Define your pod and help the contact tracing process

March 09, 2021

Since the early days of the pandemic, guidance from infectious disease epidemiologists has been to form small, defined quarantine pods — or groups of people — to allow for careful socialization while helping lessen our COVID-19 transmission risk. In addition to a short video animation outlining the importance of maintaining your pod and complying with the contact tracing process, Penn State experts share a few tips:

  1. Have the hard conversations: Set ground rules with your pod to eliminate doubt on what interactions everyone is having, what risks are acceptable and what makes you uncomfortable. Once you define your pod, everyone in it must agree to the same rules. Continue to have these conversations repeatedly. 
  2. It’s not about eliminating all exposure, it’s about a rapid response: We all must go to the grocery store, work a job, etc. — all of which is normal, expected and may mean potential exposure to the virus. It’s not about blame. If someone in your social circle is exposed, an advantage of a small, defined pod is that you know who you’ve been in contact with and contact tracing can begin immediately. This minimizes putting more people in the community at risk.  
  3. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, take action: Take advantage of the testing resources immediately. No one will question why you are getting tested and want to support your health and well-being.  
  4. Answer the phone; comply with contact tracing process: If there is a chance you have been exposed to COVID-19, you will receive a phone call. Answer it. There’s no judgement, so have your list of contacts ready. This is single-handedly the easiest way to activate against all safety protocols and limit further mitigation restrictions.  

For more information on contact tracing, please visit Penn State's Virus Information website. For more information on student contact tracing and reporting positive third-party test results, please visit the Student Affairs website.

Last Updated March 15, 2021