UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Section 2

This FAQs page is regularly updated to reflect campus operations as well as the latest advice and information from county, state and federal authorities. You can access specific information by using the search option above, clicking on each bucket below or scrolling down to all the FAQs.

If you have a question that isn't answered in these FAQs, please submit it by clicking the button below:

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Campuswide Policies and Protocols

UC Vaccine Policy

The UC Office of the President has issued an updated UC Vaccine Policy covering COVID-19 and flu vaccine requirements.

This policy requires all UCI students, staff and faculty, with few exceptions, to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 before physically accessing the university’s locations and programs. Compliance is required no later than two weeks before faculty, staff and students are expected to be on campus.


COVID-19 boosters are required all eligible students, faculty and staff. For information on commonly asked questions, view the FAQ on boosters.

Those who become eligible must be boosted and upload their documentation no more than 15 days to be policy compliant.

Questions about the policy may be sent to UCOP-COVID19-Vaccine@UCOP.edu.

For more information on the where and how to get vaccinated, visit our vaccine information page.


Required weekly COVID-19 testing for students and employees not compliant with the UC Vaccine Policy or who have an approved exception or deferral terminate effective Sept. 26, and individuals with an approved exception, exemption or deferral are being noticed directly. However, students and employees are encouraged to continue to test before and after travel and attending large events and social gatherings.

PCR testing will remain available at the Student Center through Oct. 28. Antigen tests will continue to remain available on campus to both students and employees. Remember that if you test positive for COVID-19 to report it.


Executive Directive: Testing

Executive directives

A number of executive directives and policies have been enacted that allow the university to authorize certain community practices.

Executive directives

Symptom Check

The daily symptom check email has been discontinued.

For instructions for what to do if you have symptoms, visit the Symptom Check page.

By coming to campus each day, students and employees are attesting they are free of COVID-19 symptoms. If a student or employee has symptoms, we continue to ask them to stay home and test for COVID-19 via home antigen or PCR test and report any positive test result to UCI for case investigation and follow-up. Students and employees who have symptoms but test negative for COVID-19 should stay home until symptoms improve.

Required safety training

All employees are required to view a training video titled “COVID-19 Employee Training,” which explains what COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted, the steps we’re taking to reduce potential exposure, and how you can protect yourself and others. This training is required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health. Even if you will continue to work remotely, but may need to come to campus occasionally, you must complete this training. Additionally, completing the training is only one step of the process to being approved to return to on-site work. The training module is available through the UC Learning Center and can be searched by title using the Find a Course function.

Face coverings

Face coverings are recommended indoors, but not required, regardless of vaccination status consistent with current California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance. Individuals should feel free to continue to wear face coverings if they desire.

Face Coverings FAQs Face Coverings and Voluntary Use Respirators (N95s)

How do I obtain a face covering?

All Students

Students living in student housing, including at ACC housing, can obtain face covering (KN95 and surgical mask) from the front desk of the main office at each student housing complex. Students not living in student housing or any other students can obtain face coverings (KN95s and surgical masks) from face covering distribution locations.


Faculty/lecturers should contact their school or unit’s buildings facilities manager to obtain a supply of face coverings for their own use or for their class. In addition, face coverings (KN95s and surgical masks) are available at face covering distribution locations. To request face coverings with clear panels used for lecturing purposes, please contact Environmental Health & Safety at safety@uci.edu or at 949-824-6200. 


Staff including student employees should contact their building facility manager to obtain a face covering supply for their unit or for themselves. Face coverings (KN95s and surgical masks) are available at face covering distribution locations. In addition, staff that would like a voluntary-use N95 respirator can go to these locations:

  • Environmental Health & Safety - front desk
  • Med Sci C Stack
  • Parking Structure Kiosk across from Student Center
  • Physical Sciences stores (Monday through Friday, 10 - 11 a.m.)
  • University Research Park - 100 Theory, Suite 110

Building Facility Managers

For bulk supplies BFMIs should contact the logistical support team at logisticalsupportteam@uci.edu and request face coverings (KN95, surgical masks and voluntary-use N95 respirators) or cleaning supplies. 

Face Covering Distribution Locations

Face coverings (KN95s, surgical masks) for students, faculty, and staff are available at the following locations around campus:

  • Anteater Learning Pavilion
    • Monday - Thursday: 7 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
    • Friday: 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Anteater Recreation Center (ARC)
    • Monday - Friday: 6 a.m. - 12 a.m.
    • Saturday: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    • Sunday: 8 a.m. - 12 a.m.
  • Anteatery Dining Commons
    • Monday - Thursday: 7:15 a.m. - 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 7:15 a.m. - 8 p.m.
    • Saturday - Sunday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Brandywine Dining Commons
    • Monday - Thursday: 7:15 a.m. - 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 7:15 a.m. - 8 p.m.
    • Saturday - Sunday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)
    • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • FRESH Hub
    • Tuesday & Thursday: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Wednesday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Friday: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Med Sci C Stack loading dock
    • Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Natural Sciences 1, Room 2112
    • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Student Center Information Desk
    • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Student Center Parking Structure Kiosk
    • Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Student Housing Communities (including American Campus Communities (ACC))
    • Main housing office front desk

Reporting COVID-19 cases

What is the criteria for reporting?

  • A pending symptomatic test result.
  • A lab-confirmed symptomatic positive test result.
  • Experiencing COVID-like symptoms.
  • Close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual (within six feet and ≥ 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-hour period).

Report the case

Students & Student Workers

Visit the Student Patient Portal and complete the "COVID-19 Yes Responder Screening Request," or contact UCI’s Student Health Center (SHC) at 949-824-3870 to report a case.


Staff and faculty may report a case using the COVID-19 Case Reporting website.

Remote workers do not need to report a case. Visit COVID Reporting Resources for guidance.

Need help? Contact the UCI COVID-19 Response Center (CRC) at covid19@uci.edu or call 949-824-9918 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. After-hours instructions are provided to callers.

If you are a confirmed or suspected case, experiencing symptoms or a close contact:

A. Review and respond to Daily Symptom Check (If experiencing symptoms, respond YES).

B. Do not go to work, class or anywhere else on campus. If you are a student on-site, stay in your living unit.

C. Immediately inform your supervisor, department chair or most accessible university official (e.g., Resident Advisor, PI).

D. Seek medical advice through your primary care provider, COEH or SHC.

E. Take the Call. If you are a confirmed case, or a close-contact, UCI COVID-19 Contact Tracing Program (CT) will be calling you to interview you and provide guidance on isolation or quarantine. When you see 949-824-2300 on your caller ID, take the call.

If you are a supervisor, department chair or other university official informed of a confirmed, suspected or exposure case:

A. Contact EH&S at 949-824-6200 or safety@uci.edu for a decontamination strategy and post-decontamination occupancy approval.

B. Unless directed by EH&S as part of their decontamination strategy, do not close the workspace or send other people home. UCI's Contact Tracing team will call the confirmed case and their close contacts and provide them with isolation/quarantine instructions if applicable.

C. Contact your departmental/unit HR or a responsible university official to inform them of the current circumstances. Do not share the COVID-positive individual’s name with anyone other than Human Resources, CTVNS, SHC, or COEH. The individual’s illness is individually identifiable health information.

D. For case guidance involving a student/student worker, please contact the Student Health Center at 949-824-5304.

E. For guidance involving staff and faculty/academics, please contact the Center for Occupational & Environmental Health (COEH) at 949-824-8685 or coeh-clinic@hs.uci.edu. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Report COVID-19 Case

For assistance and questions regarding COVID-19, processes and reporting steps, contact the UCI Coronavirus Response Center (CRC) at covid19@uci.edu or call 949-824-9918 from Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. After-hours instructions are provided to callers.

Reporting COVID-19 safety concerns

Injuries, safety concerns and/or COVID-19 concerns or near-misses occurring on campus or while participating in University business should be reported within 24 hours.

Report COVID-19 Safety Concern

For assistance and questions regarding COVID-19, processes, reporting steps, contact the UCI Coronavirus Response Center (CRC) at covid19@uci.edu or call 949-824-9918 from Monday - Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. After-hours instructions are provided to callers.


Is the booster required at UCI?

Effective September 1, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 booster recommendations. We will be working to update our vaccine website to reflect the new CDC recommendations and the requirements under the UC Vaccine Policy.

What booster should I get?

UCI Health recommends the Pfizer and Moderna boosters. If you received Johnson & Johnson as your first vaccine, it is recommended that you select either Pfizer or Moderna as your booster.

Can I apply for an exemption to the booster if I am vaccinated?

Anyone may apply for an exception, exemption or deferral. Each application will be considered on an individualized basis.

You may view the message the details all possible booster exception scenarios or in a table format by visiting the COVID-19 Booster Exception page.

If someone catches COVID-19 before receiving a booster shot, how long should they wait to get boosted after their symptoms end?

Wait until you have recovered from COVID-19 and have met the criteria for ending isolation before getting your booster shot. If you have concerns about the timing of your booster shot after having COVID-19, consult with your healthcare provider.

Does UC SHIP cover booster shots?

Yes, UC SHIP covers COVID booster vaccines if received at an “in-network” (Anthem) pharmacy, clinic or other provider. Additionally, vaccinations are covered if received at SHC, Gottschalk Plaza or any other UCI Health-affiliated clinic. UC SHIP students have no out-of-pocket costs for vaccinations. In an effort to encourage COVID (and flu) vaccinations, COVID boosters and testing, SHC is not charging fees to non-SHIP students.


What happens if I do not comply with the UC Vaccine Policy?

Students who fail to upload vaccination verification or exception or deferral request are subject to:

  • Loss of access to UCI’s Wi-Fi system, UCI Mobile Access
  • Registration hold that restricts their ability to register for classes for the Winter 2022 quarter
  • Noncompliance notifications that will result in a referral to the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct for disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension or dismissal

Reports of students or student organizations who allegedly violate campus policy can be made to the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct for follow up. If the student or student organization is found responsible, they can face consequences including, but not limited to:

  • suspension or dismissal for students, or
  • loss of privileges and revocation of registration status for registered campus organizations.

To report an incident involving a student or student organization, submit the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct incident reporting form: uci-advocate.symplicity.com/public_report/index.php

What do I do if I get COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, contact your primary healthcare provider for medical evaluation and treatment recommendations. If you did not test through the Student Health Center, report your case to the UCI COVID-19 Response Center by calling 949-824-9918 or using the online portal for students and employees. 

Individuals should follow the guidance on how to isolate.

For questions, please contact UCI’s Contact Tracing & Vaccine Navigation Services at 949-824-2300 or contacttracing@uci.edu.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are now available at the Student Health Center. Call 949-824-5304 to schedule an appointment.

How do I report a COVID-19 case?

Students may report a case through the Student Patient Portal and complete the "COVID-19 Yes Responder Screening Request," or contact UCI’s Student Health Center (SHC) at 949-824-3870 to report a case.

International Students

Will the university accept internationally approved vaccines even if they are not authorized or approved in the United States?

Yes, as long as the vaccine is authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a process for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics during public health emergencies. Through that process, a number of vaccines not available in the United States have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL). A document summarizing the status of a wide range of international vaccines can be found online on the WHO’s website (click on link to “Status of COVID-19 Vaccines” in the EUL/PQ evaluation process). The university will, consistent with CDC and CDPH guidance, accept proof of full vaccination with any international vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by WHO through the EUL process. People who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with one of these vaccines do not need additional doses with an FDA-licensed or -authorized COVID-19 vaccine, at least initially (but may be subject to subsequent booster requirements).

Please remember to upload your vaccination record to the Student Health Patient Portal. Your vaccination record should be translated into English prior to uploading.

I was vaccinated in a country, where the government increased the time between first and second doses longer than U.S. labeling. Do I have to be revaccinated?

No. If you have proof of completing a series of any FDA-licensed or FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine consistent with your country’s implementation, you will be considered to have complied with the vaccine mandate.

I do not have a social security number. Can I still schedule an appointment and receive the vaccine in the U.S.?

Yes. A social security number is not required in order to receive the vaccine. However, some providers may require that you enter a full nine-digit social security number or only the last four digits when completing your registration prior to scheduling the appointment.  If you are unable to complete registration and schedule an appointment, then please contact the vaccine provider directly for guidance and advise them that you do not have a social security number.

Does the booster shot mandate apply for international students who have received WHO-approved vaccines that are not available in the U.S.?

YES, the booster policy applies to all students.

What is the booster eligibility criteria or timeline requirement for different WHO-approved vaccines?

Five months after the final dose of a WHO-approved vaccine.

I received an international vaccine series and am considered compliant with the current vaccine policy. What vaccine should I get for my booster if I can’t get a third dose of my original series?

You can get a dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

My first two doses are not listed on MyTurn because they were not given in the United States. What should I do?

Call Vaccine Finder at 800-232-0233.

Some of the local vaccine sites are not allowing individuals with international vaccines to get boosted. Where can I get my booster?

Call 714-834-2000. They can help you.

Faculty / Academics

For a comprehensive list of faculty resources and instruction FAQs, please refer to the following:

UCI Teach Anywhere Academic Personnel FAQs

Academic Personnel policies related to COVID-19

For a compendium of Academic Personnel policies related to COVID-19, visit https://ap.uci.edu/wp-content/uploads/Compendium-Measures-of-Support-for-Faculty.pdf.

Below is an overview of the topics discussed:

AP Review

  • Stop the Clock option (STC-COVID) and Retroactive Pay for Assistant Rank Faculty
  • One-year Academic Review Deferral for Associate and Professor Rank Faculty
  • Teaching Evaluations Exemption
  • CAP and AP Amendments and Recommendation about Review Files
  • Guidance About Documenting COVID-19 Impacts in Merit/Promotion Reviews
  • COVID-19 External Letter Solicitation Guidance 

Leaves for Faculty

  • Announcements
  • EFML - Emergency Family Medical Leave
  • Sick/Paid Medical Leave Option

Interim COVID Modified Duties (ICMD) 

  • Announcements
  • Form
  • Program Details

Other topics

  • Support related to Childcare and Other Dependent Care Issues
  • Guidance to Chairs about Workplace Adjustment/Accommodation
  • Additional Guidance to Chairs about AP Review due to COVID-19 Impact
  • Support with Faculty Internet Connectivity Issues
  • Communication with Faculty

If I am out sick for a period of time, can I conduct my classes remotely during that period?

Instructors and TAs are expected to have a contingency plan for being out sick or other potential disruptions that would prevent the instructor from teaching their class in-person. Conducting the course remotely is one option. Ideally, instructors and TAs should provide information on contingency plans in their syllabus, so students are prepared for possible changes.


For a comprehensive list of resources and staff FAQs, please refer to the following:

Coronavirus Information for Staff

What do I do if I test positive?

If you test positive for COVID-19, contact your primary healthcare provider for medical evaluation and treatment recommendations. If you did not test through the Student Health Center, report your case to the UCI COVID-19 Response Center by calling 949-824-9918 or using online options for students and employees found by clicking here

Individuals should follow the guidance on how to isolate.

For questions, please contact UCI’s Contact Tracing & Vaccine Navigation Services at 949-824-2300 or contacttracing@uci.edu.

I may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. What should I do?

If you believe you are a close contact to a case, you may report your status by calling the UCI COVID-19 Response Center at 949-824-9918 or using online reporting options for students and employees. Once your close contact status is reported, a UCI Contact Tracing and Navigation Services team member will call and interview you and provide testing instruction if necessary.

Does Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) or Contact Tracing and Vaccination Referral Services (CTVNS) notify the supervisor if an employee tests positive for COVID?

COEH or CTVNS will not notify the supervisor. If the case is positive, employees should follow the guidance on how to isolate or quarantine. The employee is to work with the supervisor based off the information COEH or CTVNS provides the employee.


Air Quality Related to COVID-19 Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Additional FAQs are available on EH&S's Building Ventilation and Filtration webpage.

Is recirculating air a concern, since little is known about the possibility of transmission through AC systems? Are there places where people can work that have outside air?

Aerosol transmission through the HVAC system has been suggested, but the available information to back up this claim has been speculative at best. Almost all buildings that you enter, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and medical offices will have a combination of outside and recirculated air. 

A number of online conversations refer to the installation of MERV-12 filters for the AC systems. The air handlers at UCI typically use MERV-15 filters, which are hospital grade air filtration media that are highly effective at capturing many contaminants. A few smaller buildings, or buildings with package type HVAC units are not designed to accommodate MERV 14+ filters. In such cases, UCI uses the most efficient available filters for these areas, which are serviced and changed more frequently.

Aerosol transmission based on the air dynamics in a room depends on the airflow pattern of the room, the point of release, and the point of reception. Initial understanding showed that other mechanisms for spreading the virus are likely to be more significant. These mechanisms include:

  • Direct person-to-person contact
  • Indirect contact through inanimate objects like doorknobs
  • Through the hands to mucous membranes such as those in the nose, mouth and eyes
  • Droplets and possibly particles spread between people in close proximity

Most recent evidence suggest airborne spread is possible. The campus is taking steps to ensure ventilation systems are using the most outside air possible, running extended hours to provide a building flush, and filtration levels are upgraded to the highest level possible for the system design.


When meeting with faculty/grad students/others in person, does it make sense to have designated "open air" meeting spaces where people can stay socially distant, but have the advantage of natural air circulation?

If you are able to find and “open air” meeting space, you are welcome to convene your meeting there. However, keep in mind that “open air” does not mean contaminant-free air. Anyone in the path of the air currents (wind) will be exposed to anyone upstream. There will be more particles in the air outside than there are particles inside a building with filtration.


How does air circulation work? And how has it been changed at UCI as a result of the pandemic?

First and foremost, facilities management has had continuous operation of heating ventilation and air conditioning systems throughout campus. Since COVID began, we did not shut down buildings, even though there was a curtailment of classes and work on campus. That also means that we didn't curtail or shut down our maintenance program. We continued all maintenance on campus throughout the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which puts us in a much better position coming back to campus as those systems had no stagnation and were maintained throughout the entire time.

HVAC filters are rated in MERV ratings from 1 to 20, and 17 through 20 are what are referred to as HEPA filters. HEPA filters have the highest efficiency and remove the smallest particles from the air. Unfortunately, those filters are not compatible with the air handling units and air conditioning systems that we have on campus.

Industry standard for places like grocery stores, restaurants, and other common buildings that you might travel to is a MERV-8 rated filter. A home furnace might have a MERV-8 rated filter. These filters are utilized in some campus trailer and temporary buildings. UCI buildings with small air handlers were MERV-10 and are being upgraded to a MERV-13 rated filter. The MERV-13 level of filtration is the ASHRAE recommended filter in response to COVID-19. UCI buildings with larger handlers such as Aldrich Hall, Biological Sciences 3 and Engineering Hall all have MERV 15 filters. MERV 15 filters are used exclusively throughout the campus in our large air handlers and are several steps above the ASHRAE recommendation.

For more information on how UCI is handling indoor air quality as people return to campus, watch Anteater Insider Live: Episode 2 | The Health of Indoor Air.

How many people can be in an elevator at the same time?

With the elimination of physical distancing requirements, elevators will no longer have any capacity limits and capacity signs will be removed. Many regulatory health agencies continue to emphasize the continuous use of face coverings for unvaccinated individuals, good hand hygiene, and conscientious housekeeping strategies.

How often are our HVAC systems checked and maintained?

The HVAC systems are continuously monitored utilizing building management systems and a network of sensors.

As part of Facilities Management’s comprehensive preventative maintenance program, our skilled technicians inspect, clean and maintain building air-handling systems biannually. Preventive maintenance includes:

  • Vacuuming and cleaning air intakes and catch basins and air-handling rooms
  • Washing air handler fins and coils
  • Checking and replacing all pre-filters and filters at least once a year, more often on smaller buildings
  • Cleaning and treating the water in all closed-loop systems

For more information on how UCI is handling indoor air quality as people return to campus, watch Anteater Insider Live: Episode 2 | The Health of Indoor Air.

What level of filtration does UCI use?

UCI traiiers use filters with a MERV 8 rating that are effective in filtering particles such as mold spores, cooking dusts, hair spray and furniture polish. MERV 8 is the industry standard

UCI buildings with small AHU's use filters with a MERV 10 rating that are effective in filtering particles such as lead dust, flour, auto fumes and welding fumes. Faciiltes Management recommends these filters be upgraded to acheive a MERV 13 rating and the ability to filter particles such as bacteria, smoke and sneezes.

UCI buildings with large AHU's use filters with a MERV 15 rating that can filter particles similar to those as MERV 13 filters, but with greater efficacy.

Learn more about MERV ratings on the EPA website.