What you need to know about the University of California’s plans for 2021-22 – Orange County Register


University of California campuses start the fall 2021 term in August and September, beginning the third school year to take place during the coronavirus pandemic.

And, although things will look more normal than they did during the 2020-21 school year, the continuing pandemic will still make for a year like no other at the UC’s 10 campuses.

Will classes be online or in-person?

The UC system announced in January that the fall term would mostly consist of in-person instruction, after a school year that was primarily conducted online and one interrupted when the pandemic first washed over California in the spring 2020.

The sun’s rays shine through a building at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. (File photo by Ed Crisotomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Do students and employees need to be vaccinated to return to campus?

Both students and employees must either be fully vaccinated (meaning they’re two weeks past their final vaccine dose) or have requested an exception or deferral before they’re allowed on campus. The UC system stresses that this is a permanent policy and booster shots or annual shots may be required in the future.

The University of California doesn’t yet have figures available for the vaccination rates at each campus.

How do I get an exception or deferral?

Those wanting an exception for medical, disability or religious grounds, or a deferral due to pregnancy, recently having contracted COVID-19 or being in a clinical test for a vaccine need to contact their campus for more information.

Will I have to wear a mask?

For the most part, wearing a mask on campus will only be required indoors for those who are not fully vaccinated. Campuses with lower vaccination levels may require masks for everyone in classrooms or lecture halls.

Given the number of visitors on campus during the fall move-in, campuses may require everyone to wear a mask during this period.

The UCLA campus is seen Friday, March 6, 2020. (File photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Do I need to be vaccinated to live in campus housing?

Students must be vaccinated or have an approved exemption or deferral to live in university housing.

Do I need to wear a mask in university housing?

The unvaccinated will need to wear a mask when in areas shared with other people. No students will be required to wear masks while in their own rooms.

Will social distancing measures be enforced on campus?

The UC system has no specific policy on social distancing, but campuses are required to follow state and county public health guidance. California dropped its social distancing requirements June 15, but the threat of the delta COVID-19 variant has led to some local governments to reimpose restrictions, so check with your local campus and keep an eye on the news.

Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?

The university system is recommending a “robust” testing and contract tracing programs for all campuses.

What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

Everyone who tests positive will be referred to medical staff for contact tracing. Unvaccinated people and anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms must quarantine for 10 days.

Will UC offer vaccinations?

All UC campuses and medical centers will either offer vaccinations or keep a list of nearby off-site locations that do.

How will campuses handle visitors?

Campuses may allow visitors to self-report their vaccine status or create a system to verify vaccination status. Contact information may be collected for contact tracing. Campuses may also have additional requirements for visitors attending sports games or other events with many spectators.



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