Protocol for Addressing Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Exposures

Evolving Guidance – Subject to Change
UPDATED August 21, 2023


The purpose of this protocol is to identify procedures so that the MBL community can address confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 . These procedures are based on the most recent CDC guidance (July 2023).

This protocol applies to all full or part-time employees, students, visiting faculty and researchers, interns, and visitors, approved to be on campus who have (any of the following):

  1. Tested positive for COVID-19
  2. COVID-19-related symptoms but have not been tested or have tested negative
  3. Been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person and are currently asymptomatic

Courses of Action for COVID Positives, Symptom, and Exposures

There are three scenarios of confirmed or suspected risk for MBL community members. Any MBL individual who falls within any of the scenarios must promptly self-report to their supervisor, MBL point of contact, and human resources ( Please do not submit identifying information in writing.

COVID-19 Scenario Must Not Return to In-Person Activities Until the Following Criteria are Met

Important Note: To calculate isolation and quarantine period, day 0 is the first day of symptoms, date of positive tests if asymptomatic, or day of exposure to someone with COVID-19. Day 1 is the first full day after.

Scenario 1:

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 (See Isolation Requirements)

Individuals can return to in-person activities after:

A.     At least 5 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and

B.     The individual is without a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication; and

C.      Other symptoms have resolved (with the exception of loss of taste and smell and intermittent cough); and

D.     The individual continues to wear a face covering at all times when around others through Day 10 unless they received two negative rapid tests taken 48 hours apart.

Scenario 2:

Individuals who suspect they may have COVID-19 due to exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms

The individual should take a COVID-19 test. If the individual tests positive, the individual cannot return to in-person activities until the criteria in Scenario 1 are met as applicable.

If symptoms are no longer present and the individual has received a negative test result, the individual may be permitted to return to in-person activities. (Note: A negative test result by itself is not sufficient for an individual to resume in-person activities if an individual continues to exhibit COVID-19-related symptoms that are new and unusual, or out of character for their body.)

Individual must inform Human Resources at if they are exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms and they must inform Human Resources of their test results.

Scenario 3:

Vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals who have reason to believe that they had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person (Quarantine)

Individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic, regardless of their vaccination status.

Individuals must wear a mask any time they are around others when indoors for the 10 days following exposure, unless they are unable to mask due to young age or medical or behavioral condition.

If individuals begin developing symptoms at any time, then isolate, stay home, and take a test. If the result is positive, follow Scenario 1 protocols above. If the test is negative or if the individual remains asymptomatic then take a test on day 6.

  • If individual has not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they can test with either a rapid antigen or PCR test.
  • Individuals who had COVID-19 in the last 90 days should test with a rapid antigen test, not a PCR test.
  • Individuals who had COVID-19 in the last 30 days are not recommended to test on day 6 but should use a rapid antigen test if they develop any symptoms.

By adhering to the above protocol, any individual that is confirmed to have COVID-19, has been exposed to a person with COVID-19, and/or is exhibiting any type of symptom will avoid all in-person activities interactions. Please also keep the following in mind:

  • If an individual is unable to wear a face covering around others, the individual should continue to isolate or quarantine for a full 10 days.e
  • Individuals in the above protocols may not remove their mask to eat indoors while around others. This means in Swope or break rooms or any place besides their own office.

Close Contacts and Contact Tracing

A close contact is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as any individual who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Anyone identified as a close contact must follow the exposure protocols above.