COVID-19 Planning Update

To: UC Santa Cruz Employees

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

I write to share the latest information on the campus COVID-19 planning efforts. I continue to be grateful to every member of our Slug community as you persist through these challenging times. You continue to support our students and the many facets of our mission and operations, while also navigating personal and family challenges and obligations. 

Current Situation

The operating status of UC Santa Cruz has not changed. All operations that can be done remotely should continue to do so. Events and large gatherings are all taking place virtually. In addition, only essential business travel is being conducted. California has yet to allow higher education to resume unrestricted in-person instruction and operations. We anticipate that employees who can effectively continue working remotely will do so at least until Jan. 4, 2021.

When I last shared an update three weeks ago, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County had surpassed 500. Today the county has over 1,100 total cases. Due to the rapid rise of cases, which has surpassed one of the thresholds that the state tracks, Santa Cruz county has now been put on the state monitoring list. The county joins Santa Clara and Monterey, counties where UC Santa Cruz also has operations, which were already on the monitoring list. As a result, certain sectors that had been allowed to resume must close indoor operations. 

Mitigation and Fall Planning Update

Planning work groups continue to implement various mitigations as we prepare for the start of fall quarter. As stated in prior communications, most instruction will take place using a remote modality. For the small number of courses that have been approved for in-person instruction, review is underway to ensure the classrooms where these courses are assigned have appropriate physical mitigations in place. In addition, review is underway for the potential return to on-site work of other operations required to support instruction, research, and the students living on campus. The process being used can be found on the recovery website.

Other efforts underway include the development of the asymptomatic testing approach the campus will implement. The initial model envisions mandatory testing for every student and employee who regularly accesses campus sites. An interim policy will also be issued soon that outlines expectations for adherence to all of the mitigations put in place by the campus, including daily symptom checks, training, testing, and wearing a face covering.

Information Forums

As announced last week, we are hosting an information forum this Friday about operational planning and the mitigations that are being implemented for fall quarter. The forum will take place from 9:30–11 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 7). The session will begin with a presentation followed by at least 45 minutes for Q&A. Questions can be submitted in advance using this form. The forum can be accessed at the campus town hall site and will be recorded for viewing at any time.

Thank you so much for all that you are doing to support our campus during these very challenging times. Please continue to use the website to stay up to date on planning efforts and access resources for support.