Operational changes in response to COVID-19 virus

To: UC Santa Cruz campus community

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

As outlined earlier this morning by Chancellor Larive, UC Santa Cruz is making adjustments to the delivery of classes and the administration of final exams in response to the COVID-19 virus. While we do not have a confirmed case on campus, there are confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County, and we are working to be proactive in supporting the health and safety of our campus community.

In addition to the adjustments in instruction and final-exam administration, and consistent with consultation with our campus emergency management experts, we are making the following adjustments and recommendations related to campus operations. This guidance applies to all campus locations. There could be additional guidance that applies to locations outside of Santa Cruz County should local circumstances warrant it. 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. In addition, questions can be sent to publicaffairs@ucsc.edu. Finally, we will be hosting online town halls to provide further guidance and answer questions you might have about the campus response. Information about those online town halls will be forthcoming.


We are proactively implementing a plan to provide a higher level of sanitation for campus public areas such as building entries, lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, libraries, dining halls and other spaces where a large number of people are present or pass through daily. In addition, we are working to expand the locations and number of hand-sanitizing stations across campus. We are also expanding educational information posted across campus outlining the actions all members of the community can take to promote sanitary environments.


Where feasible, and until at least April 3, supervisors and managers should encourage telecommuting. For positions where telecommuting 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. To ensure staff do not feel compelled to come to work while ill due to a concern about a lack of sick leave balance, UC has issued new guidance on paid leave and remote working provisions. This guidance can be found online.


Effective immediately, we are recommending the following adjustments to campus travel taking place through April 3. These changes may be expanded beyond that date should conditions warrant.

All non-essential business-related staff and faculty travel that is scheduled to take place prior to April 3 should be canceled. The determination of essential will be up to the principal officer overseeing the unit.

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

In Chancellor Larive’s message, she suggested students who are able to should return to their permanent residence and continue their studies remotely through April 3. Students unable to travel or return home during this time due to conditions in their destination or due to other health considerations where travel poses a risk may remain on campus. There will be dining options available, though some services might be adapted 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.

Events taking place on campus or sponsored by campus

  • For all events scheduled to take place prior to April 3, we recommend the following:
    Cancel events with an anticipated in-person attendance over 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.
  • 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 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 Chancellor Larive and iCPEVC Kletzer.

This event guidance could be extended past April 3 if conditions warrant. In addition, units should cease booking any new campus events scheduled for March and April where event characteristics match those outlined above.

Campus meetings

Where possible, campus departments should utilize Zoom (or alternative services) for meetings to reduce travel on 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 cancelations.

Research business continuity

Principal officers should 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. The Office of Research has been working to support this and is engaged with researchers to assist in this effort.

In addition to the items outlined above, our campus emergency response team, in partnership with units across campus, continues to work daily to ensure our response plans are robust in the event we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus or face escalation of illness in our city and county. Our primary focus is ensuring we can support the health and safety of our campus community.

Thank you for your support as we undertake these operational changes.