COVID-19 testing options, updated cadence, daily symptom checker and more

To: UCSC Community

From: Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

I am reaching out today to provide critical updates to UC Santa Cruz’s testing protocol and our expanded testing options and COVID-19 mitigation measures as we resume in-person instruction this week.

The Highlights

  • Updated Campus Testing Protocol
  • Expanded On-Campus Testing Options
  • Reminder: Complete Your Daily Symptom Checker
  • Reminder: Upgraded Face Coverings Available
  • Reminder: Uploading Your Proof of Vaccination

Updated Campus Testing Protocol

We’ve updated our UC Santa Cruz Testing Protocol for the campus community in conjunction with our return to primarily in-person instruction. Testing continues to be an important part of our response, and we’ve worked to increase testing capacity and accessibility with the goal of expanded flexibility to ensure the wellbeing of our most at-risk campus populations.

As a reminder, getting a COVID-19 booster is required pursuant to UC policy. The deadline to submit proof of your booster was Jan. 31. For those that were not eligible as of Jan. 31, the deadline to submit proof of your booster is two weeks after you are eligible to receive your booster.

Additionally, we will use the following definitions, consistent with recommended guidance:

  • Up-to-Date: A person is considered up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations when they have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including all booster dose(s) when eligible.
  • Booster Eligible: A person is considered booster eligible when they are fully vaccinated and at least five months have passed since the last dose of an mRNA ( i.e. Moderna or Pfizer) vaccine or two months have passed since the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.

For employees, please note the following updated testing requirements:

  • If you are not Up-to-Date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and have an approved exception, and come to campus at least once a week, you must test every 4 days at one of our campus test sites.
  • If you are Up-to-Date on your COVID-19 vaccinations (have received your booster or are not yet booster eligible) andcome to campus at least once a week, testing is not required but you can test as often as desired.
  • If you come to campus only occasionally (once a month, once a quarter, etc.), and are not Up-to-Date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and have an approved or pending exception request, you need to take a test 24 hours prior to your arrival with a self-administered COVID-19 test ( i.e. , a rapid antigen test). If your test result is positive, please postpone your return until your healthcare provider has cleared you. If you test negative, you may arrive on campus but still need to test at one of our campus testing locations (or with a rapid antigen test while on campus) within 24 hours of your arrival.

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

Expanded On-Campus Testing Options

In addition to nasal swab testing, we are now offering PCR saliva-based testing on campus, thanks to our new partnership with UCLA.

Saliva-based testing is available at two locations:

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

Starting today, 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 schedule a saliva-based testing appointment at either location via Health e-Messenger. We strongly encourage booking an appointment for your test.

Before 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 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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.

Reminder: Complete Your Daily Symptom Checker

If you have returned to on-site work at a UCSC property, please remember that you must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom check questionnaire prior to reporting for work. This is critical to our COVID-19 mitigation efforts on campus.

Reminder: Upgraded Face Coverings Available

Due to the infectious nature of the Omicron variant, we strongly recommend that UCSC employees upgrade their face coverings to an N95 respirator, KN95 mask, or a disposable surgical mask in combination with a cloth mask while working on campus.

A list of face coverings available from the campus and the request form are on the Environmental Health & Safety website. Please attempt to consolidate requests into a single submission by department, research group, or building as appropriate. Masks are also being distributed at the Merrill Cultural Center, Bay Tree Bookstore, McHenry Library, S&E Library, and Kerr Hall.

Reminder: Uploading Your Proof of Vaccination

The deadline to get your COVID-19 booster and submit proof was Jan. 31. Please upload your proof as soon as possible if you have not done so already. If you are not yet eligible for your booster, you are required to get your booster and submit proof of your booster within two weeks of becoming eligible in order to remain in compliance with UC policy.

Log in to Health e-Messenger with your CruzID and Gold password to upload your proof of vaccination. 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, fill out your vaccine type and the date of your booster, and click “Done.” View this document for a detailed step-by-step.

More information on the process and eligibility requirements are available on the Student Health Center’s COVID-19 Vaccine page. You can find locations administering free COVID-19 boosters by visiting California’s MyTurn website.

Thank you again for your partnership with COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Please keep your eye on the Slug Strong website for the latest campus operations updates.