We begin 2021 with hope that in the year ahead we will make great strides toward recovering from the pandemic that has affected so many aspects of our lives during the past 10 months.
While we celebrate advances like the development, approval, and first stages of the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, we also acknowledge that change will not happen overnight. At present, the risks posed by the virus remain. In Los Angeles County, the latest surge in cases is straining our region’s hospitals, including UCLA’s.
The UCLA community must continue to do its part to reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of people on campus. With this in mind, I write today to share plans for spring quarter instruction and work, which have been informed by requirements from the L.A. County Department of Public Health (PDF) and recommendations from UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force.
For spring quarter, UCLA will continue the plans we put in place for winter quarter, offering remote-only instruction with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions. A list of classes to be offered this spring quarter will be available on Tuesday, January 26 through the Schedule of Classes and MyUCLA.
On-campus student housing also will continue to operate at the same reduced levels, primarily serving those with no alternative housing options. The most current information is available on UCLA Housing’s COVID-19 information page.
At present, no changes have been made to this year’s academic calendar, including the spring break schedule. Whether living on campus or off, we strongly encourage students not to travel over spring break. In the event a travel restriction order is extended by LACDPH, students may be required to quarantine if they travel outside of Southern California.
We remain committed to ensuring that students can make progress toward their degrees and to providing resources and tools to those who are teaching and learning remotely. We encourage any student who may be facing financial hardship to reach out to our Economic Crisis Response Team for assistance. Students may also seek out mental health and other support services through UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 310-825-0768.
International students will be able to enroll for spring quarter remote instruction. The UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will reach out to international students with further guidance on travel, visas, and enrollment in the coming weeks. We strongly encourage our international students to wait for email communication from the Dashew Center pertaining to spring quarter before making any plans to travel to the United States.
We have not yet determined whether summer sessions will take place remotely or in person, and will share more information about summer instruction in the months ahead.
Per recommendations from UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, we are asking those who have been successfully working remotely to continue doing so through the end of the fiscal year, Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
As with our previous announcement that extended remote work, this extension does not apply to personnel who have been working on campus, to those with research activities that have already been approved through the Vice Chancellor for Research’s ramp-up plan, or to instructors and support staff who receive approval to conduct their spring courses with an on-campus component. Some staff at UCLA’s K-12 schools may be asked to return to work in person sooner than the end of the fiscal year and will receive advance notice if applicable. As needs change, certain other faculty and staff may be asked to return to campus sooner.
The extension of remote work also does not apply to UCLA Health, David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM), and School of Dentistry staff who are directly engaged in clinical care or training. UCLA Health and DGSOM employees and clinical trainees who are currently working remotely will receive additional directions from their leadership in the coming weeks.
Staff and faculty should confirm with their supervisors and department heads whether this extension of remote work applies to their positions. To help support those working off campus, Campus Human Resources has assembled a list of resources and best practices for remote work.
For students, staff, and faculty who will be on campus for spring quarter, the infection control measures and protocols outlined on Bruins Safe Online will remain in place, including wearing face coverings and completing daily symptom monitoring surveys. Periodic COVID-19 testing will continue and has been modified to twice weekly until further notice. As always, the latest updates are available on UCLA’s COVID-19 website.
While vaccines are now being administered to higher priority groups and will begin to become more widely available to members of our campus community, it is still very important to continue to follow public health guidelines and do all that we can to prevent the spread of the virus. These measures include physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands frequently. I know this has been a trying time for all of us, and appreciate the sacrifices — large and small — that every member of our community has made this year in the name of public health.
Though our studies and our work will be conducted mostly remotely for the next few months, University of California leaders are optimistic about a return to campus this year. This morning, UC President Michael Drake shared that all UC campuses will aspire to offer an on-campus experience this fall. Like you, I am eager to return to the UCLA campus when health guidelines deem it feasible, and hope sincerely that we may all see one another in person soon.
Thank you, as always, for your resilience, adaptability, and Bruin spirit in these challenging times.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost