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. Researchers should see the restart research FAQs.
How will you accommodate students, faculty and staff who are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
If you identify as someone who might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or underlying health conditions, or have family members in the “high risk” category, temporary academic or workplace accommodations will be granted to the extent feasible. Staff and faculty with concerns should contact their supervisors, department chairs, HR partners, or deans of faculty, who will work with Disability Services and Programs (DSP). Students should contact DSP directly.
Will students, faculty and staff be required to complete health and safety training prior to returning to campus?
Before returning to campus, every student, faculty, and staff member must complete the 'Health, Hygiene and Safety Training' module on TrojanLearn (requires flash-compatible browser), which covers topics such as proper handwashing, physical distancing, mandatory use of facial coverings, and sanitation protocols, as well as illness reporting and actions for individuals at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
As part of the training, each person will sign an attestation committing to follow the protocols the university is putting in place. Every person who returns to campus is responsible not only for their own health, but in caring for the health and well-being of everyone around them. The training and attestation underscore the need for a commitment by all to adhere to USC’s physical distancing, hand hygiene, and facial covering requirements.
What health considerations should students take into account when deciding whether to return to campus in the fall?
- Cases and outbreaks are expected to occur. All students should have honest and thoughtful conversations about their personal health and well-being with their families and/or personal support networks in order to decide whether any sort of campus return is right for them.
- Isolation and quarantine procedures will be available and required. When the inevitable cases of COVID-19 occur, individuals who are exposed will be required to quarantine for 14 days, and those who are ill will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days and sometimes longer. While USC is prepared to provide support through dedicated accommodations and regular check-ins, quarantine and isolation may be difficult for many students. Students should consider this impact when deciding to return.
- Students with high risk medical conditions such as underlying medical conditions (e.g., immunocompromised, pregnancy, diabetes, heart or lung conditions) should discuss their health with their current provider. Students should consider whether being in a campus environment in the City of Los Angeles is right for them this semester. If you decide to access campus this fall and have a chronic medical condition, contact USC Student Health. Please make sure you have a continuity of care plan with campus providers.
All students, faculty, and staff members returning to campus will be required to complete Trojan Check, a brief wellness assessment that must be completed each day before entering campus. Trojan Check is available online. View an overview video of Trojan Check along with step-by-step videos for how to log in, create reservations and complete your wellness assessment.
Upon completion of the assessment, the system generates a pass that will be required to access campus and select buildings.
Employees: If you are unable to complete Trojan Check online due to lack of access to a personal computing or mobile device, please contact your supervisors, department chairs, HR partners or deans of faculty.
Testing is available on campus for faculty, staff, and students who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or are exposed. Surveillance testing (a sampling of the population) will be conducted on an ongoing basis. We will share more information about where and when testing will be administered on campus over the coming weeks.
A dedicated USC contact tracing team through USC Student Health will coordinate notification of any exposed persons with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, as well as any needed cleaning and community notifications. The dedicated team closely tracks all cases to allow for early recognition of outbreaks.
We will provide regular online updates about rates of infection and notifications for groups who may have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Notifications will be targeted to individuals and groups who may need to be tested, self-isolate, or self-monitor for symptoms.
All students – whether they live on or off campus – will have accommodation arrangements made for quarantine. The medical team at USC Student Health will authorize these arrangements. We will also provide lodging for faculty and staff who cannot quarantine safely at home.
For the general public, a cloth face covering is required. For additional guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) in specialized settings, please visit the USC Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 Resource Center.
It is imperative that we share the responsibility for keeping our entire community safe. Faculty, staff, and students will be expected to follow all on-campus protocols – including wearing a face covering – and to observe the safety guidelines in their offices, classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, and off-campus housing and when out interacting with the community. We all must do our part to protect ourselves and those populations on our campus and in our neighborhoods who are at a higher risk. Anyone who is unable to follow these rules can request accommodation; all others are required to comply.
Do students, faculty and staff need to self-quarantine before returning to campus following international travel?
All travelers from international destinations are required by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the United States before arriving on campus or residing in campus housing.
While USC provides hand sanitizer in dispensers at locations throughout the campuses, it's important to note that hand sanitizer does not replace handwashing with soap and water. Handwashing is a more effective way to reduce the spread of infection.
Environmental Health and Safety
We are currently reconfiguring our facilities and spaces to reduce the risk associated with virus transmission, and anticipate that the number of rooms available for teaching and other activities will be severely restricted this term. We are configuring workspaces to allow for 6 feet between individuals and will be installing barriers in workspaces where people must face each other or are unable to be 6 feet apart.
There are also overall limits to the total number of people in a room, set by the county. In-person meetings will be limited to 10 people per gathering and ensure 6 feet of physical distancing.
Classes held in person will be limited in size so that students can maintain 6 feet of physical distance during instruction.
The university has implemented a robust cleaning and sanitation process in all public buildings and recreation spaces. Classrooms, especially high touch surfaces, for example, are thoroughly cleaned three times a day. Restrooms and high touch areas will also receive special attention. Additionally, cleaning supplies will be available for individuals to make touch-ups to their workspaces.
All centrally controlled heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) building systems are run at least two hours before and after building occupancy. Systems that have the ability to run with 100 percent outside air will be run during this time to flush the buildings with filtered outside air.
We have also disabled the centrally managed demand control ventilation system to maximize the amount of outside air to each space within the buildings at all times.
USC’s HVAC systems are designed to meet all required ventilation standards and building codes by allowing enough fresh outdoor air to control contaminant levels in buildings.
In line with public health guidance, many of our buildings will not be at full occupancy, and all occupants must adhere to physical distancing measures. This results in higher per person outdoor air flow rates to control contaminants, including COVID-19.
We encourage students, faculty and staff to use the stairs inside campus buildings whenever possible. Most elevators should be limited to two occupants per cab, and everyone is required to wear a face mask while traveling alone or with other occupants.
Avoid touching the elevator buttons with an exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers upon departing the elevator. Those waiting for elevators in lobbies should practice appropriate physical distancing.