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Off Campus Living

Fall 2020 Guide to Off Campus Living

Welcome back to a new school year, Broncos, and welcome back to the neighborhood! Although our return to Santa Clara looks different this year, we want to provide some key information about living in the surrounding university area this fall. Additionally, this guide details the health and safety protocols that SCU has established in order to protect our community. For additional information on academics, campus life and activities, student services, dining, or tuition and financial aid, please visit the Student Experience portal on Prepared SCU.

Expectations for Students

Health and Safety Protocols

To reduce the spread of the virus in our community, we have put in place a number of health and safety protocols, as recommended by the health experts and medical authorities in our county and state. These protocols are part of the ‘Community of Care’ pact, our commitment to each other to all do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to:

  • Report positive COVID-19 test results at 408-554-5100, regardless of location
  • Complete a Daily Symptom Tracker
  • Not come to campus if you are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Participate in SCU’s COVID-19 contact tracing program
  • Wear face coverings at all times on campus—indoors and outdoors
    • Note: Face coverings do not eliminate the need to follow social-distancing practices—face coverings and social distancing complement each other
  • Practice social distancing (6-feet minimum) at all times—indoors and outdoors
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently throughout the day
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene
  • Abide by posted occupancy limits in elevators
  • Students who received waivers to live in on-campus housing will not be permitted to enter other residence halls, host any guests, or use many communal facilities 

Everyone —whether they come on campus or not— is expected to do their part to halt the spread of COVID-19. Signs are posted throughout the campus reminding our community of these expectations. 

Commit to the Bronco COVID-19 Pact

Daily Symptom Tracking, Contact Tracing, Testing, Quarantining

Daily Symptom Tracking
All students who will be coming to campus, regardless of whether they live on or off campus, are required to use the Daily Symptom Tracking App, or an online version of the Daily Symptom Tracker. The app will guide you each morning to track any symptoms that could indicate the presence of COVID-19, and what to do if any are detected. To access the Daily Symptom Tracker, download the SCU Mobile App.

Contact Tracing
Students are expected to participate in SCU’s COVID-19 contact tracing program and report positive cases, wherever you live. Any student who experiences a positive test—with or without symptoms, no matter where they live— is asked to report their situation to 408-554-5100. The information collected confidentially will be used to inform campus departments handling SCU’s COVID-19 response, including the SCU Tracking Team; Human Resources; Cowell Health Center; University Operations (for cleaning, closure, etc.); Office of Student Life; required county authorities; and University Marketing and Communications for website updates.

COVID-19 testing will be available for free to students as outlined below. Testing will take place at Locatelli Center or outside Cowell Health Center in “pop-up” sites. Students will self-administer nasal swab tests under supervision of a medical practitioner. Samples will be sent to a contracted laboratory, with results delivered within 3 days. Students who should expect to be tested include: 

  • Students coming to campus for classes or any other purpose—utilizing study areas in the Benson Memorial Center or Learning Commons; taking in-person labs or performance classes; or ROTC. These students are required to be tested for COVID-19 immediately prior to the start of the quarter after quarantining for five days. This required test is at no cost to the student.
  • Students living off campus. While we have strongly urged students to stay home for fall 2020, we know there are those who are planning to live near campus in off-campus housing or hotels. Students who live in the neighborhood adjacent to the campus have the opportunity to be tested, prior to the start of the quarter by the Cowell Center at one of the published “pop-up” testing sites. One test will be administered at no cost to the student.
  • Any student experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. In the event a student has symptoms and suspects COVID-19 infection, they can go to Cowell Health Center where a health practitioner will conduct a test. 
  • Close contacts of symptomatic students. In the event that a student tests positive, the University will reach out to close contacts to encourage them to seek testing. If the close contacts are University students, testing will be available at Cowell for those living close to campus. All non-students will be directed to reach out to their personal physician or public testing sites to conduct testing.
  • Other groups as needed. Depending on the COVID situation during the quarter, SCU may request specific groups of students to undergo testing for purposes of viral surveillance. Unless indicated by a known exposure, such testing will not be mandatory, but we expect all students to take seriously their responsibility to protect the campus community, including non-students, from the virus. 

Additionally, we do not expect serological (antibody) testing to be available on campus during fall quarter. Serological testing can indicate past infection, and potential future immunity, but it does not demonstrate a current, active infection. We will continue to monitor COVID testing methods as they develop, and make new options available when feasible and beneficial to the campus community.

Off-campus students who are suspected of having COVID-19 will be required to quarantine themselves until their test results come in, and to follow protocols for staying isolated in the event the test is positive. It is important for students moving to nearby off-campus housing for fall 2020 to have a plan for quarantine or self-isolation away from roommates, should that become necessary. On-campus quarantine/isolation space will be reserved for on-campus  students. Students who experience a positive test—with or without symptoms, no matter where they live—are asked to report their situation to 408-554-5100.

Living in our Neighborhoods 

We are counting on our students to practice behaviors that will keep everyone safe and healthy. SCU has taken extensive precautions to keep the community safe, and as students, you are responsible for your behavior on and off campus. Code of Conduct procedures are in place to ensure students are adhering to communicated expectations.

When you leave your residence or travel to and from your residence, make sure you wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, and adhere to all guidance from the Santa Clara County Health Order.

We strongly recommend identifying a small group of peers, including your housemates, to socialize with regularly to ensure that you are spending time with individuals who themselves will not put you at risk for contracting COVID-19. Please do not host or attend any gatherings.   These types of gatherings off campus can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and put the ability for SCU to be fully operational in jeopardy. COVID-19 cases have exploded among people in their 20s and 30s. SCU and County Public health officials caution that gatherings among non housemates can become a superspreader event which would put the ability for SCU to remain operational in peril. 

Besides role modeling physical distancing and not hosting gatherings, we need you to be good neighbors. Please respect the neighborhood by not leaving trash cans out, not causing noise disturbances past 10 PM, being aware that your neighbors might be working from home, and following the City of Santa Clara codes. We need a community of neighbors who support each other. 


Moving In/Returning to Your Off Campus Residence

Before you travel:

  • Review recommendations from Santa Clara County’s updated guidance and restrictions before leaving home
  • Plan with roommates and your property manager to stagger move-in dates and times to minimize risk of transmission
  • Pack the following items: non-surgical masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and cleaning solutions and supplies

Before you arrive to your residence: 

  • Ask your property manager if they offer a no-contact process to receive keys and check in other items
  • Check your temperature before you leave. Individuals with a temperature of 100.4 or above, or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19, are discouraged from participating in move-in activities

Moving into to your residence:

  • Always wear a non-surgical mask when outside of your residence/unit
  • Practice social distancing - at least six feet of space between individuals 
  • Minimize move-in times
  • When parking and loading: do not park next to another car; stagger parking places; maintain at least six feet from other parked cars/loading zones
  • Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces and items such as handcarts; counters, shared items 

After you arrive:

  • Cleaning & Disinfection: one of the most effective things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to more frequently clean living spaces with disinfectant products. Frequently cleaning bathrooms, common spaces and surfaces is highly suggested. It is recommended that you minimize time and do not use cell phones in shared bathrooms, and do not store personal items on surfaces. Common areas should be designed to conform with physical distancing requirements. 

Setting expectations with your housemates: 

Behaviors and Consequences

This pandemic is bigger than just us. We need to practice and maintain foresight and unwavering commitment to do what is right and call upon others to do the same. We are one community of students, faculty, and staff, and each of us plays an important role in keeping each other safe and ending the pandemic. We call upon everyone to model what is right and to ask the same of those within our respective spheres of influence.

As we have seen in outbreaks at other universities, it only takes one gathering (on- or off-campus, indoors or outdoors) that brings together multiple people from separate households in a single space, to risk the health of each attendee and everyone with whom they come in contact. This can prolong the pandemic and further delay our plans to advance the re-opening of our campus community. Students are advised that non-compliance with a State of California or Santa Clara County Health Order, or University Order could result in violations of the Student Conduct Code.  

Santa Clara County ordinance NS-9.291 states the following with regard to any violation of the county health order: The civil penalty for each violation involving a non-commercial activity shall be a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). A non-commercial activity shall mean a violation not associated with a Business or with a commercial transaction.

Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings
In general, the more people a person interacts with at any type of gathering, the closer the physical interaction is, and the longer the interaction lasts, the higher the risk that a person with an unknown COVID-19 infection might spread it to others. If everyone does not follow the rules to safely gather, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is even higher. Please follow the guidance from Santa Clara County Health Order on gatherings with regards to physical distancing and mandatory mask requirements to avoid citations and additional fines.     

This is in addition to the typical fines assessed for noise violations such as:

  • Amplified music: $150
  • Disturbing the peace: $150
  • 2nd response to same residence within 72 hours: $500

All fines increase based on the number of violations and can rise to the level of $1000 each.

Failing to comply with our collective commitment to safety efforts during this pandemic is a serious violation of the Student Conduct Code. Students who are cited for failing to abide by campus, county, and state health and safety protocols are subject to the full range of disciplinary actions including fines, restricted access to campus facilities, disciplinary probation, deferred suspension, suspension, and expulsion. The Student Conduct Code and its full range of disciplinary actions applies to all students whether on or off campus.

Thank you for your attention to these county orders and guidelines to support the health and well being of the community.

Resources for Off Campus Students

The Office of Off Campus Living (OCL) staff remain committed to serving individual students with all of their off campus housing needs. OCL staff will continue to offer 1:1 appointments via Zoom or telephone, housing resources, and assist in connecting students with the local community. OCL will also support off-campus students through virtual programming. Additionally, OCL will have student staff (Neighborhood Ambassadors) available during weekly virtual office hours. Students can email for any assistance. Please subscribe to OCL's newsletter or follow IG: scuoffcampus to stay connected and updated about off campus living.

Please visit the Get Connected webpage for more information regarding virtual events and programming.

For up-to-date information on additional student resources, please visit the Student Experience section of Prepared SCU.

SCU COVID-19 Information and FAQs

COVID-19 SCU Reporting Hotline

(408) 554-5100

SCU’s COVID-19 General Questions Email

Student Health Services (SHS) (Cowell Center) 

(408) 554-4501 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (Cowell Center) 

(408) 554-4501

Campus Safety (Non-Emergency)

(408) 554-4441;   

Campus Safety (Emergency)

(408) 554-4444

Center for Student Involvement (CSI)

Office of Student Life (OSL)

Off Campus Living (OCL)