ISU Quarantine Requirements

Due to the fluid nature of COVID-19, quarantine requirements are subject to change. Please check back before and after any international travel.
Updated December 23, 2020


Guidance for students, faculty, and staff returning to campus after travel outside the U.S.

  • If you are a student living in on-campus housing, you must provide a COVID-19 test result at the time of your move-in. More information can be found here. If you are unable to provide a test result, you will need to find alternative accommodations until a test result can be produced. COVID-19 Testing is available through the Thielen Student Health Center.
  • If you are a student, faculty/staff, or visitor living in an home/apartment on or off campus, stay at home for 10 days (from date of travel) and do not attend in-person activities on-campus. Alternatively, you may come to campus if you have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past 72 hours, but minimize your in-person activities during the first 10 days.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 you should immediately isolate yourself from others.  If your test was conducted by the ISU testing center, wait to be contacted by someone from the ISU Case Investigation team with further instructions. If your test was conducted by a provider other than the ISU testing center, please isolate yourself from others and report your test results via the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form to obtain further instructions.
  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested as soon as possible.   Testing is available through the Thielen Student Health Center.


We recommend that you make travel arrangements that will allow you to stay home as much as possible during the post travel quarantine period. If during the quarantine period you are expected to attend any in-person activities, including class, you should contact ISSO and your professors to discuss alternative arrangements. 


Please note that if you have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 during your travels, you must complete a mandatory self-quarantine for 10 days after your return. You may complete your self-quarantine at your place of residence or in temporary housing through ISSO.
For more information regarding Iowa State’s COVID-19 resources, please visit the Thielen Health Center website.


New Student Orientation

For new students attending ISSO's International Orientation, please refer to the ISU Guidelines for Individuals Who Have Traveled Internationally webpage for more detailed instructions surrounding quarantine. 


Where can I stay?

  • On-Campus Housing: If you have an Iowa State Department of Residence housing contract, you can move into their on-campus housing starting January 7th, 2021. More information about move in will be emailed to you from the Department of Residence. For more updates, check the Department of Residence website
  • Off-Campus Housing: If you do NOT have a housing contract with the Iowa State Department of Residence, you will need to find your own living space. The Iowa housing website will provide you more information on off-campus housing in Ames and tips for living in Ames can be found here.
  • Temporary Housing: If your permanent residence is not ready by the time you arrive in Ames, please review the following options: 
    • ISSO has partnered with to provide temporary housing for international students at reduced rates at Best Western Hotel from December 18th, 2020 to January 31st, 2021. New international students may reserve rooms under ISSO’s name to receive the reduced rates of $79 per night for a king room and $89 per night for a double queen room. To reserve your room, please contact Deann Malfero, the Assistant Manager at Best Western Hotel, at 515-296-2500 or You must reserve your room with Deann directly to get the reduced rate. Booking from alternative third party websites may cost you more.
    • Alternative and independent arrangments can be made through Airbnb and hotels in Ames


Any student coming from abroad planning to live in university housing must be tested upon arrival.

Before moving in to ISU Housing, students must show a negative COVID test taken in the past 72 hours. Enrolled students with an ISU ID can receive a COVID test for free through Thielen Student Health Center. More information can be found on the Thielen Student Health Center COVID-19 Testing for New Students Page


Faculty and staff returning from abroad

ISU faculty and staff returning from international travel who need to self-quarantine should not come to campus until they have completed their 14-day self-quarantine period or received a negative COVID test.


Beginning spring classes remotely

Students who need to self-quarantine should not go to class during their self-quarantine period. Instead, students should contact their instructors and/or academic adviser prior to the start of classes to discuss how to begin the semester remotely, or make other arrangements to complete required coursework.


How can I manage self-quarantine?

Successful self-quarantine period will require some strategizing and planning on your part. We have put together this Self-Quarantine Tip Sheet to help guide you through the process.