Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced on March 16 that UC Santa Barbara’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted at the end of the winter quarter, confirming the Nexus’ March 10 reporting.
Yang wrote in an email addressed to the campus community that beginning March 19, masking will be recommended indoors but not required. The sole exception to this is in classrooms, where the masking requirement will remain in place until April 4 as an added precaution while students and staff return from spring break vacations.
Yang said that this change comes as Santa Barbara County COVID-19 cases drop to pre-omicron levels, along with a dramatic decline in the indoor transmission of the virus.
“Thanks to these welcome developments, we can look forward to further normalization of campus life in the Spring Quarter,” Yang wrote in the email.
In a departure from current policy, campus events of any size will not require attendees to wear face coverings, according to the university’s guidelines for campus gatherings. Events with over 1,000 attendees are still required to check for either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Yang also provided guidance for those traveling over spring break, suggesting that out-of-state travelers test before returning to campus, and urged students and staff to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines. There will be no testing requirement for students returning to campus as there was at the beginning of Winter Quarter 2022. Unvaccinated students are still required to obtain a weekly test throughout Spring Quarter 2022.
UCSB students and staff who wanted to test before returning to campus for spring quarter were able to pick up a free rapid antigen at-home COVID-19 test kit through the end of finals week at the UCen, the Loma Pelona Center testing site and all student housing locations. Yang urged students to report any positive at-home tests through the university’s student health portal.
As these changes take effect, Yang advised that in the coming quarter “all persons, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended but not required to wear a mask while indoors.”