COVID-19 reminders, expanded testing options, updated testing protocol, and more

To: UCSC Students

From: Gary Dunn, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Health and Wellness; ​​Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Medical Director, Student Health Services

We are thrilled to see so many of you on campus once again. As we resume mostly in-person instruction this week, we write to share important reminders and critical updates pertaining to COVID-19.


  • Daily Symptom Screening Reminder
  • Testing Positive and/or Feeling Unwell
  • Updated Testing Protocol
  • Expanded On-Campus Testing Options
  • Upgraded Face Coverings Available On-Campus
  • Booster Deadline
  • COVID-19 Call Center

Daily Symptom Screening

If you are not already doing so, please resume your daily symptom screenings when you are coming to campus. These screening surveys support the health and well-being of campus by maintaining awareness of your health on a day-to-day basis. After completing your daily symptom screening, Health e-Messenger will update your Clearance Badge. It is important to follow the guidelines and protocols associated with your daily clearance badge, particularly if it is red. 

Testing Positive and/or Feeling Unwell

If you are not feeling well or you test positive for COVID-19, do not attend in-person instruction or engage in any in-person campus activities. 

Instead, if you test positive through a campus test, home test, or outside clinic, please isolate per CDPH guidelines. Then, read these guidelines about what to do next.

If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and have not yet been tested for COVID-19, it is important to get tested. Symptomatic testing can be obtained at Student Health Services during business hours. Please call 831-459-2500 for an appointment. Additionally, residential students may obtain a rapid antigen test kit from their housing office to self test. As you await your test and results, it is important that you follow the isolation protocol. During this isolation time, you should not participate in any in-person campus activities except to access health services at the Student Health Center. Please note: campus testing kiosks are for asymptomatic people only.

You may resume in-person campus activities once your isolation or quarantine period is over. 

Updated Testing Protocol

Our asymptomatic testing protocol remains an essential aspect of our COVID-19 mitigation strategy. In conjunction with our return to mostly in-person instruction, we’ve updated our winter quarter testing protocol. The updated protocol prioritizes more regular testing for residential students given their close proximity to one another and on-campus activity.

Please refer to the COVID-19 Testing Protocol web page for a full listing of current testing requirements. 

Expanded On-Campus Testing Options

We are excited to announce a new, on-campus PCR testing option: saliva-based testing. 

Saliva-based testing is now available in two locations: 

  • Porter Dining Hall, near the mailboxes
  • Bay Tree Bookstore

This week, drop-in testing is available the following day/times:

  • Porter Dining Hall: Tuesday - Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Bay Tree Bookstore: Tuesday - Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Beginning Sunday, Feb. 6, saliva-based testing will be available the following days/times:

  • Porter Dining Hall
    • Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    • Monday - Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Bay Tree Bookstore
    • Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    • Monday - Thursday: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

You can now schedule a saliva-based testing appointment at Porter Dining Hall via Health e-Messenger. Bay Tree Bookstore appointments will be available on Health e-Messenger soon. We strongly encourage booking an appointment for your test. 

Prior to your test, please review these saliva-based testing instructions. In the 30 minutes before your test, do not smoke, eat, brush your teeth, or drink fluids other than water. 

Nasal swab testing continues to be available Monday - Friday at the Merrill Cultural Center. Please schedule an appointment directly through Fulgent

Stay tuned for more information about our expanding on-campus COVID-19 testing options. We anticipate announcing additional saliva-based testing sites soon! 

Upgraded Face Coverings Available On-Campus

Given the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant, we strongly recommend you upgrade your face covering to an N95, KN95, or a surgical mask in combination with a cloth mask.

Surgical and KN95 masks are available at a number of campus distribution sites. Distribution is self-service. Please only take what you need. Information about locations and hours of operation for each distribution site can be found on the EH&S COVID-19 Resources page. 

Booster Deadline

Today, Jan. 31, is the deadline for all eligible campus community members to receive and report their COVID-19 booster shot. If you received your booster somewhere other than on campus, please submit proof of your booster via Health e-Messenger. Booster doses given on campus are automatically uploaded to your health record.

If you are not eligible to get your booster by today’s deadline, your deadline will be automatically extended until two weeks after the date you become eligible. 

As a reminder, adults 18 and over can receive any type booster dose once the minimum time has passed since completing their primary vaccine series:

  • Pfizer - Received second dose at least 5 months ago
  • Moderna - Received second dose at least 5 months ago
  • Johnson & Johnson - Received single dose at least 2 months ago

If you originally received a WHO-EUL vaccine that is not listed above, please contact Student Health Services for guidance about your booster eligibility.

COVID-19 Call Center

If you have any additional questions about how to get tested, what to do if you test positive, and scheduling a booster, we encourage you to please reach out to our 24/7 COVID Call Center at 1-800-809-6097.

We are excited mostly in-person instruction resumed today, and we recognize this has been a particularly difficult start to our winter quarter. In acknowledging this, we extend our appreciation to each of you. Amidst the many challenges of the past month, we’ve been deeply humbled by the resiliency you’ve displayed, the support you’ve offered, and the community we’ve become. 

Thank you, Banana Slugs.