Contact Tracing process for Princeton University community members who are tested for COVID-19

All Princeton University employees and students who have been tested for COVID-19 (regardless of the reason), should notify UHS via email: communityhealth@princeton.edu. This notice may begin the contact tracing process, as appropriate.

Learn more about the contact tracing processes:

For employees who are tested

If you have been tested for COVID-19 (whether it is because you are experiencing symptoms, or have been tested for another reason even without symptoms [e.g., prior to a medical procedure]), you should notify UHS via email: communityhealth@princeton.edu.

UHS’ investigators will follow up with you to begin the contact tracing process specifically among members of the Princeton University community. (Note: Our contact tracing begins at time of test, not time of test result.)

Contact tracing for those contacts who are outside of the University’s jurisdiction will be initiated by the respective department of health (DOH), based on your residential address [i.e., your county]. The ‘home’ DOH will then follow up with you to identify close contacts, that are not University-affiliated.

Contact Tracing Process:  

1. Acting on behalf of Princeton’s Department of Health, UHS will conduct contact tracing, to determine close contacts on campus. They will ask you questions including:

  • onset of symptoms (or when symptoms began)
  • the last day you were at work on campus
  • who were your close contacts
    • The only people who will be defined as close contacts are those individuals on-campus who have been within 6 feet of you (the potentially ill person) for at least 10 minutes. The timing of being in close contacts starts 48 hours before your symptoms started through when you began isolation in your home or elsewhere. If someone does not meet this definition, they are not considered a close contact and it is not necessary for them to be part of the contact tracing process.

2. Once UHS gathers information regarding when illness began, and a list of contacts during that time frame, they will review the list with you to determine the nature of each of the contacts, determining which, if any, meet the criteria for close contacts.

3. All close contacts who are Princeton University community members are then contacted by UHS and informed that they have been exposed to an ill staff member. All the personal information about the ill staff member (i.e., your name, location of potential exposure) will be kept confidential. Individuals who are not contacted do not need to self-quarantine or self-isolate because they do not meet the criteria for close contacts.

4. Close contacts are informed and reminded that they need (a) to quarantine; and (b) to inform UHS if they develop symptoms; if they are tested, they need to report this to UHS via email: communityhealth@princeton.edu .

5. Your (the potentially ill person's) test results determine the length of quarantine for close contacts: 

  • Negative COVID test result: If your test result is negative, then close contacts will be informed that they can discontinue quarantine.
  • Positive COVID test result: If your test result is positive, then close contacts should remain in quarantine for the duration that was initially communicated to them. They will not be notified again.

For students who are tested

If you have been tested for COVID-19 somewhere other than McCosh Health Center, you should notify UHS via email: communityhealth@princeton.edu.

Specific information about contact tracing among students will be forthcoming.