Beginning in June 2020, the Safe Campus Initiative enrolled and followed almost 3,000 current students, essential workers, faculty, and staff. The primary purpose of the study was to inform planning for the safest possible expansion of diverse campus activities at UC Berkeley in the fall and spring, when it is expected that a larger number of students, staff, and faculty will be present in the community and on the campus.

The Safe Campus Initiative aims to:

  • Estimate incidence of new infections among different campus populations as they return to campus;
  • Understand who remains at risk of infection, why, and how to mitigate this risk;
  • Develop and pilot novel systems to improve access to more frequent testing options for persons without COVID-19 symptoms who may be at higher risk of becoming infected

From its inception, the project has involved close collaboration between multiple key partners, including the School of Public Health, University Health Services (UHS), the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), the City of Berkeley Public Health Division, and numerous other staff and faculty on the Berkeley campus from such diverse areas as environmental microbiology, data science, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office for Protection of Human Subjects, and various departments responsible for staff, students, and athletics, among others. We acknowledge the integral role that each of these partnerships has played in the research and are grateful for the opportunity to work together with such dedicated collaborators.

Principal Investigators

COVID-19 Safe Campus Initiative

Art Reingold, MD

Arthur L. Reingold, MD, is the Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He has worked for over forty years on the prevention and control of infectious diseases both at the national level, including eight years at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as with numerous developing countries around the world.

Maya Peterson, MD, PhD

Maya Petersen, MD PhD

Maya Petersen, MD PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her methodological research focuses on the development and application of novel causal inference methods to problems in health. Her applied work focuses on developing and evaluating improved HIV prevention and care strategies in resource-limited settings.

Charts and Graphs

The Safe Campus Initiative, in collaboration with IGI and UHS, has conducted over 7,200 tests for SARS-CoV-2, and participants have completed over 135,000 daily symptom and weekly exposure surveys. Check out the data that we’ve compiled so far.

Symptoms of COVID-19 reported on daily surveys

Total Number of Oral/Nasal Swabs Taken per Day