A majority of Fall Quarter 2020 classes will be held remotely due to coronavirus concerns, Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced in a campus-wide email sent late Thursday night.
Yang detailed a number of planned procedures for fall quarter, including reducing all dorm rooms to doubles, limiting in-person instruction to classes under 50 students and requiring masks to be worn at all times while inside campus buildings and while on campus where physical distancing isn’t possible. Tuition and fees for fall will also remain unchanged.
Yang also said that any student who wishes to continue learning entirely remotely will be given the option to do so.
While the email stated that the school would be updating procedures as new safety protocols are released and is “thinking creatively” about face-to-face interaction, currently “all courses with an enrollment of more than 50 students will require remote instruction,” Yang stated in the email.
However, classes with less than 50 students have no guarantee of in-person instruction, which will be limited to small classes, seminars and some arts and performance courses and labs. Decisions about final course formats will be announced in July, Yang said.
He noted that the plans for fall quarter instruction are not final, and that the university is working to “develop more face-to-face course offerings.”
UCSB is also currently planning for all undergraduate residence halls to be limited to double occupancy — with the possibility of limiting rooms to single occupants — reducing the number of housing spaces available to students.
All students who will be living in campus residences during the 2020-21 school year will be required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test and the school will be implementing additional safety policies, including limiting social interactions for the first two weeks, enforcing a no-visitor policy and asking students not to travel away from campus during the quarter.
Graduate student housing will not be impacted by the new social distancing practices and most graduate seminars will be conducted remotely.
Despite the hybrid class arrangement, tuition and student fees will not be reduced “regardless of the method of instruction,” following policies set by the University of California Board of Regents and the UC Office of the President, Yang said.
The university plans to provide both remote and in-person campus life activities as well as co-curricular programming. These activities will be contingent on new safety practices, including requiring masks to be worn at all times, performing daily health checks before entering campus, and following social distancing guidelines.
The email also detailed plans to “bring student-athletes back to campus in preparation for fall competition and the academic year … in alignment with the NCAA’s resocialization action plan for college sports.”
Yang informed students of coronavirus-related research being piloted by UCSB faculty, including “a research surveillance testing study using a CRISPR-based detection system that is designed to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals,” currently in the development stage.
“The campus is also putting in place a structure that will enable the testing of campus community members who show symptoms of COVID-19 with traditional qPCR testing,” the email continued, also stating that UCSB will be “working closely with local public health officials, and will be supporting Public Health’s efforts to conduct contact tracing of campus community members who test positive for COVID-19.”
UCSB is also planning to ramp up in-person research projects and “ultimately to get all on-campus research projects underway again at effective levels, while still reducing the number of people working on campus during the pandemic,” Yang wrote.
Staff not involved in approved on-campus research and currently working from home will continue to work remotely from home during the summer.
Holly Rusch is an asst. news editor for the Daily Nexus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.