UCSC to adopt remote instruction for duration of the spring quarter

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

I write today to announce that the suspension of in-person instruction, lectures and discussion sections is now extended to the full spring quarter. We also will continue with remote final exams at the end of spring quarter, June 8-12.

Since I last wrote to you on Tuesday, additional information has emerged about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its rapid spread. It is a crisis of enormous scale and human impact, the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. We made this difficult decision to extend remote instruction following consultation with campus leadership, the Academic Senate, and the UC Office of the President. It is intended to better protect the safety of all members of the UCSC community by enhancing the ability to practice social distancing.

This does not mean campus is closing for spring quarter. Campus will remain open. Most support services for students, including counseling, advising, and tutoring, will be delivered via Zoom. Over the next two weeks, departments and instructors will evaluate the extent to which laboratory and studio courses can be offered in person with appropriate social distancing or whether they can transition to remote instruction. Additional guidance will be provided about these courses by March 20, and no in-person laboratory or studio courses will meet prior to April 6.

Students who have already left campus housing or plan to do so should remain at their permanent residence through the spring quarter, if possible. Students who intend to remain in campus housing for the spring quarter are strongly encouraged to remain on campus and not travel over spring break. Student housing, dining, health services, the library, and research support operations will remain open, although there will be changes in most operations and services. 

Should you wish to cancel your housing for the entire spring quarter, you can complete the online Intent to Vacate form. (A link to the form will be emailed to residential students soon). If you remove all of your belongings from your housing and return your key by April 5, you will be eligible for a full refund of any housing and dining fees paid for spring quarter. For any student moving out after April 5, charges will be prorated based on the date the room is vacated and the checkout process is completed. Students cancelling and moving out will not be assessed the standard cancellation fee.

New details about this virus are emerging constantly, and we are updating our campus COVD-19 website regularly. The site includes sections on Health Services, Instruction, Campus Operations, Telecommuting, Events, Student Services, Travel, and International Studies. Please use the site as a resource about the virus and how to protect yourself against it. It is also where you will find all of the latest information on how our campus is responding to the outbreak. The UC Office of the President’s COVID-19 webpage is also a good resource.

I know the measures we have taken are difficult, especially for students. I regret that this period in your lives is being filled with so much uncertainty. Our highest priority must be to keep everyone on our campus safe. 

To our faculty and staff, I thank you for your flexibility and willingness to roll up your sleeves as we do our best for our students. You are doing extremely valuable work while undoubtedly also experiencing your own anxiety. Though we do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on our campus, there are currently seven confirmed cases in the county, and it was announced last night that all Santa Cruz County public schools will shut down next week, March 16-20. I understand the stress this puts on many of you. 

At the same time, I am confident that together we will reach the other side of this upheaval, and I look forward to the time when our community will again be able to come together in person. The preventative measures being taken by universities, by cities and counties, and by the business community are critical to successfully confronting this health emergency. Our best course of action is to undertake aggressive public measures to slow the spread of the virus. The steps we are taking at UCSC are intended to do just that.