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UC San Diego Leaders Announce Fall Return To In-Person Classes

UC San Diego's campus is shown in this undated aerial photo.
UC San Diego
UC San Diego's campus is shown in this undated aerial photo.

UC San Diego plans to return to in-person teaching with normal classroom occupancy for the fall term, university officials said Monday, citing the school's "Return To Learn" COVID-19 response and increasing vaccination numbers.

"We will support the health and well-being of students, staff and faculty in fall 2021 in accordance with the public health guidelines from the county and the state," Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla and Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth H. Simmons wrote in a joint letter released Monday. "The appropriate services and support mechanisms (e.g., vaccination, symptom screening, on-arrival testing, asymptomatic testing, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine housing, wastewater monitoring, outdoor classrooms, compliance protocols, and cleaning services) will continue to be provided as necessary."

UCSD touts its Return to Learn virus response and prevention measures as a reason there have been no documented transmissions of the virus in the university's classrooms or research laboratories.

Curious how the vaccine rollout is going in San Diego County? KPBS is tracking the progress.

Nearly all classes are being scheduled as in-person for fall 2021. Beginning July 1, academic departments working with the UCSD Registrar will be able to change classroom requests or instruction modality for specific courses, as needed to support students impacted by visa or travel restrictions, handle any county/state/CDC restrictions on classroom occupancy and accommodate specific faculty needs.

The national expectation is that 90% of adults will be vaccinated before the end of August. All UCSD campus employees and most graduate students have already been offered vaccination appointments. All California residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccinations beginning April 15.

As of the spring quarter, faculty and researchers are eligible to use their on-campus research and academic spaces again, subject to density limitations. University leaders anticipate this will continue and accelerate through spring and summer.

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Additionally, student residence halls will go back to original design capacity. In-person events supporting fall transition programs, new student orientation and welcome week activities will be allowed again in the fall if conditions permit.

For classes where masking isn't feasible — such as language classes or certain music classes — or for students impacted by visa or travel restrictions or students or faculty needing health or ADA accommodations, different guidelines will apply.

"For more than a year, our Triton community has risen to the challenge of our times and performed exceedingly well under complex and difficult circumstances," the university leaders wrote. "Together we have continued to deliver our education, research and public service mission and have become a model for other universities and school systems. Thank you to our students, staff and faculty for your resilience, creativity and adaptability."