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Fall 2020 Plan

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 page includes information for students about SARS-CoV-2 testingfall instruction, housing and student services, as well as updates for staff employees and researchers.

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 early detection of SARS-CoV-2 by adaptive testing as well as interventions including isolation and quarantine, 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

  • Over 4,750 undergraduate and graduate lecture, lab and discussion course sections will be offered 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. 
  • Four types of course delivery options will be available, including in-person only, in-person, hybrid and remote. Students can learn more about course formats here.
  • In-person class size is limited to fewer than 50 students per class, or 50% 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.

Students can learn more on the Fall 2020 Schedule of Classes FAQ website.

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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 starting in July and will need to arrive on campus between August 27 and September 3. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

Students can learn more on the Housing, Dining, Hospitality FAQ page.

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.
  • 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 (CAPS), 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. 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 also ​developed programming to engage incoming international undergraduate and graduate students.


Employees working remotely should continue to do so
  • 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.
  • Maintaining lower densities of individuals on campus is important to provide 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-site 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. They are evaluating and identifying potential new work modalities that may allow some employees greater flexibility in their work moving forward. 
  • Remote work arrangements currently in place will continue until early September, unless employees are otherwise notified by their supervisor. An announcement regarding a comprehensive plan for returning employees is anticipated in August.
  • All UC San Diego staff, faculty and student employees who are reporting to campus or any other physical UC San Diego location for work must conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms and report any symptoms. The symptom screening tool can be accessed from your computer or mobile device.

Learn more about COVID-19 information for employees.

Research Activity

Certain low-density research and other endeavors may resume on campus
  • 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. 
  • 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 Research Ramp-Up.

Due to the dynamic public health situation, UC San Diego will remain flexible. As has been the case since the beginning of this unprecedented challenge, the university’s plans may change as the pandemic evolves and government and public health authorities respond. While the California reopening plan is executed and assessed at each phase, UC San Diego will notify campus community members of any changes to their learning and work situations as appropriate. In all decisions, the health and safety of students, employees and local communities will be paramount.