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.

Please take a few minutes to read the guidelines below and let us know if you need resources to complete your quarantine or isolation successfully.

 

Online and remote learning graphic, text on colored background
Guidelines for students on quarantine and isolation.
Student IT services graphic, text on colored background

Answers to students' frequently asked questions on quarantine and isolation.

 

Employee guidance and FAQ, text on colored background
Information on emotional, financial, and academic support.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19:

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you are asked to isolate for 10 days starting the day of symptom onset. Please stay separate from others in your home to avoid spreading the virus. Below are some important guidelines to protect those in your household:

  • 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.
  • If your symptoms worsen, you can go to:
    • University Health Partners, 100 Swingle Building, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; call 406-994-2311 for an appointment.
    • Viral Triage Clinic at Bozeman Health, Entrance 4, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • B2 Urgent Care,
    • In Bozeman, 1006 West Main Street, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • In Belgrade, Bozeman Health, 206 Alaska Frontage Road, Monday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • 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 live on campus, you must move to quarantine housing unless you make other arrangements with Residence Life. Call 406-282-4025 for instructions on how to move to quarantine housing.

What supportive measures may help?

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. 

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, you are asked to quarantine for at least 10 days starting with the last day of exposure. 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 10 days, 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 live on campus, you must move to quarantine housing unless you make other arrangements with Residence Life. Call 406-994-2605 for instructions on how to move to quarantine housing.

If you are a student living in the residence halls:

The university has spaces available on campus for quarantine and isolation. These units are available only for students who live in our residence halls.

  • 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 would be placed into quarantine housing apart from other students.
  • 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 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. Residence hall staff will also check in daily so that students remain connected to campus life and resources. 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.

Additional information about quarantine and isolation housing at MSU is available under the Residence Life section on the university's COVID-19 FAQ page and on the Residence Life 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 quarantine release date may be exempt from quarantine. In order to receive an exemption, you must email a copy of the lab result to the COVID Case Managers at [email protected]. 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 must complete the full 10-day quarantine regardless of a negative test result. 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 10-day quarantine.

You and your roommates were placed in quarantine because you have a known exposure to someone who is sick with COVID-19. Quarantine is used as a precaution: it is unknown if you or your roommates are infected with the virus. If you and your roommates interact while in quarantine, you are increasing the odds that you will all become infected with the virus. We ask that you stay separated from each other in order to reduce this risk. Also keep in mind that close contacts must quarantine for 10 days starting with the last date of exposure, meaning if one person tests positive while in quarantine, the others must restart their 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 406-944-4100 for specific guidance.

We ask that you only get tested if you develop symptoms. If you have been infected with the virus but have not yet developed symptoms, the virus is likely at an undetectable level in your body at this time. Because there are a limited number of tests available to the community, please only seek out a test if you begin feeling sick. 

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.

Yes, please see our Resources section to view information on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and how you can apply.

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 section 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 section where you can request an outreach from someone on our team at MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

More COVID-19-related Frequently Asked Questions can be found at https://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/faq.html.

Quarantine Resources

Financial assistance

If you are missing work due to having been placed in quarantine or isolation, you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This program provides monetary compensation for those who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons. You can access the application at mtpua.mt.gov. First, scroll down to the “Get Started” section and select “Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.” After agreeing to some terms, you will be prompted to select the reason you are applying for assistance. The next page, “Benefit Eligibility,” will determine if you qualify for PUA at this time. It is very likely that one of your responses will result in a message saying that you will need to first apply for regular unemployment benefits under Montana law. It is also likely that your claim for regular benefits will be denied, however, this is what will now make you eligible to file a claim for PUA. At this time, it can take over a month to receive monetary compensation from PUA.

We also recommend reaching out to MSU’s Office of Financial Education for other assistance programs and resources. If you are in need of urgent financial assistance, contact the Office of Financial Education at 406-994-4388.

Emotional support

Being in quarantine can be a challenging and isolating experience. It is important to focus on both your physical and emotional well-being during this time. MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services has a wide range of opportunities for support. If you would like to talk with someone for additional support while in quarantine or isolation, you can call CPS at 406-994-4531 and they can connect you with one of their counselors. They also offer a virtual group connection space on Mondays at noon for students to connect and gain support. Additionally, you are welcome to talk with a counselor as part of the CPS Let’s Talk drop-in consultation program. Please see their website for details or call 406-994-4531 to schedule an appointment.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or need immediate support, there are emergency resources available.

 

Visit MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services website for more information and resources.

Academic support

Quarantine can be inconvenient and even disruptive. The Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success has success coaches, tutors, and a number of resources to support your academic progress while in quarantine and beyond. Submit an AYCSS request form and someone will be in touch!

Grocery delivery

We ask that you use a delivery service to buy groceries and supplies rather than curbside pick-up. Instacart is one option for grocery delivery, however many grocery stores provide delivery services as well. Check your preferred store’s website for more information. Alternatively, you can ask a friend to shop for you and deliver it to your doorstep.

If purchasing groceries is a financial strain at this time, submit a request form and someone from our team will be happy to deliver you free groceries.

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!