Return to Campus

Quarantining and Isolation

Individuals with questions, comments, or constructive feedback can email In addition, a comments/concerns form has been established for easy submission.

Protocols and Definitions

The University, in close partnership with local and state health officials, has developed protocols around contact tracing, quarantining, and isolation. To ensure the health and well-being of the WIU community, faculty, students and staff will be expected to comply with these protocols.

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

Student Quarantine and Isolation

All isolated or quarantined students will be referred to the WIU Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) where a case manager will be assigned. The case manager will work with the student to ensure accommodations, classroom support, and general questions are taken care of for the student. The assigned case manager will follow up with students regularly and advise when they are able to return to the classroom. 

On-Campus Students

The University has set aside residence hall housing intended specifically for the purpose of quarantine and isolation. Students needing access to this space will work closely with University personnel to arrange transportation, technology support, and any other accommodations needed. Students will be checked on daily, provided with monitoring supplies, and delivered two daily meals prepared by Sodexo Campus Dining Services.

Quarantine Handout

Isolation Handout

Bayliss Hall Quarantine and Isolation Space
Off-Campus Students

While off-campus students will likely complete any necessary isolation or quarantine time in their homes, WIU Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) will check in with these patients regularly and ensure the students have access to a delivery service for groceries, food, and supplies. If a student is needing housing accommodations to successfully perform their isolation, on-campus housing will be provided.

Quarantine and Isolation Plan

  • The individual will receive their COVID-19 test results from either their primary care provider or Beu Health Center
  • The entity who performed the test (primary care provider or Beu Health Center) will notify the respective Health Department of the test results. If the primary care provider performed the test and notified the Health Department of the results, the Health Department will then notify Beu Health Center. All information will remain confidential.
  • The Health Department will make contact with the student and begin the process of contact tracing.
  • Beu Health Center will provide a confidential report that will be seen by the WIU Student Development and Success Center (SDSC). This University entity specializes in working with students in events that involve illness, crisis, and mentoring on a daily basis. A case manager will be assigned from the SDSC and they will then make contact with the student.
  • The case manager will work with the student to ensure that proper notification is provided to their instructors, discuss the protocols for their isolation period, assist with setting up transportation to the designated residence hall, and answer any questions that the student may have.
  • Student Development and Success Center will contact University Housing and Dining Services to inform them that a student will be arriving to the designated isolation hall.
  • University Housing and Dining will communicate with the student to inform them of the policies surrounding their isolation, review with them how they obtain meals, provide proper technology as requested, and overall answer any questions that they may have while residing in isolation.
  • Student Development and Success Center will continue to make contact and perform wellness checks with the student for the duration of their isolation period.

Testing While in Quarantine

Individuals located in on-campus quarantine that are interested in receiving a COVID-19 test can do so in the basement of Bayliss Hall on select days. Individuals will be required to call Beu Health Center at 309-298-1888 and set up an appointment before a test is administered. Residents should be in quarantine for at least 5 days before participating in this testing. Once an appointment is confirmed, individuals have permission to take the elevator (1 passenger per elevator car) to the basement level at the time of their scheduled test to participate. For students residing off-campus and in quarantine, they can participate in this testing as well through appointment. They will be required to find their own transportation to Bayliss and will be let in by the medical professional, who will meet them there at the time of their test.

Residents should note that testing dates/times may be adjusted based on the number of individuals in quarantine. A negative test does not permit a person from getting out of quarantine. This test is simply a way for the individual to have peace of mind. If positive test results are determined, the individual will then remain in isolation for a period of 10 days. Face Coverings are mandatory anytime an individual is outside of their room.

Quarantining After Recovery from COVID-19

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing allows for the identification and monitoring of contacts of infected people so that they can be notified of the contact and to support the safe, sustainable, and effective quarantine of close contacts to prevent additional transmission. The McDonough and Rock Island County Health Departments will oversee the University's contact tracing for any member of the Western Illinois University community who tests positive for COVID-19. Contact tracers will respect and adhere to best practices for patient confidentiality. With assistance from Beu Health Center this means that the health department will methodically identify those on campus who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus and refer those people for testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fly or ride the train to go home if I'm in quarantine?

The University highly encourages that individuals remain on-campus or their off-campus residence throughout the duration of their quarantine period. Remember, quarantine is aimed at separating the people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. You may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Flying or riding on a train in close proximity to others for long periods of time during an individual's quarantine period is unsafe and puts others at risk.

What if I take a test the day before I fly or ride the train--am I permitted to go home then?

The incubation period for COVID-19 is anywhere between 2-14 days, thus the reason for the quarantine. Depending on when you take a test, the virus load in an individual's body may not be high enough to register a positive test. This is the reason why testing out of quarantine is not permitted. It is highly encouraged that individuals remain on-campus or their off-campus residence throughout the entire 14 day quarantine period. The University does acknowledge a period of 10 day quarantine if the individual cannot complete the 14 days.

Can the University legally keep me from leaving campus if I am in quarantine or isolation?

The University can not keep anyone from deciding to leave campus once in quarantine or isolation, however, the University can trespass the individual from returning to their residence hall or any facility owned by the University. It is the expectation of WIU that all individuals in either quarantine or isolation will use sound judgement and make the best decision for the safety and well-being of not only themselves, but others as well.

Why hasn't the University adapted isolation and quarantine times of 5 days as outlined by the CDC?

At this time the University is remaining with a 10 day quarantine and isolation period for a couple of reasons. First, as the University expects thousands of individuals to return to campus all at once during the first few weeks of the spring semester, it is imperative that the health and safety of the campus community remains the top priority. By adhering to the 10 day protocol, we are better ensuring that those who are infected or who may be asymptomatic are completing a thorough quarantine and isolation period that provides better protections on a college campus where congregate living and face-to-face activities occur each day. Secondly, as part of the 5 day guidance, individuals are expected to take an antigen test following their 5 days of isolation or quarantine. At this time, the University, like many others, does not have access to antigen testing supplies. We are working diligently to locate these supplies, as well as develop the reporting process on the backend. As the university completes Gateway testing for the first 3 weeks and the university as a whole reestablishes a new "baseline" where we know all individuals have been tested and/or screened, we will reevaluate the status of the university and make any necessary changes.