8/2 COVID-19 Safety & Other Key Reminders

To:       USC Students

Cc:       USC Faculty and Staff, USC Parents

Re:       COVID-19 Safety and Other Key Reminders

Fr:        Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health; Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC

We are looking forward to a vibrant fall semester, and the arrival of our students for the beginning of the academic year.

As we prepare to greet one another in person once again, we want to share important reminders with the community to continue to take precautions regarding COVID-19 in our campus communities.

Currently, Los Angeles County is experiencing a slight decline from a high level of community transmission (7,009 new cases reported as of the week ending 7/28) that has trended throughout the summer months, driven by the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron. Some of the cases include reinfection in individuals who previously had COVID-19.

We strongly recommend wearing medical-grade masks or respirator masks (including surgical, N95, KN95, KF94) when indoors around others to reduce transmission and risk of infection. Masking is most effective when there is both a good fit (no gaps, covering the nose, mouth, chin) and good filtration. 


All students, faculty and staff are advised to test (1-2 days) prior to traveling to campus. You may use an antigen test (home kit) if that is most easily accessible resource for you. Home kits are a covered benefit of all insurance plans (8 kits per person, per month); they are also available at no cost via mail through the U.S. Postal Service


After arriving (days 3-5), plan to test using the Student Health Pop Testing service. Supplies for saliva sample collection will be available at move-in; schedule an appointment for drop-off through MySHR. If you live off-campus in non-university housing, you can pick up a collection kit from the Jefferson Lot (UPC) and Pappas Quad (HSC) testing sites.


  • COVID-19 testing sites and Engemann and Eric Cohen Student Health Centers are health care facilities, and anyone in those areas is required to mask on premise. If you do not have a mask, please use the one provided to you by our staff.
  • Previously positive for COVID? Do not test for COVID-19 with a PCR test (including Pop Testing) if you have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days. You may use an antigen test if you have a new onset of symptoms to confirm a positive status. 
  • Monitor your symptoms before coming to campus. If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay home and do not go to class, work or any other location. Arrange to be tested for COVID-19. You may use an antigen test (home kit). Home antigen kits are a covered benefit of all insurance plans (8 kits per person, per month); they are also available at no cost via mail through the U.S. Postal Service. COVID-19 antigen test kits will also be made available throughout campus including at Pop Testing sites and at the customer service centers of USC Housing for campus residence halls. 
  • Follow the instructions for positive individuals if you have a positive result. You must notify us if you test positive and have been on campus; using the contact tracing form in MySHR is the fastest way to relay the complete information that is needed. The instructions for requesting isolation accommodations are also contained in the form. Positive individuals are provided isolation; roommates are not eligible for university-sponsored relocation. Questions related to COVID-19 processes may be directed to covid19@usc.edu; 213-740-6291.
  • For students who have outstanding immunization requirements, we strongly recommend completing your immunizations and uploads prior to arrival on campus. For students coming to campus from outside of the U.S., the Immuchella immunizations fair on campus from August 15-26 will be your opportunity to complete these requirements.
  • Sept. 9 is the immunizations deadline and is also the waiver deadline for students who are bringing their own insurance plan to campus. Please note that all USC students (enrolled in 6 credits or more, in on-campus degree programs) will automatically be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP, provided through Aetna) unless a waiver is completed by the deadline. The insurance premiums will appear on your fall and spring student account bill. Insurance waivers must be completed annually; accepted waivers will reverse these charges. 
  • We are closely monitoring the public health concern surrounding monkeypox in Los Angeles County and in California; we encourage communities to stay updated through signups with the LA County Dept of Public Health and we will share any specific information that relates to the university community as it develops. Students who may have had an exposure or symptoms are encouraged to contact Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL) or to make an appointment in MySHR.

We are grateful for the community-centered actions that each of our students, faculty, and staff show every day when they express care for each other’s health and well-being, whether it is observing respiratory and hand hygiene, or asking “how are you doing?” to check in with a peer, colleague, or new classmate. As we move toward a hopeful horizon, emerging from pandemic to endemic times, this fall offers a bright, brave, and promising new start for all of us in the Trojan Family.

We look forward to supporting your journey this year. Fight on!