As spring break approaches, UC Berkeley is urging students to not travel unless necessary and will also mandate a self-sequester period for students in residence halls after the break.
In a campuswide email sent to all students March 4, UC Berkeley said the self-sequester period will be implemented from March 26 to at least April 8. Any students under a quarantine order should not leave until receiving clearance from University Health Services, or UHS. During this period, solo outdoor exercise is allowed, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff.
“We are strongly discouraging spring break travel, especially outside of the Bay Area,” the campus email reads. “You risk bringing COVID-19 home with you and infecting a loved one who may be more likely to become severely ill; even if you have had a negative test recently, you may be incubating the virus.”
The self-sequester order is a change from previous campus guidance, as earlier in March, campus said only students who traveled would be asked to self-sequester.
This comes after a recent pulse survey that indicated many students are planning to travel during spring break.
“We ultimately decided that it would be better to implement a mandatory self-sequester rather than risk a surge in COVID-19 cases post-Spring Break,” a message sent to students living in residence hall reads.
Students who travel must fill out a form to notify residential life that they will be gone in order to be exempt from testing. These students are also expected to continue their normally scheduled COVID-19 testing until they leave and resume testing the first business day they return to campus. Additionally, UHS testing will be available during the break.
UHS also provided more information on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and guidelines for those who are vaccinated.
According to UHS guidelines, students who are fully vaccinated can gather indoors without masks. This does not apply to those who live in residence halls or other congregate living, however, as they are still encouraged to self-sequester and follow local public health guidelines.
Ratliff added that campus has shared alternative ideas for local spring break activities that range from UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden to a virtual comedy show.