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COVID-19 Testing

Symptomatic Testing and Evaluation

If you have symptoms (a new cough, shortness of breath, fever, body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or diarrhea):

  • PCR and antigen Covid-19 test kits are available through vending machines located throughout campus.
    • All vending machine locations can be found on the map by selecting "Locations," "Services" and clicking on "COVID Test Kits”.
  • It is best to test after having symptoms for at least 24 hours.
  • If you have questions, please contact the SHS Covid Team through MyStudentChart (Menu>Communication>COVID Request).

Asymptomatic Testing

Close contact: Students who are not symptomatic but have had contact with a positive case (without a face covering, less than 6 feet apart for at least 10-15 minutes), are recommended to test immediately and again 3-5 days after exposure.

Reporting Outside Positive COVID-19 Tests

Students who’ve tested positive using an at home rapid antigen test or outside of UC San Diego, should send results to SHS COVID Team through MyStudentChart (Menu>Communication>COVID Request). Your message should include:

  • The date of your positive test.
  • The type of test used (rapid antigen or PCR).
  • The date your symptoms started, if applicable.
  • If you share a restroom with a Residential Assistant (RA) or a Housing Assistant (HA), please include this in your messaging.
More info is available on the COVID-19 Campus Resources and Guidelines website.

What Should I do if I Test Positive for Covid?

UC San Diego uses an isolate-in-place protocol for students who test positive for COVID-19. It’s important to keep in mind that campus housing residents who become sick with other illnesses, such as the flu or a cold, typically remain in shared rooms with their roommate(s) while recovering.

Students who test positive with a COVID-19 rapid antigen test should complete the student symptom screener and upload their positive results via MyStudentChart. If students have medical questions, they can message the SHS COVID-19 team directly through MyStudentChart (Menu>Communication>COVID Request).

Residents who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate in their room while wearing a mask and follow the current CDPH guidelines:

  • Stay home for at least 5 days following the start of symptoms (day zero) or after the date of your first positive test (day zero if no symptoms).
  • Isolation can end on day 6 if:
    • Symptoms are not present or are mild and improving; AND
    • You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
  • If you qualify to leave isolation on or after day 6, you MUST continue wearing a face mask for the full 10 days.
  • If fever is present, isolation should continue until at least 24 hours after the fever resolves. If symptoms, other than fever, are not improving, continue to isolate until symptoms are improving or through day 10.

You do not need to test negative in order to end isolation as long as the above criteria are met. Testing to end isolation is not currently recommended from the CDPH.

What Should I do if my Roommate/Suitemate Tests Positive for COVID-19?

If your roommate or other close contact tests positive and you do not have symptoms, you are not required to isolate. Instead, it is recommended that you take a rapid test 3-5 days after your exposure, monitor for symptoms, and wear a mask around others. If you become symptomatic, it is recommended that you isolate inside your room and test yourself for COVID-19.

As needed, those with roommates that are at high-risk or immunocompromised, or are themselves at high-risk or immunocompromised, may qualify for placement in a temporary room assignment. Please reach out to the SHS COVID team via MyStudentChart (Menu>Communication>COVID Request) if you or your roommate are immunocompromised.

There are no isolation housing spaces or isolation housing options available on-campus. If you prefer not to stay in your room while your roommate is isolated, you can stay with local friends or relatives. There are also some off-campus options available at nearby hotels but there is a cost associated with this option. 

UCSD has partnered with the hotels next to campus and will offer students living on-campus a discounted daily room rate. Please contact one of the following hotels:

For additional resources, please visit the Environmental, Health, and Safety COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

COVID-19 Safety Tips

Individuals should assess their personal health status as well as that of those they live with or will be spending time with, and integrate healthy behaviors into their daily activities.


All students should take precautions to protect against getting sick, such as getting the COVID-19 vaccine and updated booster. Moreover, UCSD Health Services strongly encourages all members of the University community to follow vaccine recommendations adopted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Learn more about campus resources and guidelines at the Environmental, Health, and Safety Information and Resources page.


Masking is currently optional on campus, except in following situations:

  • Students with known exposure may return to campus but should be masked at ALL times for the 10 days immediately following exposure.
  • Positive students should continue to wear a face mask until the end of Day 10 regardless of whether symptoms are present, even if isolation has ended early, especially when indoors and anytime they are around others.
  • Negative students are encouraged to wear a mask while symptoms are present, especially when indoors and anytime they are around others.

General masking recommendations:

  • Use a KN95, N95 or a surgical mask
  • Masks can be worn for 5 days of use, unless soiled or wet
  • Consider masking:
    • Indoors when with others
    • Outdoors in crowded settings
  • Keep a mask on hand at all times, when in doubt mask!

Please be respectful of the masking choices of individuals and treat others with respect and civility. There is no place for harassment or bullying of anyone based on their masking choice. We should trust that they are making the best choice for their situation. 


If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have known exposure or close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is highly recommended that you perform a self-test using a Rapid Antigen or PCR test. Free Rapid Antigen and PCR tests can be obtained by stopping at any of the vending machines located around campus. Rapid antigen tests are also available for purchase in the bookstore and at the CVS in Target.

General testing recommendations:

  • Test if symptoms are present and mask until results are received.
  • Test immediately if you have known exposure to COVID-19 and repeat testing 3-5 days later.
  • Test 2-5 days after attending a large person event.

Please review testing resources and guidelines at the Environmental, Health, and Safety COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

Isolation Guidance

Remain in your room with the door closed as much as possible during this time. Avoid having visitors and open windows for ventilation if possible. 

The following exceptions are allowed for brief trips, with the expectation that you then return directly to your room: 

  • When using the common bathroom. Wipe down any surfaces you have touched with a sanitation wipe. Avoid heavy traffic times and wash your hands using soap. Always keep your mask on except when brushing your teeth or showering.
  • Use laundry facilities in your building only when necessary and avoid peak times. 
  • Pick up to-go meals at your closest campus dining commons when you order food on the Triton2Go Mobile Ordering App. You will receive an alert when your food is ready for pick up.
    • The app also offers secret menu items, the choice to customize your order, and a loyalty program—earn points and win prizes! 
  • Eat in your room away from others or outdoors.
  • Sit outside, away from others to get fresh air. You can go for a walk alone but please wear your mask, even when outside.

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