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.

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

General Questions

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

  1. Individuals who test positive, if they need to be around others, for 10 days. (Isolation guidance applies.)
  2. Individuals who are exposed to COVID-19, for 10 days after exposure when indoors around others (Isolation does not apply.)
  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.

For the academic year 2023-2024:

  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.

If you are a USC Housing resident, remind your roommate of the isolation requirements/options for students in USC Housing. You may also remind your roommate that completing the contact tracing form in MySHR for students is required.

All students who 1) test positive for COVID-19 and 2) have been on campus 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms are required to complete the contact tracing form in MySHR.

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 for themselves.

If you have concerns, let your roommate know that wearing a mask protects them and those around them. Wearing an N95 mask is also effective protection for yourself.

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 follow current isolation guidance. Avoid contact with others as much as possible until you test negative with an antigen test or the full 10 days have passed since your onset of symptoms.

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),