UCSC student walks through halls
UC Santa Cruz will start back on Jan. 31 rather than Jan. 18.
UC Santa Cruz

UCSC delays in-person instruction by two more weeks, will start back on campus Jan. 31

UC Santa Cruz administrators announced Thursday that remote and alternative instruction will be extended two more weeks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid the Omicron variant’s surge. In-person classes will resume Jan. 31, instead of Jan. 18.

UC Santa Cruz announced Thursday it’s adding two more weeks of remote and alternative instruction after reporting its highest positivity rate — though one still lower than the state and county rates — this week.

The university plans to resume instruction Jan. 31, according to a statement sent out to the campus community from Chancellor Cynthia Larive and Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer.

“After consultation with academic and administrative leaders on our campus, at other UC campuses, and with our health center staff, we have made the difficult decision to extend alternate and remote modes of instruction for two additional weeks,” the statement reads. “We also recommend faculty and staff hold meetings and events remotely during this time.”

University of California campuses at Irvine, Davis and San Diego, whose winter quarters also began Jan. 3, said that rising positivity rates for coronavirus infections had compelled them to exercise extra caution and also push back the start of in-person instruction to Jan. 31. UC Davis had planned to return to campus on Monday, while UC Irvine and UC San Diego, like UCSC, had announced a Jan. 18 start.

After resuming its on-campus testing program on Sunday, the university had a positivity rate of 5%, according to the statement. It has run more than 3,000 tests in that time. State health officials report the county positivity rate over the last seven days is 10.8% while California as a whole is at 21.4%.

University officials are asking that students who have not yet returned to their on-campus units — and who are able to postpone their returns — to not return this weekend.

“We will provide additional information next week about a phased return for residential students,” the statement reads.

In addition, the university is asking that students receive their booster shots and upgrade their masks to N95, KN95, KN94 or a surgical mask rather than a cloth mask.