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Employee Symptom Screening and COVID Testing

UC San Diego has scaled up symptomatic and asymptomatic testing efforts through the Return to Learn program to improve the health and safety of our campus community to quickly identify and contain any potential outbreaks of COVID‑19.

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.

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.

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.


  • 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 Testing

UC San Diego offers an ongoing asymptomatic testing program for all University community members. 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.

drive-thru testing at UC San Diego

There are some employee populations that may have increased testing recommendations, such as those who cannot physically distance or appropriately protect themselves with a face covering. Our strategy for testing is adaptive; we will adjust our risk-based frequency strategy on who we recommend testing and how frequently we recommend testing based on the viral activity we find during our ongoing monitoring.

On-site employees: weekly testing required

All UC San Diego employees (staff, faculty, research, clinical) who report to work on campus are required to get a COVID-19 test on a weekly basis unless they had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Tests will be 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. Learn more about the weekly testing requirement.

Remote employees: weekly testing recommended

All employees who are working remotely and who do not have symptoms are strongly encouraged to schedule and complete a voluntary, no-cost asymptomatic COVID-19 test every week. Remote employees are responsible for setting up their own reminders for regular testing.

Option 1: Self-administered testing

All on-site employees are encouraged to take part in self-administered testing. If you are asymptomatic or have been instructed by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line to use self-administered testing, we strongly encourage this self-administered testing option. If you have symptoms, please refer to the symptomatic employee guidance.

Employees may visit one of several locations on campus to participate in a self-administered test or pick up a 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 weekly basis, unless authorized to test more frequently by the UC San Diego Health Testing Support Line.

Employees are asked to blow their nose prior to completing their nasal swab to ensure accurate results. Watch a video here about how to complete the self-administered testPlease see instructions for the self-administered test in English here and in Spanish here

Self-administered testing requirements

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. Know your Active Directory (AD) username and password
  3. 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.
  4. Download the MyChart app and select UCSDHealth as the provider for MyUCSDChart. This will allow you to see your results directly.
*For those who prefer an alternative, iPads are available at the Price Center location.

Self-administered testing locations

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Vending Machines

Monday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.*

*Please note the Price Center vending machine weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Price Center Clinic and Price Center vending machine will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of MLK Day. All other campus vending machines will be available for use.

Campus employees may now pick up a self-administered COVID-19 test kit at one of numerous vending machines across campus. Samples should be returned within 72 hours—from the time the kit is picked up—at a drop box next to a vending machine.

Vending machine locations:

  • 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)
  • Torrey Pines Center South | Coming soon
  • Osler Parking Garage | Coming soon
  • North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood | Coming soon
  • Coast Apartments | Coming soon
  • Biomedical Research Facility II | Coming soon
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Coming soon
  • Jacobs School of Engineering  | Coming soon
  • Career Services Center | Coming soon
  • Revelle College | Coming soon

Option 2: Provider-administered testing

For those who would like to schedule a drive-up/walk-through appointment, please use the links below. Note that drive-up appointments may have limited availability.


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 with determining if you should be tested sooner.
  • 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 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 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


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