19, and if you test negative, you will need to repeat testing for several days.  A single, negative antigen test result does not rule out infection.

    • If you tested positive in the past 90 days, you should follow CDC’s Guidance for Choosing a COVID-19 Test.  

If you test positive

You must follow the guidance for What to Do if You Test Positive, regardless of whether you took an antigen or a PCR test. You do not need to repeat testing after receiving a positive result to confirm you have COVID-19.  If you have multiple tests and one is positive, you should follow the guidance for What to Do if You Test Positive.

If you test negative

If you took a PCR test:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after you were last exposed to COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, please follow the guidance below for what to do If you have COVID-19 symptoms (anchor link).
  • Follow all additional precautions until day 10 after your last exposure. 

If you took an antigen test, follow the FDA instructions on repeat testing. A single antigen test does not rule out infection. You must take additional tests over several days to determine if you are infected with the virus.

  • If any of your antigen test results are positive, you must follow the guidance for What to Do if You Test Positive.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after you were last exposed to COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, please follow the guidance below for what to do If you have COVID-19 symptoms (anchor link).
  • Follow all additional precautions until day 10 after your last exposure. 

What to Do if You Know About a Positive Case

Faculty, administrators, supervisors, event hosts, and others who are made aware of somebody testing positive for COVID-19 should not make announcements, notify others about the case, cancel classes, and/or make health recommendations related to testing, quarantine, isolation, or cleaning. The COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team will be in touch with you if additional action is warranted.  

Most people who are in the same space with a COVID-positive individual are not at increased risk for COVID-19 infection, and it does not require that the class be notified or that it be conducted remotely.

What to Do if a Visitor, Vendor, or Affiliate Tests Positive

Visitors, vendors, and affiliates do not complete the NYU COVID-19 Reporting. They are permitted back in NYU buildings or at University-sponsored activities (on or off campus) after they meet criteria for ending isolation, as outlined in the NYS Affirmation of Isolation Form. The visitor, vendor, or affiliate does not need to submit this form to NYU. The NYC Isolation and Quarantine Guidance Tool may be helpful for them in determining their isolation end date.

The information contained on this webpage is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, or to take the place of consultation with a medical provider. If you're in an emergency medical situation, please call 911 or your local emergency number.