Personal health

Health information and resources

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Face coverings required

Face coverings are required on campus, and in the city of Ames and Story County.

COVID-19 Processes

Highlights: An illustrated overview of the COVID-19 personal health processes in place at Iowa State.


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Contact Tracing | Isolation and Quarantine | Health Monitoring | Mental Health and Wellbeing


  • Availability: Students, faculty and staff experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or exposed to someone who tested positive.  
  • Testing location and hours: Johnny’s inside Hilton Coliseum (east side of the building). Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Hilton testing location is a collaboration of Thielen Student Health Center and the ISU Emergency Operations Center. Iowa State may use the location for surveillance testing efforts. Students, faculty or staff needing a COVID-19 test on Saturdays should call 515-294-5801 to arrange a test at Thielen Student Health Center.   
  • Appointments: The best option to schedule a COVID-19 test is online at Please complete the pretest questionnaire prior to arriving for your appointment. You can also call 515-294-5801 (option 9) to schedule. 
  • Pretest questionnaire: It is critical that information in the questionnaire is accurate and complete to provide test results and initiate contact tracing for positive cases. Your name, university ID, email address, phone number, workspace, supervisors and campus address will be collected. Students can enter multiple supervisors if needed.  
  • Test results: Students, faculty and staff will receive a notification to logon to AccessPlus for results. All patients awaiting test results should self-isolate from others. Do not attend work or class. Wear a face covering in all shared spaces, including bathrooms. 
  • Other testing options: For those who do not meet the on-campus testing guidelines, testing is also available through Test Iowa
  • Self-reporting: If you test positive outside of Iowa State, you need to self-report using the Iowa State University Positive COVID-19 Reporting Form for Campus

Testing positive 

Patients who test positive will receive a call from a case investigator with the ISU Public Health Team. This workflow chart outlines the process for a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Anyone who is tested on campus should direct questions related to their test results to Thielen Student Health Center, 515-294-5801 or email

Students can follow up with Thielen Student Health Center for healthcare support and if symptoms appear or worsen. Faculty and staff need to follow up with their personal healthcare provider regarding their results.  

Should I retest after testing positive? 

Iowa State is following CDC guidance and recommends a symptom-based rather than a test-based strategy for ending isolation. Please see isolation/quarantine section for isolation criteria.  

If your instructor or supervisor is requesting retesting within 90 days of your positive COVID-19 episode, please refer them to this page for further guidance. COVID-19 response teams for all colleges and units can assist faculty and staff with emerging issues. 

Case Investigation

ISU case investigators contact anyone who tests positive to provide education about isolation, criteria to complete isolation and resources to successfully complete isolation (please see isolation/quarantine section). The investigator also will gather a list of the person’s close contacts.  

It is important to provide detailed information about close contacts if you test positive for COVID-19.  

  • Effective case management and contact tracing ensure those at risk of being infected are rapidly identified and triaged to prevent spread of COVID-19 and assists with disease management. 
  • Sharing the names of colleagues or friends you were in contact with at work, the gym, or a party will not get anyone in trouble. This information will provide a notification so they can seek testing, and guarantee they get the support and resources they may need during quarantine. 

Contact Tracing

Contact tracers are interdepartmental volunteers with specialized training to support the overall campus efforts to care for our Iowa State community. Contact tracers call all ISU-affiliated close contacts to inform them of potential exposure and provide education about quarantining. The identity of the person infected with COVID-19 is kept confidential. 

  • Close contacts: Defined as anyone within 6 feet of a positive case for at least 15 consecutive minutes. Not all close contacts will develop COVID-19, but those who do can unknowingly spread the virus. If identified as a close contact, please do your part to protect campus by quarantining (please see isolation/quarantine section).  
  • Proximate contacts: If you are not notified by a contact tracer, you are most likely a proximate contact (less than 15 consecutive minutes and more than 6 feet). You do not need to quarantine. If you are concerned about possible exposure, wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others, limit interactions to less than 15 consecutive minutes and monitor your symptoms daily for the next 10 days. 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 please contact the Thielen Student Health Center 515-294-5801 (for ISU students) or your personal medical provider. Please respond to your daily symptom tracker. You can also visit CycloneHealth for additional resources. 

If you feel you need to be tested, you can complete the Iowa State University Pretest Questionnaire

Students living in residence halls: If you have been identified as a close contact and are asked to quarantine for 10 days, you will be unable to move back into your assigned room until the quarantine time is completed. If you have questions about your room, please contact the Department of Residence: Weekdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 515-460-3047, Weekends and evenings, 515-290-7390. 

Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation and quarantine are essential in helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Students, staff and faculty will be expected to follow the isolation and quarantine guidelines set forth by the CDC. 

Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating people who are sick from those who are not. It lasts as long as the disease is contagious. 

Faculty, staff, and students who test positive and have symptoms of COVID-19 need to follow CDC guidelines to: 

  • Isolate for 10 days after symptom onset 
  • Not have a fever for at least 24 hours (without using fever-reducing medications) 
  • See improvement in symptoms 

Faculty, staff and students who test positive, but never develop symptoms can discontinue isolation 10 days after the date of their first positive test.  

There is no need for a “release from isolation” note. Test-based strategies (a negative test) for release from isolation are not recommended. The ISU symptom-based strategy is summarized on page 2 of COVID-19 Caring and Returning to Work

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease. 

Faculty, staff, and students notified through contact tracing of exposure to a positive COVID-19 case need to: 

  • Follow Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines to quarantine for 10 days after their last contact with the case.  
  • Check their temperature twice a day. 
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, diarrhea, or sore throat). 

After 10 days, there is no need for a “release from quarantine” note. ISU employees should visit the UHR COVID-19 website to review options for time off and leave. 

If the case investigator determines a positive case and close contact were consistently and correctly wearing cloth face coverings in a non-residential or non-healthcare setting, then quarantine is optional for the close contact. These individuals are still strongly recommended to test 48 hours after exposure and are required to report symptoms daily to the Thielen Student Health Center. Individuals can choose to voluntarily quarantine and will have the support of the university if they choose to do so. 

Based on CDC guidance, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine if:

  • They are fully vaccinated (two weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or two weeks following receipt of a single-dose vaccine).
  • The exposure is within three months since receiving the last vaccine dose.
  • They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure. 

People who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

I'm a student. What are my options for isolation or quarantine? 

  • Iowa State University will have designated areas for isolation (Linden Hall) and quarantine (Oak and Elm) available for students living in residence halls. Students may also choose to isolate or quarantine with their families at home. 
  • Parents and students should discuss their plan for isolation and/or quarantine prior to their student arriving at Iowa State for the semester. 
  • Students in ISU residence halls will have access to laundry facilities and will have internet access and dining options available while in isolation/quarantine. 
  • Students who live off campus or in campus apartments will be responsible for their own isolation/quarantine living arrangements. 
  • A list of resources will be made available to students who must isolate/quarantine to assist them with any needs they may have during that time. 

Academic Questions and Resources  

If students cannot attend class due to isolation or quarantine, they need to contact their instructors to coordinate making up any missed material. If a student is unable to communicate with instructors due to symptoms caused by COVID-19, students can reach out to the Office of Student Assistance at to discuss next steps and options. 

Health Monitoring

It is critically important that all members of the Cyclone community monitor their health every day before coming to campus and stay home if not feeling well. This is how we can limit the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. 

If you have symptoms: 

  • Limit contact with others. 
  • Contact Thielen Student Health Center or your personal healthcare provider. 
  • Notify your instructor or supervisor. 

If you become ill while on campus, you should immediately leave and return home. Make all necessary notifications that you are leaving via phone call or email. 

If you test positive for COVID-19:

The ISU Public Health Team will contact the positive case to provide further guidance. 

What do supervisors need to know? 

Employees who have been ill can return to work after the following criteria have been met: 

  • No fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications) AND 
  • Other symptoms have improved AND 
  • At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared. 

An employee who reports close contact with a suspected or confirmed case should be advised to: 

  • STAY HOME and self-quarantine for 10 days from last exposure. 
  • Contact their personal healthcare provider. 

Employee COVID-19 Sick Time Off and Leave Resources 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

Mental health concerns have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the entire Iowa State community, as well as on the academic success of students. The university has created an accessible and comprehensive plan to support the continuum of needs of our community during this stressful time. 

The following resources are free and available to the entire Iowa State community:

  • Kognito is an interactive, virtual role-play training to help students identify, approach, and refer students who may be in distress. Incoming ISU students (graduate, undergraduate, professional, and transfer students) are required to take the training.  
  • Therapist Assistance Online is an online library of engaging, interactive programs that help you learn life skills and bounce back from disappointments and stumbling blocks. As you watch their videos and engage with the interactive components, you’ll gain the necessary knowledge and self-awareness to achieve your specific goals. Therapist Assistance Online offers educational modules, assessments, practice tools and logs, and a mindfulness library.

Additional References 

Accommodations for students concerned about their risk for COVID-19

Students at a higher risk to develop severe illness from COVID-19 based on their age or medical condition will be given preference for placement in online courses. Additional information can be found on the Dean of Students website. It is important to note that it is not possible to offer an online option for all scheduled courses, such as labs where students use special equipment, or courses that feature a unique instructional experience.

If you feel ill

Complete the daily Symptom Checker

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Stay home, limit contact with others

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Contact your instructors and/or work supervisor

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Complete the Thielen Student Health Center's Pretest Questionnaire and Consent for Services and Communication form

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Schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing at Johnny’s in Hilton Coliseum (515-294-5801)

Other testing options: Test Iowa clinic or your primary care physician

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Stay home while waiting for your test result

Wear a face covering in all public spaces, including bathrooms


If you test positive

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Complete the self-reporting form if tested at an off-campus location

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Work with contact tracing and case investigation personnel to identify others who may have been exposed

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Isolate (follow CDC guidelines)

On-campus residents: Linden Hall

Off-campus residents: At home


If you've been exposed

Quarantine (follow CDC guidelines)

On-campus residents: Oak and Elm halls

Off-campus residents: At home

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Contact your instructors and/or work supervisor