‘Back to normal’: Chancellor Carol Christ discusses fall COVID-19 plans

Carol Christ
Phillip Downey/File
Chancellor Carol Christ discussed returning to campus in the fall in an Instagram Live event Tuesday. Christ added that social distancing policies will be contingent on public health guidelines, but she does expect there to be a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all students.

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As Alameda County moves into the orange tier of the state’s reopening plan, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ looks to welcome back a semblance of normalcy to campus in the fall.

At an Instagram Live event Tuesday hosted by Chaka Tellem, ASUC senator and presidential candidate, and ASUC President Victoria Vera, Christ discussed returning to campus in the fall. While social distancing and masking policy will depend on public guidelines, Christ expects a vaccine requirement for all students, adding that University Health Services will be prepared to vaccinate both domestic and international students when they arrive on campus.

“We all lived this strange challenging year of social isolation, and so I think this is both a need and a real opportunity to build our community,” Christ said during the event. “This has been such a challenging year, and I’ve been so impressed with the resilience of students.”

Christ added that there will be less testing, especially for those who are vaccinated. Those living in campus housing or in athletics will still be required to test once a week, but others will be able to get a “green pass” for 90 days after their vaccination is registered.

Additionally, those who are vaccinated and exposed to someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine if they remain asymptomatic; however, if they begin to show symptoms or live in close contact with the person, they will be required to, Christ noted.

Christ also discussed having a mix of virtual and in-person events for Golden Bear Orientation, or GBO.

“We’re really thinking about how to welcome most students to campus,” Christ said at the event.“I feel particularly for the students who have started their college years in, perhaps, their childhood bedrooms.”

For the freshman class of 2024 and transfer class of 2022 who did not have in-person GBO, there will be welcome activities using GBO groups, Christ said.

Christ added that fall classes will be held in person by default, with larger classes of more than 200 students offered remotely.

In terms of fall housing, doubles will have two students and triples will have three, but double rooms turned triples will not have three students, according to Christ. There will also be about 100 beds set aside as quarantine space, location to be determined.

Ultimately, Christ expects that campus facilities such as the Recreational Sports Facility, libraries and dining halls will be traditionally open, and that sporting events will have attendance, but she does not know if there will be density restrictions.

“I’m so much looking forward to walking across Sproul Plaza and seeing my students, just having the life of the campus return,” Christ said. “I’m looking forward to concerts. I’m looking forward to sports events. Those are all the things that make Berkeley, Berkeley.”

Contact Catherine Hsu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @catherinehsuDC.