By Dolores Quintana
In-person classes will recommence as of Jan. 31 on the UCLA campus.
This return to campus is made possible through a decline in Covid case rates and test positivity rates at UCLA and in Los Angeles County overall and an improvement in compliance among UCLA faculty, staff and students to the Covid-19 protocols, mandated testing requirements and vaccine booster shots, that are necessary to return to campus according to an email from UCLA Chancellors, Provost, Academic Senate and the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Unit. UCLA had switched back to remote learning for the current winter quarter because of the rising case numbers during the start of the Omicron surge. Originally, it was UCLA’s plan to return to in class learning after two weeks on Jan. 18, but the surge had not abated enough to allow that to happen.
However, all classes will not be required to return as of Jan. 31. A statement from the Academic Senate notes certain classes that have already been authorized as remote learning classes and are listed on the Authorization of Remote Instruction List continue to be authorized and do not have to reapply to keep their status. Classes that are designated as Lab, Studio or who have another clinical designation are automatically approved to remain remote. Instructors who choose to are allowed to continue to teach remotely for another two weeks after the date of Jan. 28 without seeking permission. Departments whose classes don’t fall under any of those previous guidelines can apply for approval to continue remote instruction by submitting a request that outlines why the instructors are requesting this and how a continuation of remote classes would benefit those students.
UCLA has requested that teachers update their class locations as quickly as possible and UCLA students will be allowed to drop Winter 2022 classes without incurring any fees to do so until March 4, 2022.
The school has mandated these strict anti Covid-19 protocols for all students, faculty and staff who are returning to campus on Jan. 28. Anyone who works in the school’s clinical areas must adhere to the school’s Covid-19 protocols for healthcare settings.
Any students, staff member or faculty member who has not already returned to Westwood or who are not participating in the regular UCLA weekly Covid-19 testing program must take a Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to their return to Westwood.
In addition, students, faculty and staff must show proof of a negative test result before they are allowed to return to work or class on campus the day of their return to UCLA. Anyone who needs a test can go to the temporary testing site at Pauley Pavilion, Pauley East Plaza, entrance: Door 111A/B to obtain a test. Students returning to any UCLA housing must test upon arrival and Housing will provide further information about testing procedures and check in.
Faculty, staff and students must take another test three to five days after their arrival on campus. Tests can be acquired through campus vending machines and at the distribution center.
Regular weekly testing is another requirement and all students, faculty and staff who live, take classes or work on campus must test at least once a week, but UCLA recommends bi-weekly testing for safety. These tests must be taken no more than seven days apart. These tests can be found at the distribution center and in campus vending machines as well.
All students and school employees must get the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot as required by the UC systemwide vaccine policy as soon as they are eligible, regardless of whether their original dose of the vaccine was Pfizer or Moderna originally when they become eligible. Students have 30 days from when they become eligible to acquire a vaccine booster and submit proof.
All students and school employees are required to follow regular health protocols by wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. UCLA’s mask protocols have been updated to require well fitted medical grade masks for everyone, which includes surgical masks, K95 masks, and NIOSH approved N95 masks indoors on UCLA property and for employees in all working environments. UCLA has encouraged the use of medical grade masks outside when the person is near others and requires masks indoors and outdoors at “mega events”. Students will be able to obtain medical grade masks from UCLA at “the John Wooden Center; Student Activities Center; and ASUCLA locations including UCLA Store locations, the Ackerman Union Information Window and Ackerman indoor dining locations.” or the front desk of any residence halls by students who must show their Bruin ID card.
UCLA also reminds students and employees in the email that concurrent with LACDPH Upgraded Mask Guidance, “these respirators and medical/surgical masks are designed for one-time use. They should be thrown away once they become wet or dirty OR after they are no longer well-fitting (1-3 days depending on the mask), whichever comes first.”
Finally, all students and employees will be required to complete the UCLA Covid-19 Symptom Monitoring and Vaccine Verification System Form daily to return to campus.
The email concluded by thanking students and staff for their patience and participation, “We know these shifts and changes have been challenging to navigate and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we once again return. Thank you again for your commitment to the health of our Bruin community as we return to a fuller and more active UCLA campus.”