students wearing masks

Close Contact Protocol

Updated: September 13, 2021, 12:30 p.m. CDT

If you have been exposed through close contact to COVID-19, you can download a flowchart for guidance or see below for more information.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please see the Guide for Sick Campus Members. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the Positive Test Protocol.

Step 1

Determine If You Are a Close Contact

The CDC defines a close contact as being within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period regardless of wearing a face covering with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in your household has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19.

Step 2

Get Tested for COVID-19

COVID-19 testing is recommended 3-5 days after close contact.

Free COVID-19 testing is provided for students, faculty, and staff by the Texas A&M University System. Visit https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/testing-locations/index.html for information about campus testing locations. 

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated who are exposed of COVID-19 should get tested.

Student Health Services provides additional COVID-19 testing information for students and faculty/staff.

Step 3

Complete the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form

Complete the COVID-19 Report Form. Select "Self" when asked who is making this report.

Step 4

Notify Appropriate Campus Members

Students:

Students who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine. Those who are not fully vaccinated should follow the guidance in Step 8: Determine When it is Safe to Return to Campus.

Students exposed through close contact with someone testing positive or presumed positive for COVID-19 should follow university guidance regarding quarantine. Students in quarantine due to exposure should not attend in-person classes but are expected to keep up with course work in collaboration with the instructor of record. Students should reach out to their instructors to discuss access to course content and submission/completion of graded work. Students must report their close contact through the COVID-19 report form. To receive an excused absence, the student must comply with the documentation and notification guidelines outlined in Student Rule 7 and obtain a note from their medical provider.

On-campus residents who are exposed through close contact to someone who tested positive, should inform their live-in residential staff. Residential staff are prepared to discuss available options and guide them through the next steps. Some residents may be able to isolate/quarantine in their own room or apartment, depending on their unique situation and where they live. Residents who are from a location beyond a five-hour drive from College Station might have the option to isolate/quarantine in an alternate location on campus. Each case will be evaluated individually. Contact the Department of Residence Life at 979-862-3158 or visit their website at https://reslife.tamu.edu for more information.

Employees, including student employees:

Employees who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine. Those who are not fully vaccinated should follow the guidance in Step 8: Determine When it is Safe to Return to Campus.

Employees must notify their supervisor if they believe they have been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19.  Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period regardless of wearing a face covering. 

Step 5

Quarantine, If Unvaccinated

Quarantine by staying home and monitoring your health in the following ways:

  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • You may leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.

For guidance regarding individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 case within the past 3 months, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html.

Step 6

Self-monitor, If Fully Vaccinated

Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days following the date of their exposure and wear a mask in public and indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. They should isolate if they test positive. Fully vaccinated people who live in a household with someone who is immunosuppressed, at increased risk of severe disease, or unvaccinated (including children <12 years of age) could also consider masking at home for 14 days following a known exposure or until they receive a negative test result. Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, if they follow the testing and masking recommendations above.

Fully vaccinated people should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. Symptoms of COVID-19 include headache, congestion, fever, cough, or other symptoms. Make an appointment with your primary medical provider if you would like to further discuss your specific condition. Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. If you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick, you can also use the COVID-19 Self-Checker on the CDC Website  to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. Seek emergency medical care immediately if you show any of these signs: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

For guidance regarding individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 case within the past 3 months, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html.

Step 7

Get Tested for COVID-19

Unvaccinated individuals who are not experiencing symptoms should test on or after Day 5 after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case. If you begin to experience symptoms, you may test prior to Day 5.

Fully vaccinated individuals should test 3-5 days following the date of their exposure (Day 0).

Free COVID-19 testing is provided for students, faculty, and staff by the Texas A&M University System. Visit https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/testing-locations/index.html for information about campus testing locations. 

Student Health Services provides additional COVID-19 testing information for students and faculty/staff.

Step 8

Determine When It Is Safe to Come to Campus

Unvaccinated individuals

  • The quarantine period is 10 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 
  • Please note that the day of exposure is Day 0. 
  • Your quarantine may be relaxed after Day 7 if you have not experienced symptoms, remain symptom free, and have received a negative COVID-19 test result after testing on or after Day 5 after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case. After Day 7, you must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as wearing a mask (recommended), physical distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. After Day 7, you must continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days, and if you experience any symptoms, you should return to quarantine, consult your primary care provider, and get tested for COVID-19.

Fully Vaccinated individuals

Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 if they follow the testing and masking recommendations as outlined in step 6.