Effective March 11, UC Santa Barbara will begin transitioning to remote instruction for the rest of Winter Quarter and through the beginning of Spring Quarter, through at least the end of April, as a proactive measure to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
The university is asking instructors to make alternative arrangements for final exams and in-person classes, according to a campus-wide email sent out Tuesday afternoon.
“To the extent possible, instructors and departments should make plans to shift Spring Quarter classes from in-person formats to remote formats, using alternative modalities, at least through the month of April,” Chancellor Henry T. Yang wrote in the email.
The campus, including Housing and Dining, will remain open and operational, albeit with limited service, Yang said in the email. More details are expected to come later about the extent of campus operations.
“With spring break approaching, we also encourage our faculty, staff, and students to carefully consider the risks associated with travel, both international and domestic,” Yang wrote in the email.
In regards to graduate students, Yang recommended they consult with their respective departments and advisors to determine their next steps.
During this time, the UCSB athletics department will also be moving to “fan-less” events, according to the email.
For now, there are no UC-wide restrictions on any large events during this time period, although Yang recommended that campus groups “consider postponing, canceling, or rescheduling crowded on-campus events.”
Yang also added in the email that staffers were encouraged to work remotely and noted that the UC Office of the President had implemented “temporary emergency leave policies” due to the coronavirus.
“Employees unable to come to work due to a COVID-l9 day care or school closure that requires them to be home with their child may work remotely if operationally feasible; if remote work is not operationally feasible, employees may use available leave balances including sick leave,” Yang said.
UCSB is the fourth UC campus to alter university operations in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus; as of Tuesday evening, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside, UC Irvine and UC Davis have all either switched to online classes for the next few weeks or for the entirety of Spring Quarter 2020.
There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Santa Barbara County or on the UCSB campus as of March 10.
UC Berkeley was the first UC campus to announce on Monday that it would be switching most of its classes online beginning March 10 through March 29, except for those that need to meet in person.
While there are currently no coronavirus cases within the campus community, administrators said they were “proactively taking steps that will help to protect the community,” the Daily Cal reported.
UC Berkeley administrators said the campus will remain open and that classrooms would continue to be accessible by instructors; while campus operations would remain as normal as possible, administrators said operations could be limited because on-campus employers are encouraging people to work from home when possible, according to the Daily Cal.
On Monday evening, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla sent an email to students announcing that while Winter Quarter 2020 classes would continue in-person, all lecture and discussion courses in Spring 2020 would be “delivered remotely,” Triton News reported.
For now, lab and studio courses, which cannot be offered remotely, will continue to be taught in person.
Midday Tuesday, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive announced that UCSC would join other schools and switch to online courses beginning Wednesday, with the exception of lab and studio courses.
Additionally, Winter Quarter 2020 finals at UCSC must be conducted by “alternate means – not in person,” according to Larive.
This regulation will also be applied to the first week of Spring Quarter 2020, according to Larive, but no decisions have been made about the rest of spring quarter yet.
UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that it would be suspending in-person classes and moving toward “online platforms” through April 10, or the end of the second week of Spring Quarter 2020.
UC Merced said on Tuesday that there is currently “no reason for [the university] to suspend ordinary academic activity.”
UC Riverside is cancelling in-person winter quarter finals and spring quarter classes will be held online until April 3, but instructors should “prepare to continue online instruction through the remainder of the quarter, as needed,” according to an email sent out to students.
On March 10, UC Davis announced that it would be cancelling its in-person final exams for Winter Quarter and announced on March 7 that digital instruction would be available. “It is very likely that we will need to have online capacity in place for Spring Quarter classes,” according to a statement from the university.
UC Irvine has canceled in-person final exams for winter quarter and will be administering them remotely, according to an email sent out to the UCI community by Chancellor Howard Gillman Tuesday afternoon.
Spring quarter instruction will also be delivered remotely and “students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their off-campus residences and, if possible, and to stay at home during the spring quarter,” the email reads.
Evelyn Spence and Arturo Martinez Rivera contributed reporting.
Updated [5:21 p.m.]