Because of concern over the omicron variant, UCSB has decided to begin its winter quarter with two weeks of remote learning.
The quarter begins Jan. 3. In-person learning will resume Jan. 18, pending reassessment of the pandemic, according to a news release.
The university noted the variant poses challenges for starting in-person classes. UCSB noted the problems faced by students and instructors who test positive over the break and can’t travel back to campus on time. The university said there’s also a time issue for those who test positive on arrival and need to self-isolate.
According to UCSB, beginning the semester with two weeks of remote instruction allows students and instructors to deal with any delays or COVID-related health issues without missing classes. It also allows additional time for people to get booster shots.
The university explained the objective is to minimize disruptions to students’ course work and provide as much stability as possible for students and instructors in uncertain times.
UCSB is encouraging students to stay wherever they can best do their coursework during the two weeks of remote instruction and to get COVID-19 tests before returning to campus.
University housing , dining halls and other campus facilities will be open to those who choose to return to campus. University operations other than instruction will continue as normal following the holidays.
UCSB is requiring members of its campus community to get a COVID-19 booster shot when they become eligible for one, as well as a flu shot.
According to the university, unvaccinated individuals who have approved exemptions should upload their home test results before returning to campus and also must obtain a campus COVID-19 PCR test on Jan. 3 or 4. Appointments can be made via the Student Health Patient Portal.
Campus testing will remain available at no charge to students, staff and faculty.
For more information, email UCSB at email@example.com until the COVID-19 Call Center reopens on Jan. 3. Emails on urgent matters will be answered during the holidays. The university said non-urgent questions will be answered in January.