Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced in a campus-wide email Saturday afternoon that the transition to remote instruction will now be extended for the entirety of spring quarter to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, following the lead of other UC campuses.
Yang initially announced on Tuesday that instruction would only be remote through at least the end of April.
“While we know how disappointing this situation is, especially for our graduating students, social distancing and lowering the density on campus is the best way to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19, according to our health experts,” Yang wrote in today’s email.
After Yang’s announcement on Tuesday, faculty and students alike raised concerns about the effectiveness of online classes, or how certain lab or studio courses could be taught online. In today’s email, Yang said faculty and individual departments should “exercise maximum flexibility in these unique circumstances,” but did not specify how online classes would be implemented, or what software would be used.
“We will continue to work to be as accommodating as possible in an attempt to make sure all of our students are able to receive the courses they need to fulfill requirements,” Yang said.
Although all in-person classes are canceled through spring quarter, Yang maintained in the email that the campus will remain “open and operational” during this time to accommodate students who are unable to leave Santa Barbara or must remain on campus.
Along with the announcement to extend remote instruction through the end of spring quarter, Yang said in the email that students who live in university-owned housing are also urged to “safely leave” and take their personal belongings. Instructions related to moving out of university-owned housing will be provided in a future update, he added.
“We have a small window to take proactive steps to protect our community, and we are asking everyone to do their best and to be community-minded,” Yang wrote in the email.
On Friday, residence halls and university apartments sent out emails to all its residents, explaining that students could break their contracts with the university and receive refunds if they choose to do so.
Yang said in the email that the university is also reviewing options related to campus-based fees and financial aid considerations, and will be “communicating separately by the end of next week with students and parents as new policy is developed.”
In the email, Yang also urged managers on campus to “exercise maximum flexibility” with their employees.
According to an email sent out by administrators on Thursday, commencement will currently continue as planned.
“We do not know yet how COVID-19 transmission will progress and will keep you updated if anything changes regarding commencement.”
In the past few days, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside and UC Davis have all announced a shift to remote instruction for the rest of the academic year after previously only planning remote instruction for parts of spring quarter or semester.
UC Irvine and UC San Diego had also previously announced that their campuses would be shifting to entirely online instruction for spring quarter. UC Merced said on Wednesday it would be moving to remote instruction, although it’s unclear for how long.