Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: September 8, 2021

Many campus processes and procedures have been modified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are responses to a number of questions that should help give you a sense of what to expect and what you may need to do differently when navigating the campus and its many resources.

Please be advised that some descriptions may refer to resources, buildings, or providers of activities whose offices are currently closed. However, in nearly every case, those offices are available via the web, email, phone, etc. If you aren’t finding the information you are looking for here, please share your questions with us, and we’ll get back to you.

The Business of Being a Student

Why is my Student ID Card important?

Your UCSC Student ID Card serves many functions. It is your official means of UCSC Identification. It will be used to get meals in Dining Halls, check materials out from the campus libraries, ride certain city bus routes for free, and can act as a key card giving you access to your residential building and more.

What is the first step I take to get my Student ID Card?

The process starts with you submitting a passport-type photo online. Staff will then advise you of the next steps.

Dining on Campus

How is UCSC Dining operating during the pandemic?

Here is a summary of the operational changes currently in place for Dining Services.

I live in a residence hall; what are my meal plan options?

Students living in residence halls have two meal plan options that satisfy their meal plan requirement. Your plan is included with your housing contract.

I don’t live in a residence hall; can I have a meal plan?

If you are a student living in campus apartments, ARCH communities, or local off-campus housing, you may purchase a voluntary meal plan.

Where else can I get food on campus, besides the dining hall?

Visit the Dining locations page to see what’s open today.

What if I forget my mask?

The requirement to wear a face covering is a state/county regulation, and you must have a face covering to enter any dining facility. Unfortunately, if you forget your face covering, you will not be able to enter the facility. Additional face coverings are not available, and you will be asked to leave until you are able to return with your face covering. Please note: You will also need to be properly wearing a face covering to pick up to-go food orders.

Getting Around Campus

**Are the campus shuttles operating at this time? **

Yes they are! Please review Transportation and Parking FAQs related to COVID-19. Face covering are required to board and ride Campus Transit and METRO buses. No mask, no ride.

Are city buses running?

Yes, and the lines that serve the campus are 10, 15, 16, 19, and 20 Metro buses - more here.

Health and Wellbeing

What are my responsibilities to the UCSC community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Among the most important things all of us can do is to become and remain acutely aware of the condition of our health. Register with Health e-Messenger to sign up for text reminders, take the daily surveys of your health status, and make appointments to be COVID-19 tested as needed or desired. Training Requirement:

All students (undergraduate and graduate) living on campus must complete COVID awareness and best-practices training: Staying Healthy in a Changing Environment for Students on Campus. Campus residents are automatically enrolled in this course and notified of its availability around the time of their arrival to campus.

Where can I get tested on campus?

Testing is available at the Merrill Cultural Center. Please note that the kiosk is not open on the weekends, so plan your testing accordingly through the Health e-Messenger system.

What if I don’t feel well the day of my testing appointment?

If you feel unwell on the day of your appointment, do not come to the testing site. Instead, remain isolated from others and contact the Student Health Center’s Nurse Advice line at 831/459-2591 for direction on next steps.

How will I know the results of my test and when will I receive those results?

Test results should be available between 24 and 72 hours after testing. You will receive an email with instructions on how to access those.

What is asymptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic testing is different from what is commonly known as antibody testing – that is, testing to determine if someone has had COVID-19 and has developed antibodies in response to it. Asymptomatic testing tests for COVID-19 viral RNA particles and lets you know if you are currently or have recently been infected with the virus. This kind of testing is like a snapshot in time – the results of testing indicate what an individual’s status was at the moment they took the test. This is why repeated testing is necessary.

How can I best prepare to return to campus?

Stay healthy and practice all CDC recommended measures for resisting infection, including but not limited to wearing face coverings when indoors with others, observe at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and others, etc. Face coverings are required when in all campus buildings, including classrooms, on the UC Santa Cruz campus regardless of vaccination status. UCSC’s Student Health Center has plenty of information for you. Consider reviewing prevention measures offered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is UCSC doing COVID-19 testing for students?

In addition to the testing kiosk described above, the Student Health Center is providing testing services to students – an appointment is necessary. If you are a currently registered student, please call the Student Health Center (831-459-2500) to make an appointment to test there. If you are not yet a registered active student, please contact your private health provider for evaluation and next steps. Do not come to campus if you have symptoms.

What if I begin feeling unwell?

Be responsible by isolating yourself away from others, notify important people in your life (family, friends, professors, etc.), and call the Student Health Center.

How do I clean and disinfect my living/eating/studying/bathroom spaces?

The Center for Disease Control and Protection has a lot of information on this topic.

How has UC Santa Cruz prepared quarantine/isolation housing?

UC Santa Cruz has created a temporary housing solution for residents in need of quarantine or isolation housing related to COVID-19, in accordance with guidelines set by Center for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health.

How is Quarantine/Isolation Housing used?

When a UC Santa Cruz resident has potentially been exposed to COVID19, but does not display any symptoms (asymptomatic) or displays any of the COVID19 symptoms, the resident should be evaluated by the Student Health Center, which could be by phone. The resident may be tested for COVID19, under the direction of staff at the Student Health Center. If the Student Health Center has cause for concern, the resident may be requested to either isolate in place or temporarily relocate away from shared campus housing to limit the potential of exposure to others. If deemed necessary, staff at the Student Health Center will initiate arrangements for Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The resident may be requested to stay in Quarantine/Isolation Housing for up to 14 days, under the daily phone care of healthcare professionals from the Student Health Center. The university will arrange transportation to and from the quarantine/isolation housing, located on campus, if necessary. If the resident is tested for COVID19 and the result comes back negative, the resident may immediately move back to their residence in their community. The Student Health Center can be reached at (831)459-2500 or the Nurse Advice Line at (831459-2591.

Once a resident is able to safely check out of Quarantine/Isolation Housing, Custodial Services will sanitize and disinfect the space using CDC recommended cleaning procedures.

How do residents in Quarantine/Isolation Housing receive dining service?

UC Santa Cruz CHES-Dining Services has created a unique system to provide high quality snacks, meals and beverages, delivered directly to residents in Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The online meal ordering system link is provided to residents when they arrive at Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The meal order program takes into account special dietary needs/requests of the individual. Each room in Quarantine/Isolation Housing is outfitted with a microwave and refrigerator. Each room is also equipped with an electric tea kettle.

Holding Up Under the Stress of COVID-19

I am concerned about affording the costs associated with my studies and/or residency at UCSC – what resources are available to help me develop a plan for success?

The campus offers a number of services for students facing all manner of challenges. The Financial Aid and Scholarships office regularly works to minimize financial barriers to support students in achieving their educational goals. The Division of Student Affairs and Success and their Slug Support Team can also provide advice and support to students facing challenges.

COVID-19 makes me feel isolated and afraid. Who can I speak with about managing all the stresses related to this situation?

Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP) offers wellness coaching on a broad variety of topics including General Wellness, Sexual Health, Alcohol and Drugs, Nutrition, Time Management and more.

I’m feeling worse than just being stressed out – who can I speak with?

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a variety of Counseling services that are available for any registered UCSC student and are confidential. There is no out-of-pocket fee for CAPS services, and you don’t need UC SHIP or CruzCare to be seen at CAPS.

There are times when I really want to talk to or spend time with people who have had experiences similar to mine and who have likely faced similar struggles. Are there resources that can connect me with people who will understand my identity/identities?

The Resource Centers comprise the four Ethnic Resource Centers: African American Resource and Cultural Center, American Indian Resource Center, Asian American / Pacific Islander Resource Center, and “El Centro” the Chicano Latino Resource Center; as well as the Cantú Queer Center, and the Women’s Center. The centers are currently physically closed, but staff can still be reached by phone or email.

Accommodations are important to my success. Who can I speak with to help secure these valuable resources?

The Disability Resource Center (DRC), exists to assist the UCSC campus with equal educational access for students with disabilities. Its offices are currently closed but is holding remote appointments via phone and video.

Staying Informed

Information about the pandemic keeps changing – where can I easily find up-to-date information that ranges from right here in Santa Cruz on up to the global situation?

The State of California, Santa Cruz County, and the City of Santa Cruz each have regularly updated sites where you should be able to find information about current public health orders and more.

UCSC maintains a page that tracks incidences of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff. The Health Services Agency for Santa Cruz County provides a forecast model and analyses providing historical data as well as projections. Johns Hopkins University & Medicine keeps a dashboard with statistical data and maps (from global down to individual counties) that tracks the spread of this disease.

Athletics and Recreation

Are Athletics and Recreation facilities open?

The Fitness Center reopened on Aug. 1. The pool is open for lap swimming and the East Tennis Courts are available for tennis on a reservation system. The reservations are available during limited operating hours and require full participation in campus COVID protocol, including the badge system. Reserve a time online. In addition, the outdoor jogging path around the Upper East Field, the Disc Golf Course, and the West Tennis Courts are currently available for drop-in use. Visit or to learn more about the Athletics & Recreation department and to stay updated on department news and announcements.

Students Living Off-Campus

Do you have any advice on how I would go about looking for off-campus living arrangements?

UCSC’s Community Rentals Office has helpful information available for both renters and landlords.

Where in Santa Cruz County can I be COVID-19 tested?

In addition to the on-campus testing locations, there are several locations in the county that offer COVID-19 Testing. The County’s Health Services Agency has aTesting Locator that provides a map showing testing locations with address, hours of service, and contact information.