Fall Update: Shift to Primarily Remote Instruction, Reduced Housing

August 21, 2020

Dear Bruin Community:

On August 3, we announced revamped plans for the fall academic term, which included offering about 8% of classes in person or a hybrid mode and the return of 5,000 students to campus residence halls. At the same time, we stressed that these plans could change based on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance of public health officials.

The directives issued last week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (PDF), which require us to significantly curtail in-person instruction as well as restrict on-campus housing primarily to those with no alternative housing options, unfortunately make it clear that we will not be able to proceed as we had hoped. Based on the new guidelines and at the recommendation of the campus’s COVID-19 Future Planning Task Force, UCLA will be moving to remote-only instruction for the fall, with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions. The amount of student housing we offer also will be reduced greatly.

I am sure you share in my disappointment at our inability to bring more students back to campus. At the same time, the virus continues to pose a significant threat and mitigating health risks to our community must always be our overriding concern in any decision we make. We knew that this outcome was a possibility and have been preparing for it: Across the institution, we will continue to ensure that our students can make progress towards their degrees and that we provide the highest quality educational and co-curricular experience we can during a fall term unlike any other.

Please see below for detailed information on our revised plans:

Fall Courses

Per county guidelines, in-person and hybrid instruction now will be restricted to required, advanced courses that provide training for students preparing for essential workforce jobs, and which cannot be conducted remotely. These include certain classes in health and medicine, emergency services, social work, the sciences, and engineering. All other courses will be delivered remotely. Class locations on student study lists and the schedule of classes will be updated over the next week to reflect these changes.

We remain committed to providing assistance to those students who may not have access to proper remote learning technologies. UCLA offers several programs that can help with purchasing or borrowing laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other devices. Please visit Bruin Resources and Tools for more information. We also encourage any student who may be facing financial hardship to reach out to our Economic Crisis Response Team for assistance.


Under the new county health department directives, universities including UCLA must limit on-campus housing to:

  • Students who have no alternative housing options and whose current housing does not provide a safe and appropriate environment or does not provide sufficient ADA accommodations;
  • Student-athletes participating in on-campus training and conditioning; and
  • Students enrolled in the aforementioned in-person or hybrid courses who do not have alternative local housing options.

Unfortunately, these changes will necessitate a significant reduction in our proposed number of residents on the Hill. Students with current housing contracts soon will be receiving letters from Housing staff to assess whether they fall into any of the above categories; those who do not will be notified of the cancellation of their contract and receive a refund of fees paid. Further information is available on UCLA Housing’s COVID-19 information page.

Campus Health and Safety

For those students who will be on campus, guidelines and procedures are in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. Infection control measures include physical distancing, de-densifying campus spaces, and frequent cleaning of residence halls and other facilities. Protocols on face coverings (PDF)symptom monitoring, and COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will remain as outlined in our August 3 planning letter. Beginning this quarter, we will have Public Health Ambassadors on campus to educate and remind students of our protocols.

In addition, the campus is currently closed to the general public, pursuant to public health orders. Only individuals who are engaged in essential campus operations, are attending approved in-person courses or living on campus, or are receiving care at UCLA hospitals and clinics are permitted at this time. We appreciate the community’s cooperation in observing these public health requirements to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

International Students

We are acutely aware of the difficulties that recent government visa policies, coupled with the shift to remote-only instruction, pose for UCLA’s international students — particularly our newly admitted undergraduate and graduate students. Under current rules, newly admitted international students are permitted to come to UCLA for the fall term only if they are enrolled in at least one on-campus course. Unfortunately, with the new, tighter restrictions on in-person instruction, most of these students will not meet the legal criteria for travel to the U.S nor have the ability to lawfully remain in the country.

For this reason, we are recommending that unless international students are required by their major or field of study to enroll in one of the aforementioned advanced on-campus courses that must be offered in person, they should stay in their home countries. These students will still be able to enroll for fall quarter remote instruction and make progress toward their degrees. The UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will be reaching out to newly admitted international students in the coming days to offer further guidance on travel, visas, and enrollment.

Heading into Fall

With the beginning of the academic quarter just over a month away, we do not foresee further changes to our fall instructional or housing plans, though it is still possible we may need to implement additional restrictions. County and state health officials will be reassessing the situation at regular intervals, and we will work with them to determine whether we may be able to increase our in-person offerings and welcome more students back to campus for winter quarter.

In the meantime, each of us must do what we can to help mitigate the spread of the virus by adhering to public health guidance — for the good of ourselves, our families, our communities, and indeed the world.

We will continue to update you with the details of our new plans in the days ahead. I also encourage you to visit UCLA’s COVID-19 resources page for the latest information on the pandemic and Bruins Safe Online for campus safety protocols and guidelines.

Most importantly, I want to thank you all once again for your resilience and understanding in the face of these shifting circumstances. Despite the challenges, I remain confident that together we can make this fall term a robust, rewarding, and intellectually stimulating experience that brings out the best in our Bruin community.


Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost