Testing Compliance Exemption Policy

Testing Requirements

The COVID-19 Presidential Order outlines testing and safety protocols to limit the spread of the virus and to maintain a safe and healthy campus environment.   
Ongoing testing is required for any student who meets any of the following criteria:  

  1. Lives in University Housing;  
  2. Is enrolled in in-person courses; 
  3. Works on campus;  
  4. Participates in research on campus;  
  5. Uses any on-campus service (except the Health Center); or  
  6. Lives in the same household or congregate living facility (meaning a house, apartment or housing facility with two or more students, such as a dormitory or fraternity/sorority house) with a Cal Poly student who meets any of the criteria listed as 1 through 5 above. 

Testing Exemptions

The Presidential Order outlines two specific reasons for testing exemptions: 

  • A student has tested positive for the Coronavirus within the last 90 days; 
  • A student has a documented condition that makes participating in testing not possible or contrary to medical recommendations with documentation on file with the Disability Resource Center. 

An additional pathway to testing exemption has been established for the following limited circumstances: 

  • A student is enrolled in an in-person course(s) and has an agreement with the instructor(s) to attend class virtually for the entire quarter. 
  • A student has another extenuating circumstance that warrants exemption. 

Validating an Exemption 

COVID-19 Positive Exemptions 

  • If you were tested on campus, you do not need to take any further action; you will be automatically exempted from testing requirements.  
  • If you were tested off campus, you must upload your testing results to be exempted to the testing requirement.  

Students should continue to follow public health guidelines and medical advice regarding quarantine timelines. A notification will be sent via email when the COVID-19 Positive testing exemption expires. 

Medical Exemptions

If you have a documented condition that makes participating in testing not possible or contrary to medical recommendations, you must complete the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form. Upon receipt of your request, you will be invited to complete the Disability Resource Center’s (DRC) online student application. The application will be reviewed and processed by the Disability DRC to protect health information and to ensure that appropriate laws and policies regarding accessibility are followed. The DRC will approve or deny medical exemption requests and will communicate with the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Committee the approval status, while not sharing any protected health information. Your compliance status then will be updated to reflect the exemption. 

Note: testing exemption requests based on medical reasons may take up to three weeks to process. 

Students must comply with campus testing requirements until they hear back regarding their request for exemption. 

Academic Exemptions for Virtual Attendance in Face-to-Face Courses 

If you are enrolled in an in-person course(s) and have an agreement with the instructor(s) to attend class virtually for the entire quarter, you must complete the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form. In order to qualify for this exemption, you must have an agreement to attend all in-person classes virtually for the entire quarter. If you plan to attend any face-to-face classes during the quarter on campus, you are not be eligible for this exemption, and you cannot fall under any other criteria that would require you to comply with the testing safety and protocols set for by the COVID-19 Presidential Order.  

The information you provide regarding an academic testing exemption for virtual face-to-face course attendance on the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form will be verified with your instructor(s). If approved, this exemption will be active for the duration of the quarter for which it is approved. Winter Quarter exemptions expire on March 22, 2021, at which time testing requirements will resume. You need to submit a separate request if you have instructor approval to attend face-to-face courses virtually for spring quarter.   

Students must comply with campus testing requirements until they hear back regarding their request for exemption. 

Exemptions for Other Extenuating Circumstances 

If you believe you qualify for an exemption based on an extenuating circumstance, you must complete the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form. There is space on the form for you to provide specific details about your request as well as the dates for which you are requesting the exemption. This process allows for consideration of unique circumstances. Upon review of the request, please note that supplemental documentation or verification may be required by the Testing Exemption Committee.  

Students must comply with campus testing requirements until they hear back regarding their request for exemption. 

Circumstances for Which an Exemption Request Will Not Be Approved 

Any student who is included in the testing compliance group as listed in 1-6 above should not submit the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form for any of the following:  

  • Short-Term Exemption Requests. Because of the time period of up to 14 days before a positive result may be detected after exposure, ongoing testing is imperative and short-term requests for exemptions will not be approved.   
  • Vaccinations. Receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination does not remove all possibility of acquiring or transmitting the virus to others, so exemptions for students who have been vaccinated will not be approved. 
  • Short-term or Partial Virtual Attendance for Face-to-Face Courses. If a student is on campus or in person for any class session or lab activity throughout the quarter, the student is not eligible for a testing exemption. Only students who have an agreement with all instructors to attend all courses virtually for the entire quarter will be granted a testing exemption.  
  • Infrequent campus access. Students will be required to test regardless of how often they plan to be on campus. 

Circumstances for Which an Exemption Request is Not Required  

Students who fall under the following categories will not be required to submit a testing exemption request; their compliance status will be updated automatically. 

  • Those who are in isolation/quarantined in place. For the duration of a student’s quarantine or quarantine-in-place requirement, ongoing COVID-19 testing is not required; thus, a testing exemption request is not necessary. The testing exemption process for these students will be managed by the campus public health officials who are coordinating the quarantine expectations. 
  • Those who have a deferred Housing agreement. Students who have University Housing contracts but who are not living on campus should contact University Housing at (805) 756-1126 to ensure they’re removed from the testing compliance list for those living in University Housing. When a student turns in their key to a housing unit, they will be automatically removed from the compliance group. Please note: If a student meets any other criterion in the 1-6 list above and outlined in the COVID-19 Presidential Order, they still are required to comply with ongoing testing and safety protocols. 

Testing Exemption Request Process 

  1. Any student with an exemption request must complete the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Request Form. If a student is locked out of the portal for non-compliance and cannot access the form, the student should contact the COVID-19 Help Center for assistance in completing the form.   
  2. The completed form will be reviewed by a staff member at the COVID Help Center and routed to the appropriate unit for consideration. Medical exemption requests are reviewed by the DRC, academic requests are verified by the COVID Help Center, and other requests are reviewed by the Testing Exemption Committee. Students must comply with campus testing requirements while waiting for a response to their request. 
  3. The appropriate unit will notify the Testing Exemption Committee whether the request has been approved or denied. 
  4. The Testing Exemption Committee will email the student with a response to the testing exemption request. Students who submit a testing exemption request based on virtual attendance of a face-to-face course or an extenuating circumstance will be notified of determination within 3-5 business days; students who submit a testing exemption request based on a medical reason will be notified of determination as soon as possible but the request may take up to the three weeks to process.  
  5. If approved, the student’s information will be updated within the testing compliance system, including the specific beginning and end dates for the exemption. The student will receive a warning in advance of the exemption’s expiration date. 
  6. If denied, the student will be invited to provide additional documentation to support the request and must comply with campus testing requirements while the appeal is considered. 


Why are vaccines not approved for exemptions?

Currently, public health and medical experts are advising that students should continue to get tested regularly. As new evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines becomes available, this exemption may change.  

Do students in isolation need to comply with the Testing Compliance Program?

Students on county-mandated isolation are exempt from participating in ongoing testing for 90 days. Please check your status in the COVID-19 Info tab in the student portal to see if you have an active exemption. If you do not have an exemption, please submit an exemption request from the same tab.

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