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Academics Fall 2021

Overview

UC San Diego’s Fall Quarter will begin September 20, with classes at full capacity. The majority of courses will be conducted in-person within indoor and outdoor classrooms.

Throughout the pandemic, UC San Diego’s proactive strategies to detect and prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 proved effective—the campus’s positivity rates have remained far below average.

University operations and safety guidelines are informed by daily data analysis of COVID-19 trends on- and off-campus. Multiple layers of defense are in place to promote health and wellness, in alignment with public health guidelines.

UC San Diego’s Educational Continuity Task Force is continuously developing guidance and resources to support the educational mission of the university during the pandemic. A set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding educational continuity and a broader Academic Affairs FAQ are updated regularly; the latest information is broadcast biweekly via the Academic Affairs Newsletter.

The International Students and Programs Office (ISPO) helps the campus meet the needs of international students through routine updates for both new and continuing students, targeted advising, year-round programming, and regular updates on changes in immigration policy. The International Faculty and Scholars Office (IFSO) similarly assists international professors, visiting scholars and their families with the immigration guidance that impacts their status.

The Teaching and Learning Commons and our keep teaching website continue to assist instructors and TA’s with developing strategies for impactful remote instruction or refining elements of their remote courses. The Executive Vice Chancellor’s Office is also continuing the departmental technology liaison program during Fall 2021. 

Launched in Spring 2020, this program provides discipline-specific assistance to faculty and teaching assistants who want to learn more about how to integrate technology in their teaching practice. Academic units interested in developing fully-realized online courses or requesting R-course approval for key offerings are encouraged to consult the Digital Learning Hub; course designers and other resources are available to smooth the way.

Because not all students have equal access to educational technology, the campus’s Laptop Loaner Program enables students to request a laptop, hot spot or other technical support. Likewise, the Computer Lab Lookup is continually being updated as we strategize on providing students the ability to use campus computer labs for remote instruction.

As a reminder, after nearly two years of remote instruction, we should remain mindful that incoming students may not be familiar with the services and programs available on campus, and new students may also not be aware of resources available for the remote learning environment. Faculty and staff are encouraged to explore ways to connect and support people new to the Triton community. Please visit the Academic Success website and Creating a Culture of Care website to connect to many of the resources available to help support our students.

The COVID-19 Academic Affairs FAQs and Resources hub provides links to important updates, FAQs, and other resources for UC San Diego Faculty and Academic Appointees.

Expectations for in-person instructors and learners

Vaccination

The University of California approved a policy that requires all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they will be allowed on campus or in a facility or office. Individuals must show proof of vaccination two weeks before they are expected to be on campus for the fall term. Unvaccinated individuals with approved exceptions and/or accommodations should follow all campus safety protocols, including masking and regular asymptomatic testing.

Symptom and Exposure Screening

All faculty, students and staff are required to complete the daily symptom and exposure screening. In addition, all faculty, staff and student employees are required to complete the UC Learning COVID-19 Training. The Office of Students with Disabilities will offer support and provide accommodations as required. Face coverings will be provided to faculty, staff and students who lack one.

Masking Policy

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask at all indoor locations at UC San Diego, except while eating and drinking. This includes both instructors when teaching a class, as well as students attending class. The exception to this rule would be for a single individual in an office with a closed door. To be effective, masks must cover both the nose and the mouth.

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks outdoors while on campus. Attendees at outdoor campus events must wear a face mask if required by the event organizer. Read the full masking policy online.

COVID-19 testing requirements

For fully vaccinated on-site students and employees: testing is not required, but weekly testing is available and encouraged.

On-site students and employees who have been granted an exemption or deferral to the mandatory vaccination policy must complete asymptomatic testing twice weekly, with tests not being taken more than five days apart. In addition, these individuals should also comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) that can be found in the graphics on the Exceptions and Deferrals page.

On-site students and instructors who have not been fully vaccinated may fulfill required COVID-19 testing through no-cost, self-administered test kits retrieved from campus vending machines (no appointment needed); provider-observed, self-administered testing at Price Center (appointment needed); or provider-administered testing via drive thru (appointment needed). Learn more on the Testing and Screening page

Classroom Logistics

The Classroom Collaboration Working Group — which includes Resource Management and Planning, Emergency Operations Center, Facilities Maintenance, Environmental Health and Safety, Academic Affairs, and the Registrar’s Office — has developed a comprehensive plan for the use of classrooms, teaching laboratories, and other learning spaces. Their priority is to create the safest possible environment for students, faculty and staff based on the latest guidance from CDC and UC San Diego Health experts. 

To make the classroom experience healthier for faculty and students, the campus has implemented the following policies and procedures including: providing sanitation supplies in each classroom, improving ventilation in campus buildings, and specifying masking and other requirements for the classroom. The policies outlined below also apply to outdoor instructional spaces, as appropriate.

Classroom hygiene

Each classroom will be supplied with sanitation wipes to be used by students and faculty to self-clean occupied space (seat, desk, podium) upon entering the room. Sanitizing wipes and instructional signage will be provided and maintained by Facilities Management, who will also refill wall-mounted hand sanitizers and maintain soap and paper towel supplies in restrooms.

Classroom ventilation (indoor spaces)

The campus is running a 24/7 HVAC operation (90% buildings with HVAC have MERV14 filters, and the rest have MERV 8 or 11 filters). Air ventilation has been improved by maximizing outdoor air intake and exhaust fan speeds. As part of a comprehensive preventative maintenance program, skilled technicians will inspect, clean and maintain all building air-handling systems bi-annually. Preventive maintenance includes:

  • Vacuuming and cleaning air intakes, catch basins and air-handling rooms
  • Washing air handler fins and coils
  • Checking and replacing all pre- and post-filters at least once a year, more often on smaller buildings
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all building air handling systems, including disinfecting cooling coils and condensate drains, to ensure fresh air intakes are as clean as possible
  • Cleaning, treating and testing the water in all closed and open loop systems

Outdoor classrooms

There are six outdoor classrooms available on campus. The fully equipped outdoor classrooms feature:

  • LED lights throughout
  • WiFi access for students and ethernet connectivity for instructors
  • Speakers, microphones and Zoom/podcast capable cameras
  • Multiple large displays and whiteboards
  • Movable seating that offers flexible use for lectures, labs, performances and more

View a list of outdoor classrooms.

Outdoor study spaces

Currently, there are six outdoor study spaces available on campus, conveniently located next to our outdoor classrooms. These facilities are capped at 35 person occupancy and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All campus masking rules and safety protocols apply. 

Outdoor study spaces are open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. View a list of outdoor study space locations here.

  • Revelle 1, Revelle Plaza | Map
  • Revelle 2, Revelle Plaza | Map
  • Warren 1, Warren Mall | Map
  • Warren 2, Warren Mall | Map
  • Warren 3, Warren Mall | Map
  • P416/International Plaza 1, P416 Lot | Map

Indoor study spaces

Geisel Library’s 1st and 2nd Floors West will be open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 300 study seats will be available for individual study, including computers, and reservations will not be required. Building capacity can be viewed in real-time via the Waitz app. Please make note of the following:

The Biomedical Library Building will fully reopen on Sept. 7, 2021 and the Geisel Library will fully reopen on Sept. 13, 2021. After these dates, UC San Diego students, faculty, staff and the general public may access the in-person resources, services and spaces without restrictions during open hours.

Upon the reopening, the following will apply:

  • All study seats, computer stations and amenities like charging lockers and whiteboards will be available without reservations.
  • Print collections will be fully accessible. Library materials may be checked out using a UC San Diego ID at self-checkout stations. Users may continue to request items through UC Library Search for pick up at Campus Curbside.
  • Physical Library spaces will be open without distancing restrictions.

Teaching Technology Upgrades

Information Technology Services (ITS), has completed a number of upgrades to classroom technology and capability, to accommodate both physically-distanced in-person instruction and remote learning. These include:

  • Enhanced WiFi strength and reception in lecture halls and large classrooms
  • Dedicated internet ports in each classroom for instructors that prefer a plug-in connection
  • Video tracking cameras in a full 50% of classrooms, which enable live video and capture of both the instructor and the entire whiteboard simultaneously
  • “Simulcast” capability in all classrooms. This allows course lecture audio, video, and slide material to be broadcast live to students, wherever they reside. The lecture is also automatically recorded for students to view asynchronously via Canvas and the campus’s podcast website.

Campus will provide a personal lapel-style microphone for each instructor teaching in-person. Instructors will be able to better project their voice for both in-person students and those tuning in remotely by using a microphone (which students often requested prior to the pandemic) without having to worry about sharing the mic with others. See a test demonstrating the effectiveness of using microphones while masked in the classroom

Classroom support personnel will be on call throughout the quarter to address any needs or questions. 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are set by the Regents for all UC campuses and, under the circumstances, will remain the same. Tuition and fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. University charges for tuition and student services continue to help cover ongoing operations such as the delivery of instruction and the cost of student services such as registration, financial aid, and remote academic advising.Students are connecting with and learning from world-class faculty, completing coursework, earning full course credit, and making progress toward an immensely valuable UC San Diego degree, regardless of the method of teaching being used. UC San Diego student services continue to be available to students via remote options to ensure that the quarter remains a very powerful and enriching one for our students.

Some campus-based fees were established to support certain efforts like the CAPS Mental Health Fee which is supporting the costs associated with many essential mental health services. Others were established to maintain the safety of buildings or other facilities when necessary for the health and safety of students—e.g., to address seismic deficiencies. Campus-based fees will continue to be collected.