UCSB Offers Updates on Winter Instruction and Testing
By edhat staff
UC Santa Barbara will continue with remote learning for the winter quarter and will offer some on-campus housing while ramping up testing.
Chancellor Henry T. Yang sent a memo to students on Wednesday providing updates on instruction and housing for the upcoming winter quarter.
Yang stated as Santa Barbara County, and most California counties, were placed back into the most-restrictive purple tier to curb the transmission of COVID-19, UC Santa Barbara will join other UC campuses in continuing to offer most undergraduate and graduate courses via remote instruction for the winter quarter.
UCSB is also planning to offer limited winter quarter housing in an undergraduate apartment with priority to students who had campus contracts for the fall quarter.
"We recognize that many students have challenges with remote instruction at home and would prefer to be on campus, even if they continue with remote instruction. Our plan to offer more campus housing is a cautious but important step forward to address the needs of our students and to begin to resume campus life," wrote Yang. "By opening some campus housing for fall and winter quarters, we are incrementally ramping up occupancy, which we plan to increase for the spring and summer quarters if the local public health situation allows."
For winter quarter, occupancy will be limited to one student per room, based on UC and public health guidelines and best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All undergraduate students living on campus will be required to undergo testing and sequester for a minimum of seven days upon arrival, and comply with our campus testing protocol, which currently mandates weekly testing. All UC Santa Barbara students are also required to complete both an online COVID-19 educational module and a community compact through which students must agree to practice precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Yang also addressed the increasing cases within the Isla Vista community stating the university has "overwhelming concern" given the number of COVID-19 cases and continuing reports that some residents are disregarding public health orders regarding social gatherings and face coverings.
"Since the beginning of fall quarter, through our campus testing program and from self-reporting, we have identified 25 cases of COVID-19 on campus and 186 cases in our neighboring community of Isla Vista, where an estimated 8,700 of our students live, as well as several thousand students from other local, California, and out-of-state colleges," wrote Yang. "The cases in Isla Vista represent a significant increase from what we saw prior to the start of the fall quarter, and are happening amidst surges elsewhere across the state, country, and around the world."
The campus is conducting 6,000 COVID-19 tests per week and has decreased the wait time for results with plans to expand testing capacity. UCSB has established partnerships with Fulgent Genetics and UCLA’s Computational Medicine Department to run additional diagnostic tests as well as continuing to use the expertise of UCSB faculty who developed a CRISPR-based COVID-19 test for surveillance testing for students, faculty, and staff.
Yang implored everyone, especially students, to do their part in slowing the spread of the contagious virus.