Winter Break COVID-19 Testing Requirements

To: UCSC Staff

From: Sarah Latham Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services

As we near the end of the fall quarter, we are reaching out today regarding the university’s COVID-19 testing protocol in advance of Winter Curtailment (Dec. 23 through Jan. 2). With the rise of the Omicron variant and an expected spike in COVID cases due to holiday traveling and large group gatherings, our goal is to provide you with the most up-to-date information for reducing your risk of COVID infection while you are away from campus.

While we have been successful this quarter in reducing the spread of COVID in our campus community, we have seen a small uptick in COVID infections since Thanksgiving Break. We remain focused on supporting the health and well-being of our community and have developed a protocol for employees and students with that in mind.

The guidance for employees is below, and guidance for students is available online for those who are interested in knowing more. A high-level summary of the guidance is also available online.

The Highlights

  • Before Leaving
  • While Traveling
  • Upon Returning to Campus

Before Leaving

As a reminder, anyone planning to travel away from Santa Cruz and its surrounding communities for the Winter Break should familiarize themselves with the CDC’s latest recommendations for domestic or international travel to minimize COVID infection due to Omicron and other variants. We also recommend that you review the comprehensive list on the CDC website of countries with travel restrictions, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Germany, and Denmark.

We highly recommend that you receive a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as you qualify (at least two months after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine or six months after your second Moderna or Pfizer dose). Currently, booster shots are not available on campus, but please see the Santa Cruz County Health website to find a location providing them in your area.

Lastly, we are providing a limited number of at-home COVID-19 testing kits to employees before Winter Break. The kits are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you may pick them up between Dec. 10-22 at the Scotts Valley or Silicon Valley reception desks (Scotts Valley is closed between 12-1 p.m. for lunch) or the Bay Tree Bookstore. Please note that we can only provide one kit per employee and it is intended for use before you return to campus. We cannot provide test kits to employees who are 100% remote. These at-home COVID testing kits are available for purchase at local pharmacies.

While Traveling

If you plan to travel over the Winter Break, please familiarize yourself with the latest CDC guidelines and requirements for minimizing COVID infection risk at the time of holiday celebrations . For example, you need to wear a face covering while on a plane or other form of public transportation or around a family member who is immune-compromised if you are gathering indoors.

Upon Returning to Campus

For ALL employees, you will need to complete the daily symptom checker once you return to campus.

For fully vaccinated employees, pre-arrival testing is not required but is advised before returning to campus.

For unvaccinated employees, pre-arrival testing is not required but is strongly advised. Additionally, for unvaccinated employees, an on-site test is required on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, or your first day of return to on-site work . After your initial on-site test, you will need to resume the testing cadence of at least once every 4 days.

We recommend that all employees self-monitor for any COVID-like symptoms within 7 days of their return as a best practice. Please notify your medical provider if needed.

Thank you for your time and efforts for the health of our campus community.

We wish you all the best in the New Year.