Cabrillo College
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Higher Ed

Cabrillo College plans to stay remote until 2022; UCSC, at least through this summer

Cabrillo College plans to keep most students off campus until spring 2022, while UC Santa Cruz will stay mostly remote at least through the summer — though it expects to increase the number of students living on campus soon.

Cabrillo College officials plan to keep most students learning from afar until spring semester of 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans, of course, can change. Widespread vaccine availability could prompt the college to shift its reopening timeline to fall 2021, Cabrillo College spokesperson Kristin Fabos said.

But, for now, the 2022 spring semester — which would begin in January of that year — is what’s been approved.

The Aptos community college hasn’t entirely shuttered its main campus. More than 250 course sections that were deemed difficult to convert to remote learning continued to be offered in person — including some performance, kinesiology, and dental hygiene classes. This fall, about one in five out of Cabrillo’s 10,000-plus students had an in-person class, according to Fabos.

Students in those classes have their temperatures taken before they enter buildings, wear masks and have their names recorded to allow contact tracing should an exposure take place — among other health protocols.

The college has tracked only one such exposure to date, according to Fabos, involving a student who attended an in-person class in September. No one else was infected, she said.

UCSC to stay remote through summer

Meanwhile, UC Santa Cruz classes will stay mostly remote at least through this summer, administrators announced last week. A small number of “laboratory, studio, field-research and field-study courses” have been — and will continue to — take place on campus, Chancellor Cynthia Larive and provost Lori Kletzer wrote in a Nov. 13 message to students and staff.

An empty pathway winds uphill at UC Santa Cruz, where officials plan to continue with mostly remote coursework through
An empty pathway winds through the UC Santa Cruz campus, where officials plan to continue with mostly remote coursework through the summer.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

UCSC offered just six in-person classes in the fall out of its catalog of about 1,500 total. In a September message, Larive said that reflected UCSC’s “extremely conservative tack, among the most conservative in the country” when it came to COVID-19 precautions.

At the end of October, just 937 UCSC students were living on campus, the university reported. In a typical year, more than 9,000 students live on campus.

Campus officials estimate another 5,000 or so students are living in off-campus housing. Fall enrollment statistics have yet to be released, but those two groups combined — living on and off campus — are less than a third of last year’s enrollment of about 19,500.

UCSC hopes to more than double its available on-campus housing starting in the winter quarter, which would allow about 2,500 students to live on campus.

“We will have added capacity for winter and have reached out to students,” UCSC spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said in an email. “It’s all contingent on being able to support the health and well-being of our community and plans could always change.”

Students living or studying on campus must be tested twice weekly and follow a list of other protocols. All those living, studying or working on campus must also have flu shots under UC system rules.

Five employees and 36 students have tested positive for COVID-19 to date, according to a UCSC dashboard — including five students who live on campus.

Larive, UCSC’s chancellor, said in a recent interview that she believes the university is continuing to improve its remote instruction. “We look forward, though,” she added, “to getting back to in-person when the climate permits.”