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Cal Poly to require COVID-19 test for all students living on campus for Fall 2020 

Photo from Cal Poly website.

–In consultation with the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department, Cal Poly announced on Wednesday evening that the university will require a negative COVID-19 test from all students living on campus for the Fall 2020 quarter, taken within the 72 hours prior to arriving on campus.

In addition, the university strongly encourages all students not living on campus to test for COVID-19 before returning to the area.

“Cal Poly is working diligently to plan for a Fall 2020 quarter that offers the best possible Learn by Doing experience for our students while mitigating public health risks and helping to ensure the safety of all members of both our campus and the surrounding San Luis Obispo communities,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong.

Instructions on how students will submit their test results to the university prior to move-in are being given to students and parents this week.

“Our goal is to keep SLO County safe, open, and strong in this new school year. We can do that by managing the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the risks to our community, which includes Cal Poly students, staff and faculty,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County health officer and public health director. “It’s important for each individual to do the right thing and adhere to health guidance so that we can continue to move forward together.”

The university understands that logistics and other circumstances may make it difficult for a student to obtain a test within the required time frame; we are working with students to help them find resources to meet this requirement locally or in their areas of permanent residence.

Cal Poly’s Fall 2020 quarter will begin Sept. 14. The majority of courses will be held virtually, but about 12 percent (or 511) of the more than 4,000 fall classes will be taught face-to-face (with social distancing, PPE, and other health and safety measures in place). Approximately 6,000 students are expected to take at least one in-person course. Most in-person classes will conclude Nov. 20, and all classes will be held virtually Nov. 23-24, with virtual final exams from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4.

In addition, the university is opening its campus housing facilities to about 5,150 students (versus the more than 8,000 beds normally available in University Housing). Students will be housed by themselves in single rooms only. Most of the students who will live on campus will be in their first year at Cal Poly — a crucial time when living on campus has proven to make a significant difference in a student’s long-term academic success, the school says.

For more details about Cal Poly’s Fall Roadmap, visit For up-to-date information about the university’s COVID-19-related planning and impacts, please visit

For more on San Luis Obispo County’s COVID-19 planning and response, please visit

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