Symptom Checking, Testing and Contact Tracing

Daily symptom checking

Developed in partnership with MyOwnMed, the QU Symptom Checker app will deliver three key benefits to help students, faculty and staff prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  1. The app is a useful tool that makes it easy for the community to monitor their own health based on a daily logging of potential symptoms that are commonly associated with the virus.
  2. The app will help users make informed decisions for what to do if they’re experiencing symptoms. For example, if one has the chills or loss of taste, should they still go to campus or class?
  3. Contact information, key resources and the latest QU updates on COVID-19 are also conveniently available at users’ fingertips.

Students, as well as faculty and staff who are returning to campus, will be required to perform daily symptom checks to help keep our community safe. In addition, students are asked to bring a thermometer to school this fall and to monitor for fever daily as part of the symptom check. A temperature of 100.4℉ or higher is considered a fever. Individuals should update their symptoms if they change during the day and everyone is also asked to monitor for fever daily.

COVID-19 monitor your health video

About the app:

  • Users’ personal information is not shared and only representatives of Student Health Services and Quinnipiac Human Resources will monitor the symptom tracking dashboard and will direct ill students, faculty and staff on immediate next steps to take.
  • The app only monitors self-reported symptoms; it does not capture any other information from users.
  • The symptom checker app evaluates the responses based on CDC and medical guidelines and provides an immediate confirmation on whether the individual is cleared to attend in-person campus activities or if they need to take further actions to evaluate their health.
  • Reporting one or more symptoms does not necessarily mean an individual needs to be tested or has COVID-19. If possible symptoms are reported, specific instructions and next steps will be provided through the app. The information from the app will help the health center identify trends and potential outbreaks before they happen.

Symptoms to look for

Currently, COVID-19 symptoms include one or more of the following:

Fever graphic


Cough graphic


Shortness of breath graphic

Shortness of breath

Sore throat graphic

Sore throat

  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Red/watery eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Severe fatigue
  • Fever
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Chills

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is an important step in staying ahead of the spread of COVID-19. Time is of the essence for an effective contact tracing program because the primary focus is on finding those individuals who have been in contact with a positive or presumed positive (symptomatic but not yet tested positive) case of COVID-19.

In addition to partnering with the Quinnipiack Valley Health District, Quinnipiac has assembled and trained its own team of on-campus contact tracers to ensure a rapid response to contact tracing needs. Our team includes faculty, staff and student volunteers, including individuals from our Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. These volunteers completed training from both the state of Connecticut and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. 

Contact tracing is only effective with your support and participation if you’re contacted. Here are 5 key things you need to know about how our contact tracing system at Quinnipiac works:

1. How do we determine if you are a contact who may be at risk?
To be considered a contact by the Quinnipiack Valley Health District and the CDC, a person needs to have been within 6 feet of the positive or presumed positive case for more than 15 minutes. Our contact tracing team then performs additional evaluation to confirm a true exposure, which is why it is important to practice the physical distancing and mask-wearing protocols we have established, and our classrooms and facilities have all been modified to space people apart from each other.

2. Is contact tracing only used after a person tests positive for COVID-19?
Quinnipiac is being extra cautious and will deploy contact tracing both when an individual is confirmed positive and if an individual has reported symptoms but their test result is not yet available. This includes symptoms reported through the QU symptom checking app. As a result, a call from a contact tracer does not necessarily mean you have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. Given the abundance of caution we’re exercising, there will be situations in which a student ultimately is found to have a common cold or other illness, but we will ask those individuals and their contacts to quarantine until we have a confirmed negative COVID-19 test. 

3. What happens if I’m confirmed as a contact of a possible COVID-19 case?
Residential students will be asked to move into the university’s designated quarantine housing and non-residential students will be asked to quarantine in their off-campus housing. Students also have the option to quarantine at home, if feasible. Student Health Services will assist with the transition into quarantine and provide more detailed information on the quarantine process and necessary health protocols. Students will be released from quarantine as soon as a confirmed negative test result is received from the presumed case. If a positive case is confirmed, contacts will be required to remain in quarantine for 14 days.

4. Will professors be notified when students move into quarantine or isolation?
Professors will not be notified. Following FERPA, best practices and advice from the local health department and CDC, we must limit personally identifying information about positive cases and contacts to protect individuals’ privacy and avoid potential stigma. Students should notify their professors that they will be attending class remotely if the class requires in-person attendance, but it is at their discretion whether they want to mention that they’ve been moved into quarantine housing. We have staff dedicated to assisting our students in quarantine and isolation, and those students will check in daily and be monitored for any changes in their health.

If a student is too ill to participate in classes, Student Health Services will provide its standard notification excusing the student from classes for medical reasons. We are working with dean’s offices on notification processes for students in a clinical placement or lab course who need to quarantine, as well as documentation that will be used to confirm those students are cleared with a negative test to return to their clinical assignment.

5. If a contact was in a classroom, does a professor need to request the room be cleaned?
No, our facilities department is already integrated into our contact tracing processes and will be notified if a classroom needs to be disinfected. In addition, as part of our standard cleaning protocols this fall, classrooms are disinfected every weekday morning before the start of classes, and students and faculty are expected to spray and wipe down desks and surfaces at the end of each class using the disinfectant product provided in every classroom.  

If you have more questions about contact tracing, please contact the leaders of Quinnipiac’s contact tracing team, Jason Burke (jason.burke@qu.edu) and Wendy Sewack (wendy.sewack@qu.edu).

Student Testing Overview

Student testing overview

As part of our extensive health and safety guidelines for students, Quinnipiac has designed a comprehensive COVID-19 testing program for students. This program requires students be tested before returning to Quinnipiac, again shortly after their arrival, and regularly throughout the fall semester. The testing program we have designed is a key component of our plan to bring students back to, and sustain, a healthy QU community and to be able to keep our campuses and classrooms open.

Icon of a house

Pre-arrival testing

Before returning to campus

All students — undergraduate and graduate — were required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning for the fall semester. Testing was not required for students who are enrolled in degree programs that were structured to be fully online or always online or who have applied for and been approved for 100% remote study this semester. Students were not permitted to return to Quinnipiac for the fall semester or move into their assigned housing if they had not tested negative for COVID-19 prior to their return.

Graphic of Quinnipiac's library tower

Return testing

Upon returning to campus

All students — undergraduate and graduate — were tested again shortly upon returning to Quinnipiac.  The university partnered with the Broad Institute, a genomic research center based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to perform all of Quinnipiac’s on-campus testing. This was a non-invasive nasal swab test, and the cost of all on-campus testing was covered by the university.

Ongoing Testing

Arrows in a circular shape to depict repetition
COVID-19 testing video

Ongoing testing

Throughout the fall semester

We have now implemented the third component of our testing program: targeted weekly testing of asymptomatic students. This is among the most important health measures we must sustain throughout the fall to protect the “Bobcat Bubble,” in addition to wearing face coverings and physical distancing.

Your participation is essential! This testing will help us effectively monitor for – and quickly mitigate – the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. Here is a brief overview of how the weekly testing program works:

  • Testing a portion of our students – Each week we will test approximately 20% of all Quinnipiac students. This will be accomplished by testing 15% of undergraduate students living on campus; 25% of undergraduates living off campus; and 15% of graduate students.
  • Using a custom testing model – A team of Quinnipiac faculty has built a custom testing model tailored to our QU community. This means each week’s sample will intentionally include students in the testing pool from every residence hall and QU-owned house; every campus; undergraduate and graduate; on campus and off campus. This produces a highly representative testing sample that maximizes our ability to look for early signals of COVID-19 in specific areas of our campuses and student populations.
  • Watch your email – Students who have been selected to participate in each week’s sample testing will receive an email from COVIDoncampustest@qu.edu. They can participate in either of the two testing days offered. Testing is convenient, takes five minutes on average, and is held in Burt Kahn Court. Students may be selected more than once throughout the semester. Watch this video to learn how testing works.
  • Testing is mandatory – If you receive an appointment for the weekly testing, you must attend. Ignoring these testing clinics increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading undetected – and shortening our on-campus experience.

As a thank you, all students completing their testing each week will be entered into a raffle and 10 students a week will be awarded a $25 gift card.

Do your part to protect the “Bobcat Bubble.” Support our weekly COVID-19 testing and help us maintain a healthy and safe QU community this fall.

Questions about the student testing plan should be emailed to our online Support Center at COVID19SupportCenter@qu.edu

Quarantine and Isolation Housing

Quarantine and isolation housing

Quinnipiac has designated specific apartments and suites in residence halls as isolation and quarantine locations for its residential students living in university-owned housing. Students also will be given the option to isolate or quarantine at home, depending on their own and their family’s preference and circumstances and availability of on-campus locations. Quarantine housing is used when a person has potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and needs to separate from other people to see if they develop symptoms and become sick. Isolation housing is used when someone has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.

If a student needs to quarantine, Student Health Services will work with Residential Life to arrange for the student to move to a private room or semi-private room until the period of quarantine is over. If a student needs to isolate, Student Health Services will work with Residential Life to arrange for the student to move to a private room or semi-private room with another student who is also in isolation. 

While in quarantine or isolation, students will have full access to wireless internet so they can attend classes remotely and participate in virtual student activities. Our Dining Services will provide regular delivery of prepared meals.

Student Health Services personnel will remotely monitor the progress of the student in isolation and will determine when the quarantine or isolation period has concluded, and the student may return to their academic year room assignment. Additional guidance on who must quarantine, including temporary residence assignments and protocols, will be provided to students who are going into quarantine or isolation housing. 

Shared Spaces

Shared spaces

Students must maintain 6 feet of physical distance at all times whenever they are outside their living unit. This includes time spent in classrooms, labs, dining facilities and all other common areas in the residence halls and on campus, as well as outdoors. Visual distancing markers will encourage students, faculty and employees to remain 6 feet apart in workspaces, hallways and other common use areas.

Clear signage will reinforce policies on wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, personal protection and personal hygiene. 

The use of shared equipment will be minimized. If equipment must be shared, the students, faculty and staff members using that equipment will be required to wipe it down after each use. Wipes and disinfecting supplies will be available in classrooms, offices and other shared spaces.

Office, laboratory, teaching and workspaces have been structured to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between faculty, students and staff. Spaces typically used for communal purposes have been segmented into discrete zones or have been closed to use as needed. 

Signage at Quinnipiac during the pandemic video

Face Coverings

Face coverings

Quinnipiac is requiring all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings whenever they are in a public space. Wearing a face covering does not replace the need to maintain physical distancing and to observe safety protocols. Anytime you are outside your living unit or personal office or workspace, you must wear a face covering. This rule applies to all individuals on campus as well as students living off campus. Those who live off campus should still be wearing a face covering whenever they are outside their living unit and around others.

Masks and face coverings reduce community transmission of the virus by providing a physical barrier that can help to contain the spread of respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Recent research shows that the risk of acquiring COVID-19 is substantially reduced to less than 5% when everyone in the room is wearing a face covering.

Every student, faculty and staff member at Quinnipiac will be given a cloth face mask. Students and employees are encouraged to also bring their own personal face coverings to wear to ensure they have a sufficient supply, given that masks should be washed after each wearing. Cloth face masks and coverings are preferred; gaiters and bandanas are not acceptable as alternative face coverings as they tend to be more porous.

Everything You Need to Know About Face Coverings On Campus video

Receiving your mask

All residential students with an assigned post office box will have a face mask waiting for them in their post office box. For all other students, we will be announcing distribution dates and locations on both the North Haven and Mount Carmel campuses after students have returned.

The masks should be machine-washed in cold water. You can tumble dry them on low, if possible, or hang them to dry. Additional masks and face coverings are available through several sources, including the campus bookstore.

Cleaning Protocols

Cleaning protocols

Facilities workers have been given the appropriate PPE, and they use cleaning and disinfecting products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. In addition, all facilities managers have earned a national “Microbial Warrior” certification through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide. The certification provides our team with preventive, responsive infection and contamination control measures for potential infectious disease outbreaks, and more specifically the novel coronavirus.

Prior to reopening, Facilities will complete a thorough cleaning of spaces including, but not limited to: entrances/lobbies, bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, elevators, high-traffic area touchpoints (e.g., door handles/door knobs), shared equipment (e.g., printers, scanners, phones, vending machines), desks, chairs, computers and monitors. 

Quinnipiac’s facilities team will perform daily cleanings and disinfection each weekday of public bathrooms as well as communal bathrooms in residence halls; classrooms; common areas and workspaces around our campuses. Hand sanitizer will be made available at entrance points and common areas, where possible.

Cleaning and disinfectant products will be made available near commonly used surfaces, such as desks, bathrooms, shared equipment (e.g., printers, phones, monitors, keyboards), and shared appliances (microwave, coffee machine, etc.). Additional products will be available for ordering through the existing work order system. 

Appropriate signage will encourage best practices, such as handwashing and use of PPE.

How Quinnipiac facilities staff is cleaning video

Public Safety

Public safety

Students can contact Public Safety 24/7 at 203-582-6200 or 911 for emergency safety concerns.