With fall quarter 2021 under way and campus a hive of activity for the first time in 18 months, UCLA leaders reached out last week with separate virtual town hall events for students, faculty and staff to answer questions and review policies and protocols.
Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck and others explained policies around health and safety, instruction and classroom conduct, and requirements for those coming to a UCLA facility to live, work and learn. More than a dozen UCLA academic, medical and administrative officials took part in the sessions.
• All members of the campus community must fill out a symptom monitoring survey every day they plan to set foot in a UCLA facility. Even those who do not plan to work or learn in person in the near future must go to the survey once to indicate their plans and provide information about their compliance with University of California vaccine policy.
• Instructors are encouraged to remind students that they must take the survey every day to be allowed in class, and managers are encouraged to remind staffers. Instructors and managers will not be able to learn whether any individual is vaccinated, but will be able to discern whether individuals are in compliance with UC policy.
• Masks are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
• UCLA has generated detailed policies on the factors that might drive campus to scale back its return to robust on-campus activity; flexible work policies for staff; ventilation information for every building on campus; and much more. Information is available at the Return to Campus link maintained by UCLA, and a complete list of campus protocols is also online.
• Links to the symptom monitoring survey, protocols, return-to-campus info and recordings of the town halls are available through the UCLA mobile app.
• Eating and drinking in classrooms are discouraged, because masks must be worn indoors at all times. Exceptions include drinking water to stay hydrated and taking medications.
• While the return to campus is welcome and exciting, we are experiencing a major transition from our pandemic-driven “cocoons,” as Jorge Cherbosque of the UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center put it in the Sept. 21 staff town hall. Bottom line: Be kind and patient with yourself and others; embrace the opportunity to become reacquainted with people, schedules and routines; adapt to what is new and different to best take advantage of the moment.
• With the virus still spreading, students and instructors may face disruptions and absences. Students who miss courses or exams for COVID-related reasons should work with instructors on accommodations. Students who miss more than 15% of a specific course must connect with the Center for Accessible Education to gain the resources they need.
• UCLA has provided instructors with guidance for how to handle situations where a student is unmasked, and for the rules around taking a limited number of classes remote.
• The UCLA Center for the Advancement of Teaching has developed best practices for instructors to record courses and otherwise effectively engage students. Instructors can gain access to teaching tools — including microphones to help project their voices — at the UCLA Emergency PPE Store.
“We are all Bruins. We’re committed to True Bruin Values,” Mick DeLuca, assistant vice chancellor for student life, said at the student town hall. “We hope we will do this hand-in-hand and we look forward to your active participation while we are all keeping the community safe.”