Recommended COVID-19 Asymptomatic Campus Testing Program for Graduate Students

October 15, 2020

Dear UC Santa Barbara Graduate Students,

As the new academic year gets underway, I want to take a moment to extend a warm welcome to our graduate student community. We greet the year ahead with excitement and anticipation, even though our fall quarter doesn’t look quite the way we hoped it would, and our campus is not the same without you.

We appreciate your sacrifices, perseverance, and commitment to pursuing your advanced degrees. We value your contributions to our academic community, and we are here to support you in achieving your goals. We are grateful for the collaborative efforts of our administrative leaders at all levels, our Academic Senate leadership, graduate students, Graduate Division leadership, faculty, and staff who have been working tirelessly throughout the summer on our graduate programs, research and teaching resources, student support services, campus efforts regarding diversity, equity, and inclusivity, and so much more. We are also deeply grateful to our Student Health colleagues, campus medical experts, and COVID-19 response team who have helped us to develop a robust testing program for members of our UC Santa Barbara community who are approved to be on campus, in compliance with state, local, and University of California public health policies, so that together we can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Our graduate students are an essential part of this collaborative effort, and we thank you for your participation and shared commitment to the health of our community. The value of our program was recently demonstrated when we identified several asymptomatic virus-positive cases in our community. The individuals concerned were quarantined and campus exposure tracing was conducted to mitigate the risk of spread. COVID-19 transmission in Isla Vista continues to be a concern for our community, especially given recent reports of social gatherings.

At this time, the campus plans to offer up to 5,000 appointments each week to accommodate eligible students, faculty, and staff members who are coming to campus. In the coming weeks, we will increase our testing capacity in order to accommodate more testing for our campus community and to prepare for the winter and spring quarters.

In addition to the required daily symptom survey by smartphone or computer, the campus is implementing a random asymptomatic testing program for graduate students who have been authorized to come to campus for instructional, research, or work purposes that cannot be performed at home. Students selected at random will be notified following the completion of the daily symptom survey and required to make an appointment at the campus testing centers.

All graduate students in the category listed above are eligible and strongly urged to participate in weekly campus COVID-19 testing. This asymptomatic testing is critical to helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in the broader community.

Based on input from our students and in consultation with campus medical experts, the campus has decided to implement the asymptomatic random testing program, and to change previous guidance for graduate students living in campus housing from required testing to strongly recommended testing. The current campus testing guidance for all campus populations, including frequency and mandatory testing, is subject to change based on public health guidance and university policy.

We have included a Q&A below with specific information on our testing program, links for making appointments, and information about other COVID-19 testing resources in the area. We are committed to working with our community to try to address any concerns that may arise.

For questions regarding our testing program, please contact our Campus COVID-19 Response Team at ucsb-covid19@ucsb.edu or (805) 893-3113.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will share more details about our plans for the winter quarter. While we look forward eagerly to the time when we can welcome everyone back to campus, we know that we are strong of spirit and have built a vibrant community where all of us can connect no matter where we are living. We are tremendously proud to be part of this special community, and we look forward to a wonderful year together.

Sincerely,

Henry T. Yang
Chancellor

 


UC Santa Barbara Testing Program Information for Graduate Students

What kind of COVID-19 test is this?

  • The University is currently using sensitive RT-PCR tests to provide our community with asymptomatic testing and results at no charge to the individual.
  • Tests are self-administered using a nasal swab, with a healthcare provider present to offer individualized instruction. (General nasal swab instructions can be viewed here.)
  • The confidential results will be available through the UCSB Testing Patient Portal, generally within 48 hours. Individuals who test positive for coronavirus will be contacted by the campus’s COVID-19 Response Team with instructions for isolation and treatment.
  • The campus is also exploring alternative testing options that we hope to make available to our community later in the quarter that could greatly increase the existing campus testing capacity.
     

Am I required to get a test? How often?

  • All new graduate students who are coming to campus for the first time are required to be tested once and are strongly urged to make appointments for weekly testing.
  • Graduate students who have been authorized to come to campus for instructional, research, or work purposes that cannot be performed at home will be selected randomly through the daily symptom survey process for required testing.
  • All graduate students who live in campus housing or are scheduled to be on campus for instructional, research, or work purposes are strongly urged to make appointments to be tested weekly.
  • All faculty, academic personnel, and staff who are scheduled to be on campus for instructional, research, or work purposes are also strongly urged to make appointments to be tested weekly.
  • Testing requirements for all community members are subject to change based on public health, University of California, or campus policy.
     

Other categories that are required to be tested according to UC and campus policies include:

  • All undergraduate students living in university housing or working on campus.
  • All undergraduate students attending in-person instruction sessions on campus.
     

How do I make an appointment?

  • To make your appointment, log on to the UCSB Testing Patient Portal using your UCSB NetID and password. Select “Appointments” and then select “COVID-19 Services.” Select “I need to schedule my weekly COVID-19 testing” and answer the questions. Select an available date and time and click “Continue.” Confirm your appointment date and time and then click “Schedule.” Note: You must click “Schedule” or your appointment will not be confirmed. Also, be sure to add the appointment time and location to your calendar.
  • You will receive an email reminder 24 hours prior to your appointment. If you have opted-in to receive text messages, a text reminder will be sent to you an hour prior to your appointment.
  • Appointments are made in 5-minute intervals, and the time onsite is generally less than 15 minutes.
     

Where can I go to be tested?

The following testing sites are open by appointment for asymptomatic students from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • Calaveras Lounge in the San Joaquin Villages apartments.
  • Loma Pelona. 
  • Additional testing sites will be added in the coming weeks for the convenience of those faculty and staff on the east side of campus.
     

What if I have COVID-19 symptoms OR I am living in the area and want to be tested, but not coming to campus?

  • COVID-19 testing for students with symptoms or recent exposure to a positive case is available at Student Health at no charge. Call (805) 893-7129 for testing appointments. PLEASE DO NOT GO TO CALAVERAS OR LOMA PELONA TESTING FACILITIES IF YOU ARE SYMPTOMATIC.
  • UC Santa Barbara community members who are not eligible for asymptomatic campus testing at this time can receive free testing through Santa Barbara County at the Goleta Community Center. Schedule online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or phone (888) 634-1123.
  • UCSB has worked with Santa Barbara County to offer additional free testing at the IV Theater from 12-4 p.m. on October 23 and 24 and November 6 and 7 by appointment or walk-in. https://publichealthsbc.org/testing/


Who should I contact if I have questions about on campus testing?

  • For questions regarding our testing program, please contact the Campus COVID-19 Response Team at ucsb-covid19@ucsb.edu or (805) 893-3113.