COVID-19 Information

A patient receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. You can become infected by coming into close contact with a person who has COVID-19, whether that person feels sick or not. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) defines “close contact” as less than 6 feet in distance for greater than 10 minutes cumulative, masked or unmasked. You can become infected from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, etc. You may also contract it by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

COVID-19 Testing

To reduce risk of transmission, please contact Watkins Health Services before arriving for a test:

  • STUDENTS - call Watkins Health Services Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583
  • FACULTY/STAFF - Call the Faculty & Staff Clinic at 785-864-9565.


  • Symptomatic COVID-19 tests will be billed to insurance. 
  • All asymptomatic COVID-19 saliva tests and testing of close contacts of positive cases will be provided at no cost to those who meet the criteria to receive these tests.

COVID-19 Vaccine


COVID-19 vaccine is available at Watkins Health Services by appointment. You may request Johnson & Johnson (one dose), Pfizer (two doses - requires a follow-up appointment) or Moderna (two doses - requires a follow-up appointment).

  • STUDENTS - Schedule an appointment online through your secure patient portal. Alternatively, you may call 785-864-9507 to schedule an appointment.
  • FACULTY/STAFF - To schedule an appointment, call the Faculty & Staff Clinic at 785-864-9565.


Members of the KU community who completed their initial Pfizer or Moderna series by receiving their second dose at least six months ago, or their initial one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago may schedule as follows:

  • STUDENTS - To schedule an appointment, call Watkins appointment line at 785-864-9507.
  • FACULTY/STAFF - To schedule an appointment, call the Faculty & Staff Clinic at 785-864-9565.


Members of the KU community who are age 50 and older or immunocompromised AND completed their initial booster at least four months ago may schedule as follows:

  • STUDENTS - To schedule an appointment, call Watkins appointment line at 785-864-9507.
  • FACULTY/STAFF - To schedule an appointment, call the Faculty & Staff Clinic at 785-864-9565.


Quarantine & Isolation Protocols

Our local health authority, Lawrence Douglas County Public Health, updated quarantine and isolation requirements for Lawrence and Douglas County on January 10, 2022. KU adheres to the health safety protocol issued by Lawrence Douglas County Public Health. 

Quarantine & Isolation Calculator

ProtectKU offers a tool to calculate the exact dates for your quarantine or isolation period.

Sick or Tested Positive? Isolate!

Isolate for a full 10 days OR 5 days if you are able to meet the following:

  • Improved symptoms
  • Fever free for 24 hours, AND
  • Tested negative using an Antigen COVID test.

Exposed? Quarantine!

  1. Wear a mask for 10 days and get tested after day 5 (if fully vaccinated), OR
  2. Quarantine at home for 5 days if not fully vaccinated or overdue for a booster, then get tested and wear a mask for 5 days, OR
  3. Quarantine for a full 10 days if unable to mask or test.

Travel Requirements

For domestic and international travel requirements, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's travel advisory page.


Last updated April 14, 2022


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition to these CDC warnings, symptoms of blood clots include chest pain, shortness of breath, mental status changes and pain/color changes in your hands or feet.

If you are experiencing symptoms:

  1. Stay at home and do not go to class or work.
  2. Call the Watkins Health Services Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583 or your primary healthcare provider BEFORE arriving in person or going to the emergency room.
  3. Stay in contact with others by phone and email.
  4. Monitor your symptoms (pdf) and follow care instructions from your healthcare provider.

Preventive Practices

To promote the safest possible conditions on our campus, we strongly encourage preventive practices to prevent illness:

  • Stay home when you are sick, regardless of symptoms, except to get medical care.
  • Continue to practice everyday preventive actions (handwashing, physical distancing, wear face cover, etc.)
  • Cover mouth with tissues whenever sneezing, and discard used tissues in the trash. If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into the elbow or upper sleeve, not into hands.
  • Refrain from shaking hands.
  • Respect physical distancing on campus and off. Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Understand the risk of attending large gatherings. The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with and spreading COVID-19.
  • Limit unnecessary travel.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home, work and on campus.
  • Avoid sharing personal items (food, vape pens, water bottles, etc.)
  • Review Douglas County numbers to stay informed on the local outbreak situation.
  • Take care of your emotional health. Physical distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.
  • Connect with university services, friends and family remotely when possible. Use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face study sessions or group meetings.

People Who may be More Vulnerable to Infection

  • People aged 60+
  • People with underlying medical conditions at any age which may increase the risk of a serious reaction to the infection, such as:
    • Blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell disease or on blood thinners).
    • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce medication doses due to kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis.
    • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis). Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.
    • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS).
    • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks.
    • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus).
    • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders).
    • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease).
    • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen.
    • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.