Planning for fall and staying connected through the spring

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

It's wonderful what a few beautiful days can do for the human spirit. Good news nationally and locally on the COVID front — with vaccines getting into more and more arms and restrictions easing — is also brightening my spirits. With spring in full bloom, I write with updates on what to expect this quarter for instruction and in campus housing, to make sure you're all aware of our still evolving plans for fall, and to highlight some of the creative ways that Banana Slugs are staying connected while we are still spread geographically far and wide.

The highlights

New resources open on campus

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, more campus resources are being offered in person. Don't forget that green badges are required for students to access these in-person resources:

  • The pool is open to students for lap swimming and the East Tennis Courts are available for tennis on a reservation system.
  • The outdoor jogging path around the Upper East Field, the Disc Golf Course, and the West Tennis Courts are currently available for drop-in use.
  • Additional study spaces are already open on campus to support students. Reserve your spot in the Science and Engineering Library.
  • The Stevenson Event Center, meanwhile, has been designated as a remote-learning site for students. To use the space, make a reservation using the online reservation form.

Spring forward

We have increased the availability of on-campus student housing to more than 1,500 beds, so expect to see more students on campus this quarter. All students living on campus are still required to participate in twice-weekly asymptomatic testing, wear face coverings, and practice distancing. You'll also see more in-person learning this spring, with an increase from five to 19 in-person courses.

Santa Cruz County moves to orange tier

These developments follow good news on the COVID-19 front, locally. Our campus positive rates have been lower than county and state rates from the start of the pandemic. The numbers in the greater Santa Cruz County community have now fallen low enough that, starting today, April 1, the county is moving to the state's orange tier of COVID restrictions. (A sure sign that things are improving is the news that the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's Giant Dipper is reopening today!) Public health officials say we should continue to minimize social mixing from different households and avoid crowds, but the orange tier does allow for the easing of restrictions on restaurants, retail stores and other businesses and enterprises. The least restrictive yellow tier is the final stop before all restrictions are lifted.

Focus on fall

Since the announcement earlier this year that campuses throughout the UC system will offer primarily in-person instruction this fall, our Recovery Teams have been hard at work planning the return to in-person instruction. As we announced last week, we are aiming for two-thirds to three-quarters of classes to be conducted in-person. Classes with enrollments of 150 or more students will remain remote or online. All of our fall plans are subject to change based on state and county guidelines as well as the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importantly, there will be pathways to support progress toward degrees for students who need to continue learning remotely. We expect to publish the fall-quarter course schedule by May 10 that specifies which courses will be in-person and which will be offered remotely or online so that students have time to plan accordingly, including making housing decisions.

COVID-19 vaccinations

Our plans also assume that by the start of the fall quarter, there will be widespread availability of vaccines and very few new daily cases within our campus community. I encourage you all to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Governor Newsom has announced that all Californians 16 and older will be eligible beginning April 15!

UC Santa Cruz does not currently expect to receive additional doses of the vaccine and so the best way to ensure you're in line for a vaccine is to sign up at MyTurn will tell you your eligibility by county and alert you when you can schedule a vaccination appointment. And remember, if you work at UC Santa Cruz, you should select "Educator" or "School Employee" as the "business or industry" where you work.

Graduating students register for commencement

As a reminder, graduating students must register between Monday, April 26, and Wednesday, May 19, to participate in virtual commencement. Visit our commencement website for more details. We are also once again sending gift boxes to help students and their families mark the occasion. The deadline to register for a gift box is even sooner — April 15 — so take a moment and register now! The link to do so is on the commencement website. Students who don't plan to participate in virtual commencement are still able to register for a gift box.

No matter where you are ...

On campus or not, you can still access campus resources, engage with other students, and stay connected.

  • Through a partnership with the Foundation for Art and Healing, the Division of Student Affairs and Success will launch the Unlonely Slugs Initiative at an event on April 9. The launch event will feature a film screening, panel, and discussion.
  • For those students moving onto campus this quarter, be sure to check out the GET app and website. Due to COVID-19 operational changes, all dining hall meals must be ordered ahead using the app or website. It's a touchless payment and ordering option that promotes a clean dining environment, plus all you need to have with you is your phone. You can also purchase Flexi Dollars, Slug Meals, even coffee and groceries at The Market. Once we're able to resume dine-in service, you'll be able to "swipe in" to the dining halls using the app as well. Staff and faculty can use the GET app too!
  • UCSC students have launched a daily podcast called the SlugCast that features student voices telling the stories students want to hear. I recommend the Campus History episode in particular for a focus on the American Indian Resource Center and the people who stewarded this land long before it was our campus.

I am extremely proud of the extraordinary work so many on our campus have done over the past year supporting student, staff and faculty well-being in the face of so much uncertainty. Your commitment to each other is heartening — and what is allowing us to move forward in the ways outlined above. I am excited for spring and summer, and eager for us to be able to gather again.


Chancellor Cynthia Larive