The Difference Between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that limiting face-to-face contact is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The terms social distancing, isolation/self-isolating, and quarantine have been heard a lot over the past few weeks in reference to COVID-19, so it’s important to know what each of those means.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is also known as physical distancing. It means physically staying farther away from people than you might normally.

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings


Isolation is for individuals who have already been diagnosed or are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19 or have returned from traveling outside the country, you are expected to self-isolate for 14 days while you monitor your symptoms.

  • You should not leave your home for any reason. If you go outside to exercise, maintain physical distance.
  • If you need groceries or medicine, order them online or ask someone to drop them off to you with no contact.
  • Do not have any visitors, even friends or extended family, in your home.


Quarantine is put on groups of people and communities to separate or restrict the movement of individuals who may have been exposed. Because COVID-19 travels easily between people without necessarily showing symptoms, the state of Florida has issued a Stay-at-Home order to limit all non-essential movement/travel.

  • Non-essential workers must stay home.
  • Leave home only for essential services such as food, medicine or outdoor exercise.

What to do if you or someone else is sick or fears exposure:

Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or is experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath, possible nausea/diarrhea, possible loss of taste/smell) should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours, call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours, call Public Safety (386-822-7300). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know — don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our College of Law students, faculty and staff.