Health of Community

Feeling sick?

For information about what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, visit this page.

COVID-19 Dashboard

Learn about our operating levels and the number of campus COVID-19 cases here »

COVID-19 exposure: Should I be tested?

We advise that you not immediately go get a test. Rather, if you think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, report it on the SneezSafe screening tool. If you have already completed your SneezSafe screening for the day, email traceshs@nullwfu.edu to say you may have been exposed. You do not need to call the Student Health Service unless you have symptoms.

While you are waiting to receive guidance from the Student Health Service or a contact tracer, you should quarantine (which means staying in your room and not socializing with others). You can get grab and go food or order in; please do not eat with others. You can go out of your room to use the bathroom; do not congregate or go in groups. A contact tracer will contact you to determine next steps. Do not worry if you do not hear from a contact tracer right away; it can take up to 24 hours.


Off-Campus Test? Reporting Your Results

Please contact Student Health Service. They will assist with next steps and any necessary contact tracing. Additionally, if you tested for COVID-19 off campus and received a positive result, you will need to submit those results to the University’s COVID-19 Coordinator at covid-coordinator@nullwfu.edu.

Random Testing

Random testing for students has begun. Get answers to FAQs here, including the testing location and exemption request form.

More Answers

In addition to the FAQs on this page, more information is available on the Student Health Service site.


FAQs: Isolation and Quarantine

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate, and students who are exposed will need to quarantine. The Student Health Service has a website explaining the difference in these processes, and what students should know. Residence Life & Housing also provides details about what to expect.

  • What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

    Isolation refers to an individual who has experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or is infected with COVID-19. That individual is placed in a living situation so they don’t transmit the virus to others. The isolation period for COVID-19 is 10 days because the majority of people will stop shedding the virus after 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the positive test, if they are asymptomatic.

    Quarantine refers to an individual who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19. That individual is put in a living situation where they are mostly by themselves, so that if they were to get COVID-19 during their period of quarantine, they wouldn’t transmit it to other people. The quarantine period is 14 days. Quarantine is longer because it includes the incubation period for COVID-19 as well as the period of time that virus might be shed if the person develops the infection.

    Wake Forest University follows the guidelines for isolation and quarantine established by the Centers for Disease Control, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Forsyth County Health Department.

  • How will the quarantine/isolation function? Will there be on-site care or someone staying there to monitor students?

    Undergraduate students living on campus or in University-sponsored housing who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 will be isolated until they are determined to no longer be contagious based on CDC criteria. Wake Forest has made arrangements to set aside distinct spaces that can provide single rooms with private bathrooms and a refrigerator for food supplies, and infected students will be isolated in these spaces.

    Undergraduate students living on campus or in University-sponsored housing who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be instructed to quarantine in one of these private rooms until the CDC criteria for quarantine after exposure have been met (generally about 14 days). These students who are in isolation or in quarantine AND are living on campus or in University-sponsored housing will have meals and/or grocery boxes delivered to them. (NOTE: students living in non-University sponsored housing or graduate/professional students will need to make their own arrangements).

    Students in quarantine will be required to continue daily symptom screening through the SneezSafe app. Students who develop symptoms while in quarantine will be contacted by the SHS to discuss their symptoms and connect them with appropriate medical evaluation.

    Students in isolation (confirmed to have COVID-19) will be contacted daily by the Student Health Service for symptom monitoring and support; additional medical intervention will take place as needed. There will also be a system in place to ensure students have food and other resources while in isolation or quarantine.

    Other students confirmed with or exposed to COVID-19 (including undergraduate students not in University-sponsored housing as well as graduate/professional students), will be directed to isolate or quarantine in their off-campus dwellings.

    The Student Health Service has a website explaining the difference in these processes, and what students should know. Residence Life & Housing also provides details about what to expect.

  • Why can’t individuals test out of quarantine?

    Quarantine must last 14 days because it includes the incubation period for COVID-19 as well as the period of time that virus might be shed if the person develops the infection. While in quarantine, it is possible that an individual could go on to get COVID-19 and test positive within the 14-day quarantine period. If you test on day two, you could still become positive on day five. Even if you feel healthy, symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

    The guidelines that Wake Forest University adheres to are from the Centers for Disease Control, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Forsyth County Health Department.

  • My son/daughter is in quarantine, can I get them tested for COVID-19 and if the test is negative, can they be released from quarantine earlier?

    State and county health departments do not allow a negative COVID-19 test to replace the need for quarantine. Individuals can develop infection and become contagious during the first 14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Tests for COVID-19 try to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVD-19. Depending on the timing of the test, and other factors, testing may miss someone who is infected with the virus. Releasing from quarantine early would increase the risk of that individual spreading infection to others in the community.

    The true purpose of testing after an exposure to identify those individuals who are infected, but may not develop symptoms. If their test is positive, then we would begin contact tracing individuals who they may have exposed to further reduce the spread of infection in our community.

  • Why can’t individuals quarantine with friends?

    Many times, individuals are asked to quarantine because they have been exposed to a person who is known to be positive for COVID-19. If an individual quarantines with friends, that person is in a living situation with other people who may be exposed to the virus and the odds of infection go up considerably. If that happens, the quarantine period actually gets longer because the 14-day period starts from the last time an individual is in contact with a person who has tested positive.

FAQs: Face Coverings

All members of the Wake Forest University community (faculty, staff, and students) must carry a cloth face covering while on campus, and wear it in the presence of others. Read the full policy »

  • What are the guidelines for wearing a face covering?

    If indoors, wear a mask. The exception would be in your residence hall room (alone) or if you are showering or eating.

    If outdoors, wear a mask if you are in a group of people and/or cannot maintain six feet of distance between you and the next person. Pro tip: much of the time when you are just walking around campus, you might not know when you are going to run into other people and want to talk to them, so it is probably safest to plan to wear your mask.

    If outdoors and you are in a group activity that involves elevated breathing (e.g., “Spikeball”, soccer, etc.), both masks and 10 feet of distance are required.

    Full policy is here.

  • Will cloth face masks be required even if face shields are worn?

    Facial coverings or masks must be worn while wearing a face shield.

  • Are bandanas, gaiters and surgical masks acceptable forms of face coverings?

    No. A recent research study related to the efficacy of types of cloth face coverings or masks has revealed that certain types of face coverings and masks, such as bandanas and gaiters, can increase the release of virus into the air more than no mask.

    Surgical masks are acceptable, but can only be worn for one day and need to be disposed of after one day’s use or if they get torn, wet or soiled. In addition, the use of surgical masks does not allow them to be reserved for healthcare workers. Information from the CDC here.

FAQs: Access-Related Issues

Other access-related questions can be asked by submitting a question via our online form. Call our Call Center (336.758.7500) weekdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Eastern.

  • How do I access University Counseling Center support remotely? 

    Students with questions concerning follow-up visits, medication refills, chronic medical conditions, and psychiatry should call the Student Health Service to discuss their needs (336-758-5218). For the Counseling Center, call 336-758-5273.

  • Do I have access to telehealth options from my Wake Forest University Counseling Center and/or Student Health Service provider?

    Students with questions concerning follow-up visits, medication refills, chronic medical conditions, and psychiatry should call the Student Health Service to discuss their needs (336-758-5218). For the Counseling Center, call 336-758-5273.

  • Does my student health insurance (“Student Blue”) cover my use of telehealth options for non-Wake providers?

    Yes. Students should call HealthLine Blue 1-877-477-2424. They can talk to a nurse 24/7 to get timely information and help on a number of health-related issues. Nurses are on hand in both English and Spanish. StudentBlue covers telehealth visits with mental health providers who are in-network (deductibles and co-pays may apply).

  • If my student gets COVID, how will I be notified?

    If your student is 18 or older, they have patient privacy rights under the NC Medical Board requirements for medical confidentiality. Thus, we need the student’s permission to provide information to their parents or loved ones, faculty members, etc. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about your desire to talk to the Student Health Service if they get COVID (or any other illness) and ask them to grant permission if they get sick.

  • Is there a HIPAA form that my student can sign for the semester or the year?

    We do not have a form that covers the whole semester or year, and we would advise families NOT to ask students to sign such a form. The unintended consequence of asking your student to give full access to all medical information is that sometimes students should access the Student Health Service but there is a barrier there if they think their mom, dad, or family member is going to be notified every single time they go, particularly if they have a deeply personal or intimate issue. Instead, we encourage you to have a conversation with your student about your desire to talk to the Student Health Service if they get COVID (or any other illness) and ask them to grant permission if they get sick.

FAQs: Compliance

Wake Forest’s policies related to COVID-19 are available here. You can use the COVID-19 Health & Safety Compliance Form to report information related to the violations of University COVID-19 policies. The reports can be anonymous or you can include your name and contact information.

  • How will mask wearing be enforced?

    Undergraduate students will be asked to acknowledge a Student Compact pledging to uphold public health and behavioral expectations as a condition of returning to campus. The Student Compact educates students about COVID-19 related concerns and identifies the University’s expectations of students.

    All members of the campus community will be required to complete an education and training module about COVID-19 facts, virus transmission, risk-reducing behaviors, and relevant university policies. Students who fail to comply with this requirement will be subject to removal from campus until such time as they complete the education module. Faculty and staff who fail to comply with this requirement will not be permitted to work on campus or at University properties.

    Use the COVID-19 Health & Safety Compliance Form to report information related to the violations of University COVID-19 policies. The reports are anonymous.

  • What is SneezSafe and how are daily symptom screening requirements managed?

    SneezSafe is a web-based platform where undergraduate students who will be residing in University housing or accessing campus are expected to log their daily COVID-19 symptom screening. It was developed in partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Health. Students will be expected to use the tool at the beginning of each day throughout the semester. Responses to this screening are confidential. More information is available here.

  • How will the University ensure students follow campus and community public health requirements ?

    A Code of Conduct Public Health Emergency Addendum has been added to the Undergraduate Student Handbook and reflects the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a time of potential risk to the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and we must each be vigilant in our commitment to protecting, encouraging and supporting each other. Members of the Wake Forest community are asked to respect the health and safety of others and comply with all North Carolina, Winston-Salem and University policies and regulations. The Addendum to the Code of Conduct is in place so that students in our community have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and know the importance of acting in ways that honor these expectations.

  • Why will students who lease off-campus property be held accountable for parties and Conduct Code violations if they are not at the event?

    In a time of potential risk to the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, every student must be vigilant in their commitment to respecting the health and safety of others as they would respect their own. This includes ensuring that students do not sponsor or host parties that could spread COVID-19 to others. When students sign their name to a lease, they and their housemates become responsible for what occurs inside the residence. This is true whether a party is intentional and planned or not intentional and the amount of attendees grows organically. This will require housemates to reach agreements about what will and won’t occur in each residence. Every student has a responsibility to ensure they are not contributing to dangerous situations.

  • Why do the sanctions for violations to the Code of Conduct include extreme measures such as removal from housing, suspension, or expulsion from Wake Forest?

    COVID-19 can cause serious issues for the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. For individuals at high risk, COVID-19 could threaten their health, their ability to do their jobs or even their lives. Because the stakes are so high, the consequences of actions that could threaten the health of our community must be equally high.

FAQs: General Personal Health and Wellbeing

The best source for information about COVID-19 is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

  • Where can I find information about COVID-19 spread, cloth masks and isolation protocols?

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has the most up-to-date information on How Coronavirus Spreads.

    The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC website offers important information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    The CDC has issued recommendations regarding cloth face coverings. Here are links to FAQ’s about cloth face masks.

    Information on quarantine and isolation protocols is available on the CDC website here.

    At Wake Forest, students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 living on campus will be provided a single room with a private bathroom. Students are not permitted to leave their rooms while in isolation unless seeking healthcare at a medical facility (generally visits can be done in the student’s room by telehealth). Students are not permitted to socialize in person or be in close contact with anyone on campus.

    Student Health Service will contact students daily and are available to answer any questions. Residence Life and Housing will deliver food provided by dining services daily.

    Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to normal activities (released from isolation) under the conditions outlined on the CDC website here.

  • What is “close contact?"

    CDC defines a close contact as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or longer, with or without a mask. Close contact can also include intimate contact for shorter than 15 minutes, like kissing, sharing drinks or utensils or being coughed on. Close contact also means being in a shared living space even if you were not within 6 feet, like roommates or spending a longer amount of time together without a mask in close proximity — like watching a movie or game night.

  • What is contact tracing?

    The goal in contact tracing is to find individuals who have been exposed to a case of COVID-19 and separate them from others that they might infect if they develop COVID-19.

    Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are isolated from others until their symptoms resolve and their risk of infecting others has gone – usually at least 10 days; if they have no symptoms, this 10 days would be from the time they had a positive test.

    Individuals who are exposed to a person with COVID-19 are quarantined for the period of time felt by public health experts to be the length of time most people will develop COVID-19 if exposed (generally 14 days). Because individuals can have COVID-19 without symptoms, it is important for the individuals who have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19 to remain separated (“quarantine”) from others until the time has passed when they would no longer be considered at risk.

  • What recommendations are in place for public transportation such as buses and shuttles?

    Students who use public transportation, shuttles or ride-sharing are encouraged to follow CDC guidance on Protecting Yourself When Using Public Transportation or to minimize close contact with others by biking, walking, driving or riding by car either alone or with household members.

  • What is the proper way to manage coughing and sneezing?

    Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • What preventative measures were in place as students returned to campus?

    Students were required to complete the following key requirements before returning to campus:

    • Submit a pre-arrival COVID-19 test
    • Complete mandatory 14-day quarantine
    • Begin daily symptom monitoring (via the SneezSafe website)
    • Read the Student Social Compact
    • Complete the COVID-19 Education and Training module
    • Read and acknowledge the COVID-19 Prevention Behaviors and Student Expectations
    • Read and sign the Public Health Emergency Addendum to the Undergraduate Conduct Code

Key Principles for Fall 2020

  • Based on CDC guidance, we will utilize a Screen, Test, Protect protocol to identify and contain potential outbreaks.
  • We will educate our community about how each person can contribute to a healthy and successful semester by following key public health guidelines, including:
    • Testing
    • Daily symptom monitoring
    • Social distancing
    • Wearing cloth face coverings
    • Committing to COVID-specific hygiene
    • Enhanced cleaning protocols
    • Getting seasonal flu shots
  • We are expanding the capacity of our Student Health Service team and services to accommodate the forecasted needs of our campus community.
  • Faculty and staff will have access to resources through the newly created Employee Health Service.

Staying Healthy at Wake Forest in Fall 2020

Joanne Clinch, M.D., Wake Forest Student Health Services, highlights the “Screen, Test and Protect” model and the best ways to stay healthy this semester.

The Power of Community

Miles Middleton (’21), Student Government President, discusses the importance of individual contribution to a healthy Wake Forest community and positive educational experience this fall.

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