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Testing and Screening

UC San Diego offers an ongoing testing program for all University community members. Tests can be completed at no cost to employees and students through UC San Diego Health and Student Health Services.

Winter Quarter Update

All students and campus employees, regardless of vaccination status, must complete a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test on the day they return to campus for the Winter Quarter 2022, unless they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. It is also strongly recommended that all students and employees get tested no more than 48 hours ahead of their arrival on campus.Testing requirements have also been updated for the quarter:

  • Fully vaccinated and boosted individuals: weekly testing encouraged
  • Vaccinated individuals who are not boosted: twice-weekly testing required (every 3-5 days)
  • Unvaccinated individuals: twice weekly testing required (every 3-5 days)

Daily screening requirements remain in effect for all employees and students who are studying, working and living on campus. Along with our continued wastewater testing, daily screening alerts the university to changes in the public health of our campus community.

Information for:

STUDENTS

All students who are living on UC property or are coming to campus are required to conduct a daily self-screening. Unvaccinated students and those who have been vaccinated but have not received a booster are required to test twice weekly, unless they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Fully vaccinated and boosted students are encouraged to test weekly.

Student screening and testing

EMPLOYEES

All employees (staff, faculty, research, clinical) who report to work on campus are required to conduct a daily symptom screening. Unvaccinated campus employees and those who are vaccinated but have not received a booster are required to test twice weekly, unless they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Fully vaccinated and boosted employees are recommended to test weekly.

Employee screening and testing

First-Time Test at UC San Diego

For students coming to campus who are completing their first-ever UC San Diego COVID-19 test, you may choose to use the self-administered vending machines or schedule an appointment at the Price Center clinic or a drive-thru testing site. To schedule an appointment, please use your AD credentials to login to MyStudentChart.

For campus employees coming to campus who are completing their first-ever UC San Diego COVID-19 test, you must schedule an appointment at the Price Center clinic or a drive-thru testing site. After your first appointment-based test is completed, you can then use the self-administered vending machines. Please see further instructions on the Employee Testing and Screening page.

COVID-19 Test Kit Vending Machines

Students and campus employees can pick up a self-administered COVID-19 test kit at one of numerous vending machines across campus. Samples should be returned within 72 hoursfrom the time the kit is picked upat a drop box next to a vending machine (download full test kit instructions here). More information can also be found on the Student Screening and Testing page and Employee Testing and Screening page

Vending machine locations

Vending machine hours: Monday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
*Please note the Price Center vending machine weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Muir College | Roots Restaurant (map)
  • Seventh College | Next to the Parcel Center (map
  • Nuevo East (Porton) | Outdoor Gym Area (map)
  • Price Center | First Floor Across from Burger King (map)*
  • Thurgood Marshall College Res Halls | TMC Residence Life Lobby (map
  • Warren College | Across from the Residence Life Office (map
  • Eleanor Roosevelt College | Next to the Laundry Room at Student Activity Center (map
  • Village at Pepper Canyon | Lodge (map
  • South Mesa | 9126 Laundry Room (map)
  • One Miramar | Next to the Parcel Center (map)
  • School of Medicine | Biomedical Research Facility II (map)
  • Revelle College | Argo Hall Parcel Center (map
  • Campus Services Complex | Electric Shop (map)
  • Osler Parking Structure | Level 3 West Entrance (map)
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Eckart Building Loading Dock (map)
  • Jacobs School of Engineering | Near Bear Statue (map)
  • Gilman Parking | Corridor of Pepper Canyon Hall (map)
  • Coast Apartments | Laundry Room (map)
  • North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood (map)
  • Rita Atkinson Residences (map)
  • Torrey Pines Center South | Second floor breezeway near shuttle (map)

Drive-Up and Walk-Thru Appointments

For students and employees who would like to schedule a drive-up or walk-through appointment, including employees completing their first-ever UC San Diego COVID-19 test, please schedule an appointment before arriving. Testing locations include Price Center East, Hillcrest, Eastlake, La Jolla, Encinitas and Rancho Bernardo. Please see further instructions on the Student Screening and Testing page and Employee Testing and Screening page.

Campus Community Member COVID-19 Testing

Self-administered testing kits are for current UC San Diego campus staff, faculty, and students only. For those who do not qualify for self-administered testing and are living or working on campus, you may be eligible for free testing through a provider-administered testing site, such as at the Price Center clinic or a drive thru location. Contact RTL@ucsd.edu to determine if you are eligible.

Community COVID-19 Testing

Self-pay COVID-19 testing, including travel testing, for members of the public (including family members of UC San Diego employees and students) is currently available at drive thru testing sites. To make an appointment, visit the UC San Diego Health COVID-19 Testing website

California legislation requires that health insurers cover the cost of COVID-19 tests, including testing that is for personal use or not medically necessary. Any individual who does not have access to free campus testing (employee, student, etc) and does not have insurance may use free county sites.

While tests are covered by insurance, for a travel form (Hawaii or another destination), the cost is $60 per form, payable by credit card at the UC San Diego Health drive thru site.

Please note that a cash rate may be required in lieu of insurance for foreign individuals without a combination of a U.S. social security number, a U.S. address, and foreign insurance.

Testing Dashboard

For more information about COVID-19 testing and prevalence in the UC San Diego community, please see the COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, which is updated weekdays with numbers based on tests conducted by UC San Diego Health and UC San Diego Student Health Services. View the dashboard.

Which Test Do I Use?

PCR

All students and campus employees must conduct a PCR test at UC San Diego on the day they return to campus, unless they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days. This is a very sensitive molecular test that looks for genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is the primary way to discover and verify the presence of a COVID-19 infection. These can be done on campus at the test kit vending machines, at the Price Center Clinic or drive thru sites.

Rapid Antigen Test

These home tests are less sensitive in early stages of infection and are meant to serve as a pre-diagnosis only by finding viral proteins of SARS-CoV-2 in a person’s nose or throat. There are two ways that UC San Diego is recommending their use: (1) for students who live outside the San Diego region and are moving into campus housing or students returning back to the San Diego area from outside the county or (2) to assess for ongoing need of isolation for students or employees with COVID-19; if a rapid antigen test is negative on day 5 after the onset of symptoms or a positive test, isolation is no longer needed, but masking for a 10 day period is required. These tests do not satisfy the requirement that all students and employees conduct a test on the first day they return to campus. The only exception to testing is a COVID 19 infection in the past 90 days.

Campus Safety

Regardless of your test result, the entire campus community is expected to follow campus safety requirements, especially wearing a face covering—an important way to prevent infection.

See campus safety requirements

drive-thru testing at UC San Diego

Exposure and Contact Tracing

If you test positive for COVID-19 through UC San Diego Health, a case investigation is promptly begun by UC San Diego’s contact tracing teams to determine if there are other campus members who may have been exposed. Exposed individuals who are UC San Diego faculty, staff or students will be contacted by the contact tracing team and provided guidance on testing and quarantine instructions. Learn more about exposure and contact tracing.

Privacy

UC San Diego Health is committed to protecting medical and personal information about you. To ensure a high level of privacy and security protections, UC San Diego stores information related to COVID-19 testing in UC San Diego Health’s electronic health record system known as Epic. Learn more about privacy practices.