COVID-19 Testing Policy


Issued: 1/7/2021
Edited: 5/3/2021

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.

5. Policy Details

Effective May 3, 2021, COVID-19 surveillance testing at times and dates established by USC will be required for all students, faculty, and staff who are not 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;
  • 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

  1. Population Surveillance Testing:
    • Prior to on-campus return
      1. For students, testing may occur upon a student’s return on-campus as a condition of the student’s access to campus or as a condition to participation 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, and/or at any other time at the sole discretion of USC.
      2. For faculty and staff, testing may occur upon a faculty or staff member’s return to work on-campus, as a condition of the faculty or staff member’s continued work on-campus, and at any other time that the faculty or staff member works on-campus, as defined above.
      3. In addition, USC may administer routine testing through random sampling of faculty, staff, and students or in the event of outbreaks.
    • Ongoing unvaccinated population surveillance testing
      1. Faculty, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated are not required to participate in routine surveillance testing. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated after two weeks have passed following a second dose of a two-dose series or a single dose of a single-dose series.
      2. All faculty, staff, and students who are not fully vaccinated will be assigned a testing frequency schedule which may be subject to change based on prevalence of infection within the campus community.
      3. Faculty, staff, and students compliant with their assigned testing schedule may continue to be present on-campus while awaiting test results. Individuals who are non-compliant with testing requirements are permitted to access provided they have a test scheduled within 24 hours.
      4. Faculty, staff, and students who screen positive may require secondary testing before either clearance to enter campus or confirmation of a covid-19 diagnosis. Faculty, staff, and students awaiting secondary screening must remain off campus in isolation until testing in completed. Faculty and staff will remain in pay status during this period.
      5. Faculty, staff, and students who test positive for COVID-19 are not required to complete surveillance testing for 90 days from their onset of symptoms or date of positive test, whichever comes first.
    • Students may choose to be tested on-site at designated locations at the UPC and HSC Campus. Non-exempt faculty and staff should be released to be tested during their shift at an on-campus testing site closest to their work location, to the extent reasonably possible. Results will be communicated to tested individuals.
    • Non-exempt faculty and staff will be compensated for the time spent getting tested, including travel time to the nearest testing location designated by USC. In the event a non-exempt faculty or staff member screens positive and requires secondary testing, and the non-exempt faculty or staff member is unable to perform work remotely, the non-exempt faculty or staff member will be compensated for the scheduled hours of work that the non-exempt faculty or staff member missed because the non-exempt faculty or staff member cannot work on-campus while awaiting the results of secondary testing.
  2. For students, faculty, and staff who test positive:
    • The results will be communicated to USC Student Health for case investigation and contact tracing.
    • Test results will be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and all other regulatory agency as required by law.
    • Faculty and staff test results will be reported to USC’s workers’ compensation claims administrator, as required.
    • If you receive a positive COVID-19 result from an off-campus testing location, you are required to notify the university through the COVID-19 hotline at 213-740-6291 or Email:
  3. Data Handling and Privacy
    • COVID-19 test results will not be included in a faculty or staff member’s personnel file or student’s educational record.
  4. Employees of vendors and contractors should refer to and On-Campus Non-Employee Screening Procedures for testing requirements pertaining to non-USC employees

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.

No exceptions to the testing requirement are permitted, except where permitted 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 be subject to review in accordance with the employee COVID-19 accountability matrix. 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 COVID-19 accountability process.

Students, faculty, and staff 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. Revision History

Revised on May 3, 2021.

12. Policy URL

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