A UC Santa Barbara student who left campus on March 17 and only returned once to pack their belongings on April 3 has tested positive for coronavirus, Chancellor Henry T. Yang informed the campus community in an April 7 email.
The student, who lived in Santa Cruz Hall, left for spring break on March 17 and reported symptoms consistent with the virus after returning home, according to the email. After self-quarantining for two weeks and exhibiting no symptoms for over a week, the student then returned to campus on April 3 for “about two hours” to pick up their belongings from Santa Cruz Hall. The student received the positive test result after returning home, according to the email.
The university is “cleaning and sanitizing both the student’s room and the common areas,” and has contacted public health officials, according to the email.
According to Santa Barbara County Public Health Department officials and campus health experts, “the risk of any exposure to members of our campus community from this student’s brief visit is extremely low,” Yang said in the email.
Yang said in the email that the student reported practicing social distancing on their April 3 visit and stated that the student had no contact with anyone from the campus. The student also reported washing their hands and sanitizing objects around them while moving out.
The email also stressed the “critical importance” of social distancing and reminded students to wash their hands frequently and cover their faces in public.
The university has asked all essential personnel still working on campus to follow CDC protocol and utilize “bandannas, scarves, and simple homemade cloth versions” of masks while working on campus, stressing the importance of leaving N95 masks, which are in short supply, for health care professionals.
“Our thoughts and warm wishes are with our student and their family,” Yang added.
“We are grateful to them for following health and safety protocols that are in place to protect our community.”