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UCSB plans to hold nearly all fall courses online, limit student housing

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara has decided to offer nearly all of its undergraduate fall quarter courses through remote instruction. The university is also limiting undergraduate student housing to only students with special circumstances and recommending all other students stay home.

Friday's announcement said that to comply with state and county health guidelines, UCSB may not offer in-person instruction, except for the possibility of a few laboratories and performance courses. It also said all in-person events on-campus, including fall sports, are canceled.

"Although we do not know how long this pandemic will last, we sincerely hope that by taking these difficult steps now, we will mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and increase the possibility that we will be able to offer in-person instruction and activities, as well as campus housing, in the winter or spring quarters," Chancellor Henry Yang wrote.

The school's plan for fall quarter was also influenced by a recent spike in cases in Isla Vista, Yang wrote.

"Since the beginning of August, our campus has been informed of more than 65 cases of COVID-19 among our students. This number represents more than 60 percent of the COVID-19 cases in Isla Vista since March," Yang wrote.

As of Friday, there were 142 cases of COVID-19 in Isla Vista, according to the County Health Department website. 137 of those cases are considered recovered.

All students living in campus housing will be screened with COVID-19 tests upon arrival, with a follow-up test 7 to 10 days later. UCSB will also require that students in campus housing be tested at regular subsequent intervals.

Staff who have been working remotely since mid-March will continue to do so through the end of 2020.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Bryce Hanamoto

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