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COVID-19 Travel Quarantine Instructions & Housing

Updated: August 19, 2021 at 3:30 PM PST

The Institute has received updated guidance from our local public health agencies.  Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or an approved medical exemption) is required for all students.  If you do not have access to the COVID-19 vaccine in your home country or are not fully vaccinated upon arrival, you will need to quarantine prior to moving into your permanent housing assignment.  The Housing Office will contact you with confirmation of your assignment and quarantine information if you fall into this group.

The Institute requires that residents who are not yet fully vaccinated upon arrival complete a mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 testing. This process, which is outlined in detail below, is reflective of Caltech's commitment to prioritizing the health and well-being of our community. We believe it is a prudent approach for managing new living arrangements for multiple occupant rooms or apartments.


Temporary quarantine assignments will be in the Hilton Pasadena with each student having their own private hotel room.  You may check in at the Hilton Pasadena at any time on your arrival date.  You will check in at their front desk.  The Hilton Pasadena address, phone number and website are: 

168 S. Los Robles Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101

(626) 577-1000 


Before you arrive, you must set up an appointment for COVID testing with Student Wellness Services; please respond to any telephone calls or secure messages from SWS in order to coordinate your testing appointment. Appointments are only available during business hours 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.  Caltech will provide you with taxi vouchers to and from campus for your test appointment.  Caltech Housing will be in contact via email prior to your arrival with the taxi voucher information.


The COVID-19 test is taken through a nasal swab that you collect yourself, under the supervision of a medical provider. They will give you instructions and guide you through the process. The swab is inserted approximately two centimeters into the nostril and rotated several times. The consent process and test should take about 10-15 minutes.  On or about the 5th day of your quarantine, you will need to go to Student Wellness Services for your COVID-19 test .  Test results return within 24-48 hours. As long as this test clears, you will be able to move to your permanent assignment after 7 days in quarantine. If students test positive or display COVID-19 symptoms at any point during the quarantine, they will be moved to an isolation space on the Caltech campus. 


You will also make an appointment prior to your arrival, to receive your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a local pharmacy while you are in travel quarantine.  You will be provided with taxi vouchers to and from your appointment.  Caltech Housing will be in contact via email prior to your arrival with the taxi voucher information.

There are several pharmacies near campus; please make an appointment through one of the following links:  VaccineFinder ( or  MyTurn (


If you develop symptoms of illness during your travel quarantine period, please report your symptoms through the Caltech COVID-19 Reporting application ( and Student Wellness Services will provide access to COVID-19 testing. If you receive a positive test result for COVID-19, you will be relocated to isolation housing in a Caltech-owned property. Individuals in isolation will be provided with instructions from SWS, and will be provided meals from Dining services during the 10 day isolation period. Upon completion of your isolation period and clearance from SWS, you will be cleared to move into your permanent assignment.


You should have enough clean clothes with you for the duration of the quarantine period (up to 8 days) as you will not be able to use the laundry facilities. We ask that you do not use the common areas of the hotel. Each resident will have a refrigerator and microwave in their room as Caltech Dining will be delivering meals daily at no cost to you.  The hotel will not be entering and cleaning your room during quarantine.  You may request clean towels, sheets and more trash bags from the front desk at any time.  You will put your trash can outside the room to be picked up.  Here is additional information on what to pack in preparation for quarantine:

Please bring the items you will need for an 8 day quarantine period. 


•        Backpack, small luggage or duffel bag

•        Clean clothing for 8 days

•        Toothbrush and toothpaste

•        Nail clippers

•        Soap and shampoo

•        Room slippers

•        Toiletries, personal care items and menstrual hygiene supplies

•        Medications

•        Eyeglasses / contacts and related supplies

•        Photo ID, wallet, credit cards and other essential documents

•        Laptop and charger

•        Phone and charger

•        Materials to enable you to do classwork or remote research

•        Journal and writing instruments

•        Books or magazines


Dining Services will also be in touch via email to coordinate delivering food during your stay.


No guests are allowed in your quarantine room at the Hilton. 


All date changes must be received via email to the Housing Office ( ) immediately, in order to re-schedule arrival date or testing appointments. 


After you receive a negative test result (approximately 24 to 48 hours) from your test on day 5 of quarantine, you will be cleared to move to your permanent assignment on your 8th day. You will be able to pick up your check in packet from the Housing Office and will need to move that day.  Please be sure to take all of your personal belongings with you to your permanent assignment.  You must also check out from the Hilton on your hotel room television. You will receive additional information for a ride back to campus and how you will receive your keys for check-in upon checking-out of the Hilton.  On your last day in quarantine, you will receive an automated email with a button to click when you have completed your move to your permanent assignment. 

Please also remember that when you come to campus to check-in, you will be expected to follow the Institute's Health and Hygiene Policy for Undergraduate and Graduate Students, and any other Institute policies around COVID-19, which includes requirements for wearing face coverings indoors and maintaining physical distancing, among other measures.

Student Health and Hygiene Policy

There is additional COVID-19 information on our website at:

Thank you for your understanding and continued flexibility with this process.