COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The USF COVID-19 Management Team is closely monitoring developments with the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Over the weekend of March 21-22, the university learned of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among members of our USF community. These two individuals had not been on campus for at least two weeks and are at home recovering. The university is in close contact with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) about these two instances, and SFDPH recommends no further action at this time beyond continued close monitoring. Consistent with earlier protocol, USF officials have been in touch with members of our community who may have had contact with the two individuals. Read more »

The university is following procedures outlined in USF's Pandemic Prevention and Response Plan. We have canceled face-to-face classes for the remainder of the semester and moved to a remote learning environment. The university has assembled a COVID-19 Management team that meets daily and is providing daily updates to the community and coordinating the response with USF schools and colleges and key offices on campus.  In addition, Health Promotion Services is conducting proactive outreach to the community, answering questions, and giving presentations. Our facilities staff is ensuring a clean and safe environment by increasing the amount of cleaning and hand sanitizers on campus.

  • Staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people during the 14-day incubation window. 
  • Have a designated contact person who is working with you and your dean or supervisor to make sure you have the support you need to continue to work or pursue your studies during this time. 
  •  If you are a student living on campus, the university will work with you to reassign or alter your living space to ensure that you are not sharing a room or bathroom with others. Should our ability to do this become limited, we will do our best to accommodate the highest priority cases.

Yes. You will work with your designated contact, Diane Sweeney in Human Resources, and supervisor to review to discuss working remotely. If this cannot be accommodated, you will receive your regular pay for the period of self-isolation.  

This policy relies on self-disclosure. In addition, supervisory personnel are responsible for supporting community members affected by these circumstances and will address any issues through the existing administrative structure.

Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress may see a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) located in Gillson Hall, Lower Level (415) 422-6352. Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some early evening meetings available by appointment.

On Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m., you can also visit Dr. Robin Li, staff psychologist, during his drop-in hours in University Center 530.

You can also contact ProtoCall, our after-hours support and consultation line. You can speak live to an on-call counselor by calling (415) 422-6352 and selecting option #2. Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, an all-hours line is available on evenings, weekends, and holidays at (855) 531-0761.

Faculty and staff who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about the coronavirus should contact USF’s Employee Assistance Plan, Concern, that provides 24/7 support to help cope with stress. For immediate support call (800) 344-4222 or visit Concern’s website (company code is USF).

COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause mild respiratory infection, although they can result in more severe disease, as seen in past years with SARS and MERS. This new strain has previously not been found in humans, and its health impact is currently being closely monitored.

Much is unknown about how COVID-19, a new coronavirus, spreads. Most often, the spread from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about six feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s unclear if a person can get coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

For confirmed coronavirus infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as little as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including: washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contract with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. The CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

The CDC and infectious disease specialists do not recommend face masks if you’re healthy. Due to the shortage of N-95 masks, Public Safety will only provide masks to high-risk groups such as ill individuals, people with underlying illness, and the elderly.

Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease. If you have an underlying health condition and you are feeling sick, please seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease have a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. For individuals in those groups, the CDC recommends the following:

All students are able to visit the USF student health clinics. If your insurance is not accepted by the student health clinic, contact USF Health Promotion Services for assistance. MyUSF has more information on the USF student health clinic, including instructions on how to download your student health insurance card.

You should wear a facemask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.

There is no recommendation to wear masks or cancel your activities at this time if you have no symptoms. The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures such has consistent handwashing and getting a flu shot to help prevent illness and symptoms similar to the novel coronavirus. Many events at USF have been canceled, postponed, or moved online through March 29. Please check your local public health department’s guidelines regarding public events held in your area. 

The university urges all members of the community to reconsider their travel plans, international and domestic, in light of the spread of COVID-19. The situation domestically and internationally is changing daily. All USF travelers are advised to consult the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travelers’ health resources and U.S. State Department travel advisories for advice regarding their destination as information and advisories are changing rapidly. For more information, review USF’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.

Yes. All travelers should consider the current entry restrictions and the likelihood that more entry restrictions will be put in place. Additional restrictions may be put in place at any moment without advance notice, including during a traveler’s journey preventing them from re-entering the United States or subjecting them to a 14-day quarantine period. The current travel restrictions on entering the US are set by the CDC

The University strongly recommends that all international students reconsider travel in keeping with the  USF travel policy and consult their ISSS advisor when making travel plans.

In addition, foreign nationals who have traveled to China or Iran in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the U.S. If you are an international student on an F1, J1, or another non-immigrant visa who has been in China recently, you will be denied entry under the new restrictions. If you are an international student currently outside of the U.S. and have been in China or Iran in the last 14 days, please contact ISSS immediately for advice.