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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

UC President says campuses will not be fully reopened by fall

Chancellor May convenes two task forces exploring how to return to campus

UC campuses will not be fully reopened by this fall, according to UC President Janet Napolitano, who said last week that UC campuses will be “exploring a mix” of both in-person and online instruction. 

In an email sent to The California Aggie, Chancellor Gary May said that UC Davis has two task forces currently working on ensuring the safety of a potential return to campus in a “thoughtful and measured manner.” This return will be subject to local and statewide guidelines implemented by public health authorities.

 “The keys to this will be the availability of widespread testing, [contact] tracing, and isolation capability (including social distancing, masking, and quarantining),” May said. 

Some campuses have already said they are considering mixed instruction. UC Berkeley, for example, recently announced that online courses would still be offered even if in-person instruction is available during the fall term. 

But a potential return to campus is complicated by social-distancing regulations and the communal nature of classrooms and dormitories. Napolitano added that a re-opening of campus housing would necessitate “widespread testing [for coronavirus],” with a space set aside for infected students to quarantine.

Since closing its campuses, the UC has faced significant financial losses. The combination of “lost revenue and increased expenses” has been particularly challenging, according to UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The curtailing of housing and dining contracts, the lack of intercollegiate athletics as well as an “uncertain enrollment picture” — particularly among out-of-state and international students — are just a few of the challenges UC Berkeley and other campuses are facing. 

In total, the UC system lost approximately $600 million in March alone. According to Napolitano, the 10 campuses lost around $300 million due to refunds given for student dining and housing contracts, and UC hospitals lost an additional $300 million.

Napolitano noted that the financial losses accrued during the month of April are “going to be ugly.” 

Written by: Rebecca Bihn-Wallace — campus@theaggie.org


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