UC Berkeley increases UCPD presence around residence halls

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Nicole White/File
According to an email sent by UC Berkeley student affairs Friday, students living in campus residence halls can expect increased levels of Community Security Officers. The email reminded students of the guidelines for the current sequester period, which includes remaining in their rooms at all times.

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Students should expect an increased presence of Community Service Officers and staff in and around the residence halls beginning Saturday, according to a UC Berkeley student affairs email Friday.

After hearing reports of students eating in courtyards and otherwise congregating, campus reminded students that they must remain in their rooms at all times during the sequester period, which will last until at least Feb. 8. According to the email, students may only leave their rooms to obtain medical care, get tested for COVID-19 twice per week, use the bathroom, pick up food from the Cal Dining kiosk outside their hall or in case of an emergency.

As opposed to previous self-sequestering guidelines, students may not leave their rooms for solo outdoor exercise, the email adds. UC Berkeley is, however, working with the city of Berkeley to determine when outdoor exercise will be permitted, a decision they will announce “in the near future.”

Campus also outlined the consequences for students who violate self-sequester protocol.

“Be aware that students are subject to serious residential conduct sanctions for not complying with campus directives including being disqualified from housing and suspended from the University,” the email reads. “We don’t wish for residents to be alarmed by this increased UCPD presence, but we must ensure the health of our community.”

In another student affairs email sent Friday, campus released more information about the current occupancy of quarantine housing at UC Berkeley’s Foothill housing complex.

According to the email, the complex is experiencing “higher than normal occupancy” and is therefore prioritizing students considered “higher-risk contacts” by University Health Services and public health officials. This includes students who have tested positive and those who have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not tested positive.

“Lower-risk” students who share a bathroom with someone who has tested positive have been asked to quarantine in their single-occupancy rooms, the email notes. Such students have been asked to avoid contact with other students in the building for the extent of their quarantine period.

“It is strongly advised that you quarantine in the manner offered by the campus so that we can best support your ongoing needs, physical, mental, and otherwise,” the email reads. “We strongly recommend against returning to your family/home, where you could risk spreading infection to others.”

Addressing all students living in residence halls, the email states that release from the sequester period will depend upon the decrease in UC Berkeley’s case rate. In the meantime, the email adds, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance is crucial in helping campus’s COVID-19 surge subside.

Veronica Roseborough is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @v_roseborough.

Due to misinformation from a source, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that students should expect an increased presence of Community Security Officers. In fact, they should expect an increased presence of Community Service Officers.