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Current Campus Status

Please check back regularly for the latest on this fast-evolving situation. UC San Diego and UC San Diego Health leadership are working closely with federal and state officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For the most up-to-date guidance on health and safety, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

COVID-19 Screening and Testing for Campus - Fall 2020

June 30, 2020

In a follow-up to the Chancellor’s recent communication about SARS-CoV-2 testing, UC San Diego Health will facilitate regular virus testing for students, faculty and staff. The universal goal is to improve the health and safety of the entire campus community. Specifically, the aim is to lessen the likelihood of a significant outbreak of COVID-19 on campus through the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2, as well as the ongoing implementation of proven interventions including masking and face coverings, isolation and quarantine. The purpose of this memo is to address COVID-19 testing needs for all employees: staff and faculty.

Daily Symptom Screening Tool

In addition to appropriate masking, one of the best defenses against COVID-19 is the easy-to-use daily symptom screening tool. The online tool helps identify employees who may need testing, regardless if an employee is working from home or onsite. After logging in, the tool asks if you have been tested recently and if you are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. As per a mandate of the County of San Diego, all employees who have been approved to be physically present at any UC San Diego worksite must complete the screening before arriving onsite. Those who work remotely in the San Diego region are strongly encouraged to complete the screening in case testing is needed. If you have been on campus in the last three days and developed symptoms, you should complete the survey too. Lastly, if you develop symptoms while at work, please re-take the symptom screening. Information about the tool can be found at: https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/services/covid-19/symptom-screening/index.html.

Free testing for employees with symptoms

All employees who report symptoms via the screening tool will be confidentially contacted by a member of UC San Diego Health’s testing support line to determine if a nasal swab test needs to be scheduled. If a test is needed, the university will offer the test at no charge to you at a UC San Diego drive-up location. You will receive a confidential follow-up call to let you know if you test positive or negative for the virus. Additionally, per County of San Diego mandate, the County of San Diego must be notified of positive test results.

Testing positive: No shame

If you test positive for the virus, you will get the help you need in a comforting and confidential manner. A health professional at UC San Diego’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine will not only advise you on the medical care you may need, they will help communicate with other UC San Diego employees and students who may have been in contact with you. This process is called “contact tracing.” This means that phone calls will be made within 24 hours to your close contacts at UC San Diego whether they are co-workers or affiliates such as vendors. The notification process is timely, respectful and private; the contacts are not informed of who tested positive, just that they were in contact with someone who tested positive in a certain location and timeframe. Testing for any fellow employees who meet CDC guidance for community exposure (https://bit.ly/3gdeiZx) is also done at no charge to them. If you get testing outside of UC San Diego and get a positive result, you must report it to the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. In addition to notifications and testing, appropriate sanitation measures are taken to disinfect the spaces where ill employees may have been present as a safety precaution.

Testing employees without symptoms

Employees who are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms of the virus, but are required to physically report to a UC San Diego worksite, are eligible for a COVID test. Interested employees can indicate their interest when they register in the daily symptom screening tool at https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/services/covid-19/symptom-screening/index.html. If you initially declined this testing but have changed your mind, you can edit your preference within the symptom screening registration. Please be advised that the tests for asymptomatic employees are prioritized AFTER employees with symptoms have been tested. Please wait to be called—do not call directly to ask for an update. Again, there is no cost to employees for asymptomatic or symptomatic testing of SARS-CoV-2 for students, faculty and staff if testing is done at a UC San Diego Health location or through UC San Diego Student Health Services.

As we get closer to fall and a large-scale return of the campus population, we will be rolling out monthly asymptomatic testing as part of the Return to Learn program. More information on that will be communicated later in the summer and via https://returntolearn.ucsd.edu/.

Be sure to mask

Remember, masking is the first line of defense against COVID-19. Please wear a mask or face covering in public and on campus. It’s the right thing to do—a simple measure to protect you, your friends and family, and the campus community.

Thank you for your help and cooperation as we coordinate efforts to make campus a safe place to work and learn. While these efforts are critical to improving the health and safety of our community, the situation with COVID-19 continues to change so we will continue to adapt our response to integrate the most up-to-date science, requiring a new level of flexibility from all of us. Updates to our screening and testing efforts can be found at https://returntolearn.ucsd.edu/news-and-updates/updates-to-campus/index.html.

Patty Maysent
CEO, UC San Diego Health

Campus Operations for Fall 2020

June 25, 2020

Between now and the start of the fall quarter, UC San Diego will continue to operate amid great uncertainty. It is an uncomfortable feeling for many of us, requiring enormous flexibility, patience, resilience and grace. All of the unknowns make for a very challenging planning environment. Ultimately, we must be prepared at very short notice to reduce or limit on-campus activities and move to fully remote teaching should pandemic conditions worsen at any point before the end of the year. We must also point out that while we will do our utmost to mitigate risks associated with living and learning on campus, we cannot eliminate them altogether.

In preparing for the Fall 2020 Quarter, we plan to welcome back students, faculty and staff through an incremental repopulation of campus beginning this summer. Our plan is designed to be flexible and offers the university the ability to respond quickly should state and county public health guidelines change.

Several taskforce work groups consisting of faculty, students and staff were created to provide extensive evaluation, planning and preparations. Taskforce decisions have been guided by evidence, science, and expertise from faculty and researchers in our School of Medicine and Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Science and from healthcare experts at UC San Diego Health in conjunction with current state and county public health guidelines. This notice includes decisions made for testing, instruction, student housing and dining, student advising and services, research, return-to-campus for employees, and campus safety policies.

SARS-CoV-2 testing

Our goal is to offer regular testing to students, faculty and staff for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Through implementation of strategies for adaptive testing, tracking, tracing, and isolation, we aim to lessen the likelihood of a significant outbreak on campus.

There is no cost for asymptomatic or symptomatic testing of SARS-CoV-2 to students, faculty and staff if testing is done at a UC San Diego Health location or through Student Health Services. Testing details will be communicated in the near future by UC San Diego Health.

Fall instruction plan for students

We have created a set of options for a course of action that is right for you based on your circumstances, preferences and goals. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality educational experience and will do everything possible to support your progress toward a UC San Diego degree.

UC San Diego will offer more than 4,750 undergraduate and graduate lecture, lab and discussion course sections this fall. Approximately 30 percent of courses will be conducted in person, based on plans developed by the academic units offering them; and the rest will be conducted in remote or hybrid formats.

A course modality glossary is helping students make informed decisions about their course schedule plans as they enroll.

In-person class size is limited to fewer than 50 students per class, or 50 percent of classroom capacity, whichever is smaller. Many in-person classes will have fewer than 25 students. All classes offered in person, including lab and studio classes, will observe room occupancy densities and masking practices based on CDC and other public health guidelines.

Student services

Student services and programs will be available remotely and, whenever possible, in-person in compliance with UC San Diego’s physical-distancing and face-covering policies available at https://returntolearn.ucsd.edu/return-to-campus/safety-requirements. This includes programs like Student Success Coaching, advising for thesis and dissertation completion, OASIS Learning Communities, Recreational Programs, the Basic Needs Hub, Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Promotions Services and the Community Resource Centers.

Student advising will be available primarily through the Virtual Advising Center, with some in-person advising appointments available. Please visit vac.ucsd.edu for more details. The Colleges and the Graduate Division will continue to provide remote and in-person programs and services for students living both on- and off-campus.

The International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) has developed programming to engage incoming international undergraduate and graduate students. Resources include onboarding webinars for new international students and their families, International Student Peer Coaching Program, introductory summer start course and webinar series, and extended virtual orientation and welcome programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. The Globally Engaged Tritons (GET) Committee launched the Global Hub, a portal for all globally focused virtual programming and events. Details are available at https://ispo.ucsd.edu/news/coronavirus-info/new-students-info.html.

Student housing and dining

On-campus housing communities and dining facilities will remain open with enhanced precautionary measures to help protect the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Triple-occupancy housing options have been eliminated to reduce housing density. Students who are eligible for a two-year-housing guarantee and complete the housing application by the deadline will be offered a housing contract for the 2020-21 academic year.

If a student is coming to campus from an international location, CDC guidelines recommend a 14-day quarantine period. Students with a housing contract can complete the quarantine period in specially designated on-campus housing with no additional housing fees. Students will be charged for meals that will be delivered to the housing unit during quarantine. Students should indicate their needs for quarantine housing and any dietary needs on their Housing Portal at https://hdh.ucsd.edu/housing/currentresidents/pages starting in July and will need to arrive on campus between August 27 and September 3. If students arrive after September 3, options will be available with local hotels at pre-negotiated rates. Students would be responsible for these costs.

All students who reside on campus will be expected to participate in daily symptom screening and will be offered free SARS-CoV-2 testing as part of the move-in process. Our goal is to identify and isolate any asymptomatic individuals who could unintentionally spread the virus. Details about screening and testing will be communicated to students through email from Housing and Dining Services.

In the event a student living in on-campus housing tests positive at any time during the academic year, they will be moved to designated on-campus isolation housing, where basic needs will be met and food will be delivered to the unit. They will also receive care from Student Health and Well-being Services.

If public health considerations cause the university to request students to vacate on-campus housing, students will not be charged for the unused portion of their housing and dining contracts.

Research activity

Beginning June 1, a limited number of faculty, staff and students began ramping up on-site research, scholarship and creative activity. County and state guidelines will inform subsequent phases of research ramp-up, which will allow additional on-site activity. These phases will be announced at a later date.

Our research ramp-up activity is being conducted in accordance with state and local public health orders, CDC recommendations, and campus guidelines regarding social distancing, reduced population density on-site, use of face masks or personal protective equipment, and disinfecting protocols. Learn more about the phases of Research Ramp-Up at https://blink.ucsd.edu/research/covid-19/research-ramp-up.html#A-Phased-Scale-Up.

Employees

The health and safety of our employees is a priority at UC San Diego. We are grateful to employees who have remained on campus to complete critical functions throughout the pandemic. Under new campus safety protocols and in conjunction with state and county guidelines, their careful efforts and dedication have helped prepare the campus environment for a gradual expansion of on-campus operations and activities in the fall.

Maintaining lower densities of individuals on campus is important to providing space for proper social distancing during the pandemic. For this reason, UC San Diego is taking an incremental approach to increasing the number of employees working on campus.

A taskforce work group is in the process of completing a comprehensive return-to-campus plan for employees who have been working remotely. Just as with remote learning, we have learned a great deal about remote work during the pandemic. The taskforce is evaluating these lessons and identifying potential new work modalities that may allow some employees greater flexibility in their work moving forward.

These innovations will take time to implement, but it is clear that some remote working opportunities will be available for work that can be completed successfully off site. This determination will be made by team supervisors in conjunction with department leaders and approved by the corresponding vice chancellor. Our goal is to provide employees options, whenever possible, while meeting the needs of our institution and the people the institution serves.

Remote work arrangements currently in place will continue until early September, unless you are otherwise notified by your supervisor. We anticipate announcing the comprehensive plan for returning employees in August.

New campus safety protocols

To protect all students, faculty and staff, UC San Diego has developed enhanced safety requirements for individuals arriving, working and living on all UC San Diego campuses, properties and locations. Policies focused on mandatory face coverings/masks, social distancing and visitor symptom screening have been implemented and will be continuously reevaluated. For a detailed list of current safety requirements, visit https://returntolearn.ucsd.edu/return-to-campus/safety-requirements.

Public areas (lobbies, meeting rooms, study rooms, laundry rooms, restrooms, etc.) and high-touch areas (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.) will be disinfected frequently. Hand sanitizer will be available at various entry points, dining facilities, study and other public areas.

Flexibility

The fall quarter begins on Monday, September 28. A lot can change with this pandemic between now and then, so it is prudent for us to remain flexible. As has been the case since the beginning of this unprecedented challenge, the university’s plans may change as the pandemic evolves. While the California reopening plan is executed and assessed at each phase, UC San Diego will notify faculty and staff of any changes to their work situation as appropriate. In all decisions, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and local communities will be paramount.

For the latest updates on our campus repopulation plan, please visit the Fall Plan page.

Thank you

Together, we have gone through a lot in the last 14 weeks of this pandemic. It has been concerning, stressful and challenging. As the region’s only academic medical center and leading research university, we have faced a variety of obstacles and unique pressures to meet the needs of students, patients and our greater community. We rose to meet these difficult circumstances, found existing solutions when possible, and innovated in multiple and broad areas nearly every step of the way. I know you’re tired. I know you how much you’ve given of yourselves. And I know that the extraordinary things you’ve done have had a dramatic impact on the lives of countless people.

Each of you is remarkable. Students for continuing their studies undeterred. Faculty for innovating the base of education. And staff for keeping everything moving, functioning and evolving.

I offer special thanks to those who have been instrumental in keeping the campus and our health system operational during this crisis. I also thank our residence life staff, custodial staff, dining hall staff, student health staff, emergency operations staff, executive policy group, Chancellor’s Cabinet, divisional deans and college provosts, faculty, students, and of course everyone in our medical centers.

I am grateful for everyone’s continued cooperation. Your commitment and dedication to UC San Diego and each other are exemplary. Thank you.

Pradeep K. Khosla
Chancellor

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