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

Notifying UHS about a COVID Test

All Princeton University employees and students who have been tested for COVID-19 outside of the University (regardless of the reason [e.g., prior to a medical procedure]), should notify UHS via email: If appropriate, this notification may begin the contact tracing process. Contact tracing will follow asymptomatic testing only if the result is a positive test.


Community members tested through the asymptomatic testing program, and students with symptoms tested at McCosh do not need to send a notification as this notification happens through internal processes at UHS. 

Contact Tracing Process:  

Contact tracers from UHS 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.) 

For the purposes of contact tracing, make sure your contact information is up-to-date and accurate in HR Self-Service (for employees) and TigerHub (for students).

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.

1. Acting on behalf of Princeton’s Department of Health, UHS will conduct contact tracing, to determine close contacts from the campus community. A member of the contact tracing team will discuss the following information with you, as indicated:

  • onset of symptoms (or when symptoms began)
  • date and location of your test
  • last day you were at work on campus
  • location where you are isolating (current address)
  • possible travel or exposure in the two weeks prior to symptom development or the positive test
  • names of your close contacts
    • Close contacts are those individuals who have been within 6 feet of you (the potentially ill person) for at least 15 minutes, cumulatively within a 24-hour period.
      • For asymptomatic individuals, the close contact must be within 48 hours of the date you were tested until you entered isolation. 
      • For symptomatic individuals, the close contact must be within 48 hours of the start of your symptoms until you entered isolation.
    • 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 or to be asked to quarantine.

2. All close contacts who are Princeton University community members are then contacted by UHS and informed that they have been exposed to an ill community 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.

3. 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: .

Quarantine Determination

For symptomatic individuals: Your 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 asymptomatic individuals who test positive: Your close contacts must complete the full duration of their quarantine.

Important note: individuals required to quarantine are unable to “test out” of quarantine with a negative test in any circumstance.

For more information

Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about contact tracing and its importance in preventing or slowing the spread of illness.