Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19

Although KU works to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through vaccinations, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and encouraging the use of face coverings and hand sanitizer, some students may become ill or test positive for COVID-19. This page gives you information about the quarantine and isolation process for residents who hold a KU Student Housing contract.

For more information about university COVID-19 policy, visit the Protect KU website.


Quarantine is a public health strategy used to limit contact between someone who may have been exposed to the virus and other community members. This helps prevent the risk of spreading the illness before a person knows they are sick or if they are asymptomatic and do not feel ill. KU Student Housing residents may choose to quarantine at their permanent home residence off campus. If residents choose to remain at KU, they may quarantine in their current assignment unless their space includes a community bathroom or shared bedroom. If their space utilizes a community bathroom or shared bedroom, they will receive a temporary assignment that allows them to quarantine in a more private environment.


Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms and are awaiting test results. Isolation can be discontinued under the guidance of Watkins Health Services or your physician. Isolation means you cannot leave your assigned space for any reason until directed to do so by a medical professional or unless there is an emergency. If you isolate at KU (you always have the option to return to your permanent address) you will self-monitor for symptoms. Watkins Health Services, 785-864-9500, will handle any health protocols and any communication regarding your condition. If residents choose to remain at KU in order to isolate, they must do so in the location communicated by housing staff. This will not be in the student’s permanent assigned space, but in a more private space on campus.  

Close Contact

Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.

To prepare for isolation.

Plan to bring enough personal belongings for 10 days. You will likely need academic materials, phone and computer chargers, and computer. If you do not pack enough clothing for the duration, you may need to bring laundry detergent. Some ideas for a "go bag" could include:

  • Water bottle, small snacks such as applesauce, ramen.
  • Thermometer, cough syrup, ibuprofen, mentholatum, or other over-the-counter products for comfort. Don't forget prescriptions.
  • Enough clothing for 10 days: Consider sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts, underwear, fuzzy socks, and a fleece throw.
  • Masks, gloves
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, comb, brush)
  • Glasses, contacts
  • Phone and computer chargers

Remember that a 10-day stay could require more items than are on this list.

If you were tested for COVID-19 at Watkins Health Services, Student Housing will be notified by the health center if you must isolate. If, however, you've taken a COVID-19 test off-campus at a pharmacy or self-administered a rapid test and receive a positive result— you must alert Student Housing (RA, Proctor, front desk assistant) so that we can work with you for your isolation period.

For more information about COVID-19 protocols, please visit Anyone who is symptomatic and will be in isolation will not stay in their current space, regardless of room type. KU Student Housing will work closely with Watkins Health Services staff to confirm dates for your isolation and when you will be cleared to leave. If you have tested positive, KU Student Housing will contact your roommates to give them information about quarantine (see quarantine definition above - it is different than isolation). 

You must not leave to get food while in isolation. Food will be brought to you while in isolation. You may request your meals from KU Dining Services and the cost of the meal will be deducted from your dining plan. If you do not have a dining plan, you may purchase your meals from KU Dining Services.

Contact Information 

Watkins Health Services, 785-864-9500.
Watkins 24-hour Nurse Helpline 785-864-9583
In case of emergency, call 911. 

In the event you require academic materials or medical items brought to you, you may designate someone to drop the item off. That person must be masked. They will be able to make a contactless delivery by leaving the items outside of your room door.

While in isolation, Student Housing residents' mail and packages will be sent to the mailbox in your permanent Student Housing assigned building, not your isolation space. You will be able to collect your mail after isolation is over.

Naismith no longer leased as COVID-19 location.

Due to the pandemic, Naismith Hall was leased for one academic year by the University of Kansas to serve as COVID-19 quarantine and isolation space for KU students. As of May 2021, Naismith Hall reverts back to a privately owned, off-campus building with no affiliation to, or oversight by, the University of Kansas. The property address is located off-campus and it is neither staffed nor supported by services found in on-campus KU Student Housing.