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Coronavirus FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Winter 2023

Are there any changes to Cal Poly’s plans to hold in-person courses throughout the winter?

We plan to be in person, similar to fall quarter. We are staying in close contact with our local public health officials and our own health experts and will continue to adjust to the evolving nature of the pandemic as appropriate.

Winter 2023 - Booster Requirements

What is the requirement?

The California State University's systemwide COVID-19 Vaccination Policy requires a vaccine booster shot for all eligible students and employees. Faculty, staff and students accessing campus facilities or programs at any university location must receive a booster shot to be fully immunized against COVID-19.

As announced previously, the CSU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy allows students and employees to seek exemptions on medical and religious grounds.

Is there a deadline for students and employees to get a booster shot?

Cal Poly changed its definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster for eligible students as of Jan. 20, 2022.

The revised policy was immediately applicable to students. Visit Campus Health Wellbeing's COVID-19 webpage for more information.

Employees can visit the COVID-19 Info tab of their portal to upload their booster record. For more information, visit Human Resources' Employee Health Information webpage.

Why are boosters required?

The CSU’s decision to move forward with the booster requirement was made after extensive consultation with campus presidents and was in response to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant in late 2021.

The health and safety of our campus and surrounding San Luis Obispo communities remain our primary concern. Taking these steps allows our campus to continue to offer Learn by Doing in a “near normal” manner.

Are there consequences for students and employees who do not comply with the CSU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy?

Students who do not comply with this CSU policy may be dropped from in-person classes, evicted from University Housing and otherwise not permitted on campus. This may adversely affect students' financial aid status and their ability to re-enroll.

For employees, non-compliance with this policy without a medical or religious exemption may be cause for discipline.

I’m unvaccinated due to a declared religious/medical exemption or because I’m still in process of completing vaccination. Will I be required to test regularly?

No. As of fall quarter 2022, Cal Poly no longer requires students and employees who are unvaccinated and/or unboosted to participate in regular surveillance testing. Campus Health and Wellbeing will continue to provide testing for students with COVID-19 symptoms. Employees requiring symptomatic testing should contact their healthcare provider. Additional information on off-campus testing resources is available on Human Resources' Employee Health Information webpage.

Winter Quarter 2023 - Testing Requirements

Are there testing requirements in winter?

No. As of fall quarter 2022, Cal Poly no longer requires students and employees who are unvaccinated and/or unboosted to participate in regular surveillance testing.

What happens if I test positive?

If you receive a positive test result and live in University Housing, you will be directed to isolate in place in your room until your infectious period has passed. Off-campus students with positive test results will be provided with similar instructions to isolate at home. Students may also return to their permanent residence to isolate, if possible.

Where can I find out more information about asymptomatic and symptomatic testing, and what to do in the event of a COVID-19 exposure?

Students seeking information on symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, guidelines for COVID-19 exposure and more should visit Campus Health and Wellbeing's COVID-19 webpage. Employees should visit Human Resources' Employee Health Information webpage for information about off-campus testing resources, guidance for isolation and quarantine, and more.

Winter 2023 - Daily Screenings/Campus Pass

Am I required to participate in daily self-screenings if I want to access campus facilities?

No. While the daily self-screener remains available to all students, it is not required in winter quarter. All students can participate to monitor their daily health and well-being. Students who test positive or experience symptoms after an exposure are strongly encouraged to report it in their daily screener.

After completing the daily self-screening, a student will receive a daily color-coded campus pass (based on their health). If a student receives a red campus pass, they should contact the Health Center and refrain from attending class.

What is the daily self-screening process?

Students who participate in the daily self-screening should complete it before noon or prior to leaving their residence for campus each day, whichever comes first.

If a student receives a red campus pass, they should contact the Health Center and refrain from attending class.

Where can I learn more about daily self-screenings?

For more information on daily screenings and how to use the campus pass system, visit the Campus Health and Wellbeing COVID-19 webpage.

Campus Response

What is Cal Poly’s plan to ensure campus health and safety?

In accordance with the CSU’s vaccine mandate, Cal Poly’s campus community has an extremely high vaccination rate — well above that of the surrounding communities. The university will continue to offer COVID-19 testing for students who are symptomatic. In addition, masking indoors is strongly recommended (though not required at this time), and all campus community members are urged to practice appropriate hygiene.

What are Cal Poly’s plans for winter 2023 operation?

With mitigations in place to help ensure the health and safety of our students, employees and guests, Cal Poly anticipates near-normal operations over the winter quarter.

What sanitation and safety protocols are in place for classrooms and office spaces on campus?

Cal Poly’s Facilities Operations team will provide pre-COVID-19 cleaning protocols. Cleaning frequencies for classrooms are daily spot cleaning, including disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and weekly thorough cleaning.

Lab spaces will have trash pick-up and touch point disinfection performed daily with a more thorough cleaning performed weekly. Some lab spaces may have different cleaning routines depending on the nature of the course (e.g., workstations that are exclusively used by one student throughout the quarter). Lab owners should reach out to Facilities to schedule a meeting to determine the need, frequency, and circumstances of the change in cleaning routine.

Personal-sized sanitizer is available at the Facilities’ Warehouse (No. 70A).

Signage

Are any COVID-19-related signs available to download?

Vaccinations and Tests

Do I need to be vaccinated to access campus?

Per CSU mandate, everyone living, working or studying on campus must vaccinate or claim a medical or religious exemption, or they will not be permitted to move in, attend class or access campus. The campus community has extremely high vaccination rates, well above those of the surrounding communities.

More Information

Learn more about student vaccination requirements on Campus Health and Wellbeing's COVID-19 webpage and employee vaccination requirements on Human Resources' Employee Health Information webpage.

Do I need to get tested?

Testing is no longer required for students and employees who are unvaccinated and/or unboosted and have claimed a medical or religious exemption to the CSU vaccination requirement.

    If you have symptoms

    • Symptomatic students should test at Campus Health and Wellbeing.
    • Symptomatic employees should contact their healthcare provider.
    • Free testing is available at local community testing sites. At-home tests are also widely available at local pharmacies and the Cal Poly Pharmacy.

    Daily Practice

    Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?

    Cal Poly strongly recommends, but does not require, masks be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are required for all in health care settings.

    Learn more about face coverings and where to pick up a free face covering on campus, including surgical and N95 masks. Campus community members may each pick up four N95 masks at a time.

    What are the campus requirements around hygiene and physical distancing?

    Everyone will need to continue following good pandemic hygiene — regularly washing or sanitizing hands and wearing PPE as appropriate.

    Physical distancing is not required at this time; however, campus community members and visitors may continue to practice physical distancing if they wish.

    Is the daily screener/campus pass system operational, and how will it be enforced?

    The COVID-19 Daily Self-Screening Tool is active but not required for the entire winter quarter student body. It remains available as a tool for all students to monitor their daily health and well-being.

    Students who test positive or experience symptoms after an exposure are strongly encouraged to report it in their daily screener.

    After completing the daily self-screening, a student will receive a daily color-coded campus pass (based on their health). If a student receives a red campus pass, they should contact the Health Center and refrain from attending class.

    Visit the Campus Health and Wellbeing COVID-19 webpage for more information and updates.

    Are there consequences for students who do not comply with COVID-19 protocols?

    All students are expected to comply with the protocols set forth by the university. Failure to do so may result in student conduct action. To learn more, visit the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) webpage.

    Isolation and Quarantine

    What is the current isolation policy on campus for students who test positive for COVID-19?

    The university has updated its isolation guideline to direct students who live on campus and who test positive to isolate in place in their on-campus residence. Students can also return to their permanent residence to isolate, if possible.

    This updated guidance was made in consultation with the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department and the university’s own on- and off-campus medical health experts, and in line with updated state and county public health guidance.

    Students living off campus have always been asked to isolate in their residences. That remains current practice.

    When did this practice begin?

    The university has used isolation in place in on-campus housing throughout the 2022 calendar year, with students living in University Housing apartments. In consultation with Public Health and our on- and off-campus health consultant, in spring 2022 the university also began allowing COVID-19-positive students in residence halls to isolate in place. 

    Our local Public Health officials and our health consultants agree that the science allows for safe isolation in place, provided that students who are positive for COVID-19 wear a high-quality, well-fitted mask any time they must access common areas. If isolating in place in a residence hall, the COVID-19-positive student must also remain masked when in the space with their roommate.

    How does the process work? Are students' roommates informed?

    Students who test positive will receive an email with instructions from COVID-19 Help. Students who test positive are directed to wear a mask at all times and are strongly encouraged to share the news with their roommates so that everyone can take appropriate precautions. Roommates will also receive an exposure notification.

    What precautions should roommates take?

    The best preventative strategies from acquiring COVID-19 remain wearing a mask and being up to date with vaccination and recommended boosters for their age group. Roommates are advised to mask when in the space with the positive individual. The roommate does not have to quarantine in the room, but they should watch for symptoms, wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days and test on Day 5. Students should monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms.

    If a student experiences symptoms, they can obtain an at-home test or visit Campus Health and Wellbeing to receive a COVID-19 test.

     If a student is not experiencing symptoms:
    • They may continue to attend in person classes and utilize campus facilities unless notified otherwise.
    • It is strongly recommended to wear a high-quality mask when around others for 10 days after a close contact. N95 masks are available for pick-up on campus.
    • Obtain a COVID-19 test at Day 5 after exposure. Get a test earlier if symptoms develop.

    Students should contact the Disability Resource Center if they need medical accommodations.

    For additional guidance, see the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide.

    Why are COVID-19 positive students or their roommates not automatically moved to separate spaces to isolate?

    What we know about COVID-19 and all its variants is that if an individual spends more than 15 minutes around an infectious person indoors, especially if unmasked, they are highly likely to be infected and test positive within the next three to seven days.

    A person is typically infectious two days before they develop symptoms or test positive. So, if one roommate tests positive on Wednesday morning (for example) and they have been around their other roommates for more than 15 minutes since Monday morning, those other roommates are highly likely to have been infected and to test positive. Given the science, it does not make sense to move an entire room of students, all of whom will be positive based on their exposure to each other.

    How long must a student isolate in place?

    Isolation separates those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 from others for 10 days to prevent spreading the infection. The university has implemented additional measures to help students move through isolation in the most expedient manner possible.

    Students can submit negative at-home antigen tests on Days 5 or after to test out of their isolation. Visit the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide for more information. Students can obtain an at-home test at the on-campus Cal Poly Pharmacy or other local pharmacies. In addition, students can order free at-home tests on covid.gov/tests, or obtain one through their insurance. Learn more. For information on off-campus testing sites, visit San Luis Obispo County’s COVID-19 Testing webpage.

    Students who test positive are also encouraged to return to their permanent residence to complete their isolation period, if possible.

    Does the university provide isolation services to students? If so, what services?

    The Dean of Students office can assist students with instructor notifications if the student is unable to contact their instructors directly. In addition, students can reach out to the following supportive services for help during isolation: Campus Health and Wellbeing, Counseling Services and Crisis Services, the Disability Resource Center and Academic Advising. Scroll to the bottom of the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide for contact information.

    What can students do and not do in isolation?

    Students are directed to remain in their room with the door closed as much as possible. Students are not permitted to: 

    • Leave the Cal Poly campus, except for an emergency or medical reason.
    • Be with others in groups.
    • Attend group events such as religious services, outdoor concerts, or other gatherings that bring people together.
    • Utilize the Recreation Center.
    • Enter other residential communities.
    • Go to in-person classes, labs, or workplaces.

    The following exceptions are allowed for brief trips and then returning directly to their room. Students should wear a well-fitting mask while they:

    • Use the common bathroom. If possible, adjust restroom visits to times when restroom traffic is low. Always keep your mask on except when brushing your teeth/showering. Keep these unmasked activities brief.
    • Pick up food on-campus after ordering on GrubHub.
    • Pick up food outside their residence after being delivered by an off-campus restaurant or other delivery service.
    • Use the laundry facilities.
    • Sit outside away from others to get fresh air. Students can go for a walk by themselves, away from others.
    • For additional guidance, see the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide.

    Students who need an N95 mask can ask a friend to bring some. N95 masks are available for pick-up at the Recreation Center, University Union and Disability Resource Center (four per person per time).


    More FAQs Across Campus

    Academic Affairs

    Faculty and staff members can find answers to frequently asked questions about in-person courses, COVID-19 safety guidelines and procedures from Academic Affairs.

    Campus Dining

    Learn about Campus Dining's Health and Safety information.

    Housing

    Get updates and information for students living on campus.

    Transportation and Parking

    Parking permits are required on campus. Learn more about commuting to and parking on campus.

    Travel and Study Abroad

    Find information on study abroad programs, virtual internships and international students and scholars from the International Center.