6/29 – Masking Policy Updates

June 29, 2021

We are writing to give you an update on our masking policy. On Wednesday, we will begin teaching some classes in person during our second summer session and are continuing to plan for a full return to in-person activities on our campuses this Fall, with our undergraduates returning in mid-August and most classes starting August 23.

Many of you will resume some form of in-person work in the weeks leading up to the start of the Fall semester. As we explained in a recent message, each school and department is creating a resumption plan that will be the basis for determining when, where, and how you will work during the coming year. Whether you are back in person or working in a hybrid capacity, our vaccination and masking policies are focused on keeping the Trojan community safe, enabling the university to meet our teaching, research, and community engagement missions, and being compliant with the latest health guidelines. 

If you are vaccinated

  • Effective immediately, masks will no longer be required for anyone who is fully vaccinated and whose vaccination record has been submitted to the MySHR system. This brings USC into alignment with workplace guidance from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. 
  • Masks still need to be worn on public transit, in healthcare settings, and other environments outlined by the California Department of Public Health. This includes all USC shuttle buses and Keck Medicine of USC facilities.
  • All employees and students accessing campus must continue daily symptom self-checks on TrojanCheck
  • Additionally, as masks are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses, the LA County Department of Public Healthstrongly recommends everyone – regardless of vaccination status – wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure, when vaccination status is unknown, especially as the highly transmissible Delta variant gains wider circulation. We will make N95 masks available to employees upon request. 

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a two-dose vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson. For your vaccination to be recognized by USC, you will need to make sure your records are updated. If you received your vaccination at USC Student Health or Keck Medicine of USC, that will happen automatically. If you received a vaccination elsewhere, you must upload a photo of your vaccine card to the “Upload Documents” section of MySHR. Please allow up to seven days for document review.

International students should refer to the June 18 Vaccination Requirements memo for information specific to their situation, including quarantine requirements. In addition to the FDA-approved vaccines, USC recognizes WHO-approved vaccines to fulfill the requirements.

If you are not vaccinated

  • You must continue to wear masks indoors on all USC campuses. 
  • Exceptions include when you are alone in a private office with the door closed or while eating or drinking (6-foot social distancing must be maintained while unmasked). 
  • Faculty, staff, and students who are unvaccinated will be required to continue regular testing (once per week for faculty, staff, and graduate students, and twice per week for undergraduates) and daily symptom self-checks on TrojanCheckwhen accessing campus. 
  • You may be unable to participate in some activities and events that require fully vaccinated status for attendance. 

Compliance required by July 15

  • Compliance with the university’s COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory, and you are required to update your vaccination status in MySHR by July 15.  
  • You should also know that, after August 1, we will only accept vaccination exemptions for recognized and approved medical or religious reasons. If you plan to seek such an exemption, please fill out the appropriate religious or medical exemption form and submit it to MySHR. Please allow 14 days for your request to be reviewed.

As previously noted, HR partners will monitor compliance and work with unit leadership to reach out to those who do not update their records by the deadline. If your vaccination status is unknown, you will be categorized as unvaccinated and must adhere to all requirements for unvaccinated individuals.

Please continue to follow updates on our COVID-19 Resource Center and the We Are SC site and direct general questions to our COVID-19 hotline: (213) 740-6291 or covid19@usc.edu.


Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President of Human Resources