With one person living in Isla Vista and two others associated with UCSB having tested positive for COVID-19, Chancellor Henry Yang and other campus officials wrote to students earlier this week and called for them to be leaders and avoid large gatherings just days before Deltopia was set to kickoff.
In a message sent to the campus community Tuesday, Mr. Yang confirmed that no positive cases have been reported on campus. Campus officials say those who have tested posted for the novel virus have not been on campus since “the period prior to their exposure.” There is “no indication” the I.V. resident who tested positive is associated with the campus, while the two people associated with the college have been in self-quarantine since March 13, Mr. Yang said.
Five UCSB students identified over the weekend in I.V. who self-reported possible contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or had traveled to areas with confirmed cases all tested negative for the virus, according to campus officials.
In a letter sent to students from members of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department and UCSB Student Health, campus officials thanked those who have taken their social responsibilities seriously, while calling on other community members to step up.
“Our message remains simple: We need your help now more than ever,” officials said. “With the rapidly mounting case numbers of COVID-19 in our communities, we have reached a tipping point. If we fail to act decisively at this moment, this disease will extract a terrible toll on our community.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that without maintaining social distance, our community will very likely lose lives to this invisible virus.”
Officials then mentioned the “temptations” of socializing with new people and gathering for Deltopia.
“We ask each of you to be a leader and to communicate to your friends that the social proximity of large parties and gatherings, especially one like Deltopia, is dangerous,” officials said. “This is a time to be mindful and smart. Doing the right thing now will give you the gift of another day, in the not too distant future, to enjoy with your friends and family.
“We know this isn’t easy, but we can overcome this together.”
Although city officials say the likelihood is low for a large turnout for the annual unsanctioned street party due to the ongoing health emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions and closures are still being implemented to protect neighborhoods near UCSB.
The city of Goleta has again issued parking permits to residents who live near campus. Residents should have received the permits in the mail and are asked to display them on their vehicle window during the following dates:
- From 7 p.m. April 3 to 7 a.m. April 4
- From 7 p.m. April 4 to 7 a.m. April 5
The areas impacted by the parking restrictions include Hollister Avenue to the southern city limit (Whittier Drive), from Cannon Green Drive (including the cul-de-sac streets on the west side of Cannon Green Drive) to Stoke Road. Anyone with questions, concerns of special requests can call Michael Baris, at 805-690-5119, or Shanna Dawson, at 805-961-7554, in the city’s Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department. Vehicles without permits will be cited and towed at the owner’s expense.
Deltopia was initially scheduled to take place April 4, city officials said.
“While the likelihood of Deltopia occurring is low due to the fact many college students are not living in Isla Vista at this time due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the City wants to be prepared to protect our neighborhoods in the event there were to be an unsanctioned Spring Break event as seen in other areas, which would be a violation of social distancing and other COVID-19 measures in place,” said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the city of Goleta.
Along with parking being restricted to residents only, the beaches in Isla Vista will also be closed this weekend due to the potential for a “Floatopia” event. The Santa Barbara County Community Services Department announced the beach closures for April 4 and 5, with the closure being declared to prevent a repeat of the 2009 Floatopia event.
“Following the Floatopia event of 2009, the beaches at Isla Vista were left strewn with trash and debris, including human waste,” said Gina DePinto, county spokeswoman. “This large scale event with thousands of participants had no provision for the health and well-being of the public, including no facilities for human sanitation or refuse collection. Since 2010, the County of Santa Barbara took action to close the Isla Vista beaches for similar events.”
Just like Deltopia, the Floatopia event is not sanciented and does not have any approved permits. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will enforce the closure.