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UC San Diego Begins Fall Term With COVID-19 Precautions

A man walks by a COVID-19 testing sign at UC San Diego campus, Sept. 28, 2020.

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: A man walks by a COVID-19 testing sign at UC San Diego campus, Sept. 28, 2020.

UCSD began its fall quarter Monday with virtual and in-person instruction to start Thursday.

UCSD has students back on campus with a new set of safety protocols and precautions for the school year, to protect students and faculty from the spread of COVID-19.

Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Angela Scioscia, the university’s interim executive director of student health & well-being, said they have minimized the chance for COVID-19 outbreaks.

“We've optimized the safety of the campus through a combination of a number of different tools which includes frequent testing — both for those with symptoms as well as asymptomatic screening — of our student body on a regular basis,” she said.

The campus has reduced its housing capacity to just over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students — 50% of the number of students who would normally live on campus.

Reported by Jacob Aere , Video by Mike Damron

Arrivals to the campus were spread out over 10 days to encourage physical distancing.

Kayla Magnussen, a first-year cognitive science student at UCSD, said that moving into the dormitories has been a difficult experience.

“Moving in is stressful because you have this limited slot, everyone is wearing masks, you're sweating, it's a stressful experience,” she said. “Once you get in it's pretty lonely, but I wouldn't say it's negative. It's just different.”

All students who live on campus will be tested for COVID-19 twice a month. Self-screening forms, daily sanitization, contact tracing, waste stream sampling and a COVID-19 alert app will also be employed to protect the UCSD community.

Shreeya Candipali, a first-year student studying human biology, said the university is taking an abundance of caution.

“I’m really happy with the way that UCSD is handling this whole COVID situation,” she said. “I feel like although my experiences are limited, I still feel happy to be surrounded by people who share the same values of safety.”

RELATED: SDSU Ramps Up Testing, Makes Tests Mandatory For Students Living On Campus

UCSD’s reopening comes as San Diego State University reported eight new cases of COVID-19 Sunday. That brings the total number of SDSU cases to 1,077 since Aug. 24. Well over half of those cases were students living off campus.

Compared to SDSU, which started classes a month ago, UCSD has kept its case count at a much lower level to date. UCSD is lucky to work with an extensive health system that is one of the best in the county — a privilege that many universities don't have, Scioscia said.

“Not all universities have access to a health system like we do, we're very fortunate that way,” Scioscia said. “And strong collaboration between the health system and the campus, because we're deeply integrated, has been very helpful.”

Scioscia says the university can test up to 2,000 individuals per day and have results back to them within 24 hours.

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Photo of Jacob Aere

Jacob Aere
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a freelance reporter. In addition to covering the latest news and issues relevant to San Diego, I seek the overlooked voices of our community to tell their stories.

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