Frequently Asked Questions

Many campus processes and procedures have been modified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are responses to a number of questions that should help give you a sense of what to expect and what you may need to do differently when navigating the campus and its many resources.

Please be advised that some descriptions may refer to resources, buildings or providers of activities whose offices are currently closed. In nearly every case, however, those offices are available via the web, email, phone, etc. If you aren’t finding the information you are looking for here, please share your questions with us and we’ll get back to you.

The Business of Being a Student

Why is my Student ID Card important?

Your UCSC Student ID Card serves many functions. It is your official means of UCSC Identification, use to go into Dining Halls, check out materials from the campus libraries, ride certain city bus routes for free, allows access to the gym, can act as a key card giving you access to your residential building and more.

What is the first step I take to get my Student ID Card?

The process starts with you submitting a passport type photo online – here is a list of all the attributes that photo must have. Staff will then advise you of next steps.


What changes can I expect to encounter in the residential communities on campus?

With recommendations from the CDC, state and local departments of health, and its own Student Health Services, Environmental Health & Safety and other campus offices, UCSC has reduced the number of available student accommodations to primarily single rooms in the residence halls. Accommodations in apartments are singles and doubles but no more than 5 residents per apartment. Consideration has been given to reducing the ratio of students per bathroom on residential floors. So, there will be fewer overall students living on campus at this time.

How will I be able to engage with my on-campus community?

Residential Life staff have been hard at work developing several opportunities for connecting community members through a variety of online programs. More to come on this soon.

Dining on Campus

Am I still able to use the Dining Halls on campus?

Absolutely! Although you will notice several changes. During the summer of 2020, the Colleges Nine and Ten Dining Hall is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Upstairs from the College Nine and Ten Dining Hall, in the Terra Fresca restaurant space, Dining is offering a convenience store or c-store providing some grocery items, grab-n-go meals, snacks and bottled beverages. Customers who pay with Flexi Dollars get a 10% discount. Hours are available online.

How are the Dining Halls operating during the pandemic?

With fewer people on campus, Dining Services has reduced the number of locations at which it is serving customers. It has also implemented numerous changes to its operations in support of everyone’s wellbeing. Currently, all meal options must be taken to go. Patrons are allowed into the Dining Halls in limited numbers, so you may need to wait in line, wearing a face covering, and maintaining physical distancing boundaries. Upon entry, patrons will be provided and required to wear food-handler gloves. Reusable bags are not allowed into the Dining Halls. Here is a summary of the operational changes currently in place for Dining Services.

What options are there for touchless/contactless service?

Currently, two contactless payment options are available at the point of sale: students may use a smartphone to make payments through their respective meal plan funds (Board Meals, Slug Meals, Flexi$), or credit cards can be touchless using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Students who do not have a smartphone, or who have lost/forgotten their phones, may use their physical student ID or credit cards and are asked to swipe their own cards. Sanitizer stations are available immediately after payment processing, before you enter the dining hall. Additionally, all self-service has been eliminated from the dining halls and all food and beverages are served by staff members. You may choose your items at each station and staff will place the items on the counter or table for you.

If you want to avoid the dining hall, several options are available for ordering take-out foods. The GET app can be used to place to-go orders for any UCSC dining-operated locations using a mobile or web-enabled device (please check this list for location details). You can also use the GET app to purchase Slug Meals and Flexi$ right from your mobile device. In addition to campus locations, Flexi$ are also accepted at a number of convenient stores and restaurants around town. GrubHub provides another alternative for using Flexi$; through the GrubHub app, you can purchase food from any vendor that accepts orders through GrubHub.

What if I forget my mask?

The requirement to wear facial coverings is a state/county regulation, and you must have a face mask or other appropriate cloth facial covering to enter any dining facilities. Appropriate coverings include bandanas, neck gaiters, and homemade or commercially-produced face masks with a proper fit covering both your mouth and nose. Unfortunately, if you forget your mask and do not have an appropriate facial covering, we will not be able to let you enter the facility. We do not have additional masks to give out, and you will be asked to leave until you are able to return with an appropriate facial covering. If you had a reservation for dine-in eating and are not able to make it back in time, you may book a new reservation online, however, we cannot guarantee that there will be a space available in the next reservation slot. Alternatively, you may order food for take-out from any of our dining halls using the GET app on any mobile or web-enabled device. You will need to have a facial covering to pick up to-go food orders.

Getting Around Campus

Are the campus shuttles operating at this time? They are, but in very limited capacity – please review Transportation and Parking FAQs related to COVID-19. A limited number of riders, based on the size of the vehicle in use, will be allowed to board at one time. Face coverings are required to board. Riders are expected to maintain maximum distance between each other while on shuttles.

Are city buses running?

Yes, on a very limited schedule – more here.

Health and Wellbeing

How can I best prepare to return to campus?

Stay healthy and practice all CDC recommended measures for resisting infection, including but not limited to wearing face coverings when with others, observe at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and others, etc. UCSC’s Student Health Center has plenty of information for you in this regard. Consider reviewing prevention measures offered by the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, it is likely to be proposed that all students who wish to reside on campus should self-isolate for 14 days prior to coming to campus, and then be sequestered for another 14 days after arriving on campus. With this, move-in is likely to happen earlier than is typical.

Is UCSC doing COVID-19 testing for students?

The Student Health Center is providing testing services to students – an appointment is necessary.

What if I begin feeling unwell?

Be responsible by isolating yourself away from others, notify important people in your life (family, friends, professors, etc.), and call the Student Health Center.

How do I clean and disinfect my living/eating/studying/bathroom spaces?

The Center for Disease Control and Protection has a lot of information on this topic.

How has UC Santa Cruz prepared quarantine/isolation housing?

UC Santa Cruz has created a temporary housing solution for residents in need of quarantine or isolation housing related to COVID-19, in accordance with guidelines set by Center for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health.

A phased approach has been developed in relation to capacity. If the current prepared isolation/quarantine space becomes impacted by an increasing number of residents, a second quarantine/isolation space will be opened. If the second phased quarantine/isolation space becomes impacted, we will move to phase 3, and so on.

How is quarantine/isolation housing used?

When a UC Santa Cruz resident has potentially been exposed to COVID19, but does not display any symptoms (asymptomatic) or displays any of the COVID19 symptoms, the resident should be evaluated by the Student Health Center, which could be by phone. The resident may be tested for COVID19, under the direction of staff at the Student Health Center. If the Student Health Center has cause for concern, the resident may be requested to either isolate in place or temporarily relocate away from shared campus housing to limit the potential of exposure to others. If deemed necessary, staff at the Student Health Center will initiate arrangements for Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The resident may be requested to stay in Quarantine/Isolation Housing for up to 14 days, under the daily phone care of healthcare professionals from the Student Health Center. The university will arrange transportation to and from the quarantine/isolation housing, located on campus, if necessary. If the resident is tested for COVID19 and the result comes back negative, the resident may immediately move back to their residence in their community. The Student Health Center can be reached at (831)459-2500 or the Nurse Advice Line at (831459-2591.

Once a resident is able to safely check out of Quarantine/Isolation Housing, Custodial Services will sanitize and disinfect the space using CDC recommended cleaning procedures.

How do residents in quarantine/isolation Housing receive dining service?

UC Santa Cruz CHES-Dining Services has created a unique system to provide high quality snacks, meals and beverages, delivered directly to residents in Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The online meal ordering system link is provided to residents when they arrive at Quarantine/Isolation Housing. The meal order program takes into account special dietary needs/requests of the individual. Each room in Quarantine/Isolation Housing is outfitted with a microwave and refrigerator. Each room is also equipped with an electric tea kettle.

How can I think about responding to peers who are not following appropriate safety guidelines?

Always consider your own safety first. In less confrontational situations, it is increasingly acceptable to say “stand back”, or “six feet please” to remind others of expected physical distancing guidelines. If the situation seems appropriate, attempt to educate the person about how most people believe a face covering, for example, is a tool not just for reducing risk of infection for one’s self but for others as well. Getting angry, or attempting to shame someone will not necessarily produce the reaction you hope for. For those who don’t seem to be getting the message, it may be best to speak with an instructor or staff person who is better positioned to intervene in positive fashion.

Holding Up Under the Stress of COVID-19

I am concerned about affording the costs associated with my studies and/or residency at UCSC – what resources are available to help me develop a plan for success?

The campus offers a number of services for students facing all manner of challenges. The Financial Aid and Scholarships office regularly works to minimize financial barriers to support students in achieving their educational goals. The Division of Student Affairs and Success and their Slug Support Team can also provide advice and support to students facing challenges.

COVID-19 makes me feel isolated and afraid. Who can I speak with about managing all the stresses related to this situation?

Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP) offers wellness coaching on a broad variety of topics including General Wellness, Sexual Health, Alcohol and Drugs, Nutrition, Time Management and more.

I’m feeling worse than just being stressed out – who can I speak with?

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a variety of Counseling services that are available for any registered UCSC student and are confidential. There is no out-of-pocket fee for CAPS services, and you don’t need UC SHIP or CruzCare to be seen at CAPS.

There are times when I really want to talk to or spend time with people who have had experiences similar to mine and who have likely faced similar struggles. Are there resources that can connect me with people who will understand my identity/identities?

The Resource Centers comprise the four Ethnic Resource Centers: African American Resource and Cultural Center, American Indian Resource Center, Asian American / Pacific Islander Resource Center, and “El Centro” the Chicano Latino Resource Center; as well as the Cantú Queer Center, and the Women’s Center. The centers are currently physically closed, but staff can still be reached by phone or email.

Accommodations are important to my success. Who can I speak with to help secure these valuable resources?

The Disability Resource Center (DRC), exists to assist the UCSC campus with equal educational access for students with disabilities. Its offices are currently closed but is holding remote appointments via phone and video.

Staying Informed

Information about the pandemic keeps changing – where can I easily find up-to-date information that ranges from right here in Santa Cruz on up to the global situation?

The State of California, Santa Cruz County, and the City of Santa Cruz each have regularly updated sites where you should be able to find information about current public health orders and more.

UCSC maintains a page that tracks incidences of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff. The Health Services Agency for Santa Cruz County provides a forecast model and analyses providing historical data as well as projections. Johns Hopkins University & Medicine keeps a dashboard with statistical data and maps (from global down to individual counties) that tracks the spread of this disease.

Athletics and Recreation

Are Athletics and Recreation facilities open?

All Athletics and Recreation facilities are closed with the exception of the outdoor jogging path around the Upper East Field. Please visit its site for more information.

Does Athletics and Recreation offer any online programming?

Yes, it offers a number of virtual cardio, core, yoga, barre classes and more. See here for details and schedule information.

Students Living Off-Campus

Do you have any advice on how I would go about looking for off-campus living arrangements?

UCSC’s Community Rentals Office has information available for both renters and landlords that should be helpful while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where in Santa Cruz County can I be COVID-19 Test?

There are several locations in the county that are doing COVID-19 Testing. The County’s Health Services Agency has a Testing Locator that provides a map showing testing locations and provides address, hours of service, and contact information.