Isolation and quarantine help protect those around us by preventing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Isolation separates people who are sick with COVID-19 from those who are not.
  • Quarantine separates those who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, for the duration of the viral incubation period, in case they have been infected, as well.

Both quarantine and isolation are essential measures in keeping our community safe and productive.

What you'll find on this page

Additional Links

  • Quarantine Resources – links to help from MSU's Counseling and Psychological Services and to options for academic support and more.
  • MSU Quarantine and Isolation Housing Information – Information about Q/I Housing at MSU, which is available for on-campus resident students.
  • MSU Student Testing Center – MSU offers COVID-19 testing to students free of charge. Testing is available for students who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who are in quarantine and seeking a test on their fifth day so they can be released from quarantine on day seven.
  • MSU COVID-19 Self-Checker – A step-by-step tool that can help students determine whether testing is appropriate and where to go for a COVID-19 test.
  • COVID-19 vaccines at MSU – Information how to get a free COVID-19 vaccination from University Health Partners.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate themselves to avoid spreading the virus.

If you live on campus, you will be expected move to isolation housing unless you make other arrangements with University Student Housing. Call 406-994-4546 for instructions on how to move to isolation housing.

How long does isolation last?

You can leave isolation when you have met all of the following conditions, as laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms began.
  • You’ve seen your symptoms improve.
  • You have not had a fever of 100.4 degrees Farenheit or higher in the last 24 hours — without using fever-reducing medications.

What guidelines do I follow while in isolation?

  • Only leave the house for medical emergencies. You should not go to work, class, the grocery store, on hikes or walks, or into the community, etc.
  • Stay separated from other people and pets in your home, as much as possible.
  • Wear a face mask at all times when you are around other people or pets.
  • Don’t share food, drinks, dishes, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Wash dishes, towels and bedding thoroughly and dry them on the hottest appropriate setting.
  • Use household disinfectants to regularly clean high-touch surfaces, including counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, remote controls, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, place the used tissue in a lined trashcan. Wash your hands right away with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with a nickel-size amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The only exception to remaining isolated, according to Montana law, is attending or operating a religious facility, church, synogogue or other place of worship.

What supportive measures may help with my symptoms?

There is no known antiviral treatment for COVID-19, so treatment is primarily supportive care. Mild cases may be treated at home, but severe illness requires hospitalization. You can do several things that will help you feel better while you are recovering on your own.

  • Get extra sleep.
  • Drink lots of liquids like juices, broth and soda.
  • For vomiting: Do not eat or drink anything till you have not vomited for four hours, then sip on liquids for 24 hours. If no further vomiting, begin eating mild foods like crackers, mashed potatoes, rice, applesauce, for 24 hours. Then resume your regular diet.

Complications from viral respiratory syndromes can be serious. If you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, uncontrolled vomiting or stiff neck you will likely need to be rechecked. However, it is of utmost importance to call ahead to UHP Medical Services, Urgent Care, or the Bozeman Health Emergency Room before you travel to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. 

What if my symptoms worsen?

If your symptoms worsen, you can go to:

Please wear a face covering and notify staff that you have been diagnosed with COVID so that the health care team can use proper precautions. 

If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case

If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have otherwise been exposed to the virus, the Gallatin City-County Health Department will strongly recommend and reques that you quarantine to avoid spreading the virus.

How long is quarantine?

You should remain in quarantine as follows:

  • For 10 days from your last exposure if:
    • You do not have symptom after day 10 since your last exposure.
    • You watch yourself for symptoms daily through day 14 since your last exposure.
  • For seven days from your last exposure (returning to normal activities on day 8) if:
    • You receive a negative COVID-19 test result, collected no sooner than day 5 of your quarantine.
    • You remain free of symptoms.

Full details on quarantine duration are available from the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

How to quarantine

Please stay away from others in your home (including those also in quarantine or isolation) and follow these guidelines to protect those in your household:

  • You will not be able to go to work, class, the grocery store, on hikes or walks, or into the community, etc.
  • Stay separated from other people and pets in your home, as much as possible.
  • Wear a face mask at all times when you are around other people or pets.
  • Don’t share food, drinks, dishes, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Wash dishes, towels and bedding thoroughly and dry them on the hottest appropriate setting.
  • Use household disinfectants to regularly clean high-touch surfaces, including counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, remote controls, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, place the used tissue in a lined trashcan. Wash your hands right away with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with a nickel-size amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and tell the provider that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • After leaving quarantine, you should continue to monitor symptoms for an additional four days. If symptoms develop at any time during the 14-day incubation period, you must remain in or return to quarantine and get tested.
  • If you begin developing symptoms, go to the MSU Symptomatic Student Testing center for a free COVID-19 test.

If you are a student living in the residence halls:

The university has spaces available on campus for students to isolate and limited space for students to quarantine. Residence hall students should be prepared to find quarantine options off campus, if needed. Call 406-994-2605 for instructions on how to move to quarantine housing. 

  • Students who are identified as close contacts of people with COVID-19 through the contact tracing process or who are awaiting their own test results are asked to stay socially distanced from others until their quarantine period has expired or they have received negative test results.
  • Residents who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 would be housed in isolation, potentially sharing a suite with others who have confirmed cases of the virus.

Students in both designated quarantine and isolation will be in regular contact with public health case managers and receive check-ins from health care providers to monitor their condition if needed. Should it be deemed necessary by a provider or should there be an emergency, students would be taken to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital for care. Residence hall staff is also available for assistance if needed.

Additional information about quarantine and isolation housing at MSU is available under the Residence Hall section on the university's COVID-19 FAQ page and on the University Student Housing site.

Watch yourself for emergency warning signs

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Please call 911. Emergency warning signs may include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish face or lips. Make sure to tell the dispatcher your symptoms so responders are prepared.

For more information, visit the Gallatin City-County Health Department Coronavirus webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the questions MSU students most frequently ask about quarantine and isolation.

Only individuals with a confirmed positive test result within 90 days of their quarantine release date may be exempt from quarantine or individuals who are two weeks past receiving the entire series of their COVID-19 vaccine. In order to receive an exemption, you must email a copy of the lab result to the COVID Case Managers at [email protected] or a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record. The lab result must include the following: your full name and date of birth, test collection date, name of testing center/clinic, and positive (abnormal) lab result.

If you have been identified as a close contact, you will be asked to complete the full 10-day quarantine; however, if you receive a negative test on at least day five of quarantine, you may be released on day seven. If a person gets tested too early after infection, they are likely to receive negative test results because the virus is at an undetectable level in their body. It can take 14 days before a person becomes symptomatic, so you should continue to monitor your symptoms for four days after completing the seven- or 10-day quarantine.

Depending on your situation, it may be possible for you to quarantine or isolate at home. Please call the COVID Case Managers at 406-994-4100 for specific guidance.

University Health Partners currently has the capacity to test close contacts on the fifth day of their quarantine. If you receive a negative test result, you may be released from quarantine on day seven.

Please follow the dates given to you by the Gallatin City-County Health Department in the official quarantine/isolation letter you should have received by email.

Because incidents out of our control can occur, we ask that you do not use curbside pickup but choose a home delivery option instead. See our Resources page for more information on food assistance.

Please call the COVID-19 case managers at 406-994-4100 or submit a request form for help getting prescriptions refilled.

Yes! Please see our Resources page where you can request an outreach from someone on our team at MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

More COVID-19-related answers can be found on our main Frequently Asked Questions page.

Need resources or assistance?

If you need resources or assistance to stay productive and healthy during quarantine, please send us a request through the Resource Request Form below. You can request:

  • Free food delivery
  • Prescription delivery
  • Financial assistance
  • Academic support
  • Emotional support
  • Quarantine/isolation letter
  • And more

We are here to help! 

 

Last Updated: Sept. 9, 2021