New COVID-19 Isolation Period Guidelines

January 11, 2022

Saint Mary’s has adopted Contra Costa County’s newly adopted COVID-19 isolation period guidelines for the general public.

If you are a student currently isolating due to testing positive for COVID-19 and would like to report your negative test result from isolation day 5 or beyond, click here.

If you are a student isolating on campus and do not have access to an at-home antigen test, you may contact SMC’s Health and Wellness Center at 925.631.4254 to ask about rapid antigen test availability after day 5 of your isolation. 

Per the Contra Costa County Department of Health:

“Under the state guidance, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, can end their isolation period after five days if they subsequently test negative and don’t have symptoms or their symptoms are improving. The test must be done on or after day 5 of isolation. Previously, the isolation period for positive cases was 10 days.”

Note that even with a negative test on day 5 of isolation, your earliest possible return to campus would be day 6 of isolation. Five full days of isolation is mandatory.


To accurately establish day 5 of your isolation, you should count the first day of your symptoms (or the day of your positive test, if you experienced no symptoms before testing) as day “0,” and count to day 5 moving forward from there. 

Example: If you asymptomatically tested positive for COVID-19 on January 3, then that becomes day “0” of your isolation, making January 8 day “5” of your isolation. If you receive a negative test on or after January 8, you will be allowed to return to campus on day 6 (January 9) or later.

Different Example: If you tested positive for COVID-19 on January 3, but started experiencing symptoms on January 1, then January 1 becomes day “0” of your isolation. This would make January 6 your 5th day of isolation, so if you take a COVID test on or after January 6 and receive a negative result on that test, you will be allowed to return to campus on or after day 6 (January 7).

Proof of your negative COVID-19 test must be uploaded to the above test portal before returning to campus

You will be sent a confirmation email after your submission is reviewed and approved. Do not return to campus until you receive this confirmation email.

You may use over-the-counter or clinic-provided antigen tests to test out of isolation after day 5. (PCR tests will potentially remain positive for 90 days after testing positive – so avoid PCR tests during this time). As mentioned, you may upload a photo of your negative test to the test portal above.

Please understand that if you receive a positive test, you will be required to return to isolation to complete the full 10 days. We do not have the resources to test people daily. It therefore might be wise to schedule your test for day “6” or later to err on the side of caution.

Unfortunately, people unable to get tested during isolation will have to remain in isolation housing for 10 days. Assuming you have no symptoms at that time, or mild symptoms are resolving, you will be allowed to return to campus without further testing after isolation day 10.

As always, even if you test out of isolation early, you must still wear a well-fitting mask around others (N95 masks are recommended), especially in indoor settings.


In community,

Saint Mary’s College COVID-19 Coordinating Council


Antigen COVID-19 Test Sites near Saint Mary’s College

(Specify antigen test when contacting site)

Moraga Public Library Community Testing 
COVID Rapid Antigen Testing Mondays by appointment
1500 Saint Mary’s Rd, Moraga, CA

Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Walnut Creek Community Testing
COVID Testing by appointment MONDAY - FRIDAY
Various locations depending on day of the week - see link

CVS - Walnut Creek
COVID Rapid Antigen Testing by appointment
738 Bancroft Rd, Walnut Creek, CA

Stat Med Urgent Care - Lafayette
COVID Rapid Antigen Testing by appointment
3799 Mt Diablo Blvd #100, Lafayette, CA