UC Riverside resumes in-person instruction on Jan. 31.
The first four weeks of winter quarter will have been remote, a product of a post-holidays spike in the new and highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. But Provost Elizabeth Watkins said in a Jan. 24 email to campus that positive cases on campus have dropped since a spike concurrent with the start of winter quarter on Jan. 3. That spike corresponded with a national trend, and with more than 9,000 UCR students and employees availing themselves of testing facilities at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave meeting room.
In California, case levels have dropped in population centers such as Los Angeles County, and many state health officials are saying the Omicron peak has passed. Across the U.S., daily reported COVID-19 cases have dropped from a peak of about 800,000 per day in mid-January to less than 300,000 on Jan. 25.
“For universities everywhere, COVID-19 has created the need to continually balance health and safety considerations with an on-campus education with all of its positive learning dynamics," said UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox. "The numbers at UCR and beyond tell us it’s the right time to return to the classroom.”
UCR's announcement corresponds with decisions to return on Jan. 31 by the other University of California campuses.
For the first four weeks of winter quarter, most campus facilities have been open, including the libraries, Highlander Union Building, and Student Recreation Center. Many students returned to the residence halls; occupancy has been less than 50%, with numbers increasing each week, according to Housing Services officials.
UCR has reiterated the need to comply with a booster mandate based on UC requirements. The original vaccination mandate led to a 95% vaccination rate. Students are asked to upload proof of a booster on their patient portal. Students are able to receive vaccinations through Student Health Services. Employees should upload their booster information to the MyChart utility.
The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the UCR campus for more than a year beginning in March 2020. UCR successfully reopened for in-person instruction in fall 2021, with 80% of courses meeting in person and residence halls operating at capacity.