As students return to a more in-person experience this fall, UC Santa Cruz is adapting new policies and guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially with the surge of the Delta variant. 

“As we have learned over the past year and a half, though, COVID-19 conditions can change rapidly,” said Director of Environmental Health and Safety Lisa Wisser. “UCSC and the greater systemwide UC community will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 developments and will remain prepared to make changes if needed.”

Some policies have already been set by the University of California. COVID-19 vaccinations are mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff accessing facilities at any UC campus beginning in fall 2021, excluding approved exemptions. Additionally, face coverings are now required in all indoor settings, a shift due to revised guidelines from the Santa Cruz County health officer.

Despite the new requirements, students can expect a sense of normalcy to surround them while at Santa Cruz, as the university plans on having on-campus activities return to near what it was pre-COVID-19.

“As we return to primarily in-person activities, we are glad we can provide campus housing to 9,300 students, which is in-line with the amount of housing we were providing before the pandemic,” wrote UCSC director of news and media relations Scott Hernandez-Jason in an email. 

All students living on campus or taking in-person classes are required to complete a daily COVID-19 symptom screening survey. Students will receive a daily email or text reminder to track symptoms using UCSC’s online health portal, Health e-Messenger. Residential students are also required to complete a COVID-19 awareness and best-practices training — “Staying Healthy in a Changing Environment for Students on Campus.” 

Those who are exempt from vaccine requirements or not fully vaccinated will be required to take weekly on-campus COVID-19 tests, once a week for those living on campus and twice a week for those living off campus.

In an Instagram Q&A, the university said that if a student from your class tests positive, then you will be notified if the campus identifies you as a ‘“close contact.” Additionally, they said that residential students who tested positive will be moved to isolation housing, private rooms with available WiFi where food will be delivered. Those off-campus who test positive will be contacted by Student Health Services, given a health assessment, and instructions on how to isolate.

UCSC is also requesting students undertake a ten day sequester period upon arrival, during which movement and interaction with others should be kept to a minimum. The period is an attempt to minimize physical interaction and proximity on campus before symptoms are determined. 

“COVID-19 requires us all to take certain steps to support our personal health and the health of our community,” Hernandez-Jason wrote. “A highly vaccinated population is critical for our in-person activities, though masking, testing, and symptom checks will continue to be important pieces to minimizing the spread of COVID-19.  We appreciate everyone in our community who has risen to meet these new challenges. Together, we are Slug strong.”

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