[01/07/2021, 4:18 p.m.]: This article has been updated to include UC Berkeley’s announcement to start of its quarter with remote learning till Jan. 28, with plans to resume in-person on Jan. 31.
UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles and UC Berkeley have all extended their remote learning period through Jan. 28, with plans to begin in-person instruction on Jan. 31. This extension follows the Dec. 21 announcement by all UC’s on the quarter system to begin Winter Quarter 2022 with remote learning for one to two weeks.
UC Santa Barbara is yet to make any such announcement about extending its remote learning period.
Originally, UCSB announced its decision to switch to remote learning for the first two weeks of Winter Quarter 2022 as a result of rampant spread of the omicron variant and said it would re-open for in-person instruction on Jan. 18. According to the Dec. 21, 2021 email from Chancellor Henry T. Yang, this decision was supposed to give the UCSB community extra time in case people contracted COVID-19 and needed to quarantine, for people to “to navigate any COVID-related health issues or delay” and for people to get their booster shots as per the UC systemwide booster mandate.
According to a Dec. 27, 2021 email from the university’s COVID-19 Response Team, UCSB is also asking students to return to Santa Barbara no later than Jan. 12 and to get tested after arriving. Students who have not obtained their booster shot or have received a vaccine exemption will continue to have to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Finally, UCSB is encouraging students to study remotely “in whatever environment (home/campus) suitable for them,” which they expect will result in a staggered return to campus. UCSB will also continue its public, indoor mask mandate.
Despite the mitigation efforts, UCSB recorded its highest number of positive tests in a day on Jan. 5, with 303 positive cases. Since the beginning of Fall Quarter 2021, UCSB recorded a total of 950 positive cases as of Jan. 7, making the Jan. 5 peak around 32% of UCSB’s total positive cases since the beginning of the school year.
However, as of Jan. 6, UCSB continues to plan for an in-person quarter beginning Jan. 18. However, on Jan. 6, UC Davis, which was only supposed to be online till Jan. 7, announced its intention to continue remote learning till Jan. 28, and many other UC’s followed suit with a similar announcement.
“We are continuing to plan for a January 18 resumption of in-person instruction as highlighted in Chancellor Yang’s Dec. 21, 2021 message,” UCSB interim editorial director Shelly Leachman said in a statement to the Nexus. “The mitigation procedures from Fall Quarter remain in effect, including masking, required vaccinations and boosters, as well as our testing protocols. Many of these were highlighted in the recent message to students from the COVID-19 Response Team. Our campus medical experts are in frequent contact with local public health experts and UC systemwide medical public health experts as well as [the UC Office of the President] UCOP. Any necessary adjustments to the current plans will be communicated broadly to our community.”
This article will be updated as more UC campuses announce their plans for in-person versus remote instruction.