Quarantine and Isolation

In the Res Halls    Outside of the Res Halls    Staying Well

Quarantine and Isolation Overview

All of us should operate under the assumption that there are cases in Chicago and on campus, and isolation and quarantine are critical components of reducing the risk of spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. SAIC may ask any community member to isolate or quarantine if they are confirmed to have COVID-19, suspected to have COVID-19, or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 by SAIC’s Case Management Team or the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

If you are required to quarantine or isolate, in general, you must stay in your room or apartment—avoiding common areas of your building, including the hallway, elevators, and lounge spaces—until your quarantine or isolation period ends. Community members who do not adhere to quarantine or isolation requirements may be subject to disciplinary action.

If you live with others:

  • Stay in a separate room (e.g., bedroom) as much as possible;
  • Always wear a face covering when in shared spaces, such as the kitchen and living room;
  • Prepare your own meals and use separate cooking items to prepare food and eat;
  • Make sure to wash all utensils and other items before using it again;
  • Maintain your distance, do not come within six feet of others in the space; and
  • Take extra care to practice good sanitation, wiping down surfaces, particularly in shared spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

SAIC community members required to quarantine or isolate will receive additional information and follow-up from the School’s Case Management Team. For those needing to quarantine or isolate, the member of the Case Management Team who made contact is available for questions or assistance.


Quarantine keeps someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine lasts until 14 days after the close contact, unless the person quarantining develops symptoms of COVID-19.

Individuals who live with somebody who has COVID-19 should note that their “last contact” would be when the person with COVID-19 was no longer infectious (see Isolation section below). Their 14-day quarantine period would begin at that time.


Isolation keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home. Isolation lasts until:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Symptoms have improved

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, stay home or your isolation space until after 10 days have passed since your positive test.

Chicago Emergency Travel Order and Travel Information

In response to increased and high rates of COVID-19 transmission across the United States, Chicago issued a travel order on domestic travel and the CDC issued guidance regarding international travel including quarantine and testing requirements.

Domestic Travel

As a result of changes going into effect on January 15, states are broken down into two categories:

  • Orange: States with above 15 average daily cases per 100,000 residents. Travelers from these states must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Chicago OR test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Chicago.
  • Yellow: States with 0 to 15 average daily cases per 100,000 residents. Travelers from these states do not have quarantine or testing requirements.

International Travel

Beginning on January 26, all travelers coming from an international location will need to provide a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result, with the test having been taken no more than 72 hours prior to travel, to the airline in order to board a plane for the United States. The CDC also provides guidance for what to do upon arrival in the US. Travelers must:

  • Quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Chicago; or
  • Quarantine for 7 days and receive a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test with the test being administered 3-5 days after you arrive in Chicago.

This expectation remains in effect after the start of the term. If you depart Chicago to travel abroad or to one of these states, you are required to quarantine upon your return to Chicago. These expectations also apply if a state is added to the emergency travel order list while the traveler is there.

For information on how the travel order affects students in the residence halls, download our handout here.

Academic and Health Information

Students should continue to work remotely for their classes while in quarantine or isolation unless they are too sick to do so. The case management team will notify instructors of modified in-person classes that a student in quarantine or isolation will not be attending modified in-person classes. Students should also contact instructors of modified in-person classes to discuss how they can remain active in the class while not attending. Any absence from in-person class activity due to illness, any symptoms of illness, or precautionary self-quarantine will be excused. This means that students will not face academic penalty for such absences, and instead, faculty will provide students with alternative work or ways to engage with the class while they are out.

Non-Urgent Medical Care: If a student needs non-urgent medical advice or care, they should contact SAIC Health Services at healthservices@saic.edu or 312.499.4288. For medical advice after hours, the 24-Hour Nurse Advice line is available at 877.924.7758. If an employee needs non-urgent medical advice or care, they should contact their primary care physician.

Medical Emergency: If a student is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or Campus Security at 312.899.1230. Signs of a need for emergency medical assistance related to COVID-19 include:

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
  • New confusion 
  • Inability to wake or stay awake 
  • Bluish lips or face

Quarantining or Isolating in the Residence Halls

Students who are required to quarantine or isolate in the residence halls will be allowed to do so in their own room if they live in a single. Students who are required to quarantine or isolate and live in a studio double or Buckingham will be separated for the duration of their quarantine or isolation period. This may involve the student’s roommate being asked to move. Below is additional information for students who are required to quarantine or isolate in the residence halls. 

Meal Plan Delivery

Food for Thought, SAIC’s Food Service will deliver meals to residence hall rooms. In order to place an order, you need to download the Transact Mobile Ordering app that is available through the App Store and Google Play. Once the app is downloaded, select SAIC as the campus location. Select “Res Hall Quarantine Delivery” to see menu options. Students can customize almost any entree to be vegan or gluten-free by clicking “customize.” Students must order their meals by 10:00 p.m. the day before they want the delivery. Meal plan delivery is available Mondays through Fridays.

Grocery, Pharmacy, and Restaurant Delivery

Students can order takeout, groceries, or pharmacy items to be delivered to their residence hall any day between the hours of 1- 6pm. Students should order their items through the delivery service within that time and then go here to input the time that the food will be delivered. Staff will accept the items to bring them to the student’s door, knock, and then drop off the items outside of the room. For groceries, we recommend ordering directly from Mariano’s (333 E. Benton Place) via Instacart, Target (1 S. State St.) via Shipt, or Jewel-Osco (550 N. State St.) directly from the store for groceries or pharmacy. Grocery delivery may not include alcohol.

Room Changes

If a student moves rooms due to quarantine or isolation, they will not be permitted to return to their previous room unless it is urgent, so they should take enough supplies to last that entire time period. Here is a brief checklist of items to consider bringing:

  • Enough clothing to last two weeks
  • Any materials needed to complete coursework (e.g. laptop, art supplies, books, notebooks, etc.)
  • Sheets, pillows, blanket, towels
  • Kitchen items: pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, glasses, silverware
  • Toiletries: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, shampoo, conditioner, shaving supplies, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, hair dryer
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Medical supplies: thermometer, cough drops, pain reliever, medication (regularly taken and for cold symptoms)
  • Alarm clock
  • Chargers
  • Face coverings
  • Wallet, purse, credit card, cash
  • Identification (e.g., driver’s license, ARTICard, passport) and credit card/bank information
  • Cleaning supplies (e.g., disinfecting wipes and sprays)


During quarantine or isolation, students will not be able to access residence hall shared laundry rooms. For students quarantining and isolating after the initial quarantine period, a laundry service will be available on a limited basis. When students request the laundry service, staff will contact them to discuss the process including how and when to bag their laundry so the service can pick it up, launder it, and return it to them. To request laundry service, fill out the service request form here.


Staff will provide students with some large trash and recycling bags when they begin isolation or quarantine. Housekeeping staff will do a trash pickup on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on the schedule below. Students should double bag trash/recycling bags and leave them directly outside the apartment/room during these times to be picked up. For the cleanliness of the building, trash should not be left out prior to these times.

  • 162 North State Street Residences, floors 10-16: 3:45–4:00 p.m.
  • 162 North State Street Residences, floors 5-9: 4:15–4:30 p.m.
  • Jones Hall: 4:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
  • The Buckingham: 5:15 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Additional trash bags can be requested via the service request form here.


Residence Life staff will hold mail at the mailroom until your isolation or quarantine period has ended. If you are expecting urgent mail or an urgent package, click here and request it be delivered to you.

Fire Alarm

If the fire alarm goes off, evacuate the building. Follow appropriate physical distancing and wear your face covering.

Other Issues

If you have a time sensitive or urgent facilities concern (e.g. flood, power outage) that needs to be addressed prior to the end of your isolation or quarantine, contact Campus Security at 312.899.1230.

Quarantining or Isolating Outside of the Residence Halls

Below you will find additional information for individuals who are required to quarantine or isolate outside of the residence halls. 

Food and Health Supplies

We recommend relying on delivery services. This could include restaurant takeout or using a grocery or pharmacy delivery service such as Amazon Fresh, Shipt, or Instacart.


If you do not have in-unit laundry, minimize laundry use during your isolation and quarantine period. When doing laundry, either utilize a laundry service or practice good sanitation practices while in a laundry facility. Use clean, disposable bags to transport your laundry and do not place your laundry on surfaces other than the inside of the units. Be careful not to shake out your laundry while transferring items from washer to dryer. If you choose to have someone else assist with laundry, ensure that they keep your laundry separate from other laundry at all times and recommend that they use disposable gloves when handling your laundry.


Check with your landlord or association regarding any recommendations for trash removal. You may need to leave your apartment to dispose of trash. Be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands before and after leaving your apartment.

Staying Well in Isolation or Quarantine

While in quarantine or isolation, it is as important as ever to follow our Shared Responsibilities including practicing hygiene, monitoring your health, and remaining informed. In addition, take these steps to prioritize your health while you can't leave your space.

Take Care of Yourself

This is a stressful time for everyone, particularly those who are isolating or quarantining. It is especially important to practice good general health habits while you are in isolation. Virtual resources like Counseling Services for students and the Employee Assistance Program for employees (800.311.4327) remain available should you need any additional assistance.

Stay Connected

Although you might not be able to see people physically, connect with others virtually. Stay in touch with family and friends. Look for virtual events happening at SAIC at engage.saic.edu.

Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water is preferred if hands are visibly dirty.