COVID-19 General Update (9/1/23)

A Campus Message from:

Sarah Van Orman, MD MMM FACHA, Vice President and Chief Campus Health Officer

Deona Willes, MPH, CLS, Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety 

We have seen a slight expected increase in COVID-19 cases recently, both at the LA County and campus levels, as people have returned from summer schedules into the patterns of fall activities. This follows a similar trend as in previous years when returns from travel and the increase in contact between people can lead to an uptick in cases.

Campus COVID-19 protocols remain consistent with the systems in place from the previous academic year. The following reminders can serve to help reduce illness and help us navigate this fall’s respiratory illness season.  

Health and Hygiene (See the tip sheet)

Handwashing for 20 seconds or longer (or using hand sanitizer when handwashing stations are not available) is one of the most consistent ways of preventing illness for yourself and others. 

Stay home if you are sick. Do not go to class, work, or activities. 

• If you develop any symptoms, please test. Antigen Test Kits are available to you at the USC Bookstores, the CSC desks in USC Housing, and the Engemann (UPC) and Eric Cohen (HSC) student health buildings.

• You are encouraged to choose to wear a mask based on your preference and personal risk. N95 masks are available to you (by request) through Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S).

Testing Positive

• If you have been on campus during the 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms, you are required to complete the Contact Tracing Form in MySHR.  

• Students in USC Housing can request isolation accommodations through this form. Students in privately leased housing are advised to follow hygiene recommendations for isolation.

• Isolate for a minimum of 5 days, and wear a well-fitting mask (medical, N95 respirator, KN95 or KF94) for 10 days. Date of symptom onset is day zero. 

• Employees needing to isolate due to COVID-19 should check with their supervisors for remote work options. 

Surveillance through Wastewater Testing

• Surveillance of COVID-19 prevalence continues to be monitored by wastewater testing of campus residence halls; when signals for SARS-CoV2 are detected, students in that residence hall are required to pick up an antigen test kit from the CSC desks and test. 


• Getting vaccinated is one of the ways you can continue to protect yourself and the community this respiratory illness season. Flu vaccination outreach on campus will begin next week, through both USC Student Health (for students, this begins on Tuesday, Sept. 5) and the USC Pharmacies (for faculty and staff, this begins on Monday, Sept. 11). 

• Information on the updated fall COVID-19 vaccine will be shared in a few weeks when recommendations and doses are available. 

As we head into the holiday weekend, follow general hygiene guidance as you enjoy this break, and test if you feel sick after travel or going out with others. Please send general questions to, or call Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL). 

Have a healthy and enjoyable weekend.