Coronavirus Quarantine Guide for Faculty and Staff
How to Quarantine: A Guide for Faculty and Staff
If you have been recommended to quarantine, you are expected to quarantine and monitor your symptoms for 5 days before returning to work. You are required to contact your supervisor and the Columbia University Human Resources (CUHR), Office of Leave Management via email at [email protected].
Hearing that you need to quarantine and disconnect from others may be disconcerting, but the goal is to ensure that you are healthy, while also protecting others from exposure to illness.
What to have on hand
Some people may quarantine in their own room or residence; others may need to relocate. In some circumstances, individuals may quarantine together. During this time, you will want to have enough clean clothes for at least 5 days, as well as a pillow and blanket, your cellphone, and laptop. You’ll also need a toiletry kit, eyewear, a thermometer, over-the-counter fever reducing medications, and any prescription and nonprescription medications.
Your self-care kit
Be prepared with a self-care kit that contains:
- Digital thermometer (for daily use)
- Hand sanitizer (for times you can’t wash)
- Alcohol wipes (for cleaning, as needed)
- Water bottle (stay hydrated!)
- Temperature and symptom log
What to watch for
Symptoms related to COVID-19 include:
- Fever (above 100.4°F)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications, especially for older individuals and those with other health conditions.
Monitoring your symptoms during quarantine
Please take your temperature twice daily and record your symptoms on the health log. If you develop symptoms or need medical triage/help while in isolation, please call your healthcare provider to determine if you should leave the premises to seek medical attention.
While you're in quarantine
- Remain in your home or room for the 14-day period. Do not go out, except when recommended by a medical professional.
- Maintain distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.
- Wear a mask or face covering when accessing communal bathrooms or kitchens.
- If sharing a bathroom, the person who is quarantining should clean and disinfect the frequently touched surfaces in the bathroom after each use.
If you must leave your home try to do so during off-hours and avoid places where people are congregating. Wear a face covering at all times.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations that require changes in location or behavior. When you’re out of circulation, you may experience a range of feelings, including:
- Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your health status or that of others
- Anger or resentment at the inconvenience
- Worry about not having your things with you or not doing your usual routine
- Uncertainty or concern about how long you will need to remain in this situation
- Excitement to have some alone time to rest and catch up on reading
- Loneliness or feeling cut off
- Boredom and frustration
- Sadness or depression
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to support you, with confidential access to professional counselors who will assess your needs, provide a listening ear, and connect you with the appropriate trained specialists and community resources.
Public Health Terminology
When communicable infections circulate, communities try to reduce the spread in several ways, depending on the severity of the illness, the ease of transmission, and the local and national policies of the time. Often, more than one method is employed during an outbreak.
Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating people who are already sick from those who are not. It lasts as long as the disease is contagious.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Quarantines are typically used for individuals who are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19—particularly those who have had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 without using recommended precautions for caregivers.
Social or physical distancing means avoiding crowds and public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, ride share), and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.
Contact Information for Support
You are a valued member of the Columbia community, and your health and well-being are important to us. Columbia University is here to assist you if you need help.