Guide to Campus Operations

Quarantine and Isolation

The information on this page is updated as new information is available, and as CDC, state and local public health guidance changes. For the latest information, please check back regularly. Last updated: Jan. 14, 2022.

Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be directed to isolate. 

Students and employees who are identified as having been in close contact with an individual who tests positive may be directed to quarantine depending on vaccination status. 

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation? 

App State is following CDC guidance for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation. CDC defines quarantine and isolation as follows:

  • Quarantine if you were exposed to COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Isolate if you are sick with COVID-19 or if you have tested positive, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Students living in residence halls who need to quarantine or isolate will be required to do so at home, with few exceptions. 

If you become concerned about your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. App State students who are concerned about symptoms they might be experiencing can contact Student Health Service at 828-262-3100.

If you test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status

  • Stay home as soon as you receive your positive test result, isolate per CDC’s guidelines and monitor for symptoms.
  • If you tested off campus, report your test result to the university. If you get tested at an on-campus testing clinic, you DO NOT need to submit your results as these are automatically provided to the university. Upon receiving notice of your positive test results, the university’s COVID-19 response team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
  • Review CDC’s isolation guidance for precautions to take for 5-10 days after your positive test result, including when to wear a face covering and when you can leave isolation and return to campus.

If you were exposed to COVID-19

If you are identified as a close contact of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, you may be directed by public health to quarantine, depending on your vaccination status. 

Regardless of vaccination status, everyone should:

If you have questions about when you can return to campus after isolation or quarantine

Note that these are the only authorized individuals who can make decisions regarding when you can return to work or class.

What happens when someone tests positive?

In North Carolina, when someone tests positive, their health care provider is required by law to report that to their local health department. They also report positive test cases to the state. This is to ensure health care is being provided to individuals who have tested positive, and the health of the public is being protected by implementing isolation procedures.

Local public health departments are responsible for contact tracing – no matter where someone received a test. When an App State student, faculty or staff member tests positive, App State’s contact tracing team makes contact with that person and, in partnership with local public health, gives that person guidance. Guidance for vaccinated persons will likely differ from guidance from unvaccinated persons, especially if the vaccinated person is not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

App State’s COVID-19 response team works closely with local public health to:

  • Identify cases of COVID-19.
  • Isolate those who have tested positive.
  • Identify and quarantine close contacts of those who have tested positive.
  • Monitor positive cases and close contacts until released.

If you are in a class with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, that does not necessarily mean you are a close contact. 

CDC defines close contacts as individuals who have been within six feet of an active case of COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.


Students, faculty and staff who are tested on campus are identified as affiliated with App State at the time their test is taken. It is possible for a student, faculty or staff member to be tested by an entity not connected with App State or AppHealthCare and not identify any connection with App State. In that instance, they would still be identified as associated with the university when they submit their positive test results and/or reach out to faculty and/or their supervisor to explain their inability to attend.

Who will be notified in the event of a positive test?

In the event of a positive test, only close contacts of those who have tested positive will be notified by health care providers. This is to protect the privacy of the individuals and prevent the disclosure of protected health information. This procedure is also consistent with CDC and public health guidelines, as well as with the university’s communicable disease notification practice.

AppHealthCare has developed a website dashboard with case counts for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is under the purview of public health. The university assists as needed.

  • When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the university and local public health will work to determine who may have been exposed and in close contact with the confirmed positive individual. 
  • They will then reach out to those who have been determined to have been in close contact with the confirmed positive individual to provide them with health care guidance. 

CDC defines close contacts as individuals who have been within six feet of an active case of COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.

There is no punishment for individuals who disclose their close contacts, and AppHealthCare and university staff will not share personally identifying information.

What should I do if I have concerns about someone who is not complying with COVID-19 safety policies and procedures?

Students are held to a code of student conduct that requires them to follow the rules set out by the university.

Employees (faculty and staff) are required to follow university policies. Students and employees who violate the terms of their code of conduct or conditions of their employment will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action.

If you have concerns about student compliance with university COVID-19 policies, read how to make a report and find additional guidance, information and resources from the Office of Student Conduct.

If you have concerns about faculty or staff compliance with university COVID-19 policies, submit a care and concern report or contact App State’s Department of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management at safety@appstate.edu

What are the consequences of not following quarantine or isolation instructions?

App State follows CDC isolation and quarantine protocols for all students and employees who are required to isolate and quarantine by public health.

Our local public health department implements communicable disease control procedures to include data surveillance and reporting as well as the use of existing public health laws to control the spread of disease. Review the Appalachian District Board of Health’s position statement in support of ongoing response to COVID-19.