COVID-19 Testing Policy


Issued: 1/7/2021
Last Revised: 9/3/2021
Last Reviewed: 9/3/2021

2. Policy Purpose

To protect and support the health and safety of the USC Community by surveillance testing faculty, staff, and student populations for potential COVID-19 infection, and to use this information to prevent, reduce, track, and contain the transmission of COVID-19 at USC. This policy does not address COVID-19 testing available for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have a close exposure. It is effective January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 and may be extended as necessary.

3. Scope and Application

This policy applies to faculty, staff, and students who are on-campus at the University of Southern California (USC). Vendors and contractors whose business with USC requires that they come on-campus are subject to testing requirements set forth in the Vendor and Contractor COVID-19 Testing Policy and Procedures.

4. Definitions

On-CampusFor purposes of this policy, a location is considered on-campus if it takes place within USC’s Clery geography, as defined in the Annual Security & Fire Safety Report issued by the USC Department of Public Safety.  This includes, but is not limited to, University Park Campus, Health Sciences Campus, USC Village, USC Housing, and the Coliseum.
COVID-19 Population Surveillance TestingTesting performed for asymptomatic and non-exposed individuals.
Fully Vaccinated Individuals are considered fully vaccinated if they have provided verification of having received a vaccination approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use listing (EUL) to meet USC vaccination requirements and two weeks have passed since their final vaccine dose.

5. Policy Details

Effective August 2, 2021, COVID-19 surveillance testing at times and dates established by USC will be required for all students (regardless of vaccination status) and faculty and staff who have not been fully vaccinated, which include:

  • Faculty, staff, and students working on campus, as defined above, at USC’s direction
  • All students attending in-person classes or participating in any in-person activity or event that USC faculty/staff sponsor, fund, or organize and in which involvement or participation by one or more USC students, faculty, and/or staff is planned or reasonably expected to occur
  • All students living in USC Housing or in housing owned or controlled by a recognized student organization, even if they are taking a fully online schedule
  • Any USC faculty or staff member coming on campus for any length of time for work regardless of frequency who have not been fully vaccinated
  • Any student coming on campus for any length of time regardless of frequency 

Thereafter, the same requirement will stand through December 31, 2021 and may be extended as necessary.

Employees who work at Keck Medicine of USC should refer to Keck Medicine of USC-specific policies related to COVID-19. To be clear, this policy excludes employees who work at Keck Medicine of USC, including but not limited to those who work at Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

COVID-19 Population Surveillance Testing will be available at no charge through USC.

6. Procedures

The university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is based on guidance from public health officials and current research. As guidance or research changes, the university community may be asked to follow processes and procedures not specified in this policy. New or amended procedures will be shared with the university community at Information about testing hours and locations can be found at

7. Forms


8. Responsibilities

USC Student HealthMaintaining and implementing this policy.
SVP of AdministrationAuthorized to issue official university policy.
All faculty, staff and studentsExpected to comply with university policy.
Departments with contractors or visitorsDepartments receiving information about a contractor or visitor to campus who has tested positive for COVID-19 should contact the COVID-19 line 213-740-6291 or

9. Related Information


To participate in in-person university activities or access campus, students, faculty, and staff must participate in the on-campus testing program if not fully vaccinated.

No exceptions to the testing requirement are permitted, except where required by law.  Faculty and staff who fail to comply with the policy will not be authorized to work on site/enter campus, or participate in in-person university activities, and the behavior may put them at risk of disciplinary action. Students who fail to comply by the specified deadline will be prohibited from entering campus, living in university-owned housing, attending in person classes, or participating in in-person activities and events, and the behavior may be subject to review in accordance with the student conduct process.  

Faculty, staff and students with a positive test result must follow all applicable quarantine or isolation requirements.

COVID-19 population surveillance testing is only one strategy in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Employees and students who are tested are also expected to follow all other published university policies and guidelines regarding the reduction of COVID-19 transmission, including hand washing, wearing a face covering, completion of Trojan Check, and physical distancing.


Testing Locations

The university has a number of on-campus testing locations spread out across campus. Visit to see the locations and hours.

Testing Schedules

The university will help students, faculty, and staff create a testing schedule that specifies which days to get tested. Students, faculty, and staff can visit any of the on-campus COVID-19 testing locations to participate in the testing program.

Testing requirements will be applied in a consistent, non-discriminatory manner in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations and state and federal guidelines.

Contact Tracing

The university has formed a dedicated contact tracing team to contact those with a positive test result, as well as those who may have been exposed or who believe they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Contact tracing is a confidential process used to reduce the spread of the virus.  Those known to be exposed to an employee or student with the virus will be contacted and will be referred for testing and medical care as appropriate.

Employees and students have electronic access to test results. When an individual tests positive, the contact tracing team will call the individual within 24 hours. The team will provide isolation instructions and provide notification to USC employees, students, and subcontractors who may have had a close contact with a positive case, providing quarantine instructions and referral for testing. Details of the case and the list of those exposed is submitted to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to conduct further contact tracing. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety will be responsible for tracking and reporting any positive employee cases to Cal/OSHA as required.  To the extent that USC employees represented by a union are exposed, USC will notify the employees’ union representative.

10. Contacts

Please direct any questions regarding this policy to:


11. Policy URL

The policy will be listed at This link may be shared in community messages and on the We are SC website.