COVID-19: Students

Requirements by Group    On-campus students    Off-campus students

Student Workers    Schedule a Test    Complete Daily Survey

Health e-Messenger Set-up    Vaccine Information    Get News, FAQs and Help

COVID-19 Screening and Testing Requirements By Group

The Requirements: Starting in Fall Quarter 2020, 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 and the COVID-19 Testing Matrix 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. There will be new, more relaxed rules for vaccinated students and employees in Fall Quarter. 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 five important things:

  • Sequester or stay in your primary residence for ten days before you arrive on campus, and for another ten days after you arrive on campus. Learn about expectations for those living on campus on the Campus Housing COVID-19 Information page.
  • Minimize in-person interactions between students, faculty and staff, whether in residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, or other campus locations where students congregate. Going to work or traveling to meet your essential needs (groceries, medicine, etc.) is allowed.
  • Mask and socially distance when on-site at any UCSC property and stay six feet away from others.
  • Screen by completing your daily symptom screening survey and viewing your clearance badge.
  • Test as described in the COVID-19 Testing Matrix. You may need twice-weekly or weekly tests depending on your group.

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

UCSC Student Employees

If you're a student employee at UCSC, here's some specific information for UCSC student employees.

Off-Campus Students Visiting the UC Campus

You will need to register to come to campus. You must do this one week before your visit, and follow the instructions for Off-Campus Students Coming to Campus.

Completely Off-Campus Students

If you live off-campus AND you never go to the UCSC campus, then currently there are no requirements for you. 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!

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:

  1. Cleared (green): Yes, you can come to campus/on-site.
  2. Overdue (yellow): You need to complete your screening survey or get your COVID-19 test.
  3. Isolation (red): No, don't come to campus/on-site. 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).
  4. Quarantine(orange): No, don't come to campus. Stay home until your healthcare provider says it's ok to leave. Quarantine is used for well people who were exposed to COVID-19. Usually quarantine lasts 10-14 days from the day of exposure.
  5. N/A (blue): You are not required to do the daily screening survey or testing because you never visit campus.

To see the 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, etc.

Example of Clearance Badge Statuses (Cleared, Overdue, Isolate, and N/A)
Example of Clearance Badge Statuses

Step Four: Schedule a COVID-19 Test as Shown on the COVID-19 Testing Matrix

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.
  • 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

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