Protocol for Working Onsite

NOTE: The City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) has imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone traveling, moving or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the nine-county Bay Area. UCSF has updated its policies while the order is in effect. Learn more about the temporary updates »

The protocols here provide guidance to employees and learners performing onsite duties on UCSF property (campus and UCSF Health). These protocols also apply if you work or study at leased or affiliated properties, unless the facility has expressly provided different instructions. UCSF employees and learners at other locations (Fresno, ZSFG, BCH Oakland, and the VA) may be receiving guidance from their leadership that is specific to their location.

To ensure your safety and to comply with state and local public health orders that require physical distancing, we are prioritizing space for UCSF personnel who must be onsite to conduct essential duties.

If you can carry out your duties remotely, please continue to do so. Do not perform duties on site unless you have been authorized.

If you have been authorized to report to work onsite, you must first familiarize yourself with the protocols on this website. Please also continue to return to this site for important updates.


Approval to Work Onsite

Campus Approval Process

Campus administrative department heads (control points) may approve requests for teams of fewer than 10 people, or an increase to a group that is already operating onsite. But approval from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is necessary before returning teams of 10 or more people. Even after obtaining permission from the EOC, administrative department heads must ensure that onsite personnel are familiar with the protocols on this webpage and that their faculty, staff and learners have enough space to maintain adequate distance while performing their duties.

When making a request to the EOC, please identify the number of people you would like to authorize to return to work and their locations and provide a rationale for why they must work onsite. The EOC requires at least five (5) business days’ advance notice and can be reached at [email protected]


Daily Health Screenings

Before coming onsite, everyone – including UCSF faculty, staff, learners, affiliates, visitors and vendors – must pass an online health screen to verify that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms or exposures that would put you at risk for infection. The San Francisco-based campuses and UCSF Health are using the same mobile-friendly website to conduct a daily electronic health screening. 

If you pass the digital health screener, you will receive a digital entry pass indicating that you are cleared for up to 24 hours.

If you are ill or have any symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19, you must stay home. 

If you have questions related to the online health screening tool, please email [email protected] or call (415) 476-2675. 


You do not have to show your digital entry pass when entering campus buildings, but you may be asked to show your pass by your manager, security or police officers, auditors, or health and safety officers. 

Campus personnel who need to enter UCSF Dental or Medical Centers are required to follow the UCSF Health screening procedures below.

UCSF Health

Access screening information for UCSF Health.


Workplace Protocols

Physical Distancing

Consistent with current state and local health orders, UCSF’s physical distancing protocols require members of the UCSF community to maintain adequate physical distancing as follows:

  1. All onsite personnel must abstain from physical contact and remain at least 6 feet apart whenever possible. 
  2. Floors in common areas or where lines may form have been marked to help guide physical distancing.  
  3. Individuals working at desks or workstations should be seated at least 6 feet apart (more workstation tips below).
  4. Maximum-capacity signs have been placed in restrooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, elevators and other facilities. If there is no sign, please ensure occupants are able to stay at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
  5. Please use stairs whenever possible to reserve limited elevator space for those who need it.

Face Covering

Anyone on UCSF property must wear a face covering at all times except when alone in a private office or personal vehicle. Face coverings must cover both nose and mouth, and they are not a substitute for – but rather something that is done in addition to – maintaining appropriate physical distance.

Free cloth face coverings are available to UCSF personnel at health screening stations. If your location does not have a screening station or security desk, please have your supervisor contact UCSF Emergency Management at [email protected].

In addition, UCSF Health has a universal surgical mask policy that applies within UCSF hospital and clinic locations. Upon arrival, and after showing proof of passing the daily health screener, you will receive a surgical mask to wear.

See additional face covering guidelines »

Hand Washing / Hygiene

All personnel must practice good hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer.

Hand sanitizer is available in building lobbies and other frequented locations. When possible, use soap and water instead of hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your face and hair. If you need to cough or sneeze, please do so only into your elbow.

Rotate or Stagger Schedules

If you must be onsite to conduct essential duties but can also perform some work remotely, consider rotating your schedule with colleagues so that not everyone is in the same space on the same days.

Consider staggering early and late shifts or instituting weekend schedules to help create enough space to maintain physical distancing requirements. Please coordinate rotating or staggered schedules within your units or departments with guidance from your department head, supervisor, manager or PI.

Supervisors and managers can refer to HR’s Recovery/Return to Work Guidance for Managers for assistance with facilitating telecommuting and rotating or staggered schedules.

Work Spaces

Your Local Space

Desks and chairs should not be relocated unless absolutely necessary. In lieu of relocating furniture, please populate only every other workstation to facilitate six feet of separation. Mark “Do not Use” on areas that should not be used. Signage templates (above) can be used for this purpose.

If relocating furniture is absolutely required, please contact UCSF Logistics for guidance.

Physical Barriers

The installation of physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass) between workstations is not planned at this time, with exceptions in some public-interfacing areas.

Physical distancing combined with the use of face coverings (or PPE in medical and lab settings), physical barriers are generally not necessary. 

Exceptions may be granted under circumstances when personnel are in public contact throughout most of their shift (e.g., a clinical reception area). To request an exception, a consultation must be requested through a Facilities Services work order (campus and Health).

Departments will be charged for any costs incurred by facilities services to purchase and install approved physical barriers.

Departments should expect ordering and installation to take several weeks given the worldwide shortage of materials.

Lab and Research Space

The Office of Research has prepared a plan to ensure the safety of personnel who work in labs. Please refer to specific information for:

You can also refer to the biosafety manual for more information.

Self-Serve Sign and Floor Cling Templates

Sign templates can be downloaded from Facilities Services and printed from your local printer and placed in your immediate work area to remind personnel to follow health and safety protocols.

Campus Life Services has developed downloadable templates:

  • Remind others to physically distance from your workstation
  • Remind yourself to disinfect your workstations 
  • Instructions for microwave use
  • Instructions for fridge use
  • Suite of general workplace protocols: wash your hands, wear a face covering, display your ID, complete your health screening

To order additional floor markers for your immediate area, please contact Facilities Services.

Common Areas and Shared Property

Cleaning Shared Work or Study Areas

Several times each day, Facilities Services custodians are cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in common areas across campus – Monday to Friday, three times during the day and one time at night between 11:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and other EPA-approved disinfectants. These surfaces include:

  • Door knobs, handles, handrails & ADA push bars 
  • Light switches, push buttons, card readers
  • Tables & Countertops 
  • Chairs (Hard-backs and arms)
  • Refrigerators (Exterior)
  • Fixtures (Sinks/Dispensers)
  • Elevator push buttons & handrails
  • Digital signage & Touch-screens kiosks
  • Clean & disinfect walls/glass
  • Toilets
  • Flush valves
  • Toiletry dispensers
  • Receptacle lids
  • Stall partition doors & knobs

Similarly, UCSF Health Hospitality crews are adhering to guidelines from the CDC, by frequently cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in clinical areas. In addition, laboratory researchers are expected to use their standard laboratory disinfectant solutions (70% alcohol, or a 1:10 dilute bleach solution) to periodically disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared equipment in labs. 

Available supplies of surface disinfectants are very tight across the nation, and UCSF currently has only a very limited supply available for supplemental periodic disinfection of high-touch surfaces in shared administrative areas. To preserve our limited supplies for their intended purpose, these supplemental disinfectants should not be spent on workstations and equipment used only be a single person.

To obtain a bottle of surface disinfectant to use at shared administrative workstations, a designated department representative will be working with your building’s Facilities Manager. Please contact your building’s Facilities Manager for more information.


Kitchen areas contain high-contact surfaces touched by many people each day, including refrigerator handles, microwaves, cabinets and sink fixtures. Avoid touching these surfaces with your bare hands. Instead, use a paper towel or wear clean gloves, and discard immediately after using to handle these surfaces. 

Use surface wipes to disinfect high-contact surfaces after you handle them.

To avoid many of these high-touch surfaces, we suggest you bring meals that do not require refrigeration or heating. A self-contained cooler bag is recommended. Most campus eateries are also open for takeout or delivery.

Please do not bring food to share.

Break Rooms

Break rooms may be used only if occupants can comply with physical distancing guidelines and the room’s maximum capacity is not exceeded.

Meeting Rooms

Continued use of Zoom or conference calls is strongly encouraged in lieu of in-person meetings. If you are onsite, you are encouraged to use headphones and be considerate of any neighbors in your vicinity during your call.

When Zoom is not available and an in-person meeting is scheduled:

  • Sit every other chair or, if practical, arrange chairs six feet apart 
  • Wipe down tabletops and chair arms before and after your meeting
  • Sanitize markers and clean white board before and after your meeting
  • Wipe down audio equipment and speakerphone control panels before and after your meeting

University Vehicles

For personnel who drive UCSF vehicles, please follow these cleaning procedures:

  • Wipe down door handles, steering wheel, shift handle, brake handle and all other interior locks, knobs and handles of department vehicles or carts before and after each use and at the end of the shift.
  • Clear all trash from your vehicle (towels, napkins, gloves, masks, paper, etc.) after each use.
  • Only one person per vehicle is allowed unless the vehicle is large enough to practice physical distancing.

University Shuttles

UCSF shuttles are restricted to six passengers per vehicle. Please do not overcrowd shuttles. Passengers who are displaced will be offered a Lyft voucher for transportation to their UCSF destination.

Cloth face coverings are required while riding UCSF shuttles.

Hand sanitizer is provided on all shuttles, and riders should use it upon entering and exiting.

Please heed physical distancing markers on floors and seats and ensure you maintain sufficient distance while riding the shuttle.