COVID-19: Students

Requirements by Group    On-campus students    Complete Daily Survey

Health e-Messenger Set-up    Vaccine Information    

COVID-19 Screening and Testing Requirements By Group


The Requirements: Starting in Fall Quarter 2020 and continuing into Fall 2021, UC requires all on-campus students, students taking in-person classes, and off-campus students coming to the UCSC campus to complete a daily COVID-19 symptom screening survey. All unvaccinated students on campus are required to get regular COVID-19 tests. This includes student employees who work on site, including but not limited to teaching, research, holding off-site university meetings, field research, and periodic visits to an office, studio, UCSC facility or worksite. See the official policy for more information.

How it Works: You will receive a daily email and text reminder to track your symptoms using our online patient portal, Health e-Messenger. With Health e-Messenger, you'll do daily symptom surveys, schedule COVID-19 tests (view current testing locations), and see your Clearance Badge.

Cost: On-campus tests are free to UCSC students, including those without UC SHIP. Off-campus tests may have a cost depending on your insurance.

Vaccine Policy Information: Get the latest COVID-19 vaccine requirement update. To make sure we know you’ve been vaccinated, upload your vaccine card and dates using Health e-Messenger. Log in with your CruzID and gold password. Go to Medical Clearances, then COVID-19 to add your dates and your card. (Having trouble getting your digital vaccine card? Here's what to do.)

Onsite Students (undergraduate and graduate students who live in University housing or are on-site for any reason)

You'll need to do several important things before AND after moving to campus.

Testing Cadence Grid

Testing Cadence Grid Unvaccinated

For more information related to fall move-in, click here.

Read Get Started! below to see what you need to do.

Off-Campus Students Visiting the UC Campus

You will automatically be enrolled in the screening and testing process as required based on your COVID-19 immunization status. Visiting the UC campus includes a University Location or Program for any work, research, or education/training-related purpose. Physical presence includes living in housing furnished by the University, using University amenities such as entertainment venues, museums, libraries, workout facilities, or dining halls or food courts in one’s capacity as Personnel or a Student or Trainee, or participating in person in a University Program even if not occurring at a Location.

Completely Off-Campus Students

If you live off-campus AND you never go to the UCSC campus, you will need to submit an exception. We urge you to:

  • get vaccinated
  • maintain social distancing
  • limit large gatherings
  • be aware of your local policies and restrictions (check your county's Health Department website)
  • wear a mask/face covering when you're around people outside your household
  • practice good hygiene and cleaning routines
  • contact the Student Health Center or your healthcare provider about testing if you feel sick or are concerned about exposure

Get Started!

  • Student workers, start here
  • Newly admitted students may not be able to schedule with Health e-Messenger yet. Instead, you should call the Student Health Center appointment line at (831) 459-2500.
  • All other on-site students, please continue to the instructions below.

Step One: Set up Health e-Messenger

You will receive a daily email reminder, and we strongly recommend you sign up for texts. Log into Health e-Messenger with your CruzID and gold password.


Once logged in:

  • Go to Medical Clearances. Complete the Notice of Privacy Practices, General Consent, and Assignment of Benefits.
  • Go to Profile in the left menu. Enter your Santa Cruz address and mobile phone number and carrier. You will now receive daily email and text reminders to track your symptoms.

Important: let us know of your new address immediately after arriving on campus or in Santa Cruz County. Make sure you use your Santa Cruz address, not your permanent address back home.  

Step Two: Complete the Daily Symptom Screening Survey

Your daily reminders will prompt you to complete the symptom screening survey every day. These screening surveys support the health and wellbeing of campus by maintaining awareness of your health on a day to day basis. If you have risk factors for COVID-19 transmission, the screener will alert you to avoid contact with others.

Fill Out the Survey

  • Log into Health e-Messenger with your CruzID and gold password.
  • Select “Complete Survey" button.

Review Symptom Screening Survey Results and Quarantine Status

If you successfully completed your survey, you will see this box:

Success upon submission of Survey screenshot

Step Three: Check Your Clearance Status

Students: After you complete your daily symptom screening survey, Health e-Messenger creates your Clearance Badge. The badge shows your status:


  • Yes, you can come to campus/on-site but must abide by all applicable COVID-19 mitigations.
2) YELLOW (Overdue):
  • Yes, you may come to campus/on-site but you are late for your required COVID-19 test and/or you have not completed your daily symptom screening survey.  Please take immediate action. Please note that access to campus services and classes may be impacted as follows:
    • For dining - overdue testing eligible for a “to go” meal only; overdue daily symptom check must complete the daily test for entrance.
    • For campus business services - eligible for online services only
    • For various advising - eligible for online advising only
    • For classes and labs - eligible for attendance 
    • Other services such as access to recreational facilities, libraries, transit, etc.

Reasons for having a red badge include one or more of the following:

  • No, you may not be on campus/on site (see notes below) except to access healthcare services at the Student Health Center.  
    • Not in compliance with UC COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
      • Please log on to Health e-Messenger and submit proof of vaccination or exemption request. (note: exemption requests can take up to 3 weeks for resolution).
  • 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 people who were exposed to COVID-19. Usually quarantine lasts 10-14 days from the day of exposure.


  • Stay home until your healthcare provider says it's ok to leave. Isolation is used to separate sick people from others. Isolation usually lasts 10-14 days from the first day of symptoms, providing all symptoms are improving and you have no fever for 24 hours (without using a fever-reducing medication like Tylenol).
6) BLUE (Not Applicable) 
  • Badge is not used for access to any site. See qualtrics / etc…
  • Students - Log into Health e-Messenger/Messages/New Messages/COVID Questions - SHS staff can help with badge status. 
  • 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 Vaccine Policy and other COVID-19 mitigations.
To see the badge, students should go to your Health e-Messenger home screen and select Show Badge. The badge shows your status in one of the following categories:
Example of Clearance Badge Statuses

For more information on how the student badge process works, please refer to the campus badge protocol.

Step Four: Schedule a COVID-19 Test as Shown in the COVID-19 Testing Requirements

To schedule a test, log into Health e-Messenger with your CruzID and gold password, then:

  • Go to Appointments > Schedule an Appointment > COVID-19 Student Testing.
  • Choose the date you want for your test. You can schedule seven days in advance. See current testing locations(Some students may not be able to schedule a COVID test online until 9/18; please call the Student Health Services appointment line at (831) 459-2500 to schedule)
  • You'll get a reminder message two days in advance and a text two hours in advance. On the day of the test, you'll see a QR code on your Health e-Messenger homepage. You'll need this for your COVID-19 test appointment.

Sammy the Slug checks in at a campus COVID-19 Kiosk and shows his Clearance Badge on his mobile phoneStep Five: Get Your COVID-19 Test

Important note: If you feel sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, DO NOT come to the kiosk on the day of your appointment! Instead, stay home and call the free Nurse Advice line at (831) 459-2591.

Otherwise, here's what to do at your appointment:

  • Prepare: Bring your smartphone to show your QR code and Clearance Badge. If you don't have a smartphone, bring your photo ID. For a fast check in, make sure your address and phone number are updated on your Health e-Messenger profile.
  • Check in: Arrive on time to your appointment. Find the testing kiosk (a table with a plexiglass shield around it). A UCSC staff member will check you in.
  • Swab: Staff will give you a swab to collect a nasal sample. You will swab yourself at the kiosk. It is easy to do, doesn't hurt, and the swab doesn't go far into your nose.
  • Wait for results: We will email your email address with instructions on how to get your test results, typically within 24-72 hours after your test. On Health e-Messenger, you'll go to the Labs tab of "Visits/Allergies/Meds/Labs" on left navigation.


How Swabbing Works

News, FAQs and Help

 Back to the SHC COVID-19 Home