State Watch

California universities to start new year remotely

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Seven University of California campuses will begin the next school year online as a result of rising COVID-19 concerns. 

UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego will start the term with two weeks of remote learning. Most of the campuses then plan to resume in-person instruction. UC Irvine, meanwhile, said that it would use the result of “testing protocols” to determine “how quickly we can return to in-person.”

UC Davis will also move to virtual learning, though for just one week at the beginning of the term, with in-person instruction set to resume on Jan. 10.

Meanwhile, UC Berkeley said last week that it planned “to move forward with its plans for the spring 2022 semester” to be in-person. Berkeley begins its upcoming term later than the other campuses. 

In its announcement of the temporary shift to remote learning, UCLA said“All students should still plan to return to campus no later than Jan. 9 to participate in a robust COVID-19 testing program that will help keep our community healthier. Faculty and staff returning to campus after the break will also participate in a testing regimen.”

The UC system will also require that all eligible students be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Students will be required to provide proof of booster shots by Jan. 18 and employees must do the same by Jan. 31.

The university system’s decision to require boosters comes as California faces a surge in infections following the first detection of the omicron varian in the state earlier this month. 

Cities throughout the state have recorded rising numbers of COVID-19 infections. San Francisco saw cases more than quintuple in just five days. Meanwhile, Los Angeles reported 3,052 new cases on Tuesday. 

California has already reimplemented its statewide indoor mask mandate which was lifted earlier this year, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) is expected to announce a booster shot mandate for healthcare workers in the Golden State on Wednesday.

Tags California COVID-19 COVID-19 variants Gavin Newsom Omicron variant Remote learning UC Berkeley UCLA

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