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What to do if you feel sick

Stay home, limit contact with others, and contact your health care provider.

Updated: July 24, 2020

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms.
  • Self-isolate and complete the self-isolation form.
  • Expect communications from the contact tracing team.

The CDC website has the latest list of COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell.

Students or employees who have symptoms should:

  • Stay home, limit contact with others, and contact their health care provider or, if needed, their local emergency room. Always call ahead before going to a health care provider or ER. Students can call the Student Health Center nurse triage line at 865-974-5080. After-hours care has been arranged for eligible students through the UT Medical Center emergency room at 865-305-9000. Always call 911 in case of emergency.
  • Advise your health care provider regarding your recent travel history or other exposure risk.
  • Avoid travel on public transportation.

When being tested for COVID-19, it is imperative that students list their Knoxville address. Using an address that is outside of Knox County will delay when the Knox County Health Department receives results. The Student Health Center will provide testing for symptomatic students and for asymptomatic students who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case.

Learn more about testing.

Self-isolation form

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and complete the self-isolation form.

Staff with the university’s contact tracing team will reach out to you within 24 hours after you submit the form.


If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and limit contact with others. If you must be around people or need to leave home for essential trips such medical visits, remember to:

  • Practice diligent wearing of face coverings.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19

Your health care provider should contact you regarding your positive test results and provide you with further directives regarding your present care, follow-up evaluations, and isolation requirements.

The university will work in coordination with the Knox County Health Department to perform contact tracing. Anyone who submits a self-isolation form will be contacted by the university contact tracing staff within 24 hours.

The contact tracing team’s role is to check on a student or employee’s situation, help connect them to support resources, provide guidance, and help contact others who may need to take precautions.

Students and employees are asked to promptly respond to communications (text, call, or email) from local health authorities and the university’s contact tracing team.

Where to self-isolate if you feel sick or test positive

  • Employees and students who live off campus can typically self-isolate where they live.
  • Students in on-campus housing will need to temporarily move out of their residence hall if their health care provider or the contact tracing team determines that they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they test positive for COVID-19.

Students who need to temporarily move out of their residence hall may be advised to self-isolate in a university-arranged temporary residential space or with their own caregiver off campus. A limited number of university-arranged temporary residential spaces will be available for campus residents, most of which are located off campus. The contact tracing staff will provide guidance if temporary relocation is needed.

Care for students in self-isolation

  • The university is increasing staffing at the Student Health Center, which will have extended hours, including evenings and weekends. The university will have a nurse available to speak to students by phone 24 hours a day. Students should call the nurse triage line at 865-974-5080.
  • The university will deliver meals to students who have meal plans and are isolating on campus or in a university-arranged off-campus space.
  • The university will also provide transportation for students who live on campus and are isolating in a university-arranged off-campus space.
  • The contact tracing staff members will help students connect to meal and transportation services.
  • Instructors are asked to be creative, compassionate, and flexible in working with students to help them stay on track if they need to miss class. If a student’s self-isolation or health condition could affect their ability to participate in classes, they should communicate directly with their instructors. If students need additional assistance after communicating with their instructors, they can complete the student absence notification form with the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • The university is not able to provide in-residence medical care, laundry, or cleaning services for self-isolating students. Just as with the flu or any other serious illness, if you need additional support the preferred option will be for you to receive it at home or with your own caregiver off campus.


Guidance is available for faculty and staff on COVID-19 and insurance.

Students who have the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) from United Health Care Student Resources can call the Student Health Center Business Office at 865-974-3135 or the local SHIP insurance broker, the Hildreth Agency, at 865-691-4652.

Questions regarding COVID-19 health insurance benefits from other providers should be directed to the insurer’s customer service line. A customer service number is typically listed on the back of the insurance card.

Paid leave

Supervisors should help employees understand paid leave options. Refer to the supervisor guidance provided by Human Resources.

When you can stop isolating

Students and employees should follow guidance from their health care provider, the contact tracing team, or the Knox County Health Department on when they may stop self-isolating.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.