URGENT: UC Santa Cruz suspending in-person classes in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Today we are implementing new campus actions designed to help limit coronavirus (COVID-19) risk on campus. Importantly, there are no confirmed cases on our campus at this time; however, we recently learned that a second case has been identified in Santa Cruz County and the number of cases in neighboring Santa Clara County continues to rise. As local, national, and global public health recommendations increasingly shift to efforts to mitigate transmission by social distancing, UC Santa Cruz is proactively taking steps to protect our campus community.

In our assessment of the current situation, we believe that this is the best action for our campus and the broader Santa Cruz community. These measures are effective beginning Wednesday, March 11, and will remain in place through the first week of the spring quarter. A decision on what will happen after April 3 and beyond for the spring quarter will occur at a later date, based on the latest coronavirus information available. Timely updates will be emailed and posted on the UCSC COVID-19 website.

  • Beginning Wednesday, March 11, lecture courses (including discussion sections) and seminars will be offered through alternative modalities (e.g., Zoom) to reduce face-to-face interactions as much as possible.
  • Lab and studio courses that must meet in person because alternative instruction outside of the classroom is not appropriate can continue to meet in person where necessary. 
  • In-person winter quarter final exams will be conducted via alternate means - not in person. Instructors will be communicating with their students this week about alternative plans for assessment on a course-by-course basis.
  • The first week of spring quarter, Monday, March 30, though Friday, April 3, will also follow this model with lecture courses and discussion sections delivered remotely.
  • Per CDC guidance, crowds should be avoided. As such, all campus-sponsored events with plans for more than 50 attendees (based on county guidance) will be canceled or postponed. These include events put on by the administration or academic departments and scheduled to take place through Friday, April 3. Further guidance will be forthcoming regarding student organization events.
  • For campus-sponsored events with fewer than 50 attendees, we strongly encourage planners of those events to explore alternatives to in-person gatherings.

The campus is not closing. Campus buildings will remain open, and many campus operations, including student housing and dining, health services and research support operations, will continue to provide services, though some services may be modified as conditions change.

While the campus will remain open, we encourage all students who are able to do so return to their permanent residence and continue their studies remotely through April 3. We know this is not possible for all students, however reducing the number of people on campus will increase the safety of all, and allow those who remain on campus to better practice social distancing. Additional guidance about the spring quarter will be provided prior to April 3 based on the latest available coronavirus information.

Some limitations in operations and services may arise as managers may be allowing their employees to work remotely, when possible. More communications to managers and employees about working remotely will be provided shortly. In addition, a message outlining additional adjustments to campus operations, events and travel will be issued shortly.

We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice may be challenging and disruptive, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation. The safety of our campus community is our highest priority. We are grateful to the community members throughout our campus for their tremendous efforts during these challenging times, especially our front-line staff who serve in health care, custodial, and food service roles.

We will continue to update you on this issue with the latest information on our COVID-19 webpage or the Office of the President’s COVID-19 webpage.

Please continue to look out for each other and to show kindness and support to all members of our campus community. Students, please share this message with your families and any concerned parties.