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COVID-19 Symptom Checks 

COVID-19 Known Exposure

COVID-19 Treatment Options

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

COVID-19 Positive Test Results FAQs

COVID-19 Travel FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

COVID-19 Badge System FAQs

COVID-19 and Student Life FAQs

Staff and Faculty FAQs

Questions about coming to work or other issues related specifically to UCSC employees? See the Keep Teaching site for faculty, or Support for Employees for staff.

Additional Questions

COVID-19 Symptom Checks

Who needs to do daily symptom checks?
  • Student employees should continue to complete their daily employee COVID-19 symptom check questionnaire prior to reporting for work. Student employee supervisors should now check the student worker’s Qualtrics Symptom Checker.
  • All employees who work on-site at a UCSC property must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom check questionnaire prior to reporting for work. Effective immediately, these employees must enroll in the program.
  • All scheduled and unscheduled visitors to the UC Santa Cruz owned or leased property must complete the UCSC Visitor COVID-19 Symptom Check Questionnaire prior to entering the campus for each day when entering the campus.

 COVID-19 Known Exposure

I've been exposed to COVID-19, and I don't have symptoms. What should I do? 

Per California Department of Public Health asymptomatic persons who are known close contacts to someone with COVID-19:

  • Students do not need to quarantine
  • If you are EMPLOYED by UCSC and have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact Cindy Delgado of Risk Services for further guidance. Cindy Delgado email:; phone: 831-888-7253
  • Are required to wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease. 
  • Should test within 3-5 days after last exposure

For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was less than 6 feet away from you for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

COVID-19 Treatment Options

What treatment options are available for COVID-19?
Students with certain medical conditions who test positive for COVID-19 may be eligible for COVID-19 antiviral treatments. Contact the SHS COVID-19 Messaging provider to find out if you qualify. Visit Health e-Messenger and select Messages > New Message > COVID-19 Questions.

For more information please visit the California Department of Public Health: Get the Facts on COVID-19 Treatments

COVID-19 Testing

Reminder: you must test on-campus.

Who is required to get a COVID-19 test regularly?
Please view the current Testing Protocols to find out if you fall into one of the groups for which regular testing is mandatory. If you do not participate, you could be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

How can I schedule a test?

Instructions for Students and Employees

Accessibility: If you will be unable to swab yourself due to a disability, please make an appointment with the Student Health Center by calling (831) 459-2500. We will assist you with the process. 

Where and when do the tests take place?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, don't go to the testing kiosks! Call for instructions about where to get your test.
  • Students:  call the Nurse Advice Line at 831-459-2591
  • Employees: call your healthcare provider
If you need an on-campus test and don't have symptoms, you are eligible for asymptomatic testing. Testing site hours will vary during holidays and quarter breaks. Please refer to the COVID Testing Calendar for current hours on the day you plan to test.

Testing Locations

COVID-19 Testing Information

How much do the tests cost?
  • On-campus tests: Free for active staff and faculty and enrolled students, including students without UC SHIP.
Can I still schedule a test with Fulgent?

Nasal Swab PCR testing is available at the Barn Theater. Appointments are not needed for the self-registered Fulgent kits and will be self-administered on site. The Merrill site will no longer be hosting the scheduled fulgent PCR testing. Current testing hours for nasal and saliva-based PCR Testing. 

What’s the difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic tests? 
  • Symptomatic tests mean that you feel ill and have symptoms. Symptomatic tests for students must take place at the Student Health Center by appointment. Staff should see their primary care provider.

  • Asymptomatic tests mean that you feel fine and do not have any symptoms. If you have had a recent exposure and do NOT have any symptoms you can do an asymptomatic test. You would get an asymptomatic test to meet the mandatory testing requirements, or you have had recent exposure and do not have symptoms and need testing, or because you need proof of a negative COVID-19 test for some other reason.  
Can I be exempt from the COVID-19 testing requirement?

There is no religious exemption for testing. Individuals with religious and medical exemptions must participate in COVID-19 testing as per UCSC testing protocols

Students who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 should not participate in routine asymptomatic testing for 90 days. If you have a positive test through campus testing you are automatically given a 90 day exemption and do not need to contact SHS. If your positive test is from a home test or an outside lab, you must contact SHS via Health e-Messenger to obtain your 90 day exemption. Students who have received monoclonal antibodies within the past 2 weeks should not test.   

To contact SHS for a 90 day exemption, message us on Health e-Messenger using your Gold password. Go to Messages/New Messages/COVID-19 Questions. A Covid Team Member will apply a 3-month temporary exemption. Please be sure to include the date of your positive test and upload a copy, if possible.

I’ve had COVID-19 recently, should I test until I get a negative result?

As of 8/3/20, per the CDC, people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. For this reason you will be given a temporary exemption from mandatory testing that exempts you from COVID testing for 3 months after your positive test. However, if you develop new symptoms of COVID-19 during this 3 month period, please contact your healthcare provider.

What does UCSC do to ensure safety at the testing sites?

Safety is our primary concern and we take every effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 (and influenza) at the testing sites. Our techniques include:

  • enforcing masking and distancing
  • using disinfectant sprays and wipes in the swabbing areas frequently
  • ensuring good air circulation
  • limiting the testing sites to asymptomatic people.

Our testing site program was reviewed by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency and they found our practices to be aligned with best public health practices. If you are concerned about proximity to others at the testing sites, please call us and we can discuss alternate arrangements for you.

Is on-campus testing or vaccination available to the general public or alumni?

No, UCSC COVID-19 tests and vaccines are only for active, enrolled students, as well as current staff and faculty. If you are not a current student, staff, or faculty member, visit the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency vaccine website

I've been vaccinated. Do I need to keep wearing masks?

Effective April 10, masks will not be required for most indoor settings at UC Santa Cruz facilities, but their use will still be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required on campus transit vehicles, METRO buses, and in clinical settings, such as the Student Health Center and at indoor COVID-19 testing sites. California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA guidelines both state that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must mask for 10 days following a positive test. As well, asymptomatic exposed individuals must mask for 10 days following an identified close contact to someone with COVID-19.

Will I need to get tested regularly, even if I’m vaccinated?

Please refer to the UC Santa Cruz Testing Protocol for the most current information. 

Vaccinated students who are experiencing possible COVID-related symptoms must consult with Student Health Services and will be asked to test through SHS. If you are vaccinated and an employee, we ask that you go see your primary care doctor

What if I lost my vaccine card?

You can download a digital copy of your vaccine record on the California Department of Public Health website. Please login to Health e-Messenger , and enter your covid-19 vaccine type and dates under medical clearances left navigation menu, and then you will be in compliance with the policy.

Do I need to take a COVID test before I leave campus?

If you are planning to travel away from Santa Cruz and its surrounding communities, please review the CDC’s latest recommendations for domestic or international travel. There is a comprehensive list on the CDC website of countries with travel restrictions, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Germany, and Denmark. If you are traveling, please check with your airline and the country you are going to for testing requirements.
I am an employee or student who is unvaccinated, not up-to-date on my vaccines, or booster eligible. But I only come to campus occasionally. How often do I need to test?

If you are coming to campus or attending an off-site, in-person University program once per week, monthly, or quarterly, we ask that you get tested twice for your visit. The first test should be completed within 24 hours prior to your arrival to campus with a self-administered, COVID-19 test (i.e., a rapid antigen test). You should complete your second test within 24 hours of arrival at one of our campus testing locations. If you are staying on campus or at an off-site in-person University program location for multiple days then you will need to follow the normal testing cadence of at least every four (4) days.

I'm fully vaccinated, do I need to take a test?

See the protocol page for testing requirements

I'm unvaccinated and live on campus, do I need to take a test?

See the protocol page for testing requirements

I'm unvaccinated and live off campus, do I need to take a test?

See the protocol page for testing requirements

I'm an employee and not vaccinated, do I need to take a test?

See the protocol page for testing requirements

I’m remote this quarter. Do I need to test if I want to come to campus?

For faculty, staff, and students who are 100 percent remote, testing is voluntary. You may take a test as often as desired. If you are classified as remote, it is expected that you stay remote. 

Otherwise, depending on your vaccination status, you need to take a test 24 hours prior to your arrival with a self-administered, COVID-19 test (i.e., a rapid antigen test). If your test comes back positive, please postpone your return until your healthcare provider has cleared you. If you test negative, you may arrive on campus, but need to test at one of our campus testing locations within 24 hours of your arrival.

I hear the university is passing out at-home testing kits. How can I get one?

The kits are being provided first-come, first-serve basis, and may be picked up at the housing office of your residential community if you live on campus or the Bay Tree Bookstore if you live off-campus. Please note that we can only provide one kit per individual and it is intended for use before you return to campus. These kits are also available for purchase at local pharmacies.

I am unable to come to the main campus, how can I get a test?

Students and employees who are unable to travel to the main campus can request a mail-in test kit through Fulgent Genetics. Please request a test kit code through the following link.

Will you be providing COVID-19 booster shots on campus? Please view our current booster availability on campus. If there are no spots available, all appointments all curently full. Visit Find a COVID-19 vaccine near you to find a booster in your community. 

Do I need to test through campus?

Only COVID-19 tests done through UCSC will fulfill campus testing requirements (badge compliance, exemption, etc). You are welcome to test where it is most convenient for you. However, outside testing will not meet campus requirements. See the protocol page for testing requirements. See above for testing options.

How do I upload proof of my booster?

Log into Health e-Messenger and navigate to the 'Medical Clearances' tab. Next to 'COVID-19' there should be a green 'Update' button, click it. On the pop-up that will open, upload a photo of your vaccination card and select 'Add Immunization' with the date and type of vaccine you received. Click 'Done' and the information will be saved. View this document for a detailed step-by-step.


COVID-19 Positive Test Results 

What happens if I get a positive COVID-19 test?

UCSC students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 with a laboratory test or home
test, and those who are close contacts to cases will follow the isolation and quarantine

Notifying campus of your results:

If you reside in university sponsored housing and test positive through a campus test, home test, or outside clinic, begin isolation protocol immediately. Then, please inform Campus Housing of your results by completing this form. You will be contacted by a staff member with additional information and directions about relocating to isolation housing. Due to high volume you may not be contacted right away.

If you reside off campus, you will not be contacted by staff and should
isolate in your current location. Do not wait to be contacted by Campus to begin isolation or

For 3 three month testing exemption information, visit our isolation and quarantine form. 

If you are EMPLOYED by UCSC notify Cindy Delgado of Risk Services and your supervisor
immediately for next steps and available resources. Stay home and do NOT go to in-person
work. Cindy Delgado email:; phone: 831-888-7253

Who is notified of my positive test result?

Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us, but the county health department mandates that we report all positive COVID-19 tests. In addition, we encourage you to notify your close contacts so their risks and needs can be assessed.

Instructor Notification 

If your results are positive, your instructors will receive a message that you're unable to attend class. We also encourage you to communicate directly with your instructor in order to discuss continuation of learning, if you are able, during the time you are not able to attend class in-person.If I test positive, where can my roommates/partners who are not UCSC-affiliated get tested?

If you are not a current student, staff, or faculty member, visit the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency vaccine website

How long will I have to stay home?

Please visit the updated isolation and quarantine
instructions for guidelines. Your provider may have additional guidelines for you.

How long will my test remain positive? Do I need another test?

You can remain positive for COVID-19 for up to three months after your positive test result. However, doesn't always mean you are contagious. Typically you would not need another test for the next three months. However, if you begin to feel ill again, stay home and contact SHS or your primary care provider immediately.

Is there help for me on campus if I need quarantine housing, groceries or meals?

Yes. UCSC has many resources to help you, including meal delivery and quarantine housing for students living in UCSC housing. 

What should I do if tested positive and my symptoms are getting worse?

Call 911 if it's an emergency. During business hours call the SHC Advice Nurse at 831-459-2591. If it's after hours, please see how to get healthcare when the Student Health Center is closed.

Do I have to get a letter to return to work/campus?

You don't need a letter to return to campus. Your Clearance Badge (students) or Qualtrics results (staff) will let UCSC staff know when you are clear to return. If you work off-campus and your employer needs a letter from us, log into Health e-Messenger to request a letter. Go to Messages, New Messages, and COVID-19 Questions and make your request. In general, we will respond with your letter within 48 hours.

If I test positive for COVID-19, how will you ensure my privacy?

We take privacy and data protection seriously. All Student Health Services staff trained annually in HIPAA privacy practices, and all our technology is HIPAA-compliant. If you test positive, we only share your information if it poses a risk to campus.

If I've tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered, do I need to keep doing the asymptomatic tests?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered, you don't need to participate in asymptomatic testing for three months following your positive COVID-19 test. After the three months are done, you may need to resume COVID-19 asymptomatic testing, based upon the COVID-19 Cohort Testing Strategy Matrix. However, if you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and do not come to campus.



COVID-19 Travel

What should I do if I'm currently traveling abroad or will soon return to UCSC?
Any students returning from a country with widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19 , contact SHS at 831-459-2591 for information about required self-quarantining, health monitoring and other support. If you're diagnosed with COVID-19 while away from campus, please call Student Health Services at 831-459-2591 so that we can be aware and coordinate care if needed. See the UCSC Global Engagement websites below for the most current requirements about self-quarantine and travel restrictions

How can I get proof of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling on an airplane?

 Results from on-campus testing usually take 24 to 48 hours to result. However, these times cannot be guaranteed. There is often a tight turnaround for pre-travel testing requirements, you may want to consider the following options:


COVID-19: Badge System FAQs

The campus is managing student compliance with the Interim University Public Health Policy, the UC Vaccine Policy and other related COVID-19 mitigations (COVID-19 boosters and required asymptomatic testing) through the student Health e-Messenger system which creates the student “Clearance Badge”. The clearance badge is a way to visually verify student compliance with all related COVID-19 mitigations. For more information on how the studentbadge process works, please refer to the campus badge protocol.

GREEN (CLEARED TO BE ON CAMPUS):  Yes, you may come to campus/on-site but must abide by all applicable COVID-19 mitigations.

  • Yes, you may come to campus/on-site but you have one or more outstanding compliance requirements:
    • You have not met your COVID-19 testing requirement.
    • You have not completed your primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations and do not have an approved exemption.
    • You are booster eligible and currently overdue. Please contact the Student Health Center to make an appointment to get boosted or get boosted at a clinic near you
  • Please take immediate action. Note that access to campus services and classes may be impacted as follows:
    • For dining - overdue testing eligible for a “to go” meal only.  
    • For campus business services - eligible for online services only.
    • For various advising - eligible for online advising only.
    • For classes and labs - eligible for attendance.
    • Recreational facilities - a green badge is required.
RED (NOT CLEARED TO BE ON CAMPUS) for one of these reasons:
  • RED (QUARANTINE) Until your healthcare provider says it's ok to leave, advised to stay at home but may go out for a walk with face covering, avoiding other people. Quarantine is used for unvaccinated or unboosted people who are booster eligible who were exposed to COVID-19. Usually quarantine lasts 5-10 days but may be extended if exposure is ongoing. 
  • RED (ISOLATION) Stay home until your healthcare provider says it's ok to leave. Isolation is used to separate sick people from others. Isolation usually lasts 5-10 days from the first day of symptoms or from the day of your positive test if no symptoms, providing all symptoms are improving, you have had no fever for 24 hours (without using a fever reducing medication like Tylenol) and a rapid antigen test taken on day 5 is negative. 
BLUE (Not Applicable)
  • Badge is not activated
  • The UC COVID-19 Vaccination Policy is not applicable because you are not coming to campus or any university site for any reason. If you want to come to campus, you must come into compliance with the UC Santa Cruz Testing Protocol, and other COVID-19 mitigations.
  • Employees should have blue badges since they are not part of the badge system.

The UC COVID-19 Vaccination Policy is not applicable because you are not coming to campus or any university site for any reason. If you want to come to campus, you must come into compliance with the UC Santa Cruz Testing Protocol, and other COVID-19 mitigations.

To view the badge, students should go to the Health e-Messenger home screen and select Show Badge. The badge shows your status in one of the categories.

My badge is yellow or red, but I completed all of my immunization requirements. What should I do?

Please call the Student Health Center during regular business hours to resolve this issue at 831-459-2211. To see the color of your badge, go to your Health e-Messenger home screen and select Show Badge. You may need to show this badge when you participate in UCSC activities like eating at dining halls, attending in-person classes, and accessing campus buildings. We recommend “practicing” checking your badge before you come to campus to ensure your badge is functioning correctly. If you are a residential student, your badge will be activated one week before move-in.

What will happen to me if I’m done with quarantine or isolation? How do I know if I have been cleared?

Your badge should turn green, and you will be cleared to return to class and other activities.

Where will badges be checked?

Specific examples of locations where you may be asked to show your badge include, but are not limited to:

  • Classes and Research Labs
  • Dining Services and Eateries
  • Library Services
  • Recreational Facilities and Activities
  • Athletic Events
  • Campus Transit
  • Indoor and Outdoor Event Venues
  • Travel Programs
  • Field Research
  • Health Services
  • In-person Advising Services
  • Housing

I don’t have a mobile/smart phone. How can I share my badge?

If you don’t have a mobile phone, you can provide badge documentation via iPad, laptop or display a hard copy of the badge that shows its timestamp. Students with a technology need can also contact Slug Support at to request a tool to assist them.


COVID-19 and Student Life

What should I do before returning to campus housing?

Visit Information on COVID-19 and student housing.

What should I do if I'm attending a private gathering?

The County of Santa Cruz published some helpful guidance on what to do if you're hosting or attending a private gathering , such as a barbecue, birthday party, or other celebration.

What about sex during COVID-19?

Sex is a normal part of life! During this extended public health emergency, people will have sex. SHOP's guide helps you think about the ways you can lower your risk for COVID-19 during sex: COVID-19+Sex .

Does vaping increase my risk of COVID-19?

New research shows that vaping and smoking increases risk of COVID-19. Now is a great time to quit. Contact SHOP for free personal support to quit vaping or smoking.

What low-risk, fun activities can I do with my friends or family?

There are relatively safe ways for us to be active, social, and entertained. Take a look at the list of Things to think about when planning activities from the CDC. Individual risk for interacting with others depends on many factors, all of which may not be captured in scenarios listed. 

Can I get or give COVID-19 through a pet? 

While possible, it is very unlikely. See the CDC's guidance on what to do if you have pets.



  • Emergencies: call 911
  • Health-related COVID-19 student questions: Log into Health e-Messenger and select Messages > New Message >COVID-19 Questions
  • Employee questions: Contact your primary care provider
  • Other resources: The Santa Cruz County Call Center is available at (831) 454-4242 from 8 am – 6 pm everyday. Outside of these hours, call 2-1-1 (United Way of Santa Cruz County), text: "covid19" to 211211, or visit the 211 website
  • Student Housing FAQs

Back to the SHC COVID-19 Home