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Masking and Operations

Masking Requirements

Face Coverings

The campus recommends the use of N-95 and KN-95 masks. A face covering/face mask DOES NOT include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, gaiter, turtleneck, collar, plastic face shield, or single layer of fabric. Read the full masking policy online.

If a campus community member or visitor does not have a face covering while on campus, they will be provided with one or required to purchase one. University guidance will continue to evolve as Federal, State and County guidance is modified in response to the current public health environment.

For proper use, the face covering must cover both the nose and mouth. Further information can be found at the Campus Guidance on Use of Face Coverings to Prevent Community Spread of COVID-19 webpage.

General Guidelines for Masking Outdoors

Masking is currently optional for all students, faculty and staff while outdoors on campus. Attendees at outdoor campus events must wear a face mask if required by the event organizer. Vaccinated students and campus employees who have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus must also mask outdoors.

General Guidelines for Masking Indoors

Masking is currently optional except that it remains required in all indoor classroom/instructional settings, clinical areas, and on Triton/university transportation until further notice.

As part of Phase II, students are no longer required to wear face coverings in their own residential unit (apartments or suites). Please continue to respect the decision of others if they choose to mask. Learn more on the Student Housing Safety page.

We encourage anyone who feels more comfortable continuing to wear a mask to do so, as masking remains one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus.

Would you like to indicate your masking preference to colleagues? Download signage here for your workspace.

Additional exceptions for indoor masking

  • Not required while driving in a car alone or solely with members of your household.
  • Not required while working alone in a closed office or room.
  • Not required for those who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Not required for workers who wear respiratory protection, or persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
  • Not required for persons younger than two years old.
  • Not required for persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication or persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Not required for performers while actively rehearsing or performing, provided such performers are in compliance with the Theatre and Dance Maskless Rehearsal and Performance Protocol.

Campus guidance will continue to evolve as Federal, State and County guidance is modified in response to the current public health environment. This guidance will be in effect until further notice.

Free Masks for Students

Students may pick up a free KN95 mask on campus, as well as rapid antigen tests. Locations include:

Event Reservation and Information Center, Price Center Level 3

  • Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Campus Curbside, Gilman Parking Structure

  • Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free Masks for Campus Employees

Campus departments can order free KN95 masks for campus employees through Oracle Procurement for anyone working at a campus location at least one day a week. We ask that you order only what your location will need in one-month increments (approximately one mask per person/per week). Requests for masks for an event with over 1,000 attendees will need to be reviewed by the Return to Learn Committee and any unused masks should be returned within 7 business days. Click here to see instructions on how to order.

Care and Storage of Your KN95 Mask

With proper care, a KN95 mask should be reusable for an extended period of time. To preserve their effectiveness, KN95 masks should be stored in a dry, safe location that's out of direct sunlight, such as a paper bag.

Replace your KN95 mask when:

  • Becomes soiled or wet; OR
  • No longer covers the nose and mouth; OR
  • Has stretched out or damaged ties/straps; OR
  • Has holes, tears, or any deteriorated fabric; OR
  • Has been worn for five (5) or more full days (NIOSH recommendation)

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing protocols for campus have ended, unless an area or group is specifically directed otherwise.

Student Housing Safety Rules

Students who live in UC San Diego-provided housing must comply with mandatory COVID-19 testing, daily symptom screening, and masking guidance; isolate if they receive a positive COVID-19 test result; follow quarantine guidance if they are exposed to COVID-19; as well as sequester if they are unvaccinated and participate in off-campus unmasked activities. Visit the UC San Diego Student Housing Safety Rules webpage for more information.

Engagement and Intervention

We are counting on the members of our campus community to comply with health and safety requirements to promote the health and welfare of all. Non-compliance is subject to progressive engagement and discipline, in accordance with appropriate policies and processes for students, faculty, and staff.

COVID-19 Testing Noncompliance

Under PPM 516-31, mandatory COVID-19 PCR testing applies to students who are not fully vaccinated and are on campus for educational, research, co-curricular, recreational, or social activities (including all students living in University-owned housing). Please see the testing policy here. As such, unless granted a special exemption approved by Student Health Services, students 9 days out of compliance with this policy will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for the progressive discipline process.


Throughout the pandemic, Resource Management and Planning (RMP) has continued to safely deliver essential services to the campus. In addition, UC San Diego’s Emergency Operations Center, led by the campus Environment, Health & Safety team, has been active since February, 2020 and continues to serve as the university’s hub for monitoring the pandemic, disseminating information, and providing expert support for all COVID-19 related matters. 

To protect all students, faculty and staff, UC San Diego has developed enhanced safety requirements for individuals arriving, working and living on all UC San Diego campuses, properties and locations. 

Cleaning Protocols

As faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors return to campus, Facilities Management is implementing many additional procedures to ensure our campus buildings are healthy and safe. Efforts include:

  • Daily disinfection of all building common surfaces and area touch points such as entrance doors and handles, lobby and interior elevator buttons, water fountains, counter tops, fauctes, hand rails and more. COVID-19 Disinfection Guidance can be found here.
  • Daily restroom sanitation for all campus core buildings, continuing to service high volume restrooms more frequently.
  • Working with our procurement teams and vendors to purchase new equipment, such as electric disinfectant sprayers and electrostatic backpack sprayers, that will allow staff to disinfect large areas quickly and efficiently.

While staff are cleaning and sanitizing common areas, we do not have the resources to clean every surface on campus multiple times a day. To ensure your safety, and the safety of your fellow Tritons, we are asking that everyone clean their own space by wiping all surfaces that you touch on a daily basis.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Resources

UC San Diego’s Emergency Operations Center, in collaboration with Procurement and Facilities Management, provides a one-time “Welcome Kit” to all returning departments so that they are able to meet the required sanitation and health protocols. The kits include operational PPE for research units, an allotment of reusable face coverings and hand sanitizer for all returning employees, as well as self-cleaning supplies to enable those returning to clean their workspaces on a daily basis. A one-time initial supply kit can be requested here.

Ordering PPE through Oracle Procurement

UC San Diego’s IPPS Strategic Procurement and Logistics maintains a regularly stocked inventory of critical COVID-19 personal protective (PPE) items. Departments and labs can order PPE through Oracle Procurement via Single Sign On (SSO). The expected delivery time is two business days. Visit Ordering COVID-19 PPE on Blink for a list of available items and ordering guidance.

Instructions for ordering KN95 masks and rapid antigen tests:

When placing your orders, please be mindful that the free KN95 mask and rapid antigen test supply is being stocked to meet the needs of many different campus communities.

  1. Log into Oracle ( with your Single Sign-On
  2. Click the shopping cart icon labeled Purchase Requisitions
    1. To order KN95 masks search by part # COVIDPPE1017
    2. To order rapid antigen tests search by COVIDPPE1016
  3. Add the item and quantity to your cart
  4. Proceed to checkout

Orders are currently being delivered within 2 business days. If you need a KN95 mask sooner, please visit a campus pick-up location. N95 masks are available for purchase for employees who meet the EH&S Respiratory Protection Program requirements.

If a department is located in a building that does not receive deliveries from IPPS Receiving and Distribution (e.g., outside the La Jolla campus), the order can be picked up from Campus Curbside located within the Gilman Parking Structure. When your free KN95 mask and/or rapid antigen test order is fulfilled, you will receive a direct email confirmation with information on Campus Curbside, which will be open Monday – Friday from 9AM – 6PM. When picking up at Campus Curbside please have the email confirmation handy and/or the name of the person who placed the Oracle PO.

Ventilation and Water Quality

Facilities Management has upgraded ventilation and water quality in the following ways:

  • Upgraded all core funded buildings, where possible (90% of buildings), to MERV 14 or higher filters (hospital grade).
  • Adjusted ventilation settings in all occupied buildings to maximize air changes and fresh air within all spaces. This includes increased fan speeds and disinfection of cooling coils, condensate drains, changing pre and post filters and other items to ensure fresh air intakes are as clean as possible.
  • Removal of after-hours and night time schedules on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure maximum fresh air circulation 24/7.
  • Routine flushing of domestic water systems and replacement of all drinking fountain water filters with increased filter change frequencies.

General Campus Operations

Numerous other operations have commenced at UC San Diego to help reduce the risk of transmission.

  • New flexible parking guidelines allow faculty and others to park closer (avoiding shared spaces on shuttles), at lower cost, and pay for just those days that they are parking on campus. Details about flexible parking options can be found here.
  • Signs across the campus and on all buildings alert and remind individuals of the various health and safety measures that are in place and have been recommended.

All campus construction projects have continued without interruption. Rigorous standards and protocols have been put in place to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the construction workers and the campus community. This includes daily symptom screening of all workers and visitors; extra cleaning and sanitation facilities; multiple work shifts to reduce density and professional hygiene; and cleaning and sanitation. We are closely monitoring all of our construction sites and do not believe there has been any community spread of the virus at this time. Safety protocols for on-campus construction contractors and contracted service providers can be found here.

Learn more about the campus’s modified operations and safety procedures.

Protecting Our Campus Community

If you live, work, or study on campus, you are unfortunately still at risk of developing COVID-19. The SARS-CoV- 2 virus that causes COVID-19 has the ability to spread wherever people congregate. Because of this, it is impossible to eliminate all risks of transmission among the campus population, even when the community is careful and abides by health and safety requirements. We are working diligently to protect our campus community, and we are following the instructions from state and local public health officials. For on-campus residents, we have a program in place for isolation housing, and our top-notch Student Health Services is available for all students. The campus is prepared to change our plans if necessary; if a major outbreak were to occur, our resources could become overwhelmed.