FAQs about the Pandemic

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from postdocs about UCSF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the information organized below is available on the UCSF coronavirus website. We will update this list with latest information as we receive it. Thank you in advance for your patience. If you have questions not answered here, please email us.

If you missed the open Q&A for postdocs on April 8, 2020, you can view the video recording.


Basic Needs

Does UCSF provide accomodations if I need to quarantine?

UCSF Housing may be able to provide some assistance with postdocs who need to quarentine. Vacant campus housing units are prioritized first for current housing tenants who are asymptomatic and who need to separate from their COVID-19 positive apartment / roommates.

If you have a question or concern about how your postdoc position impacts your campus housing options, please email us at [email protected].

Does UCSF offer extra support for dependent care during this time?

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in widespread school and childcare closures. UCSF Family Services is promoting various resources that may be helpful for UCSF employees, including postdocs, who have been designated as essential on-site personnel. To help support employees through child/dependent care challenges, this newly created decision tool provides information on available options, as well as new FAQs.

Resources include short-term enrollment opportunities at the UCSF Child Care Centers (University Child Care at Mission Bay and Laurel Heights Child Development Center), UCSF Child Care Referral Services, Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Program extension for essential on-site staff, Sittercity, an online system available to UCSF postdocs for child and elder care, and community resources. You can stay updated with UCSF Family Service’s news and resources by visiting the Child Care Closures and Alternative Care page.

I am driving to campus. Is free parking available?

Not at this time. Parking rates (all campus locations), January 4, 2021 through June 30, 2021 are:
    • Hourly: $5
    • Daily Max: $35
    • Disabled flat rate: $7
    • Motorcycle flat rate: $5
    • UCSF Employee/Patient Daily Max Rate: $22
    • UCSF Employee Monthly Rate: $312
    • UCSF Student Daily Max Rate: $11

For more information, please visit UCSF Transportation.


The shelter-in-place order has hindered my ability to make progress in my research. What can I do to support my career prospects?

The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) developed a "How can I best keep on track with my career goals?" campaign to support your career goals during this time. We strongly encourage you to review the "Career Conversations for Researchers in the Age of COVID-19" developed by the Office of Career and Professional Development

OCPD also offers virtual workshops and 1:1 career counseling services to aid you during this time.

I was planning to be on the job market this year, and don’t know if I should stay in my postdoc or continue my job search. What should I do?

We encourage you to speak with your postdoctoral supervisor, a career counselor, or Assistant Dean Monsalve to discuss your specific situation.

I have heard about hiring freezes in academia because of COVID-19. Should I be concerned?

There is growing evidence that a number of academic institutions have instituted hiring freezes, although how they may affect faculty hiring is still evolving. Please review guidance from OCPD If you are currently negotiating for a faculty position during the COVID-19 pandemic, and speak to a career counselor to discuss your options.


COVID-19 Transmission and Vaccines

I believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19. Do I need to report it to UCSF?

All personnel working or learning at UCSF who test or have tested positive for COVID-19 at an outside facility (e.g., Kaiser, Sutter) must self-report the positive COVID-19 test result to the appropriate UCSF department; for postdocs, please self-report to UCSF Occupational Health Services (OHS).

This policy applies to personnel with current and past positive diagnoses and will supplement the cases already reported within UCSF, including within OHS and SHCS, and enable UCSF to obtain complete data about positive COVID-19 diagnoses for exposure tracing and analysis.

Click here to learn more about UCSF's testing and self-reporting protocol.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 transmission at UCSF?


UCSF has created a webpage that describes UCSF’s symptomatic and random asymptomatic testing programs for onsite employees and learners. 


Where can I get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution?

Please check the UCSF COVD-19 vaccine information hub for updates.

International and Work Permits Considerations

Who can help me answer my questions about my career and visa options during this pandemic?

International postdocs are facing unprecedented circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on questions and feedback from you, the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars (OPS), International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), and the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) collaborated to develop a step-by-step guide to help you access support quickly and easily.

We also strongly advise postdocs to check out ISSO's answers to commonly asked questions.

I am supposed to start my postdoctoral appointment very soon but I am unable to come to the U.S. as planned. Can I work remotely from abroad during this period?

Please reach out to your postdoctoral supervisor and HR Generalist to discuss your specific situation.

I am an international postdoctoral scholar, and I am concerned about my visa status and/or renewal because of delays caused by the pandemic. Who should I contact?

Please reach out to your specialist in the International Students and Scholars office to seek assistance on your situation.

I just arrived in the U.S. May I begin my postdoc appointment while I shelter-in-place?

If you have recently arrived to the US from abroad, UCSF Occupational Health Services (OHS) requires their clearence before you can begin or return to work. We suggest you also monitor updates from the CDC travel website. Importantly, postdocs are not required to delay the start of their employment while awaiting clearance from OHS but should start the process below as soon as they arrive in the U.S., especially if you are arriving from a country with a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice. Please keep your postdoctoral supervisor updated on your status during your review process with OHS.

Postdoc-specific Policies and Time in Postdoc Appointment

I am concerned that I will need more time in my postdoc due to delays caused by the pandemic. Can I extend my appointment beyond a fifth year?

The current agreement between the University of California and the union representing postdoctoral scholars (UAW Local 5810) states that “the total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at other institutions. Under unusual circumstances, the University may grant an exception to this limit, not to exceed a sixth year.

If you believe you might need an extension of your postdoc appointment, we strongly encourage you to to discuss this possibility with your postdoctoral advisor and to speak with Assistant Dean Monsalve to discuss your specific situation.

If your supervisor agrees to extend your postdoctoral appointment, they will need to submit a request via PeopleConnect to HR Trainee Shared Services

Can I take a leave of absence during my postdoc because of COVID-19?

UC President Drake extended the Executive Order on providing for all employees – which includes postdocs – to receive a bank of 128 hours of paid administrative leave (pro-rated based on appointment percentage) by June 30, 2021, to be used in the following COVID-19 circumstances:

  • Employee is unable to work due to own or family member’s COVID-19 illness
  • Employee is unable to work or telecommute and has been told not to come to work due to COVID-19 (includes self-isolation)
  • Non-patient care employee is unable to work or telecommute due to shelter in place order
  • Employee is unable to work or telecommute due to school or dependent care closures. These hours may be used intermittently and must be used by December 31, 2020, or they will expire.

Postdocs may request use of these hours as they would other paid time away from work. If you like to take a leave of absence for one of the above circumstances, please work with your HR generalist and postdoctoral supervisor. Updates to this policy can be found on the UCSF Coronavirus website.

Are postdocs impacted by the hiring freeze?

The hiring freeze applies to new postdoctoral appointments. For new appointments, the hiring department should follow their control point’s process to request exceptional approvals for the appointment.

The hiring freeze does not apply to reappointment of current postdocs.

Research and Maintaining Productivity

What basic science research activities are allowed on campus?

Updates to UCSF policies and guidance for postdocs engaged in basic science research are from the direction of the UCSF Office of Research. Please direct questions about this policy to [email protected].

What clinical research activities are allowed on campus?

Updates to UCSF policies and guidance for postdocs engaged in clinical research are from the direction of the UCSF Office of Research. Direct questions about this policy to [email protected].

What can I do to mitigate the impact of my research progress during this pandemic?

During this time, some find it helpful to focus on developing new skills, work on new or ongoing writing projects, explore their career options, build their professional networks, or engage in self-care activities. Some choose to do none of these things, and that’s ok! This is a challenging time, and what you need to do for yourself is what matters.

Please check out the "Career Conversations for Researchers in the Age of COVID-19" developed by the Office of Career and Professional Development

I am coming back to campus. What do I need to do?

If you have been authorized to report to work onsite, you must first familiarize yourself with the protocols on the UCSF Protocol for Working Onsite webpage.


I plan to travel (domestic or international). What do I need to do to prepare for my return back to work?

Please review the UCSF Coronavirus webpage for updates to travel policies.

International scholars who leave the US are required to notify their ISSO advisor.

I am a current postdoc and am unable to come back to the US due to travel restrictions. Who should I notify?

Any UCSF postdoc who is unable to return to the US should report to their information to Travis Pentz in the International Students and Scholars Office.


How can I take care of myself during this period of uncertainty?

Please review the rich number of wellness resources available specifically for postdocs. 

How do I support my family/friends/roommates?

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry has provided the community with a rich collection of resources support the mental health and wellness during this challenging time. Click below to learn more about the following wellness resources for:

I am concerned about the wellbeing of a fellow postdoc. Who can help me with this?

Anyone concerned about the wellbeing of a postdoc is strongly encouraged to contact Assistant Dean Monsalve.

How can I become an ally and advocate?

Your voice and actions matter as a postdoc at UCSF! Spend 10, 25 or 45 minutes a day becoming a better ally and advocate.