Holiday travel and guidance to support a healthy Slug community

To: UC Santa Cruz community

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

The holiday season is usually a time when our Slugs gather with family and friends, and many of us travel to spend time with loved ones. This year, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, there are other serious considerations we must take into account. This week, our county COVID status moved back to purple, which is the most restrictive tier in the California Blueprint to a Safer Economy. This reflects the rising number of positive cases throughout our community, the state and the nation.

Though our campus positivity rates have remained lower than regional and state cases, this status change for our county reinforces the need for us to remain vigilant. Our Slug community has shown what it is capable of doing when it is determined. You have shown such great compassion and care for each other, following the campus guidance on COVID, actively participating in campus asymptomatic testing, doing daily symptom checks, following physical distancing guidelines, and wearing face coverings. As a result, the positive cases in our campus community have been minimal to date. We must do our best to continue these practices during the holiday season. If you are exhibiting symptoms, please call your healthcare provider for guidance. Students can contact the Student Health Center

As a reminder, after Thanksgiving, all in-person classes will shift to remote delivery. In addition, all final exams will be given remotely. If you are a student living on campus, you are encouraged to either stay on campus and not travel for Thanksgiving or, if you choose to travel, you will be asked to sequester once you return. Additional information will be provided to you from the housing office.

Heading into this holiday season, there are important steps each of us can take. The Bay Area’s county health officers have released guidance for safer holidays and travel. They outline the following suggestions:

  • Enjoy holiday traditions at home with your household

  • Decorate your home and/or yard

  • Share a virtual meal with family and friends

  • Host online parties and/or contests

  • Prepare meals using traditional recipes and deliver to family and neighbors

  • Attend holiday movie nights at drive-in venues

  • Visit holiday-themed outdoor art installations

  • Participate in drive-by events where everyone stays in their vehicle.

If you do gather in-person, keep in mind the gathering restrictions released by the state department of public health

  • Gatherings that include more than three households are prohibited. 

  • Gatherings must be held outdoors for counties in the purple tier.

  • Avoid attending a gathering if you are ill or in a high-risk group.

  • Use physical distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

  • Wear a face covering, except briefly when you are eating or drinking during which time you should stay six feet away from others.

  • Gatherings should be two hours or less.

  • Singing, chanting, and shouting is discouraged as they increase the release of respiratory droplets and fine aerosols.

In addition to these requirements, keep in mind that the state of California has issued travel restrictions. People traveling to California from other states, including residents returning home from travel, should self-quarantine for 14 days. Non-essential travel is discouraged. If you will be spending the holiday out of state, ensure you familiarize yourself with the state and local guidelines that impact your time there.

In this season of giving thanks, I am so grateful for all that our Slug community is doing in the fight against COVID-19. I also give thanks to our many employees who work throughout the Thanksgiving break in order to keep essential facility and safety services, as well as other key operations, functioning.