Information on COVID-19 and student housing

What to Expect Living on Campus

Recommended Actions - Pre Arrival

COVID-19 PCR Test: Have a pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test to confirm a negative test result prior to traveling to campus. Contact your medical provider or visit your county’s website to see what testing options are available. If you test positive, do not come to campus until your medical provider issues a clearance for you. If it is not possible for you to obtain this test in advance, know that all students will be tested shortly after arrival to the campus and on a regular basis thereafter.

Sequester: Students moving into UCSC residential facilities are asked to observe a 10-day sequester period before traveling to the campus.

Required Actions - Post Arrival

Sequester: Upon arrival in Santa Cruz, you will be required to sequester for 10 days prior to engaging in campus activities, including on-site classes.

Sequestering means minimizing in-person interactions between students, faculty, and staff, whether in the residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, or other campus locations where students congregate. Students may leave their residences only to participate in essential activities (e.g., to purchase food, pick up mail, participate in low-risk outdoor recreational activities, employment, or obtain health care services).

We ask you to please plan to remain on the campus for these first 10 days of your being an in-person Banana Slug. Once those ten days are over, you will be able to move more freely about the campus and its locale, within local COVID-19 guidelines.

We know that 10 days sounds like a long time but we’ll do our best to keep you occupied, involved, and engaged to help make this time fly by.


Important Health Information:

Test twice a week

Mandatory Weekly COVID-19 Testing
Students (undergraduate and graduate) who are living in university housing or are on-site for classes, research, employment, or other activities are required to have COVID-19 tests once per week.

Instructions for testing »

COVID Testing Hours & Locations

COVID-19 Testing: All on-campus students and students taking in-person classes are required to get regular COVID-19 tests. More information from the Student Health Center »

COVID-19 Training: You will be required to take an online COVID-19 safety training course.

Daily Symptom Screening: UC requires all on-campus students to complete a daily COVID-19 symptom screening survey and get regular COVID-19 tests. This applies to students living on campus or taking in-person classes. Students will receive a daily email or text reminder to track symptoms using the online patient portal, Health e-Messenger. With Health e-Messenger, you'll do daily symptom surveys, schedule COVID-19 tests, and see your Clearance Badge. more »

Flu Vaccination: You will be required to receive a flu vaccination. On July 31, 2020, the University of California issued a systemwide executive order requiring all members of the UC community to receive a flu vaccine. You may wish to do this before your arrival. Flu shots will be available through Student Health Services. more »

Proposed COVID Vaccination: The University of California Office of the President is proposing a policy that would make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff accessing facilities at any UC campus beginning in fall quarter 2021.

Housing and Dining

With a smaller on-campus population, residential operations have been adjusted to make the most efficient use of space, staffing, and resources, and our residential students are all being housed in one of these locations (regardless of college affiliation): Crown College, Merrill College, College Nine, or College Ten.

  • Residence hall rooms are being assigned as single-occupancy, while campus apartments may have a combination of single and double-occupancy bedrooms (apartments will have five or fewer total residents).
  • Meal plans are included in the housing contract for students living in residence halls. Meal plans are not included for students living in campus apartments, however meal plans are available for purchase through UCSC Dining. Dining services have been modified with the utmost care for health and wellness in mind. Students with meal plans have access to quick-service dining options, including order-ahead take out dining hall meals.
  • Additional resources:

Keeping Yourself and Others Well

We know that in this time of COVID-19, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequent handwashing are critical to limiting the spread of infection. All members of the UCSC community are expected to take responsibility for their own health and well-being, and act with respect and consideration for those around them. Our intention is to provide a positive on-campus experience while abiding by county, state, and campus public health practices and protocols, including asking all residents to agree to:

  • Comply with university, local, state, and national public health directives.
  • Participate in all required pre-arrival protocols, vaccination requirements, daily symptom check protocols, and testing protocols as instituted by the university.
  • Avoid congregating, gathering, or hanging out in common spaces.
  • Wear face coverings in common areas and public spaces, in campus offices, dining halls, and retail locations.
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
  • Adhere to physical distancing protocols, which means maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others at all times. This includes when leaving your room to do your laundry, getting food in a dining hall, etc.
  • Follow the “no guest” policy. All living areas are considered “residents-only” communities. See Quaranteams section of the FAQs below for information about residential students visiting with other residents.

Protecting our community of Banana Slugs by following these guidelines is a great way to support our Principles of Community.

We will continue to monitor and implement recommendations and guidelines from the appropriate authorities.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Sequestering after Move-In/Travel

How will students get mail during their on-campus sequester period?

Will student movement about campus be limited to a particular area of the campus?

Will students be able to leave campus for trips during the quarter? / Will residents be allowed to spend a night off campus?

How will sequestering be enforced?

Campus Services

Will dining halls be open?

Will the cafés on campus be open?

Will the libraries be open?

Will a gym or work out facilities be open?

What are the expectations for shared spaces like the bathroom, laundry room, etc.?

COVID-19 Testing

What type of COVID-19 testing method will be used?

How long does COVID-19 testing take?

What is the frequency for getting regular COVID-19 testing?

Who will be tested?

What if a student tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes ill?


What is a "Quaranteam"?

How do I set up a Quaranteam?

Where do I sign up for a Quaranteam if I am not already registered?

Where can I find out about community living agreements for my quaranteam?

What happens if a member of my quaranteam comes in contact with someone or tests positive for COVID-19?

Can I eat with my quaranteam in the Colleges Nine and Ten Multipurpose room?

Where can I safely gather with my quaranteam?

What do I do if my apartment mates are in a different quaranteam than I am?

What if a guest(s) in my room/apartment is not a part of my quaranteam?

How does this apply to currently operating ARCH units (Family Student Housing, Graduate Student Housing, and Camper Park)?

Policy Changes

What was the motivation for these changes in policy? Why are these changes happening?

Where is the university getting the information to make these changes?

What do I do if I have concerns about guests on my floor?

How many people can I have in my room at one time? 

What happens if there are more than 2 guests in my room and/or apartment?

Can I bring off campus guests (i.e. friends or family) to campus and into my room?

At what point will this new policy change be in effect?

Managing Risk

How do I manage the risk of exposure as more people are in/moving around the building?

If I have been vaccinated, do I still need to follow these policies?

I have already been vaccinated, why do I have to continue wearing a mask inside with my quaranteam? 

Where can I read more about the university’s COVID policy and updates? 

Where can I find more information about the status of positive COVID cases in Santa Cruz county? On campus at UCSC?

What happens if our county goes back to the purple tier?


You can find additional information on the following sites:

UCSC Roadmap to Recovery