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9/1: Fall 2020 Testing, Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine

The following message was emailed to the undergraduate students on September 1, 2020.

Dear undergraduate students, 

With less than a month to go before the start of fall 2020 classes, we hope you are getting excited, adjusting well, and looking forward to an unusual, but fulfilling, academic and extracurricular quarter. We are hard at work to ensure your classes, virtual campus life, and—especially for first-year students— your virtual Residential Learning Community (RLC) will all add valuable dimension and cohesion to your SCU experience until we are able to come together again in person. 

We will be writing to you regularly over the coming weeks, with some of the most important information our students and their families are seeking—starting this week with vital health and safety information. 

Please remember that your best chance for a robust and successful fall 2020 —and for clearing a path to reopening campus in January—is for us all to take seriously the need for hard sacrifices now to protect our own health and that of our fellow Broncos. The actions described below will be mandatory and monitored, with violators subject to sanctions. 

While we understand the desire for a campus experience that is as normal as possible, including connecting freely with friends, these are not normal times. We have all watched with alarm as students on campuses across the country fall sick with COVID-19, or sicken others, after failing to heed basic prevention requirements. Students who ignore these mandatory health and safety protocols will be jeopardizing their own health and safety, that of others in the community, and the on-campus experience they desire.

While we have strongly urged students to stay home for fall 2020, we know there are those who are planning to come live near campus in off-campus housing or hotels. Please be advised that the prevention protocols we outline here are mandatory for you as well. Those who become ill with COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19 before coming to SCU should delay their travel, contact their health care provider for evaluation, and stay home until they have completed their quarantine and are no longer contagious. 



The following safety protocols are meant to protect our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. 

  • Daily Symptom Tracking. All students who will be coming onto the campus in the fall, regardless of whether they are living 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. The online Daily Symptom Tracker is here. A link to download the SCU Mobile App, which will contain the Daily Symptom Tracker, is here

  • Prevention Behavior. Students will also be expected to:

    • Participate in SCU’s COVID-19 contact tracing program;

    • Wear face coverings at all times on campus—indoors and outdoors; 

    • Practice social distancing (6-feet minimum) at all times—indoors and outdoors;

    • The small number of students living on-campus in emergency housing will not be permitted to enter other residence halls, host any guests, or use many communal facilities. 

  • Reporting 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.); required county authorities; and University Marketing and Communications for website updates.

  • Consequences for violations. 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. 



Testing for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus 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: 

  • On-campus residents. The small number of students who have been approved to live on campus will be required to quarantine for five days, and be tested for COVID-19 immediately prior to the start of the quarter. This required test is at no cost to the student.

  • Students coming to campus for classes or any other purpose. Students who plan to be on campus for any purpose—utilizing study areas in the Benson Memorial Center or Learning Commons; taking in-person labs or performance classes; or ROTC—will be 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 come 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 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 COVID virus. 


No antibody tests at this time. 

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. 



If a student lives on campus and is suspected of having COVID-19, they will be tested and required to quarantine in their residence hall for 14 days pending test results. Suitemate(s) must also take a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days pending test results.

If the student lives on campus and tests positive, he or she will be required to isolate at St. Clare Hall for 14 days after symptom onset and resolution of symptoms for at least 7 days without use of fever-reducing medicine. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can return to their campus residence 14 days after their positive test results.  Suitemate(s) must be tested and may be required to quarantine for 14 days.

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-resident 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.  

We thank you again for your flexibility and positivity as we look forward to welcoming back our students to fall 2020, wherever they are based. You are part of a nationwide historic moment in academia, and we are proud of our students for rising to this challenge with Bronco values of competence, conscience, and compassion.  

Please continue to consult our Prepared SCU website and its regularly updated “frequently asked questions” section. You may also email questions to Stay safe and well.


Jeanne Rosenberger
Vice Provost for Student Life

Chris Shay
Associate Vice President for University Operations