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Student Symptom Screening and COVID-19 Testing

On this page you will find information about the daily symptom and exposure screening, COVID-19 testing, post move-in instructions, what to do if you have symptoms, what to do if you receive a positive result, exposure and contact tracing, quarantine and isolation housing and mental health support.

Daily Symptom Screening

On-campus students and students coming to campus: required

All undergraduate and graduate students living on campus or coming to campus or any UC location or property for educational, research, co-curricular, recreational or social activities, regardless of vaccination status, must conduct daily symptom and exposure screening. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must conduct a test. Student employees, including teaching assistants, should only use the student daily screener.

Remote students not coming to campus: recommended

All undergraduate and graduate students who are living off-campus and studying remotely are strongly encouraged to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and conduct a daily self-screening in order to consistently monitor their health and quickly schedule testing, if the need arises. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must conduct a test.

Register for the daily screener

What Do the Thumbs Mean?

All UC San Diego students who are on campus or any other physical UC San Diego location must conduct a daily self-screening for COVID-19 before arrival. You will receive a colored thumb after you complete the screening to signify if you are cleared to work and attend class on-campus, or if quarantine or testing is needed. Our notification system is currently being adjusted; below is a sample of what you will soon see.

Green Thumb icon
  • Allowed on campus
  • Follow campus safety guidelines
Yellow Thumb icon
  • Allowed on campus
  • Must mask outdoors
  • Must eat alone
  • Follow campus safety guidelines
Red Thumb icon
  • Not allowed on campus

Why do I need to screen FOR SYMPTOMS?

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should conduct a test. Determining if you have an infection is critical so that you receive the correct care and to avoid infecting others. The screening tool also provides ready access to testing.
  • Instructors and TAs are permitted to ask students to present their screener result on their smartphone, computer or a printout before being allowed to enter the classroom.
  • Your screening information will NOT be a part of your student education records.
  • You will need to know your Active Directory (AD) login credentials to sign in. Go here if you have forgotten and need to reset.

COVID Testing

All undergraduate and graduate students have access to free symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing through Student Health Services or UC San Diego Health, including tests in vending machines distributed across campus.

All undergraduate and graduate students, 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 get tested no more than 48 hours ahead of their arrival on campus.

Campus residents arriving after Jan. 7 are required to get tested no more than 48 hours ahead of their arrival to housing, unless they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) and Student Health Services will email students with additional information.

Testing Requirements

Twice weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 PCR testing required (every 3-5 days) IF:

  • You have received the initial vaccination doses and you received your booster less than 7 days ago
  • You have received the initial vaccination doses and you are eligible for a booster but you have not yet received a booster
  • You have not received the initial vaccination doses/you are unvaccinated

Weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 PCR testing encouraged IF:

  • You have received the initial vaccination doses and you received your booster more than 7 days ago
  • You have received the initial vaccination doses and you are not yet eligible for a booster

Also test if:

  • You develop symptoms of COVID-19.
  • There is a positive wastewater signal in your building.
  • You are a fully remote unvaccinated student who plans to come to campus for any reason (required to test within 72 hours of arrival and on the day of arrival).

Vaccination Status Definitions

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

  • You have received a booster shot and it has been 7 days or more since your booster shot, or
  • You have received the complete initial vaccination dose(s) and you are not yet eligible for a booster.

What is considered not fully vaccinated?

  • You have received a booster shot and it has been less than 7 days since your booster shot;
  • You have received a complete initial vaccine series and are eligible for a booster shot, but have not yet received one;
  • You did not complete the initial vaccine series;
  • You have not received any vaccines.

Self-Administered Tests Via Vending Machines (Must have campus ID card)

Numerous vending machines are available across campus to pick up a self-administered test kit, which must be returned at a drop box near a vending machine no later than 72 hours after picking up a kit.

Asymptomatic students and those with mild symptoms may test through the vending machine process. 

How to Use the COVID-19 Test Kit Vending Machine

Watch a video here about how to complete the self-administered test. Please see instructions for the self-administered test in English here and in Spanish here. Or download a pdf guide on how to conduct the test here.

Students are required to swipe their campus ID card (see which cards are compatible) when picking up a self-administered test kit from a vending machine. For those who need a card replacement, please see here.

Individual self-administered tests are identified by using a barcode that is scanned at the time of sampling and links to your campus credentials. This identification step is critical to ensure accurate and timely results. Please prepare before you arrive:

  1. A smartphone or mobile device*
  2. Your campus ID card
  3. Know your Active Directory (AD) username and password
  4. Download the free UC San Diego app. For those who already have it, please be sure it is updated. You will need the updated app to scan the test kit.
  5. Download the MyChart app and select “Student Health and Well-Being” as the provider for MyStudentChart. Please login using your Active Directory (AD) credentials rather than using the “Guest Login” or signing in with a previous username. This will prevent duplication of records and ensure your results are delivered correctly.

While test kits are still free, a virtual debit of $1 will happen automatically on your campus card account, followed by an immediate credit return that will balance out to zero each day; there will be no actual charge. 

Vending Machine Hours and Locations

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)
  • Coast Apartments | Laundry Room (map)
  • Gilman Parking | Pepper Canyon Hall Corridor (map)
  • North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood (map)
  • Rita Atkinson Residences (map)
  • Torrey Pines Center South | Second floor breezeway near shuttle (map)

Provider-Administered Drive-Up and Walk-Through Testing

For those who would like to schedule a drive-up/walk-through appointment, including those completing their first-ever UC San Diego COVID-19 test, please use the link below. Note that drive-up appointments may have limited availability.

Provider-Administered Testing Locations

Price Center — By Appointment Only
UC San Diego Campus | Price Center West, Ballroom B
Hours: Monday: 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday and Wednesday: 7 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 6 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Friday: 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 4:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 9 AM - 3 PM

Hillcrest Drive-Up — By Appointment Only
UC San Diego Medical Center | 4168 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92103
Hours: 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 - 4:30 PM
Located in the parking lot across from the MOS Clinic

La Jolla Drive-Up — By Appointment Only
9331 Athena Circle, La Jolla, CA 92037
Hours: 8:15 AM - 12 PM and 1PM - 4:45 PM
Located in parking lot number P782

Encinitas Drive-Up — By Appointment Only
1505 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas, CA 92024
Hours: 8:30 AM - 12 PM and 1 - 4:45 PM

Rancho Bernardo Drive-Up — By Appointment Only
16950 Via Tazon, San Diego, CA 92127
Hours: 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 - 4:30 PM

Eastlake Drive-Up — By Appointment Only
2295 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91915
Hours: 8:30 AM - 12 PM and 1 - 4:30 PM
Located in the Target parking lot

Community Testing (Spouses, partners and family members; contractors, volunteers)

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.

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 to determine if you are eligible.

What happens if I don’t test?

Unless granted a special exemption approved by Student Health Services, students living or coming to campus who are not compliant with surveillance testing will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for the progressive discipline process. See the full noncompliance policy.

What if I get a test outside of UC San Diego to fulfill my requirement?

For students who complete their COVID-19 test outside of UC San Diego, please send an email to and attach your result as well as your PID to ensure correct attribution. Your result will be added into your student health chart.

Why do I need to test?

  • Asymptomatic testing is a collective public health program that helps minimize transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and detect outbreaks early.
  • Young people may not develop symptoms if they are infected, and if symptoms do occur, they may not show for up to 14 days after initial exposure.

Residential Student Testing 

Residential students moving into campus must complete a rapid antigen test prior to arrival as well as a COVID-19 PCR test the day they arrive on campus using one of the vending machines self-administered test kits.

After testing, Triton Health Ambassadors (THAs) will confirm you have arrived, completed your PCR test and provide you with a KN95 mask which you should wear until the PCR test results are back, including in your bedroom if you have a roommate.

Learn more on the Student Housing Safety page about the additional precautions we are asking residential students to take the first few weeks after their arrival to minimize the chance of any student inadvertently introducing the virus into the community.

In Phase I students are required to maintain distance and wear masks at all times within their apartments and suites, except in their own private bedrooms and in the shower, until they are notified that they can move to Phase II.

Residential students are required to complete their daily symptom and exposure screening. If at any time you develop symptoms, you will need to test for COVID-19. Should you test positive, you will be moved to isolation housing on campus until you recover and can return to your residential unit.

Unvaccinated students who reside in campus-operated housing and who engage in any off-campus unmasked activity (sharing a meal, recreational activities, gatherings, etc.) are required to sequester for 7 days within their residential unit upon returning to campus. Sequestration requires the individual not only to be masked and distanced within the residential unit (with the exception of their personal bedroom and the shower) and to complete the daily screener, but also undergo additional COVID-19 testing on arrival and days 5 after returning to campus.

Students with symptomS

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay in your residence, do not attend any in-person classes, and complete the daily symptom and exposure screener to receive guidance from a campus health care representative, including conducting a test.
  • If you live in the San Diego area and report symptoms of COVID-19, you will be contacted by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support line (you can also call them directly at 619-543-8260). They will help you determine if you should be tested sooner than your next scheduled test.
  • Symptomatic and exposure testing is available for all undergraduate and graduate students, offered through the vending machines, at the Price Center or any UC San Diego Health location.
  • You may also choose to visit your own healthcare provider for testing. If you receive a positive test from a non-UC San Diego Health location, you must report your results to UC San Diego’s Student Health Services by calling (858) 534-3300.

What do I do if I have symptoms and I am waiting for test results?

  • You should behave as if you may be infected and can infect others while you are waiting for your results.
  • Do not leave your residence or suite; remain in an isolated room alone.
  • Do not attend in-person classes. If you are a student employee, do not report to work on-site.
  • Wear a face covering if you enter common areas and avoid contact with others, including roommates.
  • Wash your hands before leaving your room or when coming into contact with others.

How will I be notified of my test result?

  • If you are tested at UC San Diego and your result is positive, you will usually receive a phone call within 24 hours and your result will be in your MyStudentChart.
  • If you were tested at UC San Diego and your result is negative, you will receive a notification in MyStudentChart usually within 24 hours.
  • If you are tested at UC San Diego and you have not received your test results within 48 hours, please call Student Health Services at 858-534-3300.
  • If you are a student who tests negative at a clinic outside UC San Diego, please send an email to and attach your result as well as your PID to ensure correct attribution. If you test positive at a clinic outside UC San Diego, contact Student Health Services at 858-534-3300.

Positive result

scientist holding biohazard positive COVID-19 test
  • If you test positive, do not leave your residence or suite. You will receive a phone call from Student Health Services with additional guidance on medical care.
  • Students residing on campus will need to move into isolation housing. Graduate students living with family members may be able to isolate in their residence, if approved by Student Health Services.
  • Isolation will continue for 10 days unless:
    • You no longer have a fever and symptoms are gone or resolving, AND
    • You receive a negative test result after completing a rapid antigen test on or after Day 5 (rapid antigen test will be provided in isolation housing arrival packet), AND
    • You continue to mask around others for the complete 10-day period.
  • After Day 5, if students have a negative rapid antigen test and no symptoms, Student Health Services will assess their release from isolation housing. Students will also need to agree to remain masked at all times when around others through Day 10.
  • The UC San Diego Public Health Contact Tracing Team will contact you to help determine if other campus students or employees may have been exposed.
  • Do not conduct another COVID-19 test for the next 90 days.

What happens if you receive a positive result »

Exposure and Contact Tracing

Close Contact

UC San Diego uses the definition of exposure/close contact established by San Diego County public health officials.

Definition of a close contact


Those who may have been exposed will be provided a free test through UC San Diego Health.

What to do if you think you’ve been exposed

Case investigation

If you are a close contact, the UC San Diego contact tracing team will reach out to you with next steps.

Instructions for close contacts

Quarantine and Isolation Housing for Students

students getting ready to quarantine
books icon

Isolation and quarantine housing are available for undergraduate and graduate students who test positive for COVID-19 during the academic year. Graduate students may choose to isolate themselves in their apartment with their family with consultation from Student Health Services. What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation housing?

money icon

Students with an on-campus housing contract will not be charged extra for isolation housing. Learn more on the HDH FAQ page.

meal icon

Meals will be delivered to isolation housing three times a day, charged to students’ dining meal plan or billed to their housing account. Costs are $8 for breakfast, $11 for lunch and $11 for dinner. Meal charges will be applied to the student’s dining plan. Students without a dining plan will be billed through their housing/student account.

testing icon

You will receive care from Student Health and Well-being Services. 

Student Contacts During Quarantine and Isolation

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students may reach out to the Dean of Student Affairs in their college. Deans can assist with notifying your instructor about absences, connecting you with campus resources, retrieving items from your on-campus residential hall room or apartment (if needed), and helping to answer non-medical questions.

Graduate Students


There are many new and existing resources available to help maintain mental and emotional wellness during the pandemic. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers confidential counseling and psychiatric services for registered students via telemedicine video visits. To start the process, schedule a brief telephone assessment by calling (858) 534-3755 or online through MyStudentChart. In addition, CAPS offers drop-in virtual workshops to help develop coping skills to increase resilience and wellbeing during this pandemic, as well as free, self-guided mental health technologies through iFlourish.