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Common Questions about Positive COVID-19 Tests

These questions supplement What You Need to Know: Testing, where you can find more information.

Questions will be added and updated as information becomes available. If you can't find the answer to your question, please submit a question or email returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu.

Can I quarantine in my residence hall room?

Yes, if you're asked to quarantine because you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, follow these steps to quarantine in your residence hall.

How is it not against HIPAA for people to be notified if someone tests positive?

Students, faculty and staff will be notified privately by the local health department if they test positive. Those identified as a close contact will be notified they have been exposed, but no personal, identifying information will be given.

WVU Student Health and WVU Medical Management are also notified of positive cases during the contact tracing process in order to aid in medical care and initiate cleaning and disinfecting processes.

How will the instructor know if a student tests positive?

It is the student's responsibility to let instructors know they will not be attending class and work with their instructors to develop alternative plans to allow the student to progress in the class until the student can physically return.

If the student has any in-person classes as part of their course schedule, the Office of the Provost will send a notification letter to their instructors informing them there has been a COVID-19 related event (without disclosing whether the student tested positive or is in quarantine).

How will we know how COVID-19 is affecting the University community as the semester progresses?

The University has re-instituted its COVID-19 incident command center and will be monitoring local and campus trends throughout the 2021-22 academic year.

You can follow WVU's testing results and vaccination rates at COVID-19 testing dashboard. You should remain alert to campus communication with critical information about COVID-19.

I tested positive for COVID-19. How do I notify WVU?

All positive cases, including results from third-parties outside the WVU testing system and results received during University breaks, must be reported to WVU. Students, employees and others (outside contractors, affiliated groups, etc.) should notify WVU Shared Services at CareServices@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-6006.

Employees also should follow procedures for WVU employees who test positive.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, will WVU help them move to and from Gaskins House?

Yes. WVU will provide moving supplies and transportation to assist residence hall students moving in and out of Gaskins House. Students also will be provided with meals, snacks and easy access to healthcare providers during their stay. For more about what to expect, see What to Do If: You Test Positive and Live in a Residence Hall.

If I have to be in isolation in Gaskins House, what will it be like?

If you live in a Morgantown campus residence hall and test positive, you will be moved to isolation in Gaskins House. For more about what you can expect, see What to Do If: You Test Positive and Live in a Residence Hall.

What are the chances that a test could result in a false positive?

False positives from RT-PCR tests are rare. PCR tests can take from 24-72 hours to provide results but are regarded as the gold standard testing method.

Generally, antigen tests provide faster results but can be less accurate for asymptomatic screenings. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, an initial antigen test may be administered to enable the rapid identification and isolation of positive COVID-19 cases.

What happens when a student tests positive?

We’ve developed a number of guides for students that provide instructions on what to do if you or a close contact tests positive. View these common scenarios.

What if I test positive and isolation isn’t possible (sharing a residence hall room or small apartment where isolation isn’t possible)?

WVU has established Gaskins House for residence hall students to isolate. See What to do if: You test positive and live in a residence hall for more. In the event that moving to another location is not possible, arrangements may be made for your roommate(s) to move temporarily or support will be provided for you to self-isolate in your own space as safely as possible.

What should employees expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

Employees will be contacted by their local health department and will be instructed to isolate. They will be encouraged to contact their primary care provider for additional care information.

What should students expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

WVU Student Health and Student Life will work with the student to ensure they follow proper isolation protocols. Students living in residence halls who test positive will be moved to Gaskins House for isolation. Check our step-by-step guides for detailed information.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

The University uses the terms “isolation” and “quarantine” for those who have COVID-19 related matters.

Isolation is avoiding contact with others for at least 10 days after your positive testing date or symptoms, as directed by the local health department. You are likely in isolation because you've tested positive for COVID-19, and this isolation period will separate you from others who may not be sick to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you live in a residence hall, you will move to Gaskins House. If living off campus, you stay away from others by using a separate living space. You should not leave this isolation space at all during the 10-day period. You are not allowed on campus for class or work at any point during this period, and you must remain in isolation until you are medically cleared. Do not break isolation requirements to re-test during your isolation period.

Quarantine is avoiding contact with others to the furthest extent possible for the next 14 days, as directed by the local health department. You are likely in quarantine because you’ve been considered a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and this quarantine period separates and restricts the movement of those exposed to COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus. If you live in a residence hall, you will quarantine in your room and may only leave it to use the restroom throughout this time; meals will be provided. If you live off campus, you should stay away from others by using a separate living space. You should not be on campus for class or work at any point during this period. If you begin to feel ill and develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should call your primary care physician or WVU Medicine Student Health at 304-285-7200. At this time, only unvaccinated individuals are required to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.

Related questions:

Why is a quarantine period longer than an isolation period?

WVU is following the CDC guidelines and timelines for isolation and quarantine. It can take a person anywhere from 2-14 days to experience symptoms or develop the infection, so a person must quarantine for 14 days.

Will instructors be notified if a student is isolating or quarantining?

It is the student's responsibility to let instructors know they will not be attending class and work with them to make arrangements to keep up with classwork. If the student has any in-person classes as part of their course schedule, the Office of the Provost will send a notification letter to their instructors informing them there has been a COVID-19 related event.

Will staff supervisors be notified if their employee is isolating or quarantining?

Supervisors will be notified if one of their employees tests positive. Further, employees who may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will be notified through the contact tracing process.