Returning to Campus
UCI is committed to the health and well-being of our Anteater community. As students, faculty and staff return to campus this fall, we ask the campus community to follow these campus safety requirements to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
We are guided by federal, state and county public health authorities and are prepared to adjust our plans if necessary.
COVID-19 Requirements for All Anteaters
The UC COVID-19 vaccine policy requires all UCI students, faculty and staff, with few exceptions, to be fully vaccinated 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 for the fall term.
For information on the UC vaccination policy, exemptions and accommodations, and answers to frequently asked questions, please see:
For more information on the where and how to get vaccinated, visit our vaccine information page.
Upload Vaccination Record
Compliance with UC's vaccination policy is required no later than two weeks before faculty, staff and students are expected to be on campus for fall.
Students can submit proof of their vaccination on the UCI Student Health Center Patient Portal.
Employees can submit proof their vaccination at the Occupational Health Upload Portal.
Please consider these tips to ensure successful verification:
- If the name on your vaccination record does not match your name as it appears in UCPath (the payroll system), please upload another piece of documentation, e.g., a copy of your driver’s license, with your vaccination documentation so that the team can verify your records.
- Please do not cross out your name or birthdate on your vaccination card. This information is important for verification of your records. The upload portal is a UCI health record system and all reasonable precautions are taken to protect your information.
Exemptions for Students
To request a medical exemption, religious exception, disability exception or deferral during pregnancy, students may visit the Student Health Center's website.
All request forms must be uploaded to the UCI Student Health Center Patient Portal. Please note that the review of your request may take up to seven (7) business days. Students will receive notification of approval or denial of the request via secure message on the portal.
For questions regarding the exemption process, please send a secure message on the portal to: “Immunization Exemption/Deferral Request Inquiry” and a SHC nurse will respond within 3-5 business days.
Students who are not vaccinated because of receiving an exemption, exception or deferral must, at a minimum, wear masks and participate in regular COVID-19 testing. Students who arrive partially vaccinated or whose exemption, exception, or deferral request is pending must also mask and participate in regular COVID-19 testing. Students who are not vaccinated and not approved for an exemption, exception or deferral will be subject to enforcement protocols.
Exemptions for Employees
To request a medical exemption, religious exception, disability exception or deferral during pregnancy, employees may visit UCI’s Future of Work COVID policy page or click on the appropriate form below:
You will receive a confirmation email when your documentation has been received. While your exception request is pending, as a condition of physical presence, you must observe local non-pharmaceutical interventions including wearing a face covering when indoors, participating in weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic testing, and completing the daily Working Well symptom check.
A number of Executive Directives and policies have been enacted that allow the university to authorize certain community practices.
Regular, weekly asymptomatic testing is required for all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff.
At the present time we are carrying out required weekly asymptomatic testing of on-campus students, faculty and staff.
A sampling of fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff will test asymptomatically weekly. Students, faculty and staff will be contacted directly if they are required to test in a particular week.
- 25% per week of fully vaccinated undergraduate students living in on-campus housing
- 5% of the remaining fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff
Asymptomatic testing is for students and employees who do not have symptoms. Students, faculty and staff may receive an asymptomatic test from the campus testing site by making an appointment on the Student Health Center portal or by dropping by the test site.
Students who indicate symptoms on the Daily Symptom Check will be referred to the Student Health Center for evaluation and symptomatic testing if needed.
Faculty and staff who indicate symptoms on the Daily Symptom Check will be referred to the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH).
COVID-19 testing is currently completed via a supervised self-administered nasal swab or saliva test that takes about 7-10 minutes, is cost-free to eligible groups on campus, and results are available within 24 - 48 hours.
Testing is currently available at Student Center Crescent Bay A - D.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
All individuals on campus will be required to wear a mask or face covering while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when alone in an enclosed space.
- UCI will provide voluntary-use respirators to unvaccinated or vaccinated employees.
- Unvaccinated individuals are recommended to wear a face covering when outdoors if 6 feet of physical distance between people cannot be maintained.
Maintaining the health and safety of our community is of the utmost priority. As such, this page provides guidelines on addressing non-compliance.
Help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by getting the vaccine when it is available to you and the following preventative measures.
- Reducing the spread of viruses starts with basic hygiene.
- We are temporarily enhancing custodial services in certain areas and will adjust as part of the campus multi-layered approach to prevention.
- Supplies including hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, paper towels, disposable gloves, and washable face masks will be provided centrally to returning groups.
- Unvaccinated employees eating or drinking indoors must be at least 6 feet apart from others.
- If unvaccinated individuals cannot wear a face covering, they must continue to stay physically distanced of at least 6 feet from other individuals or be tested once a week for COVID-19 during paid time and at no cost to the employee.
- No physical distancing or barriers between workers are required, regardless of employees’ vaccination status, unless there is an outbreak (see below).
Outbreaks and Quarantines
- If an outbreak of three or more cases occurs in an exposed employee group, UCI must evaluate whether physical distancing or barriers are necessary to control transmission of the virus. If an outbreak of at least 20 cases happens, masks must be worn by all workers indoors and outdoors where 6-foot distancing cannot be maintained.
- Fully vaccinated workers with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested or quarantined if they are exposed to the virus.
Reporting COVID-19 Cases and Safety Concerns
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Center
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 (≥ 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-hour period & within 6 feet).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Checker (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 email@example.com 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-19 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Reporting a COVID-19 Safety Concern
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.
Non-Compliance Guidelines and Response Procedures
COVID-19 related campus procedures and executive directives are intended to keep the UCI community healthy by limiting the spread of COVID-19. Members of the UCI community are expected to behave in ways that respect the health of others.
While it is expected that each individual will assume personal responsibility to help protect the UCI community, it is also understood that mistakes and lapses in compliance or intentional non-compliance may occur. Generally, issues with compliance should be addressed with care and understanding. The overarching goal when addressing non-compliance is to de-escalate rather than intensify a situation.
For assistance and questions regarding COVID-19, processes, reporting steps, contact the UCI Coronavirus Response Center (CRC) at email@example.com 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.
Welcome Week Activities
UCI Welcome Week takes place from Sept. 18 to Sept. 25.
A variety of events are planned for new and returning students, including New Student Convocation.
New Student Convocation
This year's event will be held OUTDOORS on Crawford Athletic Field. Attendees will enter an open field area where they will be able to spread out on the field, keep safely distanced from others, and find a location for them to watch the event. Masks are required for this event. The entrance to the event is at Bren Events Center near Mesa Parking Structure. Attendees will not be able to enter or exit the field through any other route. Space is limited. Students must register to attend the event at Crawford Athletic Field. If an attendee will need an accommodation based on disability, please email Kelly Carland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Student Convocation will be livestreamed on the Convocation website for those unable to attend in-person or prefer to join the event virtually.
Convocation registration will be by invite only. Eligible students will receive an e-mail invitation soon with a Campus Groups registration link.
For a list of events and more information, visit UCI Welcome Week.
Instruction will primarily be delivered through in-person instruction in campus classrooms, although some instructors will offer hybrid, remote, and online options as appropriate and approved.
Classes that are in person have a room number listed in the “place” column in the Schedule of Classes on the University Registrar website.
Courses that are identified as “online” in the place column have been formally approved to be taught fully online on an ongoing basis.
Courses that are identified as “VRTL REMOTE” are not yet formally approved to be taught fully online but are or will be in the process of being approved to be taught fully online going forward.
More information is available on the student resources page.
Due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, on-campus housing guarantees for undergraduates will not be in effect for the 2021-22 academic year. Undergraduate Housing will be offered as space allows in standard room types (singles, doubles, triples and tower quads). Information on campus policies and behavioral expectations for fall 2021 are still being finalized.
For more details, visit UCI's Housing website.
Move-In and Sequestration
Move-In assignments will be emailed to students on September 7-8 with move-in dates ranging from Sept. 16 - 19.
All UCI students are required to wear face coverings indoors, except when alone in an enclosed space. This will include common areas in your housing community, outside of your private living space (hall room or apartment).
Prior to Move-In, residents must complete the following steps:
- Upload vaccine record
- Schedule Move-In Day COVID-19 test
- Complete emergency and confidential contact forms
- If you are bringing a car to campus, order residential parking permit
More information is available on the Before Move-In Day webpage.
The Housing website provides a step-by-step guide on where to go and what to do on Move-In Day.
During fall quarter, all unvaccinated students will need to participate in weekly asymptomatic testing and sequester for a minimum of 7 days (with two negative COVID-19 tests) after move-in. You will receive sequestration instructions at housing check-in.
All students who have already moved into Graduate & Family Housing or one of the American Campus Communities are required to obtain a COVID-19 test at the UCI Student Center on one of the following dates: Sept. 7, 8, 9 and 10, or Sept. 13 and 14. Schedule your test on the Student Health Portal.
All students moving into on-campus housing later in September will be tested at move-in. Look for details in your Housing assignments email and move-in guides coming in early September. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly as well.
International students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before physically accessing the university’s locations and programs.
For students who have received a COVID vaccination outside of the United States, UCI will accept vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization's (WHO). The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a process for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics during a 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.
Individuals arriving in the U.S., but have not received the vaccine, may be able to get the vaccine at an airport or schedule an appointment at a vaccine provider.
Several airports offer COVID-19 vaccines, including:
For international students trying to schedule an appointment with a vaccine provider, a social security number is not required in order to receive the vaccine. However, some providers may require that you enter this information when completing registration. If you are unable to complete registration and schedule an appointment, you should contact the vaccine provider directly for guidance.
UCI is planning for return to in-person operations this fall. Administration and Senate leadership are united that the default mode of instruction and research be in-person. This means that as an in-person institution, the University will conduct its regular business, including teaching and research, with faculty, staff, and students physically present, with flexibility in the fall due to space limitations or public health guidelines. Fall 2021 is a transition period when campuses are re-opening and flexible work arrangements may still be needed.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning has produced an helpful FAQ to address faculty questions for fall instruction, including:
- Are instructors required to wear a face covering while teaching, if face coverings are required by campus?
- Will instructors be able to check out microphones to amplify their voices if they are required to wear a face covering while teaching?
- What resources are available to support students that have exceptions to attend classes remotely?
- What can I do to encourage students to wear face coverings in class, if mandated by the campus?
- What if I do not feel comfortable teaching in person?
- How will I know if the students in my course are not vaccinated?
Faculty also have flexibility in determining what in-person instruction entails.
There are many resources available to instructors; here are some of the most critical ones for reference:
Face Coverings in Classrooms
As of August 2, 2021, face coverings are currently required indoors. If a student in a classroom or other learning space fails to wear a face covering per campus executive directive or follow other safety protocols without UCI approved authorization, the instructor (faculty or teaching assistant) will ask them to put on a mask. If they do not comply, they will immediately dismiss the student from the classroom or other learning space. The instructor has the responsibility to report anyone who is unauthorized and not following the campus face-covering executive directive to Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct (OAISC). Students do not need to report each other, and if the instructor has not removed a student not wearing a face covering, other students should assume that person has prior authorization. Note that individual instructors may adjust how quickly they progress through these steps based on the expectations they want to set in their classes.
If campus executive directives are updated and no longer require face coverings, you’re allowed to request that students wear a face covering in your classroom, but it is not okay to exclude, retaliate or penalize those who choose not to.
Maintaining the health and safety of our community is of the utmost priority. As such, this page provides guidelines on addressing non-compliance.
As of June 22, 2021, UCI has transitioned into Research Phase 4.
UCI’s research phases align with UCI Executive Directives, California Department of Public Health guidance, and the recently-revised Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standard. Please see the Vice Chancellor’s June 21, 2021, message about UCI’s transition to Phase 4 research.
For more details, view the Phase 4 Research information page.
All staff and faculty are required to complete the “Returning to Campus” training module available through the UC Learning Center. 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. This is a one-time only training.
The Future of Work Resource Program has been created to ensure that all campus units have access to resources to effectively support a hybrid workforce with consistent and standardized technology and workspace solutions. Units planning for a hybrid workforce may be eligible for conversions of desktop computers to laptops, upgrades to some conference rooms with audio video equipment and the reconfiguring of some workspaces into shared hotel spaces for hybrid employees who work on-site occasionally.
Employees are encouraged to review the following resources:
Future of Work Webinar Series including:
- Coping with Uncertainty in a New Normal
- Self-Compassion for Returning Back to Onsite
- Thriving in a Hybrid Work Environment
Visitors and Vendors
General Public and Vendors
If you plan to visit campus, please check with your campus contact for any special considerations or precautions for your visit. Also, take the time to familiarize yourself with the following general guidelines.
- Visitors/non-affiliates must follow UCI’s Face Covering Executive Directive and must wear a face covering when required under Section A.2 of the Executive Directive unless an exception applies (i.e.: medical, under 2 years of age, etc.).
- Visitors/non-affiliates will self-attest to meeting the face covering exemption – see below.
- When visitors/non-affiliates are invited by departments for meetings, training, conferences, etc., departments should collect and maintain visitor/non-affiliate contact information in the event it is needed for contact tracing purposes.
- Campus organizers of events, such as sporting competitions, arts performances, etc., are not required to collect visitor/non-affiliate data.
- UCI will deem visitors/non-affiliates to have self-attested to meeting the face covering exemption, if they enter a UCI building and are not wearing a face covering.
Campus Facilities and Services
Building Ventilation and Filtration Systems
The operational hours for the building HVAC systems are the same as before the pandemic, but with an increase of two hours prior and two hours after operational use.
Beginning July 6, 2021, campus buildings will be unlocked 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. to support approved faculty and staff returning to campus. HVAC systems have been maintained in all buildings and will be fully functional as the campus community returns.
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.
Facilities Management maintains air conditioning and ventilation systems and replaces air filters on a schedule throughout the year. Filtration further mitigates risk of transmission in buildings with recirculated air. As air moves through a building's HVAC system, air filters trap and collect large and small particles such as dust, allergens and microorganisms.
Air Quality Related to COVID-19 Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Indoor air quality and heating ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) influence on the spread of COVID-19 is a major concern for the campus. Facilities Management continuously monitors the recommendations and guidance from the WHO, CDC, and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Based on the recommendations, Facilities is maximizing outside air, operating additional hours to flush pre and post occupancy, and utilizing filtration beyond industry standard where possible.
Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services
UCI's Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services reaches out to individual positive COVID-19 cases and close-contacts of cases to understand where exposures may have occurred, identify close contacts, and determine who needs to take particular action. This effort helps to track and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Campus Services and Retail
In accordance with new public health guidance, face coverings are required at all times while in the ARC, except while showering or swimming.
Mail collection and delivery on campus continues to be limited. Schedules may be updated as the campus response to COVID-19 is reevaluated.
Departments may drop off their outgoing mail at the North Campus Mail Processing Center between 7 - 9 a.m. Those with a valid UCI ID may retrieve their incoming mail from the Mail Processing Center between 9:30 - 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
If you have questions, please contact Dylan Largent at email@example.com or 949-824-4735.
In accordance with updated public health guidance regarding COVID-19, UCI Athletics events will be at full seating capacity for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Fans can look for fall sport schedules to be released later this month. Athletics will utilize mobile ticketing for all home games.
Residential dining halls, The Anteatery and Brandywine, will be checking students' ZotPasses for entry. Students with green ZotPasses* will be able to enter the dining halls. Tables will be sanitized after every use. Face coverings are to be worn at all times when not seated and actively eating or drinking. Take-out options will still be available.
Retail Dining: Panda Express, Starbucks at Biological Sciences and Med Ed Café will be open and available for take-out only.
Limited study spaces will be available by appointment in the Multimedia Resources Center and the Libraries Gateway Study Center. Students will be able to reserve specific study seats, including some private rooms and computer workstations, for 3 hour blocks of time in the morning and afternoon. Printing will also be available. The buildings will close at midday to allow extra cleaning.
Three new services will be offered:
- curbside drop box for returning library books – accessible from East Peltason Drive near the Student Health Center;
- a one-button studio in the Multimedia Resources Center that provides a simplified process for recording video presentations and podcasts;
- and laptops, iPads, and other equipment will be available to borrow from the Multimedia Resources Center.
Remote Access to Library Services and Collections
- We have compiled a webpage that provides links to all our services and collections that can be accessed remotely. This includes 24/7 chat research help. Please check this webpage regularly as we will post the most up-to-date information there.
- Our expert subject librarians are available to assist remotely with virtual research workshops and discipline-related research questions.
- If you have questions about your library account, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study tents on campus
UCI has installed study tents on campus in an effort to provide students the opportunity to study outside in a shaded area. The tents are located at Langson Library Plaza. They are available for use from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., have nearby restrooms, and wifi.