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Dear Santa Clara University Students and Families,

The countdown has begun for the long-awaited return to campus for 3,300 resident undergraduate and graduate students, including 1,566 first years; more than 250 transfer students; as well as thousands more attending classes in person for fall term. Some graduate students are already on campus, with our law and some MBA programs having started in mid-August.

We write today to share important health and safety protocols that will be part of your campus life for fall term. The COVID-19 Delta variant and the increasing number of cases in many parts of the country and world have not yet begun to recede as we had hoped. County health officials advise that it is mandatory to continue many health and safety protocols to keep our community safe from breakthrough infections. Widespread new cases could hinder our plans for a fully in-person campus experience, as well as expose our neighbors to prolonged COVID-19 risk. We implore all students to pay close attention to these important guidelines to keep our community safe and our return-to-campus plans on track.

Mandatory Proof of Vaccination
Deadline is September 1

Thank you to students who have already submitted your proof of vaccination. As previously announced, all students must be fully vaccinated and upload their proof of vaccination by September 1 (tomorrow).  Students who have not done so, and have not received approval for a medical exemption, will be notified with a final warning to upload their proof of vaccination. 

Students who previously shared their vaccination status through Vax Verify must now resubmit proof of vaccination. To resubmit:

  1. Go into your Cowell Center | My Student Health Portal 
  2. Click the button "Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information"
  3. Upload a copy of your vaccination card
  4. Record the date of each vaccination dose, along with the name of the vaccine  

For those who have submitted their proof of vaccination, please be assured that we are working as rapidly as possible on verification and you will receive an email should there be any issues with your submission. To double check whether you have successfully submitted your proof of vaccination, please log into your Cowell Center | My Student Health Portal. Open the “Immunization Upload” tab to see if a copy of your proof of vaccination card is there. If it is not, please resubmit your information using the “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information” button on your home page. We appreciate your patience throughout this process. If you continue to have problems uploading your vaccine card, please contact

On September 17, students who are still noncompliant will be advised that they will not be able to attend classes or live in University housing. This includes all classes in all modalities, whether in-person, hybrid or fully remote.

The Office of the Registrar will notify these students that they have been dropped from all classes. Additional information will be provided to noncompliant students regarding their full fall term withdrawal, and the resulting impact on tuition, fees and financial aid (if any). The Housing Office will notify these students that their housing contracts have been terminated. 

International Student Vaccination Information
  • Students arriving from outside of the US who may not have had access to vaccines, in addition to their arrival quarantine must begin the vaccine protocol as soon as possible after arrival. We realize that this may be after the September 1 requirement stated in recent communications to students. Please plan for arrival quarantine and schedule appointments for vaccination now.
  • Students arriving from outside of the US can move into SCU housing and attend class in person as an unvaccinated individual, as long as they have completed their arrival quarantine and have had at least one shot. Until fully vaccinated, international students must wear face coverings at all times, test weekly, and follow any other protocols in place for unvaccinated individuals. 
  • On Thursday, September 16, Santa Clara County will hold a pop-up vaccination clinic on campus for students and the surrounding community. Schedule your vaccination appointment today.
  • All undergraduate students living on campus should plan on weekly testing for the entire fall term.

Mandatory Entry Testing

All students—even those fully vaccinated—must  participate in SCU’s mandatory entry testing at the start of fall term. This testing is important because studies have shown that fully vaccinated persons can become infected with COVID-19 (especially the more-transmissible Delta variant) and spread it to others without having symptoms themselves. 

 For undergraduate students, this means a three-test process:

  • Take Test No. 1. Students moving into campus housing must get tested as soon as possible once they move in (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday). Off-campus students should plan to get tested as soon as possible starting in that same time frame.
  • Take Steps to Avoid Transmission: Students should plan for three to four days in between tests, during which time they should take careful precautions to avoid transmitting to others, in case they are unknowingly positive. This includes wearing masks indoors at all times (except while eating, drinking or sleeping); not eating or drinking in indoor classrooms; wearing masks outdoors in large gatherings where social distancing is not possible. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you should behave as if you may be positive, and get tested as soon as possible. 
  • Take Test No. 2: After three or four days (those who test on Monday should plan on testing again on Friday, for example) students should get tested again. 
  • Take Test No. 3. All students should take one more test at the beginning of the second week of classes.

Graduate students (excluding law and executive MBA who have already completed testing) will have a modified testing protocol, and should plan on getting tested twice, at the beginning of weeks 1 and 2 of their term. Students at the Berkeley campus of Jesuit School of Theology will be expected to be tested once weekly for the first three weeks. Testing locations, hours and other information will be emailed to all students.   

On-campus testing will be done with self-administered nasal swabs from Color. Students can register with Color at Swab kits can be picked up in dorms and at Benson Memorial Center. Completed samples can be dropped off at the same locations.   

Mandatory Weekly Testing 

All resident undergraduates, as well as any students who received official University medical waivers from the vaccine mandate, will be required to get tested weekly for COVID-19.

Quarantine and Isolation 

Given ongoing community transmission in our county, we expect to see some positive cases on campus. Because our campus will be largely vaccinated, isolation and/or quarantine procedures will be somewhat different than procedures before vaccination was available. 

Positive Cases

Isolation for Students in On-Campus Housing
Those living on campus who test positive will be contacted by the SCU COVID Support Team. The University will provide instructions and resources for isolating for 10 days. Depending on the configuration of housing accommodations and other factors, some students may be moved to a separate isolation or quarantine space.

If a student in your class tests positive, everyone enrolled in the class will be notified of the potential exposure with instructions on what to do. You will be asked to test but you are not required to quarantine unless you are experiencing symptoms or are unvaccinated. If you test positive you must enter isolation.    

Those who test positive and are in isolation, or those who are close contacts and advised to quarantine, should reach out to their professors to request help in receiving classroom materials in order to keep up with their classwork. Many professors will provide recordings of class lectures; offer access via livestream; and /or share online assignment information, in the event one or more students are moving in or out of isolation or quarantine. 

Close Contacts

If you are notified that you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, you will not necessarily be required to quarantine or refrain from going to class.

For a full list of isolation and quarantine guidelines and health and safety expectations, please visit PreparedSCU

To keep you updated, we will continue to provide regular messages on campus activities and all COVID-related developments. Thank you for your attention and care for one another as we navigate what we hope is the final leg of this pandemic crisis.

Craig Stephens
Professor, Biology and Public Health
Testing Team Lead, COVID-19 Operations Team

Kat Saxton
Associate Professor, Biology and Public Health
COVID-19 Health Ambassador, COVID-19 Operations Team

David Hess
Associate Professor, Biology
Tracking and Tracing Team Lead, COVID-19 Operations Team