The promised return-to-normal set by Gov. Gavin Newsom came with the promised easing of restrictions, and then some.
In April, Newsom announced that the familiar color tiers of the pandemic and their mandates would go away on June 15. The heads up gave UCR and the rest of the state a nod that progressive planning for fall is a safe bet.
The announcement followed a January announcement by UC President Michael V. Drake of a “full reopening” for fall 2021.
In the least, UCR planners knew that limited gatherings would resume, and that occupancy constraints would be loosened for spaces such as residence halls, libraries, and classrooms. Mask wearing would likely continue, campus leaders said, as well as some social distancing.
But on June 17, Newsom made an announcement that was farther reaching than imagined in April. Due to new guidance from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, almost all restrictions were eliminated. Under the new state guidelines, most vaccinated employees and students may work indoors without face coverings, physical distancing is no longer required, and all worksites can operate at full occupancy.
In a June 23 campus announcement, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox detailed the implications for campus. He also said the UC System SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Program requiring students, faculty, and staff to upload proof of vaccination or request an exemption would be implemented on campus at some point after July 15.
The Campus Return site will be continually updated in the coming months to reflect changes to fall instruction and campus operations.