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 are strongly encouraged to report a positive test result to the campus COVID-19 Call Center at

The campus’s COVID-19 Response Team will:

  • Notify the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to ensure officials are aware of the case 
  • Help identify close contacts
  • Advise and help prepare notifications to potentially affected campus community members
  • Work with EH&S to determine cleaning procedures and establish time frames for resuming operations

The campus’s quarantine and isolation recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals and for unvaccinated individuals follow guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health.

Additional information and resources related to reporting, including a checklist for responding, is available on our Reporting COVID-19 page.

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.)

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.

It is strongly recommended that you obtain a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on day 5 or later of your isolation to prove you have cleared your infection. 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.

For 6–10 days after your COVID-19 diagnosis, you must wear a well-fitting mask around others since there is a small chance you might still be contagious.

Please notify the campus is you obtain a positive COVID-19 test outside of our campus testing. Faculty and staff should send an email notification to and students can upload their test results directly through the Student Health Patient Portal under the "New Messages" section.

You may return to school or work 5 days after your positive test results, or 5 days after your symptoms began, whichever comes first, as long as you have no symptoms of COVID-19. Please fill out the "ISOLATION SELF ATTESTATION" questions which will be emailed to you, in order to change your Daily Screening Survey Clearance badge from the Isolation status.

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

  • If you are vaccinated:
    • Get a COVID test as soon as possible
    • If the test is negative, stay home until your symptoms have been gone for 24 hours.
    • If the test is positive, stay home for 5 days of isolation as explained in the section above.
  • If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated:
    • Get a COVID test as soon as possible to help determine whether close contacts require notification
    • Stay home and isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, even if the COVID test is negative

I Had Close Contact with a Confirmed COVID-19 Case (QUARANTINE MAY BE NEEDED)

  • If you are fully vaccinated, and have received your booster shot, with no symptoms:
    • A COVID test (PCR or rapid antigen test) 5 days after the last known exposure is strongly recommended
    • Quarantine is not necessary; self-monitor for any COVID symptoms for 10 days
    • Protect unvaccinated or immunocompromised individuals at home by wearing a face mask for 14 days
  • If you are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or are eligible for a COVID vaccine booster shot and have not yet received it, or you had COVID-19 within the last 90 days:
    • Quarantine for 5 days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19, regardless of symptoms or test result
    • A COVID-19 test (PCR or rapid antigen test) 5 days after the last known exposure is strongly recommended. Campus COVID-19 PCR testing is available without charge for students, faculty and staff by making an appointment through the Student Health Patient Portal
    • You may return to school or work after 5 days of quarantine as long as you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

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 respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Recent studies indicate people who are infected but do not show symptoms likely play a role in the spread of COVID-19. 

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 those who are fully vaccinated. For non-vaccinated individuals, the CDC recommends the following safety precautions:


Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, whether or not you have upper respiratory symptoms. Cloth face coverings should:

  • fit snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

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 crowded places and mass gatherings

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 10 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.] The quarantine period can be shortened to 7 days if your COVID-19 test is negative and you have no symptoms. COVID-19 testing for travel requirements is offered by the following organizations:

Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to quarantine after travel, but are advised to obtain a COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days after they return, and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. [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