[12/21/2021, 1:20 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include information from UC President Michael Drake’s letter to all UC chancellors.
[12/21/2021, 2:17 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include that UC Riverside has also decided to transition to remote learning for the beginning of Winter Quarter 2022.
[12/21/2021, 3:06 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include that UC Santa Cruz has also decided to transition to remote learning for the beginning of Winter Quarter 2022.
[12/21/2021, 4:07 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include that UC Davis has also decided to transition to remote learning for the first week of winter quarter.
[12/21/2021, 6:29 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include that UC Santa Barbara has also decided to transition to remote learning for the beginning of Winter Quarter 2022.
[12/21/2021, 7:00 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include that UC Los Angeles has also decided to transition to remote learning for the beginning of Winter Quarter 2022.
UC Santa Barbara will shift to remote learning for the first two weeks of Winter Quarter 2022 — alongside all other UC schools on the quarter system — to prepare for and mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant.
All University of California schools have the option to transfer to online learning for at least the first two weeks of January due to the omicron variant of COVID-19, according to a letter from UC President Michael V. Drake.
Currently, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, UC Sant Barbara and UC Los Angeles — all UC campuses but UC Merced and UC Berkeley who begin on Jan. 18 — have announced remote instruction for the beginning two weeks of Winter Quarter 2022 which begins on Jan. 3. UC Davis will be remote only for the first week of Winter Quarter 2022.
“UC Santa Barbara has decided to begin Winter quarter on January 3 with two weeks of remote instruction. In-person instruction will resume on January 18, subject to reassessment of the situation early in Winter quarter,” Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s email to the UCSB community stated.
UC chancellors must make a plan for return to campus, and Drake’s letter stated this “may require” moving online for two weeks or a longer duration at the discretion of each chancellor.
On Tuesday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that all UC campuses would be moving online for two weeks, according to a campus official. Drake’s letter, published online Tuesday, states that campus chancellors have the option whether or not to temporarily move to remote learning.
Drake has asked all UC campuses “to design and implement a plan for a January return to campus that mitigates public health impacts, responds to the unique circumstances facing your campus, and maintains our teaching and research operations. This plan should incorporate a test, sequester, and retest model.”
“Given the differences in local conditions and campus operations across the University, the length of this remote instruction period may vary from campus to campus,” the letter read.
In addition, UCSB’s campus housing will remain open as well as its dining halls.
“University housing and dining halls, and other campus facilities, will be open to those who choose to return to campus,” the letter stated.
However, Yang said that the university encourages students stay home for the first two weeks.
“We are encouraging students to stay wherever they can best do their work during the period of remote instruction, and then testing before leaving home and upon arriving on campus,” the letter stated.
The letter also said that anyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot must do so.
“Under existing UC policy, students, faculty, and staff are required to keep their vaccination status up to date. The policy mandates COVID-19 boosters for those who are eligible.”
UC Santa Barbara was not immediately available for comment.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.