UC Berkeley to continue mostly remote instruction for spring 2021

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Maddie Fruman/Staff
Almost all spring 2021 courses will become fully remote if public health conditions do not allow for in-person classes, according to a campuswide email from Chancellor Carol Christ.

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UC Berkeley plans to begin its spring semester with remote instruction for at least two weeks, with the majority of classes continuing remotely for the remainder of the semester.

According to a campuswide email sent Tuesday from Chancellor Carol Christ, students will not be required to be on campus or take in-person classes next semester. Departments will make alternative classes available to substitute for the small number of courses that will only be offered in person.

As with fall 2020, tuition and fees for the spring semester will remain the same, the email stated.

The two-week period of fully remote instruction is intended to allow students to self-sequester for seven to 10 days upon returning to campus. The email stated that any courses under consideration for in-person instruction will be limited to 25 students and will be noted in the online class schedule by Oct. 1.

Almost all courses will become fully remote if public health conditions do not allow for in-person classes, according to the email.

“As was the case when we announced our plans for the fall, these decisions are dependent on approval from local public health authorities,” Christ said in the email. “We must recognize that we continue to operate amid great uncertainty, as uncomfortable as that may be.”

According to the Spring 2021 Instruction Planning Guidelines document linked in the email, classes that may be considered for in-person instruction will be judged on a tiered system and include those such as clinics, field placements, labs, studios and courses that “substantially contribute to cohort-building.”

The document adds that discussion sections for undergraduate courses with more than 75 students will “generally not be approved for in-person instruction.” Graduate program discussion sections that support cohort-based activities may be offered in person if there are 26 or fewer people in the classroom and an equivalent opportunity for students not on-campus.

On-campus housing will continue to be offered, Christ said in the email, and students given priority for the fall semester will be given priority again for next semester.

The email added that faculty and staff working from home should plan to do so until June 30, although depending on COVID-19 conditions this date may change. More information regarding work arrangements will be released Wednesday.

Campus will work with public health authorities to approve a limited set of nonmandatory, in-person research and instructional activities this semester. According to the email, if approved, these would begin during the last week of October and continue through the beginning of Thanksgiving break.

Maya Akkaraju is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.