They seem like the same thing, but they’re not. Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Isolation separates people who have the virus (those who test positive for COVID-19) from people who do not. Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows he’s sick or if he has the virus without feeling symptoms. Tarleton students, faculty and staff in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their primary care physician or Student Health Center professional.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should quarantine.

What does CDC guidance consider close contact?

  • You were within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged or kissed)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • The person with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed or got respiratory droplets on you

What should I do if close contact occurred?

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Watch for fever (100.4 degrees F), cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms.
  • If possible, stay away others, especially people who are at higher risk for the virus. If you must go out, wear a face covering and practice physical distancing. 


People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom, if available.

Who needs to isolate?

People who have COVID-19, including:

  • People who have symptoms and are able to recover at home
  • People who have no symptoms (are asymptomatic) but have tested positive for COVID-19

Steps To Take If COVID-19 Positive

Stay home except to get medical care, and:

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency indication (like trouble breathing), seek medical care immediately
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible
  • Use a separate bathroom, if available
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets
  • Don’t share personal household items (cups, towels, utensils)
  • Wear a cloth face covering when around other people, if able

Learn more about what to do if you are sick.

Returning To Work Or School 

You can return to campus after:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) and
  • Symptoms have improved and 
  • You provide a release note from your primary care physician or the Student Health Center

Employees must provide a doctor’s release to their supervisor. Students will provide their release note to the Administrative Office for the Dean of Students.  

Depending on your healthcare provider’s advice and availability of testing, you might get tested to see if you still have COVID-19. If you will be tested, you can be around others when you have no fever, respiratory symptoms have improved, and you receive two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart.