Health & Safety FAQs

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions regarding health and safety. For specific information about personal protective equipment (PPE) use and guidelines as well as other health-specific workplace requirements, please visit the USC Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 Resource Center.

For information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ page.

For employee-specific information regarding remote work and returning to work please visit the COVID-19 Employee Resources page on the USC Employee Gateway.

Please visit to review the “Health and Safety Standards for Students.”

If you have questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please email Our response team will help find an answer.

General Questions

USC Student Health offers a campus program conducting population testing (“Pop. Testing”) of COVID-19. The ongoing testing is part of the university’s overall testing strategy to identify, isolate, contact trace and contain new infections. See the FAQs for additional details. Take-home kits are available, and scheduling appointments for testing, or kit drop-off, is available through MySHR.

As of 1/2/23, the Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health is recommending that students returning to classes and employees returning to work should mask around others for 10 days when returning to classes and work.

Per current LA County public health officer orders, masking is required for:

  1. health care settings
  2. Individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 (for 10 days after exposure)
  3. During a workplace, classroom, or residence hall outbreak

Masking is strongly recommended in public transit and transit hubs, and for individuals with high-risk health conditions in crowded indoor settings.

In all other indoor settings individuals may decide to wear a mask based on their individual preferences.

Please visit our testing data section to view the latest numbers, positivity rates and more.

For the spring 2023 semester, the university is updating its COVID-19 isolation processes.

  1. All residents in university operated, communal-style on-campus housing (Birnkrant, Marks, New North, Pardee) are required to isolate at university-provided isolation locations if they are positive for COVID-19.
  2. Students in university operated, suite- or apartment-style university housing may request university-provided isolation.
  3. Students in off-campus, non-university housing (private leasing) are not provided isolation space.

For students who test positive and require isolation accommodations, they should complete the contact tracing form in MySHR, which contains a section for requesting isolation accommodations.

Roommates and suitemates of positive individuals do not meet the criteria for isolation space.

Students with high-risk medical conditions who have questions about potential COVID-19 exposure or infection in a roommate or housemate can contact USC Student Health using the Advice Nurse message option in MySHR. Student Health is also available by phone at 213-740-9355 (WELL).

Questions related to COVID-19 processes may be directed to; 213-740-6291.

If you are a USC student or employee who has been in any USC facility or program within 48 hours prior to your onset of symptoms, you are required to complete the contact tracing form in these instructions. If you are living in communal-style housing (Birnkrant, Marks, New North, or Pardee) on campus, you are REQUIRED to go into isolation accommodations until you are cleared by USC Student Health to leave isolation.

Going to isolation accommodations is optional for students in apartment-style and suite-style living quarters managed by USC Housing.

Congregate living arrangements show a rapid and higher rate of transmission. In these types of housing arrangements, called congregate settings (and includes nursing homes, communal student housing, halfway housing, incarceration units, cruise ships, large households in close quarters), spread of infectious disease is higher because there are multiple people who travel repeatedly between spaces and residents, often 24/7, and many points of contact where viruses can travel through these repeated contacts. Use of shared restrooms and dining facilities are of particular risk.

Isolation accommodations can be arranged until 9PM each evening. Students who are feeling symptomatic are strongly recommended to use an antigen test kit (can be obtained from the CSC desks in USC Housing) before 8PM for any same-day isolation arrangements. If a student misses this cutoff, arrangements will be made for moving to isolation early the next morning.

Some other practical arrangements that can help reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Make sure you have taken the COVID-19 bivalent booster.
  • Maximize physical distancing. Arrange to sleep with your head spaced at a maximum distance from your roommate’s head. (Feet towards each other, heads apart).
  • Wear a high-filtration mask that is well-fitted.
  • If you have a window that opens, open the window for better air exchange.

Contact and include information with your contact information and the details of the situation (time, date, location, persons involved). You can also call the COVID-19 hotline (business hours, Monday-Friday) at 213-740-6291. Students who do not follow the required infectious disease reporting and isolation processes of the university may be subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Roommates and suite mates do not meet the criteria for isolation accommodations.

If you have concerns, let your roommate know that wearing a mask protects them and those around them.

If you are a USC Housing resident, also remind your roommate of the isolation requirements/options for students in USC Housing. If you need additional assistance, please contact your Resident Assistant (RA) or Residential College/Community Coordinator (RCC).

Yes. If you are positive for COVID-19, you are required to isolate and stay in your room for a minimum of five days. Do not have contact with others until you test negative with an antigen test.

Contact USC Student Health. You can use the MySHR portal to send a message to the Advice Nurse, or you can call 213-740-9355 (WELL),