S1. May UC quarantine or isolate students who were possibly exposed to, or who have contracted, COVID-19?

Yes. UC enacted a Policy on Safeguards, Security and Emergency Management in January 2006 that contemplates the need for chancellors to take extraordinary measures in the event of “a natural or man-made disaster, a civil disorder which poses a threat of serious injury to persons or damage to property,” or other “seriously disruptive events.”[1] Pursuant to this policy, UC may take appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of its students in the face of a known serious health crisis like a serious outbreak or pandemic.


[1] University of California Policy on Safeguards, Security and Emergency Management, issued Jan. 26, 2006

S2. What steps should be taken before UC initiates quarantine or isolates students who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19?

The CDC recommends that individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive remain in isolation, either at home or in a health care facility (as determined by clinical status), until they are determined by state or local public health authorities, in coordination with the CDC, to be no longer infectious.

The location of this isolation will be determined by public health authorities and isolation may be compelled by public health order, if necessary. UC locations may support the isolation of confirmed COVID-19 cases as approved by public health authorities. Mandatory quarantine orders are issued by public health authorities. UC locations may be asked to help implement quarantine or isolation orders or may request self-monitoring and implement social-distancing measures, including requesting students to restrict their movements and public activities, including attending class.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is authorized to establish and maintain places of isolation and quarantine, and has the final authority to implement statutes and regulations pertaining to the control of communicable diseases.[2] Because the CDPH has ultimate authority in this area, all UC locations should coordinate with local public health agencies to ensure that their actions are consistent with the most current CDPH orders, rules and regulations pertaining to the control of COVID-19.


[2] Health & Saf. Code §§ 120135, 120145, 120200; 120215

S3. May UC prohibit students who have possibly been exposed to, or who have contracted COVID-19, from attending classes?

Yes. If a student meets the CDC criteria of a High and Medium Exposure Risk Categories or has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, UC may prohibit them from attending classes at UC locations. UC must take appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of its students in the face of a known serious health crisis. UC’s Policy on Safeguards, Security and Emergency Management, enacted in January 2006, contemplates the need for chancellors to take extraordinary measures in the event of “a natural or man-made disaster, a civil disorder which poses a threat of serious injury to persons or damage to property,” or other “seriously disruptive events.”[3]

The CDC recommends that persons who have contracted COVID-19 remain in isolation, either at home or in a health care facility, until released by local public health authorities. The location of the isolation will be determined by public health authorities and isolation may be compelled by public health order.

The response to a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, will be directed by federal, state and local health agencies. It is the responsibility of UC to act in accordance with all applicable public health directives. UC’s guidance, policies and regulations cannot conflict with public health orders regarding control of the COVID-19 outbreak.


[3] Policy on Safeguards, Security and Emergency Management