"The Squiggle" sculpture at UCSC's Porter College.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Higher Ed

UCSC students to return to campus in the fall under systemwide plan

At UC Santa Cruz, campus leaders said Monday to expect more information in the coming weeks on how a wider in-person return will be rolled out. Most UCSC students have been kept off campus since its closure on March 16, 2020.

Most students can expect to be back on campus at UC Santa Cruz — and at UC campuses systemwide — in the fall under a plan announced Monday..

Citing the expected availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the UC on Monday announced it is planning for all 10 campuses to return to mostly in-person instruction.

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“As the University continues to monitor the evolution of the pandemic, we are also carefully planning a safe return to in-person classes,” UC President Michael Drake said. “Current forecasts give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experience.”

Specific plans around start dates and safety measures are forthcoming from each campus, according to the announcement, as officials work in coordination with local health officials.

At UC Santa Cruz, campus leaders said Monday to expect more information on how a wider in-person return will be rolled out in coming weeks. UCSC has two campus recovery task forces — one focused on academics and one on operations and employees.

“While we are currently going through a difficult surge in the pandemic, with a successful vaccination program we believe that we will be able to have the majority of our on-campus experiences return in the fall,” UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive and Provost Lori Kletzer wrote in a Monday campus message.

Most UCSC students have been kept off campus since March 16, when the campus closed because of California’s first statewide shelter-in-place order.

Only six courses were offered in-person during the fall, and students were told to live at their permanent residences, if able.

Fewer than 1,000 students lived on-campus during the fall quarter — compared to about 9,000 during a typical year.

Students living on-campus were tested for COVID-19 weekly, part of a strict protocol that may have kept a lid on the spread of the disease compared to the wider community.

The announcement from the UC on Monday comes a month after the California State University system announced plans to reopen its campuses in the fall.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.