UC Santa Barbara Plans for Fall 2020

COVID Keeping Classes in the Air

Chancellor Henry Yang | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

UC Santa Barbara intends to open its campus for fall quarter 2020, but the overall campus experience largely rests on future directives from state and local government, as well as COVID-19 numbers and testing availability at the time of reopening. Many classes will be held remotely, and other modifications to regular campus life are currently in the works. In a June 18 announcement, University Chancellor Henry T. Yang outlined the new plans.

Planning teams are working with faculty to determine the courses that are best suited for remote, hybrid, or in-person instruction. Most likely, courses with more than 50 students enrolled will be held remotely. Graduate instruction is expected to continue at nearly full capacity, but most graduate seminars will be conducted remotely.

Although residence halls remain open for first-year students, freshmen who wish to study remotely will be able to do so. There is no guarantee, however, that all classes will be offered remotely. A final schedule of courses indicating course formats will be available in July.


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All undergraduate residence halls will be limited to two students per room, with the possibility of lowering occupancy to only one student per room if necessary. Returning students will be asked for proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arriving to campus, and a no-visitor policy will be enforced in the residence halls. Face coverings will be required inside all buildings, and daily health checks will be administered to students, faculty, and staff.

Outside the Santa Barbara campus is where enforcement gets tricky — the university is considering asking students not to travel away from campus during the first quarter. As for UCSB’s off-campus student population, which largely resides in Isla Vista, the university asks that they be mindful of social distancing and try to seek out living situations with reduced density.

The university’s Office of Research has also developed a staged plan to bring back on-campus research, with each lab and building working collaboratively to develop a plan to get research up and running again while reducing the amount of people working on campus.

As fall quarter approaches, the university is awaiting approval from the State of California to resume in-person instruction. UCSB will continue working out further details through summer to plan for all possible outcomes.

Should the university shift to completely remote instruction at any point in the year, no refunds will be disbursed. Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction.

“Our campus has faced challenges in the past, and we are confident that together our community will overcome the difficulties that lie ahead,” Yang said in the letter, addressing the UCSB community. “We are deeply grateful for the efforts and sacrifices each of you has made on behalf of our campus and the broader community. Your commitment and dedication are the lifeblood of our three-pronged mission of teaching, research, and public service as we continue to strive for excellence and diversity — a mission more important now than ever before.”

The full letter can be viewed here.


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