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Santa Clara University
Restricted Access to Campus, Fall 2020 Update

Dear Santa Clara University Community,

As we prepare to welcome students back, mostly virtually, to Santa Clara, I want to share with our Bronco community what to expect regarding access to our physical campus for fall 2020. The update includes important details on restricted access to our campus grounds, as well as information on which buildings and facilities are open, which are closed, and guidelines regarding access during fall quarter. Some of these policies have been in place since spring because of the rapid changes in COVID-19 guidelines from the state and county. We seek to provide clarity in a more-thorough manner in this message.

These decisions have been made after great consideration and consultation, and in compliance with county and state health guidance to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. While restricting campus access is understandably upsetting to those accustomed to enjoying our beautiful grounds, it is county and state mandated, and vital for our collective health and safety, that we reduce density and prioritize limited access for currently enrolled students and essential SCU personnel for now.

We will be updating campus with signage and other communications which reflect the following information. Also, please see the COVID-19 FAQ for further details on restricted campus access, specific buildings and facilities that will be open and closed, and how to obtain “essential access” as needed.

Access to Campus Grounds for Fall 2020

  • Campus is closed for non-students or non-essential SCU personnel.
  • Currently enrolled students are authorized to come to campus, as described below, and must have ID available, either a physical Access Card or mobile version, and be prepared to show it upon request.
    • Students living on campus, taking in-person instruction, or accessing approved study spaces or the other limited number of open facilities are permitted on campus
    • All seeking to come to campus are expected to take part in COVID-19 testing immediately prior to the start of the quarter after quarantining for five days. More information on testing for students can be found in this Sept. 1 campus message.
    • On-campus resident students are allowed to utilize grass lawns and designated outdoor dining areas. All must adhere to face-covering and social-distancing requirements. Grass areas also are being identified and marked with socially distanced circles in which students can sit.
    • Off-campus students coming to campus. Off-campus students are allowed to utilize designated outdoor dining seating areas, and grass lawns. All must adhere to face-covering and social-distancing requirements. Grass areas also are being identified and marked with socially distanced circles in which students can sit.
  • Non-students or non-essential SCU personnel entering our campus must do so on a “pass through” basis.
  • No lingering, lounging, or gathering on campus allowed for non-students or non-essential SCU personnel.
  • Only faculty and staff who perform approved essential services or tasks that must be conducted on campus, approved research, or in support of approved online and in-person instruction are permitted on campus. Additional information coming soon on your Dean or VP’s designation regarding individuals that have essential task activities on campus for Fall.


  • Most campus buildings will be closed for fall quarter to minimize the number of people interacting within them and to realize cost savings.
  • Faculty and staff access to open buildings is restricted to those with an essential need for access.
  • Students —including on-campus residents as well as those who live in nearby off-campus housing or hotels—are permitted access to:
    • A limited number of individual study spaces in Benson Memorial Center and in the Library/Learning Commons.
    • “To go” food service available via mobile-app ordering from Benson Memorial Center. Please note: There is no indoor eating space, and social distancing and face covering rules will apply and be enforced both indoors and outdoors.
    • Cowell Center Health and Counseling Services, which is operating on a hybrid model, with most appointments conducted through telemedicine and telepsychology, and in-person appointments available if a medical or mental health provider asks for a student to come in to meet with them.
  • See the FAQ for more information about Benson hours, study and dining availability, and entrance-access information.

Most other campus buildings will be closed for fall quarter to minimize the number of people interacting within them and to realize cost savings from focusing campus resources on a reduced footprint. Limited exceptions include those designated buildings that support remote or in-person instruction, research, housing, dining, study space and in support of essential campus operations. A list of expected buildings to be open is found in the FAQ.

Building Access

Access to the few buildings that will remain open is limited to authorized students for approved residential, study, or academic purposes; to faculty approved for on-campus research or remote teaching use; or faculty or staff on the “essential access” list. Please see the FAQ for more information on building access.

Testing required for access

Testing for COVID-19 is a critical part of Prepared SCU efforts.

  • All SCU students, staff and faculty who are approved to be physically on campus during fall quarter will be required to be tested for active coronavirus infection immediately prior to the start of the quarter. Testing will be done on campus, at no cost.
  • Testing for many staff, faculty and students has already begun.Those that have been approved to be on campus will be notified of the testing dates.
  • Sampling will be done by monitored, self-administered nasal swabs. Samples will be sent to a contracted laboratory for PCR-based analysis, the current gold-standard for COVID testing. Results will be delivered within 3 days.
  • Students who live on campus and test positive will be subject to mandatory isolation (in residence hall rooms set aside specifically for this purpose) and contact tracing, but will be able to continue their studies online, and may return to their regular housing when they have been confirmed to be virus-free.
  • Staff, faculty, and off-campus students will be asked to self-isolate from home.

On behalf of the countless faculty, staff and students working on our COVID response, I thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we deal with the first significant campus closure in decades, necessitated by the unprecedented health and safety circumstances we all find ourselves in. It is our hope that by taking these measures now, we will speed up the time until we are able to welcome all visitors, once again, safely to our campus.


Chris Shay
Associate Vice President - University Operations


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500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053