June 25, 2020
Between now and the start of the fall quarter, UC San Diego will continue to operate amid great uncertainty. It is an uncomfortable feeling for many of us, requiring enormous flexibility, patience, resilience and grace. All of the unknowns make for a very challenging planning environment. Ultimately, we must be prepared at very short notice to reduce or limit on-campus activities and move to fully remote teaching should pandemic conditions worsen at any point before the end of the year. We must also point out that while we will do our utmost to mitigate risks associated with living and learning on campus, we cannot eliminate them altogether.
In preparing for the Fall 2020 Quarter, we plan to welcome back students, faculty and staff through an incremental repopulation of campus beginning this summer. Our plan is designed to prioritize health and safety, be flexible, and offers the university the ability to respond quickly should state and county public health guidelines change.
Several taskforce work groups consisting of faculty, students and staff were created to provide extensive evaluation, planning and preparations. Taskforce decisions have been guided by evidence, science and expertise from faculty and researchers in our School of Medicine and Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science and from healthcare experts at UC San Diego Health in conjunction with current state and county public health guidelines. This notice includes decisions made for testing, instruction, student housing and dining, student advising and services, research, return-to-campus for employees, and campus safety policies.
Our goal is to offer regular testing to students, faculty and staff for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Through implementation of strategies for early detection of SARS-CoV-2 by adaptive testing as well as interventions including isolation and quarantine, we aim to lessen the likelihood of a significant outbreak on campus.
There is no cost for asymptomatic or symptomatic testing of SARS-CoV-2 to students, faculty and staff if testing is done at a UC San Diego Health location or through Student Health Services. Testing details will be communicated in the near future by UC San Diego Health.
FALL INSTRUCTION PLAN FOR STUDENTS
We have created a set of options for a course of action that is right for you based on your circumstances, preferences and goals. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality educational experience and will do everything possible to support your progress toward a UC San Diego degree.
UC San Diego will offer more than 4,750 undergraduate and graduate lecture, lab and discussion course sections this fall. Approximately 30 percent of courses will be conducted in person, based on plans developed by the academic units offering them; and the rest will be conducted in remote or hybrid formats.
A course modality glossary
In-person class size is limited to fewer than 50 students per class, or 50 percent of classroom capacity, whichever is smaller. Many in-person classes will have fewer than 25 students. All classes offered in person, including lab and studio classes, will observe room occupancy densities and masking practices based on CDC and other public health guidelines.
Student services and programs will be available remotely and, whenever
possible, in-person in compliance with UC San Diego’s
physical-distancing and face-covering policies available at
Student advising will be available primarily through the Virtual Advising Center, with some in-person advising appointments available. Please visit http://vac.ucsd.edu/ for more details. The Colleges and the Graduate Division will continue to provide remote and in-person programs and services for students living both on- and off-campus.
The International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) has developed programming to engage incoming international undergraduate and graduate students. Resources include onboarding webinars for new international students and their families, International Student Peer Coaching Program, introductory summer start course and webinar series, and extended virtual orientation and welcome programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. The Globally Engaged Tritons (GET) Committee launched the Global Hub, a portal for all globally focused virtual programming and events. Details are available at https://ispo.ucsd.edu/news/coronavirus-info/new-students-info.html.
STUDENT HOUSING AND DINING
On-campus housing communities and dining facilities will remain open with enhanced precautionary measures to help protect the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Triple-occupancy housing options have been eliminated to reduce housing density. Students who are eligible for a two-year-housing guarantee and complete the housing application by the deadline will be offered a housing contract for the 2020-21 academic year.
If a student is coming to campus from an international location, CDC guidelines [https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html] recommend a 14-day quarantine period. Students with a housing contract can complete the quarantine period in specially designated on-campus housing with no additional housing fees. Students will be charged for meals that will be delivered to the housing unit during quarantine. Students should indicate their needs for quarantine housing and any dietary needs on their Housing Portal at https://hdh.ucsd.edu/housing/currentresidents/pages/ starting in July and will need to arrive on campus between August 27 and September 3. If students arrive after September 3, options will be available with local hotels at pre-negotiated rates. Students would be responsible for these costs.
All students who reside on campus will be expected to participate in daily symptom screening and will be offered free SARS-CoV-2 testing as part of the move-in process. Our goal is to identify and isolate any asymptomatic individuals who could unintentionally spread the virus. Details about screening and testing will be communicated to students through email from Housing and Dining Services.
In the event a student living in on-campus housing tests positive at any time during the academic year, they will be moved to designated on-campus isolation housing, where basic needs will be met and food will be delivered to the unit. They will also receive care from Student Health and Well-being Services.
If public health considerations cause the university to request students to vacate on-campus housing, students will not be charged for the unused portion of their housing and dining contracts.
Beginning June 1, a limited number of faculty, staff and students began ramping up on-site research, scholarship and creative activity. County and state guidelines will inform subsequent phases of research ramp-up, which will allow additional on-site activity. These phases will be announced at a later date.
Our research ramp-up activity is being conducted in accordance with
state and local public health orders, CDC recommendations, and campus
guidelines regarding social distancing, reduced population density
on-site, use of face masks or personal protective equipment, and
disinfecting protocols. Learn more about the phases of Research Ramp-Up
The health and safety of our employees is a priority at UC San Diego. We are grateful to employees who have remained on campus to complete critical functions throughout the pandemic. Under new campus safety protocols and in conjunction with state and county guidelines, their careful efforts and dedication have helped prepare the campus environment for a gradual expansion of on-campus operations and activities in the fall.
Maintaining lower densities of individuals on campus is important to provide space for proper social distancing during the pandemic. For this reason, UC San Diego is taking an incremental approach to increasing the number of employees working on campus.
A taskforce work group is in the process of completing a comprehensive return-to-campus plan for employees who have been working remotely. Just as with remote learning, we have learned a great deal about remote work during the pandemic. The taskforce is evaluating these lessons and identifying potential new work modalities that may allow some employees greater flexibility in their work moving forward.
These innovations will take time to implement, but it is clear that some remote working opportunities will be available for work that can be completed successfully off site. This determination will be made by team supervisors in conjunction with department leaders and approved by the corresponding vice chancellor. Our goal is to provide employees options, whenever possible, while meeting the needs of our institution and the people the institution serves.
Remote work arrangements currently in place will continue until early September, unless you are otherwise notified by your supervisor. We anticipate announcing the comprehensive plan for returning employees in August.
NEW CAMPUS SAFETY PROTOCOLS
To protect all students, faculty and staff, UC San Diego has developed
enhanced safety requirements for individuals arriving, working and
living on all UC San Diego campuses, properties and locations. Policies
focused on mandatory face coverings/masks, social distancing and visitor
symptom screening have been implemented and will be continuously
reevaluated. For a detailed list of current safety requirements, visit
Public areas (lobbies, meeting rooms, study rooms, laundry rooms, restrooms, etc.) and high-touch areas (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.) will be disinfected frequently. Hand sanitizer will be available at various entry points, dining facilities, study and other public areas.
The fall quarter begins on Monday, September 28. A lot can change with this pandemic between now and then, so it is prudent for us to remain flexible. As has been the case since the beginning of this unprecedented challenge, the university’s plans may change as the pandemic evolves. While the California reopening plan is executed and assessed at each phase, UC San Diego will notify faculty and staff of any changes to their work situation as appropriate. In all decisions, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and local communities will be paramount.
For the latest updates on our campus repopulation plan, please visit https://returntolearn.ucsd.edu.
Together, we have gone through a lot in the last 14 weeks of this pandemic. It has been concerning, stressful and challenging. As the region’s only academic medical center and leading research university, we have faced a variety of obstacles and unique pressures to meet the needs of students, patients and our greater community. We rose to meet these difficult circumstances, found existing solutions when possible, and innovated in multiple and broad areas nearly every step of the way. I know you’re tired. I know you how much you’ve given of yourselves. And I know that the extraordinary things you’ve done have had a dramatic impact on the lives of countless people.
Each of you is remarkable: students for continuing their studies undeterred, faculty for innovating the base of education, and staff for keeping everything moving, functioning and evolving.
I offer special thanks to those who have been instrumental in keeping the campus and our health system operational during this crisis. I also thank our residence life staff, custodial staff, dining hall staff, student health staff, emergency operations staff, executive policy group, Chancellor’s Cabinet, divisional deans and college provosts, faculty, students, and of course everyone in our medical centers.
I am grateful for everyone’s continued cooperation. Your commitment and dedication to UC San Diego and each other are exemplary. Thank you.