In a move to promote the health of campus during the pandemic, UCLA has extended remote instruction through Friday, Jan. 28.
This decision is based on a number of factors, including high case rates on campus and in the region, wrote Michael Beck, administrative vice chancellor, and Megan McEvoy, professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, the co-chairs of UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, in an announcement to the campus community.
“While we had hoped that our safety protocols and enhanced testing requirements would be sufficient to allow us to resume in-person instruction after next week, regional and campus trends in positivity rates, as well as staffing and operational concerns, have led us to conclude that an extension of remote education is the prudent course of action,” Beck and McEvoy said.
Since the start of January, UCLA has documented more than 1,200 new faculty, staff and student cases of COVID-19, which affects teaching and campus services, as well as campus’s ability to respond to this level of cases. Additionally, a smaller than anticipated percentage of eligible UCLA students — about 34% — has received the vaccine booster thus far.
The extension of remote instruction will enable eligible members of the UCLA community to receive boosters; it will help faculty, staff and students meet testing requirements; and it will allow UCLA to further stagger students’ return to campus.
Modeling indicates that this extension could help to reduce by 50% the number of students who would need to be placed in isolation or quarantine, the announcement said.
The message urged everyone who has not yet received their vaccine booster and is eligible get do so. Proof of boosters is required by Jan. 18 for students and Jan. 31 for employees coming to campus.
In addition, all faculty, staff and students must continue to follow regular campus health protocols, including wearing face masks indoors. Departments can request upgraded masks that they can distribute internally to their faculty and staff from the UCLA Emergency PPE Store free of cost.
Beck and McEvoy emphasized that this decision should not be seen as a precursor to a fully remote winter term.
“We have every expectation that we will return to in-person instruction after this extension,” they said. “We will of course continue to be in close contact with our public health experts to evaluate the situation over the next few weeks and communicate with the campus accordingly.