Distance learning vs. in-person instruction at UC this fall

The University of California's nine undergraduate campuses are all preparing to offer most courses remotely in the fall, while still welcoming back some students, with many restrictions and safety measures in place. There are both similarities and differences among the campuses' plans, which are still evolving, particularly in light of the recent increase in Covid-19 illnesses and deaths. The following table provides an overview of what the campuses are planning. For more details, readers should go to university websites by clicking on campus names in red below. Please let us know at edsource@edsource.org if any updates or clarifications are needed regarding this evolving situation.

CampusUndergraduate instructionStudent housingCampus diningCampus activitiesCovid-19 testing, symptom monitoringCampus reopen dateNotes
UC Berkeley All courses offered remotely to begin the semester, with the goal of resuming face to face instruction later in the semester. Go here for more information.An estimated 3,200 students will be offered housing in single occupancy rooms. Priority will be given to students with housing contracts, students with disabilities, low-income students and student athletes.On-campus dining will be offered on a "to-go" basis.Campus facilities likely cannot be used for events and meetings.Currently developing a plan to test students "living, working or studying on campus." Students living on campus to be tested upon moving in.Aug. 19Chancellor Carol Christ announced at a July 20 virtual event hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education that it would be "too risky" to have any classes in person to begin the semester. Initial guidance issued: June 17
UC Davis Most courses offered remotely. A "small number" of courses will be held in person and possibly more "depending on health guidelines and instructor preference." In-person instruction of classes with fewer than 50 students "may be possible," and, when possible, held outdoors in tents with masks and physical distancing.Campus residence halls to have reduced density and only single- and double-occupancy rooms will be offered. Housing may not be guaranteed to as many students as usual.Most students will get their food "to go" from dining halls, and the university is also exploring online orders with curbside pickup. Facilities will operate in compliance with public health guidance.Plans for testing and temperature checks being developed.Sept. 28Chancellor Gary May said in a July 10 message that plans "may need to change again" and said the campus intends to have more information by the end of July. See also a letter to faculty from Provost Mary Croughan and Kristin Lagattuta, chair of the Academic Senate, detailing instructional plans for the fall. Initial guidance issued: June 16.
UCLAMost courses offered remotely, with only 8% of classes offered either fully in person or using a hybrid model.About 5,000 students will be offered housing in on-campus residence halls and another 1,500 will be housed in university-owned apartments. Priority will go to students with the greatest need. Dining facilities open for carry-out meals. Will continue to offer many "campus life activities," but plans may change based on public health recommendations.A system for testing and contact tracing will be in place.Sept. 28Provost Emily Carter wrote in the guidance that UCLA's plans can change at any point and said the university will "remain flexible and ready to pivot." Initial guidance issued: June 15
UC IrvineAlmost all classes will be held remotely, with some exceptions for courses including labs and design classes in Engineering.Housing to be offered as space allows, but cannot be guaranteed.No mention in guidance.The university plans to offer a wide range of student life and campus activities, "pending public health guidance."Individuals who show symptoms will be tested and those who test positive will be isolated.Sept. 28Administrators noted in a July 10 letter that seven students at UC Irvine have tested positive for Covid-19 in July alone. They added that while they "do not want to reverse the steps we have taken and close down again, we must keep that as a possibility if the spread continues at its current rate." Initial guidance issued: June 11
UC Merced All classes will be online-only for at least the first four weeks of the semester. Go here for more information. Housing will operate at less than 20% of normal capacity to allow for physical distancing. Priority will be given to freshmen, housing insecure students, foster and former foster youth and students with disabilities.Will meet dining plan needs for each students, with increased outdoor seating options.No mention in guidance.Students on campus will be subject to testing "as required" and will be expected to self-report symptoms.Aug. 19Initial guidance issued: June 12
UC Riverside All classes will be available remotely. Faculty can request to also provide an in-person option to students.Housing will be limited and not guaranteed to students.No mention in guidance.No mention in guidance.Students required to record symptoms on daily basis.Sept. 28According to the guidance, the university is still evaluating the status of many campus operations, including housing, student services and the university's Covid-19 testing plan. Initial guidance issued: June 17
UC San Diego Most courses will be offered remotely, and all classes with more than 50 students; 30% of courses will be offered in person.Housing offered with reduced density. Students eligible for a two-year housing guarantee will be offered a housing contract.Dining facilities will be open, but details are unclear.Student services and programs will be available remotely and, whenever possible, in person.Monthly testing for students, staff and faculty, and contact tracing for those who test positive.Sept. 28Chancellor Pradeep Khosla told EdSource that the university is continuing to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and that the university's plans are subject to change. "If the outside is exploding, at some point you don't want to take the risk," he said. Initial guidance issued: June 25
UC Santa Barbara Most classes offered remotely, while some may have an in-person component.No more than double occupancy in any room and the campus is considering limiting all rooms to single occupancy. Priority given to first-year students but no housing guarantee.No mention in guidance.Pending approval from state and local public health officials, "a range of student and campus life activities" will be offered.Campus is creating a strategy to test community members who display symptoms.Sept. 27"Despite a relatively low COVID-19 infection rate in Santa Barbara to date, we need to plan for the possibility of changing COVID conditions this fall, which could require another rapid transition to fully remote instruction," Chancellor Henry Yang wrote in the guidance. Initial guidance issued: June 18
UC Santa CruzIn-person instruction will be provided only for a small number of courses, but even those plans may be adjusted.Limited on-campus housing will be offered. Students who are taking their classes remotely and have a safe place to stay are encouraged to not live on campus.On-campus dining "will continue to provide services, though services are being modified as conditions change."No mention in guidance.Students who are symptomatic will be tested.Sept. 27"Current plans for in-person classes in fall may need to be adjusted or cancelled to comply with changing external guidelines or our own UC Santa Cruz health and safety evaluations," Chancellor Cynthia Larive wrote in the guidance. Initial guidance issued: June 17

EdSource / University of California

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