UCLA return to campus

This page outlines UCLA’s plans for a return to learning, teaching and working on campus in 2021, from classes and orientation activities to housing, dining and working on and off campus. Our newly admitted students are encouraged to visit the Undergraduate Admission website for more. Faculty and staff are encouraged to visit our Campus Ramp-Up Planning Guide and FlexWork Guide for Managers (PDF).

The decline in COVID-19 cases, the widespread availability of vaccines, the University of California’s announcement that it is finalizing its vaccination policy, and the opening of the campus to the general public have given us reason for optimism about a broad expansion of on-campus learning, living and work in the fall, as detailed below. But our plans may change. The health and safety of our community is always our highest priority, and we must be prepared to adjust in response to the progression of the pandemic and guidance from state and county public health authorities and our UCLA COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force.

Please check back here regularly. We will update this page whenever new information becomes available.

Plans for summer 2021

At this time, UCLA expects that instruction will continue to be delivered primarily remotely for the summer. Academic departments may add some in-person courses for summer if faculty wish to do so. Students will be notified of any courses that transition to on-site instructions.

Fall orientation activities for new students, parents and families, held during the summer, will be conducted remotely. However, the UCLA Office of Undergraduate Education plans to offer a wide variety of virtual events to provide guidance on enrolling in fall quarter classes, course planning, choosing a major, fulfilling graduation requirements, professional schools, graduate programs and student services such as housing, financial aid and extracurricular activities.

UCLA Recreation will be offering in-person camps for children this summer, with programs adapted to reflect COVID-19 guidance from national, state and local public health authorities. For more on camp offerings, registration, and health and safety protocols, visit the UCLA Recreation Summer Camps page.

Plans for fall 2021

UC’s vaccination policy

On July 15, 2021, the University of California issued a systemwide COVID-19 vaccination policy that requires all UC students, faculty, staff, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers and trainees, as well as anyone accessing UC facilities or in-person UC programs, to be fully vaccinated prior to the fall term — with limited medical exemptions and accommodations based on disabilities or religious beliefs, as well as deferrals for those who are pregnant.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated when 14 days have passed since they received a single-dose vaccine or the second dose of a two-dose vaccine. This means that UCLA faculty, staff and students who will be living, working and learning on campus or other UCLA properties during fall term will need to be fully vaccinated by:

  • Thursday, Sept. 9
  • Students on the semester system will need to be in compliance earlier — two weeks before their first day of instruction; faculty and staff in semester programs will need to be fully vaccinated two weeks prior to the earliest of their semester start dates.

More on where and how students and employees can get vaccinated is available on our Vaccines at UCLA page.  

For further details on the UC vaccination policy, exemptions and accommodations, and answers to frequently asked questions, please see:

Vaccinations and COVID-19 testing on arrival for fall

The following arrangements will be in place for students coming to campus in the fall:

  • Students returning to campus housing — including those who are vaccinated — will need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival or show proof of a negative test within the previous 72 hours. Unvaccinated students will need to sequester until they receive a second negative test on campus (generally four to five days).
  • Unvaccinated students wishing to receive a vaccination at UCLA will need to arrive two weeks early to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or earlier for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff will not need to undergo regular COVID-19 testing.
  • Students, faculty and staff who have received approved vaccination exemptions will still be required to participate in testing at least once a week.

Vaccination verification

UCLA has implemented processes by which students, employees and others can verify their vaccination status:

  • Enrolled students: Currently, students, including student employees, can submit proof of their vaccination — or request an exemption — through the portal on the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center website.
  • Employees: Staff, faculty and non-student employees can confirm their vaccinations through the UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring System in one of several ways: (1) give UCLA consent to check UCLA Health records and the California vaccination database to verify their vaccination; (2) upload an image of their CDC vaccination card (or non–U.S. equivalent); or (3) upload an official medical record from their health care provider.

    While employees will not receive immediate confirmation of their vaccination clearance status through the Symptom Monitoring System, beginning Sept. 9, the system’s clearance results will include employees’ vaccination status. As of that date, employees will be able to privately check their status using the COVID-19 Clearance Portal (UCLA logon ID required); supervisors will also be able to use the portal to check the status of employees who report directly to them.
  • UCLA Health employees: Information on vaccination verification for UCLA Health personnel will be provided directly to those employees in the coming weeks.
  • Non-matriculating students: UCLA Extension students, visiting students and those in executive education programs will receive guidance on how to verify their vaccination status through their program department.
  • K–12 students: Students age 12 and above who are eligible for vaccinations will receive information from the UCLA Lab School or the Geffen Academy at UCLA about notifying their program of their vaccination status.

Exemption requests

While UCLA strongly urges all those who are eligible to get vaccinated, in certain very limited circumstances, students and employees may be granted a medical exemption, an accommodation based on religious beliefs or disabilities, or a deferral based on pregnancy. To request an exemption:

With public health restrictions being rolled back and COVID-19 vaccinations continuing to progress, UCLA expects to offer a substantial in-person learning experience in the fall. At this point, campus officials hope to implement the following plan:

  • Close to 80% of courses would be offered in person, as well as most labs.
  • Large lectures would primarily be conducted remotely, with corresponding discussion sections held primarily in person.

Our expectation is that every student will receive at least some in-person instruction. For those unable return to campus at this time, there will still be a number of remote courses available to support continued progress toward their degree.

Based on public health guidance, adjustments could be made to classroom density or enrollment limits for in-person instruction. While we do not believe it will be needed, the campus will develop a contingency plan to reduce in-person learning and other activities should that become necessary.

With increased COVID-19 vaccinations and the easing of public health restrictions, UCLA is currently planning for triple-capacity rooms in on-campus housing this fall and expects to be able to offer housing to the following groups:

  • First-year freshman students
  • First-year transfer students
  • Foster youth
  • Veterans
  • Students with an institutional need, in accordance with established eligibility criteria

With the increased capacity, UCLA will also be able to welcome a higher percentage of the following groups than previously anticipated:

  • Second-year students
  • Second-year transfer students

Graduate student housing will continue to be offered as usual.

We will keep students updated on plans and details through the UCLA Housing website, via email and on all @UCLAHousing social media channels.

While we unfortunately cannot guarantee housing for all students for the upcoming academic year, we will make available as much of our housing inventory as we can. If we are not able to accommodate everyone in the fall, additional housing is expected to be available starting in winter quarter 2022, and we may be able to make offers to more students at that time.

Students who do not fall into one of the groups above but who plan to return to campus are encouraged to secure housing off-campus in privately owned accommodations.

Fully opening the campus’s residential communities will require a commitment from our students. Vaccine requirements, continued adherence to specific guidelines and a staggered move-in process will allow UCLA to more safely welcome students back in the fall.

Please remember that we will need to remain flexible and willing to adjust our expectations in the event conditions worsen and public health guidance forces us to modify our plans.

More information about both on-campus and off-campus housing is available on the UCLA Housing website.

Work arrangements

Updated July 2, 2021

UCLA is planning for triple-capacity rooms in on-campus housing for fall term, and about 80% of courses will be offered in person. To support this higher level of operation, we anticipate that overall campus employee density will increase substantially but will still be less than normal. Faculty should plan to teach in person in the fall, with limited exceptions.

With this in mind, UCLA has created an online Campus Ramp-Up Planning Guide to help departments prepare to expand operations and to let faculty and staff know what they can expect, whether working on campus, remotely or in a hybrid fashion, and an online FlexWork Guide for Managers (PDF) to assist managers and supervisors in implementing flexible, supportive working arrangements for employees.  

Decisions about which employees and functions will shift back to campus — and in which order — will be made by each department, as we recognize that each functional area has its unique needs. Department heads, managers and supervisors are encouraged to allow those who can continue to perform their duties effectively from remote locations to do so.

UCLA continues to explore various potential flexible work options for staff, including remote and hybrid work arrangements. Schedules may include FlexWork arrangements in which groups of employees alternate working on site and from home. We are excited about the ways in which this can help improve quality of life for our employees, reduce our environmental impact and create additional space on the UCLA campus.

Staff working primarily from home will be eligible for a home office furniture allowance. Departments should provide the appropriate computer equipment, while remote staff will be responsible for supplying their own internet and communications connections.

Faculty and staff requesting an accommodation from in-person work should contact Employee Disability Management Services. Further information on accommodations is available in this report.

Parking arrangements

It is conceivable that many returning employees who formerly used public transportation or UCLA’s various transportation services may instead choose to drive to campus. To alleviate any potential pressure on parking capacity, we will be working to design plans that strategically stagger the days various employees working hybrid in-person/remote schedules come to campus.

Workplace cleanings and ventilation

Prior to a fall return, UCLA Facilities Management will perform thorough cleanings of all office common areas and restrooms. For the cleaning of individual offices, units and departments can purchase cleaning packages through facilities management. 

UCLA announced July 2 that Facilities Management has evaluated all building ventilation systems on campus and the majority meet industry recommendations for air exchanges and filtration. A website has been created that lists the buildings that do not meet the recommendations and should be reviewed by managers and supervisors.

Courses and instruction

With the expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations and lower numbers of COVID-19 infections in the state of California and Los Angeles County, UCLA anticipate that more of our international student community will be able to engage in in-person instruction and activities in summer and fall 2021.

For detailed information about summer and fall course enrollment, F-1 and J-1 visa requirements, and international travel for fall, please refer to this letter to international students — including newly admitted and continuing students — from the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students.

The center will continue to provide updated information about fall instruction via communications and their recent updatestravel updatesF-1 student FAQJ-1 student FAQ and non-visa–related FAQ pages. Students are advised to contact the center if they have any questions regarding fall enrollment or arrival to the U.S.

Students should be aware that while the U.S. State Department has expanded the national interest exceptions for certain travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen zone, the UK and Ireland, many U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide are still operating at reduced capacity and facing steep application backlogs. Visa appointment delays and cancellations are to be expected in many areas in coming months. In addition:

  • Russia: Beginning May 12, the U.S. embassy in Moscow reduced consular services to include only emergency U.S. citizen services and a very limited number of age-out and life-or-death emergency immigrant visas.
  • India: President Biden signed a proclamation April 30 suspending the entry into the U.S. of individuals who were physically present in the Republic of India within the 14 days preceding entry or attempted entry.

Student housing

International students who are planning to reside in on-campus or university housing for fall 2021 should visit the “Plans for fall 2021: Student housing” section of this website and the UCLA Housing website for updated information.

Current status of on-campus research

As of June 1, 2021, the research operational plan (ROP) program UCLA launched with the move to Phase 2 of the ramp-up plan (PDF) is longer required for research and creative activities on campus or in the field.

Principal investigators can now utilize as many researchers — including staff, postdoctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students, high school students, volunteers and visiting scholars — as they deem necessary, as long as they continue to comply with all mandates from the Centers for Disease Control, the Californian Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

As a reminder, LACDPH has not relaxed its masking requirement, and Cal/OSHA continues to require masking and 6-foot physical distancing in all workplace areas at the present time. It is the responsibility of each PI to ensure that their activities are in compliance with these requirements and that they have articulated safety plans with all personnel on their team.

UCLA Environment, Health and Safety provides safety information for researchers, including guidance on physical distancing, updates on chemical safety, biosafety, high-containment lab operations, and radiation and laser safety.

For those conducting field research, new travel guidance has been issued, but researchers are still required to complete a Field Safety Plan (DOCX) for review and approval by UCLA Environment, Health and Safety.

For more information about research operations, visit UCLA’s research ramp-up website or email c19@research.ucla.edu.

Students and research

As of June 1, 2021, the research operational plan (ROP) program UCLA launched with the move to Phase 2 of the ramp-up plan (PDF) is no longer required for research and creative activities on campus or in the field.

As part of this move, personnel density limits and previous restrictions placed on undergraduate student researchers have been lifted.

Expansion of campus services and activities

Updated July 1, 2021

Restrictions on meetings have been lifted. Meetings are now allowed on campus, but all participants must wear face masks.

Events and other gatherings — like receptions, conferences, sporting events and live performances — no longer have capacity limits or physical distancing restrictions and are allowed on campus in alignment with guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which includes a mask requirement for large events where vaccination status cannot be determined. These events do not require prior approval from UCLA Environment, Health and Safety.

Per county guidelines, certain recommendations and restrictions will be in place for larger indoor and outdoor events.

Large indoor events

For indoor events with crowds of more than 5,000, all attendees must verify either that they have been fully vaccinated or that they have received a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours. Those who cannot provide proof will not be admitted.

Large outdoor events

The county recommends, but does not require, that outdoor events with crowds of more than 10,000 verify the vaccination or negative test status of attendees. Under this recommendation, those who are not fully vaccinated or who do not show proof of a negative test will still be admitted if they wear a face mask.

Updated June 28, 2021

Restaurants and dining halls on campus can now operate indoors and outdoors with no limits on seating capacity or physical distancing requirements. Masks are still required indoors and outdoors except when eating, in which case masks may be removed as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Plateia at the Luskin Conference Center is currently offering indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout meals.

Panda Express in Ackerman union has reopened for service. The A-level of Ackerman Union and the Court of Sciences Student Center have also resumed indoor seating at cull capacity. For Ackerman hours and available services, visit ASUCLA.

UCLA Dining’s Bruin Café (at Sproul Hall) and Buin Bowl (and De Neve Plaza) are open to students for summer, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and grab-and-go options. For hours, see the UCLA Dining website.

ASUCLA Catering offers Catering Express menus for meal pick up or delivery to those who are working on campus, and Starship delivery robots are available to deliver meals to those on campus from a several ASUCLA restaurants, including Souther Lights, Blaze Pizza and LuValle Commons.


The following libraries and library facilities are currently open at reduced capacity to UCLA students, faculty and staff:  

The Ahmanson–Murphy Reading Room at UCLA Library Special Collections is also currently open at reduced capacity but will be temporarily closed beginning July 1 to accommodate critical infrastructure work. The reading room is expected to reopen at the start of the fall quarter.

Seat reservations are required for these spaces (see law library access), and entrants to these buildings will be required to wear a mask, show their BruinCard and a COVID-19 symptom-monitoring clearance certificate, and present their seat reservation confirmation.

Additional libraries are expected to open in phases, ramping up to 50% as restrictions are loosened.

While most UCLA Library buildings remain closed, the libraries continue to provide an array of resources for students, faculty and instructors.


Hammer Museum: The Hammer has reopened to the public with limited guest capacity. The reopening coincides with the museum’s acclaimed biennial, “Made in L.A. 2020: a version,” which will be presented at both the Hammer and the Huntington Museum of Art from April 17 through Aug. 1. Advance reservations (free) will be required.

Fowler Museum: The Fowler will reopen July 1. Please check the museum’s website for further updates.

Updated July 1, 2021

The UCLA Recreation facilities below are currently open at reduced capacity and limited hours to students, staff, faculty (including emeriti) and retirees. Those interested in accessing these facilities should complete a “Return to Rec” membership form on the UCLA Recreation website prior to making a reservation.

  • Sunset Canyon amphitheater lawn, tennis courts and Mapes beach volleyball courts
  • Park Pool and Family Pool
  • Drake Stadium fitness zones
  • Marina Aquatic Center in Marina Del Rey
  • Kinross Recreation Center

In addition, the John Wooden Center is slated to reopen June 21. More information on the Wooden Center is available on their website, including reopening policies, hours and reservations.

Per Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Guidelines, gyms can now operate at full capacity, and hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms may also begin operating. This will allow for expanded reservation opportunities at both the Kinross Center and the Wooden Center.

Masks are required for everyone at all indoor UCLA Recreation facilities. At outdoor facilities, vaccinated individuals can choose not to wear a mask, but unvaccinated people must continue masking unless they can maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.

For more information about memberships, bookings and policies, and for answers to frequently asked questions, visit the UCLA Recreation Return to Rec page. Updates on facilities will be posted each Monday afternoon on UCLA Recreation’s news page.

UCLA Recreation is working with campus leadership to determine how the continuing shift to less-restrictive county health protocols will provide opportunities for more facilities and spaces to reopen for in-person use in the months to come.

The UCLA Store in Ackerman Union and several other stores on Ackerman’s A and B levels are currently open to the public without physical distancing or capacity limitations.

The Court of Sciences Store, the Health Sciences Store and the Hill Top Shop near the residence halls are also currently operating.

Masks are required indoors.

Lu Valle Commons and the North Campus Shop are closed.

For store hours and updates, visit the store schedules page.

Safety, health and well-being

With everyone in the U.S. age 12 and older now eligible for the vaccines and the University of California issuing its vaccination policy, UCLA is strongly encouraging members of the campus community to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, wherever that may be.

Details on vaccinations for UCLA students, faculty and staff can be found on our Vaccinations page.

Updated July 16, 2021

UCLA protocols on physical distancing and face masks are aligned with guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the state of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), including the LACDPH’s new orders on mask wearing (PDF). Read the full July 16 message.

Physical distancing

Density restrictions and physical distancing are no longer required on campus, regardless of individuals’ vaccination status — with limited exceptions, including workplace COVID-19 outbreaks.

Face masks: Outdoors

Face masks are no longer required to be worn outdoors, with certain exceptions associated with new COVID-19 cases and outbreaks on campus. However, in light of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, UCLA is recommending that individuals, especially those who are unvaccinated, wear a mask when outside in large groups.

Face masks also continue to be required for those working and participating in summer youth camp activities — both indoors and outdoors — except when eating, in which case masks may be removed as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Face masks: Indoors

In response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, all individuals — whether fully vaccinated or not — are required to wear face masks in all indoor spaces on the UCLA campus, including classrooms, teaching labs, libraries, pre-K–12 facilities and indoor recreation spaces, as well as when using BruinBus, BruinAccess and UCLA SafeRide services.

Masking is also required in all indoor workspaces, including offices, except when one is alone in an office with the door closed. 

Face masks are recommended while in personal indoor living spaces if people are in the presence of individuals from outside their immediate household.

Face masks: UCLA Health facilities

Face masks are currently required for UCLA Health staff.

Face masks: UCLA Recreation facilities

Face masks will continue to be required at all indoor UCLA Recreation facilities until further notice.

Updated July 16, 2021

Summer and fall

While on June 15, UCLA announced that regular COVID-19 surveillance testing would no longer be required for fully vaccinated students, staff and faculty, the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations has required us to change course.

Beginning July 26, we will be resuming mandatory weekly testing for all those living, learning or working on campus, regardless of vaccination status.

COVID-19 testing at UCLA is being conducted via self-administered saliva swab tests. As previously communicated, anyone with an active BruinCard may retrieve up to of these tests per week at no-charge through vending machines and distribution centers located throughout the campus.

For those requiring in-person testing or who are unable to procure a test kit from a vending machine, as well as those who for any reason may need help with testing, UCLA will continue to operate an in-person testing site at 300 Bradley Hall.

More information is available on the UCLA Ashe Center’s COVID-19 testing website.

Returning to campus

Students returning to campus housing in the fall — including those who are vaccinated — will need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival or show proof of a negative test within the previous 72 hours. Unvaccinated students will need to sequester until they receive a second negative test on campus (generally four to five days).

Unvaccinated students wishing to receive a vaccination at UCLA will need to arrive two weeks early to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or earlier for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Daily symptom checks are still required for students, faculty, staff (including UCLA Health employees) who are living, learning or working on campus or at other UCLA properties, regardless of their vaccination status. More information on the campus’s symptom monitoring protocol is available in the UCLA Summary of COVID-19 Public Health Mitigation Requirements.

The survey, which can be done on a smartphone, tablet or computer, should take no more than five minutes. Individuals will need receive a daily clearance certificate from the survey.

UCLA’s COVID-19 case location dashboard (DOCX) keeps those on campus informed if they were present in a UCLA building when and where someone else tested positive for COVID-19. When UCLA receives notice of a positive case, the dashboard is updated and an email is sent to all faculty, staff and students living on campus or working at UCLA sites. Emails are sent to both campus and UCLA Health employees, as well as union representatives.

UCLA is acutely aware of the emotional and social toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on members of our campus community. One of the UCLA COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force’s working groups has been developing plans to help safeguard the well-being of those returning to campus who may be in need of extra support.

Please visit our Emotional, Social and Physical Well-Being page for information on psychological counseling services, where to turn in a crisis and resources for maintaining emotional and physical health.

Recommended COVID-19 resources

Covid Team

For journalists

UCLA faculty members are available for interviews with news media on a wide range of topics related to COVID-19, including public health and epidemiology, virology and vaccines, mental health, education, law, politics and the economy.

UCLA COVID-19 experts UCLA COVID-19 news stories

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