Students react to end of Trojan Check requirement

The first day without Trojan Check brought a divide in student opinion.

Students walk onto campus without scanning Trojan Check.

Monday marked the first day since June 2020 that USC students no longer needed Trojan Check to enter campus.

COVID-19 positivity rates have been trending downward both at USC and within the city of Los Angeles throughout the month of March. The week before USC announced that Trojan Check would no longer be required, the COVID-19 positivity rate amongst students and faculty hit 0.8%, the lowest since it reached 13% during the Omicron surge in January.

This decision came about one month after USC lifted the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement on March 1 and discontinued the indoor mask policy on March 7.

Similar to student reactions when the indoor masking policy was lifted, Trojans experienced mixed feelings about the end of Trojan Check.

To some, including sophomore business administration major Davis Winsor, Trojan Check was a bothersome daily task.

“Trojan Check was a little over the top in my opinion,” Winsor said. “The inconvenience of having to do a survey every day and getting tested every week was kind of annoying. I’m pretty excited that it’s gone.”

Cameron Klein, a senior double majoring in business administration and theater, also supported the policy being discarded for the time being.

“I’m all for just returning to life as normal,” Klein said. “I am glad they’re lifting restrictions. I’m happy I don’t have to wear a mask in class anymore and that we’re starting to see the transition into some form of normalcy.”

Another issue some students raised about Trojan Check was the accuracy of individuals’ responses to the daily questionnaire prompts.

“It’s gotten to the point where people don’t actually fill it out intentionally; they just kind of rush through all the ‘no’ buttons,” said sophomore cinematic arts, film and television production major Cami Smith-Dahl. “The thing that worries me is the no testing.”

For some, the change in requirements caused concern. Sophomore international relations major Claire Fausett said that the change came “a little too soon.”

“I don’t know if it’s just people in my life, but I know a lot more people have been getting coronavirus recently, especially coming back from spring break,” Fausett said. “So I feel a little uneasy knowing [how] many more people have gotten COVID. And then, all of a sudden, Trojan Check is gone. Mask mandates are gone. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable.”

The question of Trojan Check’s potential reinstatement in response to future COVID-19 surges remains.

Trojan Check is part of the phased approach system that USC formed to safely manage students, staff and faculty’s gradual return to campus. Phase 5, the current phase, still outlines that “individuals on all campuses are required to wear a facial covering indoors” and that “faculty, staff, and students complete daily symptom check through Trojan Check.”

Whether or not the system will be updated to include a Phase 6 or if regression to a previous phase would cause the reintegration of Trojan Check is yet to be determined.

“[They have] kind of backed themselves into a corner. If they reinstate Trojan Check, I think students are going to get really upset because it’s a convenience thing– people don’t like having to fill it out,” Smith-Dahl said. “I think if they end up reinstating anything, it’s going to be a big mess.”

Visit USC’s COVID-19 dashboard for additional information.