‘Access denied’: Students are frustrated over testing demand, experience campus access delays after Thanksgiving break

Students have faced issues with Trojan Check and MySHR.

COVID testing site

After a five day break, students have reported difficulties accessing campus Monday because of the university’s weekly COVID-19 testing requirements.

In an email sent to students on Nov. 18, Chief Student Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman encouraged students to “test before travel, and after [they] return.” However, the MySHR portal has experienced heavy traffic, breeding sporadic error messages since the return.

When trying to log into MySHR Monday to schedule an appointment, many students have seen an “access denied” error message that read “There are too many users currently connected. Please try again later.” Other students were able to search for appointments, but were unable to see their search results before being logged out due to an “internal error.”

“USC Student Health and IT is aware of the issues with MySHR and has increased capacity. Many individuals (students and employees) were logging in simultaneously at around 9:30 am, likely to schedule COVID-testing appointments, which caused a slowdown,” USC Student Health said in an email to Annenberg Media.

Other students were able to schedule appointments, but had trouble opening the bar code necessary to check them in for their test. Matthew Garcia, a freshman studying public relations, said he encountered this issue testing Monday morning at the Pardee Lawn site, but checked in using his student ID.

“[My appointment barcode] wasn’t loading, so I had to be like, ‘Hey, I have an appointment, but the barcode isn’t coming up because there’s too many people on the site,’” Garcia said.

Other students were inconvenienced by the closure of on-campus COVID testing sites over the break and faced difficulties scheduling appointments for before Monday. Alex Szabo, a senior majoring in economics and mathematics, said he struggled.

“I couldn’t get scheduled for [a COVID test] until Monday, but I came back Wednesday, so I couldn’t get on campus until [Monday]. I used a guest pass for a few days but then they stopped letting me do that,” Szabo said. “Yesterday, I tried to go to the gym and use a guest pass to sign in, and they said you’re not allowed to do that.”

Haley Long, a sophomore studying theater, said she scheduled her Monday test “a week and a half” in advance and that she knows people who have struggled to get appointments.

“I needed to get COVID tested today for a performance, and there are kids in my class who can’t get tested. So we’ll have to deal with that,” said Long.

While some students were able to make their Trojan Checks compliant by scheduling a Monday test in advance, others had to negotiate with workers at campus entrances. Long said that she was allowed on campus after explaining that she had a test scheduled, but Garcia said that this method doesn’t always work.

“[MySHR] will show that I have a test, but my Trojan Check won’t work… and sometimes [Trojan Check workers] don’t understand that it’s the system that doesn’t work. So that was a whole process within itself, just finding an entrance where they understood that I had an appointment scheduled,” Garcia said.

Not all students have faced difficulties, though. Cassidy Tucker, a junior studying cinema and media studies, said that she had no problems scheduling her test or getting on campus despite last testing over a week ago.

“It was seamless… this is just like a normal day for me,” said Tucker.

The representative for USC Student Health said that a possible solution for students who do encounter these issues is to simply walk up.

“Students who are unable to log in for an appointment online can walk up to a testing site; as they are doing so, they should re-check the appointment schedule, as appointments are added when there is additional high volume,” USC Student Health wrote. “Having an appointment in advance speeds up the check-in process and makes the testing site run more efficiently for all patients.”