COVID-19 operational changes extending into spring quarter

To: UC Santa Cruz campus community

From: Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

As outlined earlier today by Chancellor Larive, remote instruction for lecture and discussion sections, originally announced through April 3, will extend for the entire spring quarter.

Even with the remote instruction, the campus remains open. Though the campus will remain open through spring quarter, a variety of services have been or will be adjusted to promote social distancing to protect the health and safety of the campus community. As of this morning, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases on our campus; however, there are now seven confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County and 66 in neighboring Santa Clara County. The proximity of cases around us means we must remain vigilant. 

In addition to the extension of remote instruction through spring quarter, we are making additional adjustments and recommendations regarding campus operations. Many of the operational changes outlined March 10 are now being expanded. The changes are detailed below. This guidance applies to all campus locations. There could be additional guidance that applies to campus locations outside of Santa Cruz County should local circumstances warrant. Note that this guidance is based on the situation as we know it today. Some recommendations may adjust as conditions change. Continue to check for online updates available at our campus COVID-19 webpage. In addition, questions can be sent to


We continue to be proactive in our efforts to promote higher levels of sanitation in heavily trafficked and public areas across campus. It remains vital that everyone on campus assist by taking several actions, such as social distancing when possible; thorough hand washing to prevent the spread of disease; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; refraining from shaking hands; washing hands thoroughly before and after traveling from place to place; and cleaning work surfaces in personal work stations.  

Alternative work arrangements

Managers and supervisors should continue to implement temporary remote work arrangements to the greatest extent possible. For positions where remote work is not possible, managers and supervisors should work with staff to ensure they have guidance on how to deal with personal health or issues arising from an illness in their family. In addition, managers and supervisors should identify methods to adjust workspaces and work methods in ways that can promote social distancing. Additional guidance, including specifics on leave options, can be found in the message sent out on March 11 as well as at the UC Santa Cruz telecommuting guidance page


We are extending previously communicated guidance on travel. The following adjustments will now apply to travel taking place through the end of the spring quarter. Should conditions warrant it, we might lift these restrictions prior to that date.

  • All nonessential business-related staff and faculty travel scheduled to take place in spring quarter should be canceled. The determination of essential will be up to the principal officer overseeing the unit.

  • Those who oversee university-sponsored student trips and programs should assess if changes should be made to travel plans and if cancellation is appropriate based on the logistics of the trip, mode of travel, and the destination. Individuals should consult their principal officers as needed in assessing changes.

On-campus Housing

In the chancellor’s message, she communicated that students who have already left campus housing or plan to do so should remain at their permanent residence through 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. Students will receive relief from their campus housing and dining fees, if applicable, if they decide to move out of campus housing. Specifics on refunds and applicable dates were communicated in Chancellor Larive’s message. Students who wish to move out of campus housing for the entire spring quarter must complete the online Intent to Vacate form, which is being sent out to residents shortly. 

For those remaining on campus, dining options will be available, though some services might be adapted or limited as conditions change.

In addition to the travel guidance outlined here, the previously communicated travel directives outlined by the UC Office of the President remain in effect. 

On-campus events, campus-sponsored events 

For all events scheduled to take place through the end of April, the following should apply:

  • Postpone or cancel events with an anticipated in-person attendance of more than 50. This number is consistent with guidance from the Santa Cruz County Health Department. This includes events where the university is providing space to an outside host as well as university hosted events on off-campus locations.

  • For campus-sponsored events with fewer than 50 attendees, we strongly encourage planners of those events to explore alternatives to in-person gatherings.

  • Campus tours, yield events, and other visitor programs should be postponed or canceled and sponsors should consider offering online or virtual campus outreach where feasible and appropriate for program outcomes.

  • Arts performances and lectures where social distancing is not possible and/or where attendees are likely to travel from other regions of the state, country or globe should be canceled. 

  • Performances and lectures that are tied to instruction and/or final exams should follow the guidance provided in the earlier messages from the Chancellor and interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer.

Though the above guidance applies to already scheduled events taking place prior to the end of April, sponsors should review all events currently scheduled in spring quarter to assess whether additional postponements or cancelations are necessary. Individuals with questions about contracts for currently scheduled events can contact the Office of Campus Counsel for guidance.  

In addition, units should cease booking any new campus events scheduled to take place during spring quarter where event characteristics match those outlined above. This restriction could be lifted if conditions warrant.

Discussions on how to manage commencement are underway and will be communicated soon.

Campus meetings

Where possible, campus departments are strongly advised to utilize Zoom (or alternative services) for meetings to reduce travel within the campus or between campus locations. For in-person meetings, social distancing practices should be followed. The guidance above related to gatherings involving more than 50 participants should also be used when making determinations about meeting alterations and cancellations.

Research business continuity

The Office of Research has provided online resources outlining guidance on a variety of topics. One primary consideration for principal officers remains the need to ensure that PIs have updated their continuity plans to deal with research needs, such as dealing with sensitive materials in labs that require oversight, in the event the PI becomes ill or the campus has to further curtail operations. 

Our campus emergency response team continues to work with units across campus to ensure our response is robust and we are able to support the health and safety of our campus community. As this situation is continually evolving, additional guidance will be sent out as operational needs adjust. 

Thank you to everyone for your efforts during these challenging times.