Returning to campus: testing requirements, COVID call center, booster clinics, and more

To: UCSC Students

From: Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

As we plan to resume in-person instruction January 31, I write to share essential information regarding the processes and protocols for students returning to campus. I encourage you to review this update as it offers guidance on a number of important topics relating to the well-being of our campus community.

The Highlights

  • Returning to Campus
  • On-Campus Testing Available 7 Days a Week
  • Testing Positive and/or Feeling Unwell
  • Upgrade Your Face Covering
  • Get Your Booster

Returning to Campus

The UC Santa Cruz Winter Quarter Return Protocol advises all students to secure a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours prior to coming onto campus and get tested through the campus’s testing program within 48 hours of returning to on-campus activity.

The protocol also includes specific testing requirements for students through winter quarter based on vaccination status and whether they live on campus or off campus.

Important: If your pre-arrival test is positive, please postpone your return to campus until your COVID test is negative. Follow this list of instructions provided by the Student Health Center.

If your pre-arrival test is negative, please adhere to the following guidelines for residential (living on-campus) and non-residential (living off-campus) students returning to campus.

Residential Students

Residential students should plan to return to their residences no later than Jan. 24. Housing Services sent residential students an email on Jan. 10 with instructions to select a time to return to campus. If you have not yet provided your anticipated return date, please fill out this online form. Upon your return, you will need to test at an on-campus testing site within 48 hours of your arrival.

Non-residential Students

Students who live off campus should plan to return to their residences no later than Jan. 24. Students should take a COVID-19 test prior to returning to the area and schedule an on-campus testing appointment online that coincides with your return date to campus. All students must test at an on-campus testing site within 48 hours of starting in-person classes or activities.

After completing your on-campus, post-arrival COVID test, please refer to the Testing Protocols webpage for more information about ongoing testing requirements based on your vaccination status.

On-Campus Testing Available

UC Santa Cruz is offering COVID-19 testing for students seven days a week until at least Jan. 31.

Self-administered kits will be provided and collected on a first-come first-served basis from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at two locations: outside the Porter Dining Hall and outside the Merrill Cultural Center.

Weekday testing will continue Monday through Friday at the Merrill Cultural Center with appointments scheduled through Fulgent.

For weekend testing, no appointments are required.

Testing Positive and/or Feeling Unwell

If you are not feeling well or test positive, DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS. Instead, please read this information about what to do. If you are not yet back on campus, you will need to postpone your return until your COVID test is negative or your healthcare provider has cleared you. You will need to isolate per CDPH guidelines. If you have already returned for the quarter and test positive, your next steps depend on whether you live on or off campus.

Residential Students

If you reside in university sponsored housing and test positive through a campus test, home test, or outside clinic, begin following the 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. You will be contacted as soon as possible; due to high volume you may not be contacted right away.

Non-residential Students

If you reside off campus and test positive through a campus test, home test, or outside clinic, you should isolate in your current location following the isolation instructions below. Do not wait to be contacted by campus staff to begin isolation.

If you have additional questions about a positive test result or anything related to COVID, please contact the UC Santa Cruz COVID Call Center at 1-800-809-6097. Created in response to student feedback, the Call Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides real-time support and guidance for your COVID-related questions.

You can also find responses to frequently asked COVID-19 questions on both the Slug Strong and Student Health Center web pages.

Upgrade Your Face Covering

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant is highly infectious. Accordingly, we strongly recommend that you upgrade your face covering to an N95, KN95, or a surgical mask in combination with a cloth mask when you return to campus.

Residential students can pick up one KN95 and two surgical masks at their community housing office during regular business hours (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.).

Non-residential students can pick up a KN95 or surgical mask at the Bay Tree Bookstore while supplies last.

We continue to make efforts to secure additional KN95 masks for the campus community.

Get Your Booster

Obtain a booster shot as soon as you can. We can’t emphasize this strongly enough—the current vaccines that are available, with a booster shot, are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. Currently, 95 percent of cases in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Region 9, including California, are Omicron infections.

For students who are already in the area, the Student Health Center will be hosting booster shot clinics on Jan. 19, 20, and 21, 2022, at the Stevenson Event Center. You can make an appointment for a Moderna booster shot through Health e-Messenger.

Additionally, the Faculty & Staff Wellness Program in the Office of Risk Services is partnering with Kaiser to provide a voluntary COVID-19 Booster Shot Clinic for faculty, staff, and students. The clinic will take place at the Stevenson Event Center on Sunday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Both Pfizer and Moderna boosters are available. To register for your appointment, click here.

For students not in the area, you can find a location administering booster shots near you on California’s MyTurn website.

Please remember that the deadline to get your booster and submit proof is Jan. 31. If you are not eligible to get your booster by January 31, please note your deadline will be automatically extended until you are eligible for your booster.

To upload proof of your booster, log in to Health e-Messenger with your CruzID and Gold password. Confirm your date of birth. Select Medical Clearances on the left-hand side, then COVID-19. Click the green Update button.

Upload a copy of your vaccine card, and don’t forget to fill out your vaccine type and date of your booster. Click Done and you’re compliant!

For more information on student booster clinics and eligibility requirements, please visit the Student Health Center’s COVID-19 Vaccines page.


I recognize this is a lot of information amid an already challenging and, for many, stressful time. I hope this email provides clear guidance about what is expected as you return to campus. If you have any additional questions about how to get tested, what to do if you test positive, and scheduling a booster, I encourage you to please reach out to our 24/7 COVID Call Center at 1-800-809-6097.

As we navigate our current circumstances and collectively work to get beyond Omicron’s surge, I remain grateful for our Slug community. I appreciate your flexibility and understanding of the pandemic’s impact on the start of our Winter quarter, and I thank you for your ongoing efforts to promote our community’s well-being.

Go Slugs.