Guidance on Returning or Traveling to Berkeley

airplane with sky in background

Traveling Information

You are encouraged to visit to view individual Travel Advisories and updates.

If your university-related travel has been affected by COVID-19, please visit the Berkeley Travel Office website for information about reimbursement.


Returning to Berkeley Handout

COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidance for Returning, Moving, or Visiting Berkeley

Coronavirus Flowchart on "What do I do if I think I've been in contact with a COVID-19 Case"

Flowchart: What do I do if You Think You've Been in Contact with a COVID-19 Case" 

Reminder to all faculty, staff and students to:

UC President Janet Napolitano recently updated her systemwide directive(link is external) regarding travel to advise the UC community to temporarily avoid all nonessential travel.

clinician using a cloth on arm of patient after giving a vaccine

Travel Vaccination Information:

Prior to travel, consult with your health care provider or visit a travel Clinic to ensure your vaccinations are current.  

Tang Center's International Travel Clinic guides members of the campus community in protecting their health while traveling throughout the world.
The Travel Clinic uses the most current information available from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and Shoreland’s computerized Travel Health Information Services.  Our travel clinic services include:

  • Travel consultation with medical professionals
  • Immunizations
  • Advice on preventing illness while traveling
  • Education on safety concerns related to food, drink, and recreational activities

Travel clinic visits should be six to eight weeks before departure when possible. Schedule online via eTang (students only) or by calling (510) 643-7177.

frequently asked questions

UHS Response and Services

How is UHS prepared for COVID-19?

For the past couple of months now UHS has amended our triage processes (online and nurse-staffed) to enhance our ability to take care of as many people as possible while minimizing the risk of exposure to others through enhanced screening and dedicated sick and well clinics.  We have moved most appointments in all departments to virtual platforms, however, we are still able to see patients in person when needed, within Primary Care, Urgent Care, Physical Therapy, Counseling & Psychological Services, and Occupational Health Clinics.  The pharmacy and lab are also open. Please check our reduced in-person services page for more details.

Outside the building, we have a robust set-up including multiple sheltered open-air spaces dedicated to assessing and caring for students with potential COVID-19.  We are able to perform limited examinations, collect samples, and even perform XRays if needed without entering the building, which minimizes the risk of contamination and allows for far greater efficiency.  We have also set up a separate rapid walk-through and drive-by swabbing area for UCB students, faculty and staff with milder symptoms who qualify for testing.

Is testing available at the Tang Center? And who can get 

PCR (swab) testing for COVID-19 is available at UHS for UCB students, faculty or staff who fall into one of the following categories:

1. close contact with a confirmed case, as notified by UHS or public health personnel

2. program requirements, per agreement

3. symptons concering for COVID-19, which may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

See relevant section below to find out how to access testing.  Clinical consultation is generally required.

Students with symptoms

Students interested in assessment and possible testing for COVID-19 should:

  • If mild symptoms: schedule a telephone appointment with a UHS clinician online at is external) ( M-F) OR

  • If ill: stop by the Durant side of Tang M-F 10-4pm for in-person assessment or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room

Students are always encouraged to call the UHS Advice Line 24/7 at (510) 643-7197 if you are ill and are unsure if you need to be seen. 

UCB Faculty and Staff with symptoms

Employees interested in testing at UHS should:

  • If mild symptoms: call the UCB Occupational Health COVID hotline (510) 332-7192 for assessment and instructions (Monday - Friday from 10am-4pm; messages can be left any time).

  • If ill: please call your own health care provider first for advice or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room.  You are welcome to call Occupational Health as above for testing if advised by your PCP.

Occupational Health does not have capacity to care for staff who are seriously ill or who have non-work related conditions: please do not call for non-COVID conditions unless work-related.

Do students need to have SHIP insurance to be seen at Tang Center for COVID-19?

All registered UC Berkeley students can use all services at UHS whether or not they have the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Copay for primary care and urgent care the same regardless of insurance.

What does SHIP cover related to COVID-19?

There is no cost to students for testing, regardless if you have SHIP or not. Testing is for those people that meet the CDC criteria for testing. 

Call the UHS Advice Line at 510-643-7197 if you believe you might have this illness, and we will help guide the next steps.

What if I have left campus, how do I use my SHIP insurance? 

The Fall 2020 SHIP coverage period begins on August 1, 2020.

Given the unique situation that continues to evolve around the coronavirus, effective March 16, students with SHIP (Student Health Insurance Plan) are no longer required to seek a referral from University Health Services before accessing care. The referral exception will remain in place until further notice. For more information on how to use SHIP

Campus & the Berkeley Community

What is quarantine, and how is that happening here on campus? 

Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people not known to HAVE, but reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent possible spread.  It is not the same as isolating symptomatic people suspected to have an infection, which is what we routinely do when we are in the process of testing someone for COVID-19 or any other potentially serious communicable disease.  Only the public health officer has the legal authority to order quarantine; if students are quarantined they may do so at home or, if needed, on campus in designated quarantine spaces.  Public health, and by delegation, UHS personnel, support and monitor quarantined individuals closely to ensure they and others remain safe.

For more detailed information regarding quarantine and isolation, see this link.

What is the campus doing for infection control?

Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through contact with inanimate objects contaminated with the virus. However, current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces of these inanimate objects. Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with soap and water followed by disinfection with an EPA-registered disinfectant is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting if possible. Use unexpired diluted household bleach solutions (1/3rd cup bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants. Be sure to use all products according to the directions on the label. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas such as tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, counters, desks, toilets, and sinks. Remember to wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

Is COVID-19 spreading on campus or in the Berkeley community

There is community transmission of COVID-19 in the Bay Area. The focus now is mitigation of potential exposure. 

The primary public health strategy now is mitigation: reducing exposure by rigorous compliance with social distancing recommendations, regular handwashing and extra care to avoid unnecessary contact with our most vulnerable populations. This is most effective when followed by all of us as individuals. While local public health authorities are still tracing contacts of people who have tested positive, that capacity is unlikely to last much longer.  While this sounds frightening, it really doesn’t change the recommendation that anyone who has any flu-like symptoms may have COVID-19 -- or something else -- and should avoid contact with others until 1-3 days after resolution of fever and either stay home or wear a mask and wash hands when out and about for as long as any symptoms last.