This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

What to do if you think you have COVID

Friday, January 7, 2022

This message was originally sent to the UWaterloo community by Kate Windsor, Director of Safety, and Dr. Clarke Baldwin, University Medical Director.

On December 30, 2021, the Government of Ontario made changes to PCR testing eligibility and case and contact management guidance.  These changes, made to help the province effectively manage the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, mean that we are making changes to the protocols for what the University community needs to do if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you are worried that you may have been exposed or you are experiencing symptoms of COVID you can take this self-assessment on the Ontario website to help you. The self-assessment will tell you whether you need to isolate or seek testing. Whether you have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or not, you must stay home if you feel sick.

PCR testing is only available for high-risk individuals who are symptomatic or who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This includes people with serious medical conditions as well as workers in healthcare, long-term care homes and other congregate settings.

Most of us in the University community, including people living in our residences, are no longer eligible for PCR testing. Before seeking out a COVID-19 test, please  read the full list of individuals eligible for a PCR test per Ontario Government guidance.  Individuals may be asked to show proof of eligibility before a COVID-19 test is administered.

If your self-assessment indicates you need to self-isolate or get tested for COVID-19, please see instructions for self-isolation, contact tracing and next steps on the Ontario website. Health Services COVID-19 Assessment Centre will provide PCR testing for eligible students and employees only, by appointment. Health Services can help you if you believe you have been exposed to COVID and need help assessing your symptoms or planning for isolation.

You may need to tell the University if you believe you have COVID-19

You can check the flow charts in our health and safety guide to help you make decisions about what to do if you think you have been exposed. If you are, you may need to let the University know. 


If you work on campus: 

  • you must promptly notify Occupational Health if you develop COVID-19 symptoms, are told you need to self-isolate, or test positive for COVID-19 on a rapid test or PCR. This might include self-isolation because you live with someone who has symptoms and is self-isolating. 

  • University of Waterloo Occupational Health (OH) can be reached at 519-888-4567 extension 40538 or 40551 or at  

  • if you are not sick but are required to isolate, and cannot work from home, please inform your supervisor. Your supervisor will work with HR to assess options available to you.

If you are working remotely: 

  • you do not need to inform Occupational Health if you develop symptoms, are told you need to self-isolate, or test positive for COVID-19.  

  • if you need to be off work due to COVID-19 related illness, please notify your supervisor and record any sick days in Workday.  


If you live in residences: 

  • you must contact for help if you are experiencing symptoms, are concerned about exposure, have been identified as a high-risk contact, or have received advice to self-isolate. We are here to help you.   

If you think you will miss classes, due dates or exams due to COVID: 

  • contact your course instructor(s) before or within 48 hours of a test, exam, or due date. 

  • complete the illness self-declaration form in the Personal Information section of Quest. Learn more on  how to self-declare an illness.   

Vaccine appointments are available at Health Services 

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you against severe disease for those with healthy immune systems. Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide more protection from getting and transmitting the Omicron variant than two doses. All Ontarians aged over 18 are eligible for a third booster dose 84 days after their second dose. 

If you need to book a booster dose  you can do so with Health Services  and there are many online resources to help you find available shots, such as  Vaccine Ontario  or  Vaccine Hunters.  

If you are an international student and have questions about vaccines, please reach out to