Caring for Students: Winter quarter COVID update

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

I am reaching out today to provide you with an important update on our winter quarter instruction plans. UC Santa Cruz resumed its on-campus testing program Sunday, which shows we have been experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases, similar to the rest of California, due to the rise of the Omicron variant.

For this reason, in consultation with academic and administrative leaders on our campus, at other UC campuses, and with UCSC health center staff, we have made the difficult decision to delay in-person instruction by an additional two weeks. This means that we will continue with alternate and remote modes of instruction until Jan. 31, which is the date of the campus’s COVID booster deadline. You may be aware that many of the other UC campuses have announced similar decisions.

I realize that many of you will be relieved to hear this news, while others will be understandably upset. I can assure you that we did not come to this decision lightly, and this is not how our campus community had hoped the winter quarter would begin. But if we have learned anything over the past two years, it’s that this pandemic is extremely unpredictable, and that we must remain nimble and flexible for the well-being of our entire campus community, including our students. As a parent and a grandmother myself, I know how difficult this time must be for you and your student.

If your student has already returned to UCSC, I want to assure you that our campus student operations are available, including Dining, Housing, the University Library, and other student services. UC Santa Cruz classrooms are available for students needing a place to participate in remote instruction or study. Our Keep Learning website also has additional information and resources for students during alternate and remote instruction.

If your student lives on campus and has not yet returned to UCSC, please encourage them to hold off on returning this weekend if possible. We will provide additional information next week about a phased return for residential students. A phased return will allow us to better align the pace of student arrivals with our testing appointments and other resources.

If your student is eligible for a booster, please encourage them to get their booster shot as soon as they can and before returning to campus if at all possible.

We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. We look forward to seeing your student in person on Jan. 31 and to sharing happier news with you as the academic year moves forward.