Preliminary update on fall planning

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, and Herbie Lee, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs

Thank you for attending last week’s forum and for your questions and feedback as we work together to bring back in-person instruction in fall 2021. A recording of the forum is available to watch online. Last month the Office of the President shared a message that all UC campuses planned to return to primarily in-person instruction in the fall and that early decision-making has given us a long planning runway to prepare and incorporate feedback.

In the next month, we will share more detailed plans. This message is meant to share some of the planning assumptions we are currently working with so that everyone can begin to think through their own plans for fall.

These assumptions could be impacted by a host of factors including the speed of the vaccination rollout across our communities. If there are challenges that delay the rollout, the assumptions below will need to be adjusted.

We are anticipating updated statewide guidance for higher education institutions to come out later this year. This guidance could require us to further adjust our plans. The guidance used for our current academic year was released in August, after many universities began fall instruction.

Below are the key general planning assumptions for fall quarter. Individual circumstances may vary for a variety of reasons, including adjustments or accommodations required by law:

  • There will be remote teaching and learning options for fall quarter. We plan to provide options that will allow students to remain fully remote by providing most classes needed for making progress toward degrees remotely. 
    • Larger lectures will be remote/online only and discussion sections could be a mix of in-person and remote.
    • Instructors will be encouraged to design class sessions for either in-person students or for remote students, but to try not to engage students in both modalities at the same time.
    • Some courses could have two offerings, one in-person and one remote/online.
  • For in-person courses, we are exploring scenarios for 50 percent classroom occupancy to facilitate social distancing, well-being and COVID mitigation.
  • We are exploring scenarios for two-thirds on-campus housing occupancy to facilitate appropriate distancing, well-being, and COVID mitigation. 
  • Departments, colleges, and other course-sponsoring units will receive guidance on in-person instruction in the next few weeks.
  • Flexibility is key — plans and scenarios may change based on the progress of the pandemic.

Our planning values are flexibility, community well-being, COVID mitigation, and ensuring educational access as we learn to work together in a new environment. Our plans continue to be subject to change due to variable health and safety conditions. We are committed to transparent communication and the prioritization of well-being. 

We welcome questions and concerns. We do not have all of the answers, but we are using your questions and feedback to inform our planning processes and decision-making.