The Office of the Chancellor at UC Santa Barbara sent an email to the campus community on Feb. 14 announcing the continuation of the current campus masking policy through March 18 — the end of Winter Quarter 2022.
The current masking policy at UCSB mandates all faculty, staff members, students and visitors to wear face masks in all shared indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The mandate followed Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD)’s July 19, 2021 recommendation that all county residents wear masks in public indoor spaces as a precautionary measure due to rising COVID-19 cases linked to the delta variant.
SBCPHD announced on Feb. 10 that it will remove its countywide public indoor mask mandate beginning Feb. 16, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to rescind the statewide public indoor mask mandate.
Of all the UC schools, a majority have chosen to keep their mask mandates with the exception of UC Berkeley.
UCSB’s Office of the Chancellor emphasized the necessity of masking guidelines to continue mitigation efforts of COVID-19 and considered it “prudent” to continue the current campus policies through the end of the quarter.
“Although masking guidelines may have changed in Santa Barbara County and California for some indoor activities, we believe that it would be prudent to continue our current campus policies for classrooms, offices, and indoor events through the end of the Winter Quarter,” the email read. “CalOSHA continues to require that all employees wear face masks when indoors and in vehicles.”
Furthermore, the office acknowledged that despite the decline in COVID-19 positive cases in Santa Barbara and across California, there is still “substantial transmission” of the virus in the county community. Thus, the administration will continue to monitor the trends and risks of transmissions and adjust UCSB’s COVID-19 protocols accordingly during Spring Quarter 2022.
The Office of the Chancellors medical experts, COVID-19 working group and response team are meeting regularly to assess COVID-19 policies and data to continuously review and revise campus protocols.