Personal health

Data updates

Campus testing, isolation and quarantine updates are posted every Monday on a public dashboard.




Testing for COVID-19 helps to limit the spread of this disease.


As of Sept. 8 and through the fall 2020 semester.

A COVID-19 testing site has been set up for ISU students, faculty and staff inside Hilton Coliseum at Johnny's, located on the east side of the building. Testing center hours are: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wed; and 9 a.m. to noon Sat. 

Testing is available for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria, and for people who had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 consecutive minutes). ISU also may utilize the Hilton testing location for surveillance testing efforts. The site is a collaboration of Thielen Student Health Center and the ISU Emergency Operations Center.

To schedule a COVID-19 test, students, faculty and staff should call 515-294-5801 (option 9) or schedule online at

Patients will need to complete a pretest questionnaire to help determine whether they need to be tested.

The information from this questionnaire will be used to communicate test results and begin the contact tracing process should you test positive. It is imperative that it is accurate and complete. 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 will be shared through AccessPlus.

For those who do not meet the on-campus testing guidelines, other testing options are available through Test Iowa.

If you seek testing and/or medical care elsewhere, you need to self-report using the Iowa State University Positive COVID-19 Reporting Form for Campus.

All patients awaiting test results should self-isolate from others. Do not attend class. Wear a face covering in all public spaces, including bathrooms.

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. 

Anyone who is tested on campus should direct questions related to their test results to Thielen Student Health Center, 515-294-5801.

Patients who test positive will receive a call from a Case Investigator who is a part of the ISU Public Health Team.

Should I retest after testing positive?

Requiring a negative test after testing positive for COVID-19 is not supported by the CDC. Once a positive individual completes 10 days of isolation, has not had a fever for 24 hours and symptoms are improving, they are no longer contagious and can be released from isolation. If the individual remains asymptomatic, retesting is not recommended within 3 months after the date of symptom onset of the initial COVID-19 infection or the date of the COVID-19 positive test if asymptomatic (

Iowa State University is following CDC guidance and recommends a symptom-based rather than a test-based strategy for ending isolation. The ISU symptom-based strategy is summarized on page 2 of COVID-19 Caring and Returning to Work.

If your ISU faculty or supervisor is requesting retesting within 90 days of your positive COVID-19 episode, please refer them to the ISU web page for further guidance. There are also COVID-19 response teams for all of the colleges and unit-specific teams to assist faculty and staff with emerging issues as discussed in President Wintersteen’s Aug. 5 letter. 

Case Investigation


Each COVID-19 infection we can prevent now can lead to big reductions of cases over time.

How is it done?

Case investigators identify and investigate individuals with a diagnosis of COVID-19 (known as cases).

ISU case investigators are interdepartmental volunteers who have received specialized training. They are performing these duties in addition to their regular ISU duties, without extra compensation, to support overall campus efforts to care for our ISU community.

If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 (becoming a “case”), a case investigator will call and provide education about isolation, criteria to complete isolation, and resources to successfully complete isolation. The investigator also will gather a list of the person’s close contacts. ISU case investigators will contact all ISU associated individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 either through self-report or who were tested at TSHC. Medical care is provided by the case’s medical provider.

A case is instructed to isolate from others for 10 days after COVID-19 symptoms started. The case is released from isolation when these three criteria are met:

  • symptoms have improved
  • no fever for 24 hours and (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  • the 10 days of isolation are completed.

If the case did not have any symptoms, the person is released 10 days after the 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.



Contact Tracing


Prompt identification, voluntary quarantining, and monitoring of COVID-19 contacts can effectively break the chain of infection and decrease further spread of the virus in the ISU community. This is where we can have the most impact.

How is it done?

Contact tracers are interdepartmental volunteers who have received specialized training. They are performing these duties in addition to their regular ISU duties, to support the overall campus efforts to care for our Iowa State community.

A close contact, or someone potentially exposed to COVID-19, is defined as having been within 6 feet of a positive case for at least 15 consecutive minutes.

The ISU contact tracer calls all ISU associated close contacts who were identified from the case’s investigation. They inform them of their potential exposure, provide education about quarantining, assist with resources to successfully complete their quarantine, and initiate symptom tracking. 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).

A close contact is instructed to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with an infected individual, to check their temperature at least daily and watch for symptoms of COVID-19, and, if possible, stay away from people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Contacts are instructed to monitor their symptoms and are provided assistance with a “Symptom Tracker” that is sent daily via text until their quarantine is completed. If they develop symptoms, the contact is called and counseled to seek medical care. A negative test does not release a contact from quarantine. They must complete the full 14 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.

Proximate contacts (those farther than 6 feet from a case or exposed for fewer than 15 minutes) 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 14 days.

Follow up promptly with your medical provider or Thielen Student Health Center 515-294-5801 if any symptoms develop. If you feel you need to be tested, you can complete the Iowa State University Pretest Questionnaire.

Why is it important to provide detailed information to contact tracers if you test positive for COVID-19?

An effective contact tracing and case management program can ensure that those at risk of having been infected are rapidly identified and triaged to prevent unnecessary 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. Providing 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 is a public health strategy that has been used to combat infectious disease outbreaks across the globe and now with COVID-19.  We identify and follow up with all close contacts of an infected person, then help these contacts quarantine to break the chain of infection.  Not all close contacts will develop COVID-19 but those who do can unknowingly spread the virus.  We all have to do our part to protect campus by quarantining when identified as a close contact.

After a thorough case investigation by the ISU Public Health Case Management Team, ISU-associated close contacts are notified. Contacts may have been exposed to any number of positive individuals. The identity of a case (those infected with COVID-19) is kept confidential. Contact tracers never know the identity of the case. In a communication from President Wintersteen (COVID-19 Update #29) she outlines the quarantine and contact tracing process and states, “We expect all students, faculty and staff to cooperate with our contact tracing process.”

If you have been identified as a close contact during a case investigation and are asked to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact; and if you live in the Department of Residence dormitories on campus, 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 8am-5pm: (515) 460-3047, Weekends and evenings: (515) 290-7390.

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.



Isolation and Quarantine


Isolation and quarantine are essential in helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19. This is one of the few things we know will help prevent further infection. Students, staff, and faculty will be expected to follow the isolation and quarantine guidelines set forth by the CDC.

What's the difference?

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.

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.

What happens next?

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 of other 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.

Faculty, staff and students who receive a positive test result from their medical provider or through Test Iowa must complete a self-report form. Self-reporting is a safe and confidential process and will allow ISU’s Public Health Team to provide support to those who test positive.

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

  • Follow CDC guidelines to quarantine for 14 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).

If the case investigator determines that the person who tested positive and someone who was within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes were consistently and correctly wearing their cloth face coverings in a non-residential or non-healthcare setting, then quarantine is optional for the other person. 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 also choose to voluntarily quarantine and will have the support of the university if they choose to do so.

I'm a student. What are my options?

  • 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 fall 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.




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.

How to monitor?

Everyone should do daily self-health checks to look for the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms and is subject to change. Visit the CDC website for more information about symptoms of coronavirus.

Also watch for emergency warning signs 

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.

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

Call 911 and tell the operator you are seeking care for someone who may have COVID 19.

What if someone has symptoms?

A student who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 should:

  • Limit contact with others.
  • Call Thielen Student Health Center.

A faculty or staff member who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 should:

  • Limit contact with others.
  • Contact their personal healthcare provider.
  • Notify their supervisor.

If a member of the ISU community becomes ill while on campus, the individual should immediately leave campus and return home. Make all necessary notifications that you are leaving via phone call or email.

If a student, faculty, or staff member tests 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 14 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 safety of the entire Iowa State community, as well as on the academic success of students. The university is creating an accessible and comprehensive plan to support the continuum of needs of our community throughout this stressful time.

What’s the plan?

Iowa State is creating a comprehensive mental health plan that emphasizes awareness, visible programming on skill development, and accessible resources on campus. The plan offers support for the university community, at-risk groups including students who are more likely to face challenges and faculty/ staff who are likely to be in contact with these groups, and distressed groups including students, faculty and staff seeking support due to mental health concerns.

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. Starting July 1, incoming ISU students (graduate, undergraduate, professional, and transfer students) are required to take the training. Kognito will appear in a student’s Canvas account starting July 1, 2020. The deadline to complete Kognito is August 1, 2020.
  • 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
    • A mindfulness library

Additional References

Academic Questions and Resources 

If students are unable to attend class due to isolation or quarantine, students are encouraged to communicate with their instructors regarding any absences as well as 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.

The university's emergency operations team is considering the best interests of our students, faculty and staff. We deeply appreciate your patience and understanding.

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 underlying medical condition, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, will be given preference for placement in online courses. Additional information on this process can be found on the Dean of Students website. However, it is important to note that we will not be able to offer all scheduled courses with an online option in cases 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