UC announces plans to reopen for fall 2021 in-person instruction

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The UC Office of the President plans to have in-person instruction by fall 2021. Following this announcement, UC Berkeley is preparing for the return of its students, keeping safety precautions and prevention measures as a priority.

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After implementing remote instruction since last spring, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, announced Monday that all 10 UC campuses will be planning for in-person instruction for fall 2021.

As the vaccine becomes more widely available to students and faculty, the UC plans to have students return to its campuses, according to a UCOP press release. The UC campuses will work closely with local public health agencies to follow health and safety guidelines, the statement added.

Following the UCOP’s announcement, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ sent a campuswide email which stated safety precautions and prevention measures, such as testing, will still be strongly encouraged as campus plans for in-person instruction.

“We assure you that we will proceed toward this goal with our eye on what has been our number one priority all along: protecting the health and safety of members of our campus community,” Christ said in the email.

Campus will also be looking into the possibility of offering remote instruction for the fall, said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

Gilmore added that allowing student organizations to meet in-person will depend on the developing pandemic situation and public health advice.

The ASUC Office of Academic Affairs Vice President is “excited” about the prospect of students and faculty returning to campus in the fall, according to a statement from the office.

According to the statement, the office is encouraged to see the campus appreciating the gravity of the situation and hopes students can return to a “new normal” in the future.

“Our office, along with other ASUC student leaders, will be working closely with campus administrators in the coming months to ensure that student perspectives and concerns are prioritized in campus decisions concerning fall 2021,” the statement read.

Campus sophomore Anish Bajaj posted Christ’s email on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook group and expressed his excitement and apprehension over the news.

“If there’s anything the past few months have taught us, it’s the unpredictability of the pandemic,” Bajaj said in an email.

University Health Services, or UHS, updated plans for vaccine distribution on campus on its website Monday.

The Moderna vaccine arrived Tuesday to vaccinate Phase 1a campus staff, students and any faculty who are interested within the next two weeks, according to the website.

“The UCB COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force is now beginning planning and preparation for Phase 1b, which is expected to include many more frontline staff at high risk of exposure as well as UC Berkeley faculty, staff, students, and emeriti ages 75 and over,” the website stated.

While the vaccine is strongly recommended for the campus community, it is not considered mandatory as of press time, according to the website.

UHS added that the situation is fluid and the campus is receiving vaccines on a weekly basis from UCOP, and prioritization and requirements are frequently changing.

“This is exciting and represents light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for all of us,” Christ said in the email.

Shylie At is an academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @shylieati.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that campus will be looking to offer remote instruction in the fall. In fact, campus is looking into the possibility of offering remote instruction in the fall.