Classes at UC campuses are navigating COVID-19 policies for the new year
In July, the UC system released a final plan for a vaccine mandate across all campuses but they did not include system-wide policies on testing or symptom monitoring.
Across nine UC campuses, there is a variety of testing, symptom monitoring and quarantine policies in place to protect students and faculty. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard that requires daily symptom screenings of employees “before each work day and each shift for COVID-19 symptoms.”
UC campuses are utilizing daily symptom surveys in different ways. Students at UC Santa Cruz can receive daily text and email reminders to complete their symptom monitoring.
“Your daily reminders will prompt you to complete the symptom screening survey every day,” the UC Santa Cruz Student Health Center website states.
Across UC campuses, students are experiencing some differences in how symptom surveys are being monitored.
“They don’t check our clearance badges at all,” Emily Eaton, a second-year political science major at UC Berkeley, said. “I feel like it’s more of an honor system.”
To access buildings on many campuses, there are specific requirements for unvaccinated and vaccinated students to participate in asymptomatic testing.
Unvaccinated students on the Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego and Merced campuses are required to get tested every four days or twice a week. On the Berkeley, Irvine, Santa Barbara and Riverside campuses, unvaccinated students are required to be tested weekly.
Asymptomatic testing for vaccinated students have different requirements that vary widely by campus. UC Irvine and Riverside are choosing students at random to test.
UC Irvine’s Covid Resource Hub stated that “5% of all other fully vaccinated students will be randomly selected for testing each month. Students will be notified directly and advised to schedule their testing appointment.”
UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC Merced are making asymptomatic testing optional for vaccinated students.
“Asymptomatic screening in addition to LQA [Lot Quality Asymptomatic] screening is optional for vaccinated individuals,” UC Merced’s Campus Ready web page states. “Vaccinated academic appointees, staff and students may utilize UC Merced-sponsored testing at no cost.”
Testing for vaccinated students at UC Davis, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley is more frequent. UC Davis requires vaccinated students to get tested every 14 days and UC San Diego students must test weekly for the first four weeks of fall quarter.
“For vaccinated students, faculty and staff surveillance testing is not required for 180 days from the date you are fully vaccinated,” the UC Berkeley University Health Services website states. “Then you schedule a campus surveillance test two weeks before the testing badge is set to expire (not before that two-week period), and then [the] testing badge will be green/cleared for another 90 days.”
Outside of testing and symptom surveys, UC campuses are providing resources for students to receive information about COVID-19 policies.
UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego provide a detailed “Daily Dashboard” that updates the daily COVID-19 statistics for each campus. It includes features such as daily testing counts and positive results counts. On both websites, statistics are updated daily.
“The UCSC testing data in the dashboard will be updated daily,” the UC Santa Cruz Tracking COVID-19 webpage states. “This data will help inform decisions about on-campus operations and activities.”
Written by: Emily Redman — firstname.lastname@example.org