Information for Students


With the expiration on May 11, 2023 of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declared under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, William Paterson University will no longer require vaccines for students.


The University is a mask-friendly campus. Those who are at risk for complications related to COVID-19, or have a household member who is at risk, should feel comfortable wearing a mask around others. Masks are still required of everyone in the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center. 

Individuals who are exposed to COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not, should take precautions for 10 days and are required to wear a mask around others for 10 days following exposure. 

The University continues to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates in the community and may change the masking policy if conditions warrant. 

One of the best measures proven to work against current COVID variants is wearing a good-fitting mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that you wear an N95 or KN95 mask, or at least a 3-ply disposable surgical mask (CDC Mask Guidance).  If you don’t have access to these masks, you can also wear two masks (disposable mask underneath and a cloth mask on top), especially in well-populated spaces.

COVID-19 Diagnosis Reporting

All students are required to report any diagnosis of COVID-19. We ask that our community members be responsible and stay home if they are sick or if they think they have COVID-19. It is true, especially with the Omicron variant, that symptoms can also mirror a cold, allergies, flu, and other illnesses. 

For Summer 2023 and Fall 2023, if you have symptoms or have been exposed, we ask that you test for COVID-19 and do not return to campus until you have obtained the results of your test. If you receive a positive result, you must submit results on the WP COVID Testing Portal to ensure proper tracking and follow up. 

NOTE: Individuals who have been in close contact with an individual that tested positive can return to work or school but you must remain masked in public indoor spaces for 10 days post-exposure. It is recommended but not required that you be tested 5 days from your last exposure. If you develop symptoms during this time, you should stay home and take a COVID-19 test. 

It is imperative that you continue to cooperate with COVID-19 protocols. We will be contacting individuals through their WP email account, which you must check daily.  

If you test positive for COVID-19, the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center will provide you with an excuse note for in-person classes. It is your responsibility to provide the note to your professors and to work with them directly to make up any missed classwork. It is also important that you continue to monitor yourself and your symptoms. Also, if your symptoms worsen, please reach out to your medical provider or go to your local urgent care center. For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, visit CDC Covid-19 Symptoms.

Testing of Students

WP requires all students to notify Counseling, Health and Wellness if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and to be tested for COVID-19.


If you are exposed to COVD-19, you should get tested 5 days after exposure and must wear a mask in public indoor settings for 10 days. If symptoms develop during this time, you must notify the University.


If you are exhibiting symptoms, you should be tested for COVID-19. We accept at-home rapid tests, health care provider rapid (antigen) tests, or PCR tests for symptomatic individuals. Students can be tested at a local healthcare provider or can get tested at the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center. Employees with symptoms should get tested through their medical provider, pharmacy, or local urgent care. Positive results must be shared with CHWC (students) or Human Resources (employees).


Negative Viral Test (PCR or Antigen):

If you test negative for the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus was not detected.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19:
    • You may have received a false negative test result and still might have COVID-19. You should isolate away from others, and contact your healthcare provider about your symptoms, especially if they worsen, about follow-up testing, and how long to isolate. Do not return to school if you are ill.
  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, and you were exposed to a person with COVID-19:
    • You must wear a mask, social distance, and monitor for symptoms for 10 days post-exposure.

    Positive Viral Test (PCR or Antigen):

    If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, take the following steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status:

    • Isolate at home and isolate away from others for at least 5 days from when symptoms began or if no symptoms from date of test. The day you test is considered day zero. You may not return before day 6.
    • If you do not have any symptoms, you should still isolate at home for at least 5 days.
    • If you develop symptoms, continue to isolate for at least 5 days after symptoms began as long as symptoms have improved, and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

    Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are more likely to get very sick (if you are an older adult or have underlying medical conditions) or if your symptoms get worse.

    You are not permitted to return to campus if you have prolonged symptoms beyond the 5 days unless cleared by CHWC (students) or Human Resources (employees). 


    Students who test positive (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will still be required to isolate for 5 days from the day they test positive (if no symptoms) or from when symptoms began. The day you test is considered day zero. You may return on day 6. You cannot test out of this requirement nor is it required to provide a negative test to return. Also, in order to return to in-person classes or activities, you must isolate for 5 days and be symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

    This is the guidance that will be provided to individuals that have been diagnosed with COVID-19:

    • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
    • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
    • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
    • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
    • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
    • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
    • Commuter students will be sent an excuse/clearance note to forward to their professors/athletic coaches as needed. As long as they have completed their 5-day isolation and are  symptom-free (no fever for 24 hours), they can return to campus. However, they need to remain masked for another 5 days. 

    In order for any student to return to their regular campus activities, classes, or work, they must not be contagious. To return, the individual must meet the following criteria:

    • It has been 5 days since symptoms first appeared, and
    • It has been 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

      Failure to comply with guidelines:

      In the event that a WP community member refuses to remain in isolation or quarantine, and/or is a health risk to themselves, their roommates, or member(s) of the community, appropriate interventions will be used, consistent with University policy and applicable law.