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Employee Symptom Screening and COVID-19 Testing

UC San Diego Health Sciences and Health System employees can find information about testing, exposure and return-to-work guidelines here. In addition, Health Human Resources can be contacted for further guidance.

Campus employees can learn more on this page about employee symptom and exposure screening, COVID-19 testing, what to do if you have symptoms, what happens if you test positive, leave options available, exposure and contact tracing and mental health resources.

Daily Symptom Screening

On-site employees: required

All UC San Diego staff, faculty, student employees, and individuals who are working in a research lab who are reporting to campus or any other physical UC San Diego location for work must conduct a daily self-screening for COVID-19 and report any symptoms or confirmed exposures for days that they will be on site. All individuals regardless of vaccination status who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should test. Student employees, including teaching assistants, should only use the student daily screener.

Remote employees: recommended

All remote employees are strongly encouraged to conduct a daily self-screening in order to help consistently monitor the community's health and help schedule testing quickly, if the need arises. After you complete the daily screening, your supervisor will be notified of your work status. If you have severe symptoms, you should call 911. All individuals regardless of vaccination status who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should test.

Note: the screener tool can be accessed from a computer or mobile device. If you are unable to access the internet, you should call your supervisor, work lead or check-in person in advance of going to work on-site to complete the screening verbally.

What Do the Thumbs Mean?

All UC San Diego campus employees who are reporting to 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, 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, the quickest way to get a test is through the screener tool.
  • Your screening information will NOT be a part of your employment/personnel file, nor will it be shared with your healthcare provider without your permission.
  • You will need to know your Active Directory (AD) login credentials to sign in. Go here if you have forgotten and need to reset. Switching to another browser can also help with the majority of technical issues that users experience.

COVID-19 Testing

UC San Diego offers an ongoing testing program for UC San Diego employees. Tests can be completed at no cost to employees at UC San Diego Health locations, regardless of healthcare provider. You may also choose to visit your own healthcare provider for testing.

UC San Diego Health also offers drive-up COVID-19 tests by appointment for the public, including family members of employees and contractors.

Please see holiday testing and vaccination clinic holiday closures here.

Testing Requirements

Fully vaccinated employees: asymptomatic testing not required, however:

  • All employees, regardless of vaccination status, who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should test.
  • All employees who have used the restroom facilities, regardless of vaccination status, in a facility with a positive wastewater signal should test.

On-site employees who are not fully vaccinated: twice-weekly testing required

  • Unvaccinated employees must test every 3-5 days, unless they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
  • All employees who have used the restroom facilities, regardless of vaccination status, in a facility with a positive wastewater signal should test.
  • Tests are provided for free and during normal working hours. Employees should consult with and coordinate with their supervisors about when they will be tested with the goal of minimizing disruptions to campus operations.

Remote employees who are not fully vaccinated: ongoing asymptomatic testing not required. If coming to campus for any reason, required to test within 72 hours of arrival and on the day of arrival.

Employees Completing Their First-Ever COVID-19 Test on Campus

For employees who are completing their first-ever UC San Diego COVID-19 test, you must make an appointment at the Price Center clinic or a drive thru testing site (please refer to the Provider-Administered Drive-Up and Walk-Through Testing section below for instructions). After your first appointment-based test is completed, you can then use the self-administered vending machine testing kits located throughout the campus.

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

Employees may visit one of several vending machines on campus to pick up a self-administered test kit, which they can complete at their convenience and drop off within 72 hours (from the time the kit is picked up), no appointment needed. Employees may pick up one test kit for their own usage on a twice-weekly basis, unless authorized to test more frequently by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line.

Please note that campus employees 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.

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. After your card is validated, you may make any selection from numbers 10-69.

How to Use the COVID-19 Test Kit Vending Machine

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 UCSDHealth as the provider for MyUCSDChart. 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.

*For those who prefer an alternative, iPads are available at the Price Center clinic location, which is by appointment only.

Watch a video about how to complete the self-administered test or how to use the COVID-19 test kit vending machines. Please see instructions for the self-administered test in English here and in Spanish here.

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)(Down for maintenance 11/2 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.)
  • Price Center | First Floor Across from Burger King (map)*(Down for maintenance 11/4 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.)
  • 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)(Down for maintenance 11/3/ from 7:30-9:30 a.m.)
  • 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)(Down for maintenance 11/5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.)
  • 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 links 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 (Employee spouses, partners and family members; contractors)

Self-pay COVID-19 testing, including travel testing, for members of the public is currently paused. This is due to new California legislation that requires billing insurance for all COVID-19 testing, including testing that is for personal use or not medically necessary. Learn more about community COVID-19 testing.

For those who do not qualify for self-administered testing and are living or working on campus (including family members of employees who live 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.

Symptoms

On-site employees with symptoms

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not report to your worksite. You will be contacted by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line unless you have already contacted them directly at 619-543-8260. A healthcare professional will assist you in scheduling a test.
  • If you are already at a UC San Diego worksite and you develop symptoms, you should retake the symptom and exposure screening immediately and call the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line at 619-543-8260 to speak with a healthcare professional who will assist you with determining if you should be tested sooner. You will be sent home by your supervisor.

Remote employees with symptoms

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, report the symptoms in the symptom and exposure screening tool and you will be contacted by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line, unless you have already contacted them directly at 619-543-8260. A healthcare professional will assist you with determining if you should be tested sooner.

Symptomatic employees waiting for test results

If you were tested because of symptoms or possible direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual, you should behave as if you have been infected and can infect others while you are waiting for your results.

  • Do not report to your work on-site.
  • Avoid contact with other people, including those sharing your residence.
  • Stay in your residence in an isolated room alone and wear a face covering if you enter common areas.
  • Wash your hands before leaving your room or when coming into contact with others.

How will I receive my test results?

scientist holding Biohazard bag
  • If you are tested at a UC San Diego Health location and your result is positive, a healthcare professional will call you with your test results, usually within 24 hours.
  • If your test results are negative, you will receive a notification in MyChart.
  • If you do not have a MyChart account, you will receive a phone call to convey your test result, regardless if it is positive or negative.
  • If you are tested at UC San Diego and you have not received your test results within 48 hours, please call the Testing Support Line at 619-543-8260.

Positive result

  • If you are an employee working on-site, do not report to work. You will be instructed to self-isolate until you are cleared to return to work.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Do not share personal household items like cups, towels and utensils.
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • More instructions from the CDC on what to do if you are infected with COVID‑19

Employee Leave Options

adult and kid wearing masks

UC San Diego employees are eligible for both short and long-term paid leave options. These may be used for a variety of circumstances, including if you or a family member becomes infected with COVID-19, if you or a family member has been exposed or you are caring for children whose place of care is closed due to the pandemic.

Additional leave protections will be available for all UC San Diego non-academic employees including health system and health sciences who have taken a COVID-19 test pursuant to the required weekly testing program and have tested positive. Such employees will be eligible for paid leave in the work hour equivalent of up to 10 calendar days from the positive test.

Learn more about employee leave options »

Privacy of test results

  • If you are an on-site employee who tests positive at a UC San Diego Health location, your results will be shared with UC San Diego’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEM) for campus employees or Infection Prevention/Clinical Epidemiology for Health employees and School of Public Health Contact Tracing team to support contact tracing efforts.
  • To protect your privacy, your supervisor will not be informed of the reason why you are not permitted to work on-site.
  • All test result information will be stored in the Epic health record system. For information about data sharing and privacy related to test results, visit UC San Diego Health Notice of Privacy Practices.

Required reporting of positive results

  • If you are an on-site employee who tests positive at a non-UC San Diego Health location, you must report your results to the UC San Diego Health’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at COEMexposure@health.ucsd.edu to support contact tracing efforts.
  • Per mandate of the County of San Diego, all positive test results must be reported to the County of San Diego, Public Health Department.

Returning to work

  • For those who test positive outside of UC San Diego Health, your healthcare provider should provide you with a Release from Work note initially, and later a Cleared for Work note to provide to your supervisor/HR contact.
  • For employees working on-site and are tested at UC San Diego Health, you will be provided a Cleared for Work note by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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

Exposure

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

Support

Employees are encouraged to seek counseling support and may reach out to the UC San Diego Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP). The confidential service offers one-on-one counseling sessions via Zoom or phone. Current and returning clients can contact their counselor directly by phone or email; new clients can request an appointment online. For more information, contact fsap@ucsd.edu.