COVID-19 Information

Health & Wellbeing

To help our campus community members manage their health and wellness while mitigating the spread of COVID-19, we offer the following information and resources.

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Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, or if you think you need a COVID-19 test, contact Student Health or your healthcare provider immediately.

Reporting a Positive Test Result

Campus community members who receive a COVID-19 positive test result from outside of campus testing or receive a COVID-19 positive rapid antigen home test result are strongly encouraged to report the positive test result by following the instructions on the Reporting COVID-19 page

Reporting your outside COVID-19 positive test results will result in a 90-day block from any campus COVID-19 testing requirements, and a 90-day delay in your deadline for a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose. 

What Should I Do If I Think I Have COVID-19 or I Have Been Exposed to the Virus?

Anyone in our campus community who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should stay home. Students should contact Student Health Services by joining a QLess line to speak with an advice nurse, or call their primary health care provider. Faculty and staff members should contact their health care providers for instructions about seeking care.

It is important to call prior to arriving at the medical office so health professionals can provide information regarding your illness and plan for your visit, if necessary. 

The COVID-19 Testing Resources page provides information about testing sites available to faculty, staff and students. Campus testing is available without charge for students, faculty and staff by making an appointment through the Student Health Patient Portal.

Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, has been exposed to the virus or has traveled out of the state should follow the protocols listed below. (Note: Quarantine and isolation guidelines are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health.)

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I Have a Positive COVID-19 Test Result

Isolation Needed

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you test positive for COVID-19 you must remain isolated for at least 5 days following your positive test result or for 5 days from the onset of symptoms, whichever starts earliest. Isolation days are counted by adding 5 to the start date, e.g., if a positive test occurred January 1, your isolation would end after January 6.

Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving, and a rapid antigen test collected on day 5 or later turns negative. Isolation should continue for a full 10 days if you have a positive rapid antigen test after day 5, or continued symptoms or a fever. Everyone recovering from COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.

All employees, including student employees, must comply with CalOSHA COVID-19 Guidance which requires that an employee who wishes to return to work after 5 days, instead of 10 days, following a COVID-19 infection must submit a dated image of their negative at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test through the form in "New Message" in the Messages section of the Student Health Patient Portal. Shortening the isolation period is completely voluntary. The campus COVID-19 Response Team will change the employee's isolation status within a few hours of the negative test result being received. If the employee with COVID-19 does not wish to submit a negative at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test result, they must stay at home for the full 10 days of isolation after infection.

Students may return to school 5 days after a positive test result, or 5 days after symptoms began, whichever comes first, as long as they do not have continuing symptoms of COVID-19 and a rapid antigen test collected on day 5 or later turns negative. Students will be emailed and must complete an "ISOLATION SELF ATTESTATION" through the Student Health Patient Portal in order to change their Daily Screening Survey Clearance badge from the Isolation status.

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I Have COVID-19 Symptoms but I Don't Have Any Test Results

  • Get a COVID test as soon as possible and stay home until the results are known.
  • If the test is positive, stay home for at least 5 days of isolation as explained in the section above.
  • If unable to test or if you choose not to test, and if symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.


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I Had Close Contact with a Confirmed COVID-19 Case

No quarantine is required for students, faculty or staff without symptoms of COVID-19. However:

  • A COVID test (PCR or rapid antigen test) now and 3-5 days after the last known exposure is strongly recommended.
  • If any COVID symptoms develop, stay home and obtain a COVID-19 test. If positive, follow Isolation instructions in the section above.
  • As a close contact, you should wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Persons infected within the prior 90 days do not need to be tested unless symptoms develop.


  • A COVID-19 test (PCR or rapid antigen test) 3–5 days after the last known exposure is required by CalOSHA for all employees. Campus COVID-19 PCR testing is the most sensitive test and is available without charge for students, faculty and staff by making an appointment through the Student Health Patient Portal
  • If you choose to do an at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test, please submit a dated image of the result through the form in "New Message" in the Messages section of the Student Health Patient Portal

I Have Traveled Outside of California within the Past 5 Days

If you are fully vaccinated or had a COVID-19 infection within the prior 90 days:

  • A COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days following arrival is recommended
  • No quarantine is required; self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms

If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated

  • Quarantine for 5 days, even if you have no symptoms and a negative test result
  • A COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days following arrival is recommended by the CDC.
  • Do not come onto campus until you have completed the quarantine period and have no symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Any student who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should contact Student Health Services. Faculty and staff members should contact their primary health care providers.

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19. These include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face. Note: This list is not inclusive. Consult your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person through exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious virus, mainly through inhalation of very fine respiratory droplets and aerosol particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. 

Three vaccines are available to protect against COVID-19: Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidelines for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

The California Department of Public Health offers guidelines to get the most out of masking, and the CDC recommends a number of additional precautions to protect yourself & others. Key points are summarized below:

Wear a well-fitting mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

Wearing a mask is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help prevent both you and others from getting COVID-19. A well-fitting mask:

  • fits snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face, with no gaps between the face and mask, such as above the nose or at the sides
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • features a nose wire (metal strip along the top of the mask) to prevent air from leaking out

Consult the chart below or visit the California Department of Public Health website for recommendations for choosing a mask. Per Cal/OSHA, employees have the right to request an N95 mask for voluntary use. Instructions to request one at no cost to the employee are provided on the Environmental Health & Safety website. Students may obtain individual N95 respirators at the UCen Campus Store Customer Service Desk, subject to availability. Access the "N95 Mask - How to Wear" and the "N95 Respirator Use" videos to learn about proper use of N95 respirators. 

Clean your hands frequently. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Practice physical distancing between yourself and other people outside of your home. That means:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
  • Do not congregate in groups
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces and crowds

Clean and disinfect surfaces

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap prior to using a household disinfectant.

For guidelines specific to UC Santa Barbara, see Campus Mitigation Protocols.

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Counseling and Community

Some members of our campus community may be affected by the virus without themselves being sick. The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel very scary. Some also also have concerns regarding family members and friends in other areas who are sick or who are at increased risk. Others are grappling with issues related to physical distancing.

We want to help if you are struggling.

Students can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (805) 893-4411 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. After-Hours Phone Counseling also is available at that number.

Faculty and staff members can contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) at (805) 893-3318.

Other campus resources include UC Santa Barbara Health & Wellness and Student Wellbeing.

It is important that we support one another and stand together as a campus community against any xenophobia, bigotry or racism brought about by the presence of the virus.

Travel Advisories

Regional Travel Guidance

For those who must travel, medical experts and the UC Office of the President recommend following all California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

It is recommended that those who must travel and are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 obtain COVID-19 testing no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Do not travel if you test positive; immediately isolate yourself and follow public health recommendations. Upon your return from travel out of the country, you will need to quarantine for 5 days. It also is recommended that you obtain COVID-19 testing 3-5 days after you return. [Note: Testing is not necessary for those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.] COVID-19 testing for travel requirements is offered by the following organizations:

Individuals who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines do not have to quarantine after travel, but are advised to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to isolate and get tested if any symptoms develop. [Note: Testing is not necessary for those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.]

UC Travel Advisories

The UC Office of the President directs that all University travelers follow the Centers for Disease Control guidance before, during and upon return from travel. Any exceptions to this guidance and the determination of what travel is considered essential are deferred to the campuses. Additionally, all international travelers should review the Department of State Travel Advisories related to their destination(s) prior to making travel plans, and should ensure their travel is registered with the UC Travel Insurance Program

"For me, it’s really hard to track where people have been and who you’ve been in contact with. And you just never know who’s been affected. So it’s always best to keep a safe distance."

Ben Drum
Fourth Year, Communication & Sociology

UCSB student with face covering