UCLA return to campus

For those of you who have just been admitted to UCLA, congratulations! For you — and for our continuing students, faculty members and staff — this page outlines our current plans for 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.

The decline in COVID-19 cases and the widespread availability of vaccines 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 spring 2021

Spring quarter instruction will continue to be delivered almost entirely remotely, as outlined in January. A limited number of courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions will be offered in person or in a hybrid format.

In addition, with Los Angeles County currently in the red tier and entering the even less restrictive orange tier of the state’s four-tier reopening blueprint on April 5, campus leaders have announced tentative plans to transition a small number of other classes to in-person instruction for the spring quarter. These may include:

  • Experiential learning courses, including some laboratory classes, art studios and vocational training classes.
  • Graduate courses, limited to 100 students or 25% of normal capacity, whichever is less.

Academic departments will notify students of any transitions to in-person offerings and will identify alternatives to in-person attendance for those who are unable to come to campus.

While the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has indicated that we are not permitted to expand on-campus student housing for spring quarter, there are currently vacancies in off-campus university-owned apartments for graduate and undergraduate students interested in relocating to Westwood for spring. Students can apply for these spaces on the UCLA Housing “My Housing” page.

On-campus housing will continue to serve primarily those with no alternative housing options:

  • Students whose current housing does not provide a safe and appropriate environment or does not provide sufficient accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Student-athletes participating in on-campus training and conditioning.
  • Students enrolled in the small handful of in-person or hybrid courses being offered who do not have alternative local housing options.

Residence hall occupancy is limited to one student per bedroom, and undergraduate apartments are limited to two students per bedroom.

Certain buildings have been set aside for isolation of students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive and are required to quarantine.

More information is available on the UCLA Housing website.

Although UCLA will not be able to safely host large in-person commencement events for students and their families and friends this spring, graduating members of the class of 2021 will be able to sign up to participate in a special in-person procession and individual commemoration at which they will have their names read aloud, proceed across a stage at one of our outdoor campus venues and have their photographs taken.

These recognitions will be carried out in accordance with public health guidelines and will be offered over the course of several days beginning the weekend of June 11. While the events will be limited to graduating students only, they will be livestreamed so that family and friends can join virtually.

Further details about these in-person celebrations are available on the commencement website.

The UCLA College, many of UCLA’s professional schools and our student group communities are also planning to host virtual commencement ceremonies for members of the class of 2021. The graduate hooding ceremony will be virtual this year as well.

In addition to this spring’s events, UCLA remains committed to hosting in-person commencement ceremonies for both the entire class of 2021 and the entire class of 2020 and their families and friends when it is safe to do so.

UCLA will continue to update the campus community about commencement plans as details become available.

UCLA previously announced that staff and faculty currently working remotely should expect to continue doing so through at least June 30, 2021. As the campus ramps up its operations to support in-person instruction and other on-site activities, it is possible that some staff may need to return to campus to support those efforts sooner than that.

Generally, employees who have been successfully working remotely can expect to continue doing so through the end of August. Supervisors will be in touch directly with staff to provide more detailed information about their departments’ plans.

Since remote working has been successful for many employees, the campus is developing flexible work options and standards for those who are able to continue working effectively remotely, fully or partially, even after we recover from the pandemic. More information on these plans is available in Planning for a Phased Transition Back to Campus (PDF) and Workplace of the Future (PDF), and in our April 14 town hall video.

Departments that plan to increase in-person work and on-site activities between now and fall quarter must submit a COVID-19 resumption plan to the UCLA Office of Environment, Health and Safety, per the UCLA COVID Resumption Plan Review Process (PDF), by May 1, if possible.

More information on resumption plans, including the provision of custodial, maintenance and other services by UCLA Facilities Management and the purchase of disinfectant supplies, can be found here.

Please note that employees must complete the state-mandated COVID-19 Prevention Training either before returning to on-site work or by June 30, 2021, whichever comes first.

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.

Plans for fall 2021

In formulating plans for the fall quarter, UCLA leaders will continue to monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the vaccination process and to follow guidance from county and state health authorities. If restrictions continue to be rolled back, UCLA hopes to be able to offer a substantial in-person learning experience in the fall. At this point, campus officials are carefully considering the following plan:

  • A substantial majority of courses would be offered in person, as well as most labs.
  • Large undergraduate lectures would primarily be conducted remotely, with corresponding discussion sections held primarily in person. (UCLA hopes to provide at least one remote discussion session per remote lecture for those who are unable to return to campus.)

Adjustments could be made to classroom density or enrollment limits for in-person instruction based on public health guidance.

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.

If restrictions continue to be rolled back and guidance from county and state health authorities permits, UCLA hopes to offer housing to the following groups in the fall:

  • All freshman students.
  • All students with an institutional need, in accordance with established eligibility criteria.
  • As many first-year transfer students and sophomores as possible.

Graduate student housing will continue to be offered as usual.

The amount of housing UCLA can offer is directly tied to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health mandates, so while we unfortunately cannot guarantee housing 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 above groups but who plan to return to campus should secure housing off-campus in privately owned accommodations.

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

UCLA expects that orientation will be remote again this summer. 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.

If restrictions continue to loosen and on-campus services and activities resume at a larger scale, some employees currently working remotely will likely need to return to campus in July to support these efforts.

Faculty should plan to teach in person at UCLA in the fall, with limited exceptions.

Other employees who have been successfully working remotely should expect to continue doing so at least until the end of August and possibly later into the fall to reduce on-campus density. Supervisors will be in touch directly with staff to provide more detailed information about returning to campus.

UCLA is exploring various potential flexible work options for staff, which could include remote or hybrid work arrangements, and hopes to provide guidance to departments and units in the near future. 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. More information on these plans is available in Planning for a Phased Transition Back to Campus (PDF) and Workplace of the Future (PDF), and in our April 14 town hall video.

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.

Prior to any fall return, UCLA Facilities Management will perform thorough cleanings and disinfections of all office common areas and restrooms and ensure that all ventilation systems are up to date and working properly. For the cleaning of individual offices, units and departments can purchase cleaning and disinfection packages through facilities management.

Campus units will be required to have their office resumption plans approved (PDF) by the UCLA Office of Environment, Health and Safety before employees return. More information on fall resumption plans can be found here.

Faculty and staff requesting an accommodation from in-person work should contact Employee Disability Management Services.

International students

For international students hoping to attend UCLA in the spring, enrollment in a course included in the list of approved on-site courses (PDF) will fulfill the in-person course requirement to validate students’ F-1 or J-1 visa status in the United States.

Academic departments may add a limited number of on-site or hybrid independent research courses to this list, and these classes will be open to international students. Students interested in enrolling in an in-person course should contact their academic department adviser to determine if such opportunities are available.

For more information on spring quarter enrollment, please see the March 19, 2021, message to students (PDF) from the director of UCLA’s Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.

International students who cannot enroll in an in-person course for spring will still be able to enroll in remote classes in their home countries to permit sufficient progress toward their UCLA degrees.

The Dashew Center will be reaching out to international students to offer further guidance on travel, visas and enrollment.

We expect that international students who are not able to come to the U.S. for the spring quarter will be able to join us this fall by enrolling in on-site courses. The Dashew Center will provide additional guidance by the end of April.

For those international students who can secure travel to the U.S, there are currently vacancies in off-campus university-owned apartments. Housing beyond the spring quarter is subject to availability and is not guaranteed. Students who plan to arrive by April 12, 2021, may apply for housing on the UCLA Housing “My Housing” page.

Research ramp-up activities

Campus research activities have currently ramped up from Phase 2 to Phase 3 (as outlined in UCLA’s research ramp-up guidelines).

All principal investigators who intend to initiate or continue research after March 15, 2021 — including laboratory-based research, and research and creative activities in North Campus — must submit a new Phase 3 research operational plan (ROP) listing all personnel and outlining strategies for maintaining a safe environment. Phase 3 ROPs must be approved by the appropriate department chair, dean or dean’s designee. (All Phase 2 ROPs were voided on March 31, 2021, and original ROPs can no longer be amended.)

New Phase 3 requirements for laboratories and studios, research activities, clinical trials, human subjects research, fieldwork, travel, community-based research and the involvement of undergraduate students in research have been outlined in communications from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research on March 15 and April 8.

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

Undergraduate labs and research projects moving into Phase 3 of the research ramp-up must do so in a staged manner. The first stage allows for greater density on formerly constituted research operational plans for graduate students.

At this time, the campus is allowing no more than four undergraduate student researchers to work in person in a lab under a research operational plan. Participating students must receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their first day in the lab, engage in twice-weekly COVID-19 testing and complete a symptom-monitoring survey prior to each occasion they come to the lab.

Campus leaders are monitoring health conditions on campus and in Los Angeles County to determine whether it will be necessary to adjust the number of undergraduate researchers in each lab.

Safety, health and well-being

University of California President Michael Drake has approved an interim COVID-19 vaccination policy (PDF) designed to protect the health and safety of the UC community, including faculty, staff, trainees and others who work or train in any of the UC’s locations. For more information, visit COVID-19 vaccination: UC’s progress and policy.

UCLA strongly encourages 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.

For spring, testing will continue to be required for all students, faculty and staff who are living, learning, teaching or working on campus, even if they have been vaccinated. Detailed information on UCLA’s testing program — including what happens in the case of a positive test — is available on our Prevention, Testing and Treatment page.

For those members of the UCLA community who will be on campus in spring, protocols and procedures are in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. Measures include physical distancing, de-densifying campus spaces and frequent cleaning of residence halls and other facilities. Face masks are required (PDF) indoors and outdoors for anyone on campus, per guidelines from local and state health authorities.

As part of the ongoing Bruin Public Health Campus Ambassadors program, ambassadors are stationed at key points throughout the campus to provide information and guidance and assist with compliance.

UCLA’s first focus is on education and creating a community of compliance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. While we hope all members or our campus community will assist in these efforts, necessary procedures are in place (PDF) for enforcing compliance if individuals do not abide by campus public health measures.

For further details on UCLA’s public health and safety protocols, please see the COVID-19 Public Health Mitigation Requirements page (PDF).

Daily COVID-19 symptom checks are required for anyone coming to campus or living in on-campus housing, including health care workers. More information on the campus’s symptom monitoring protocol is available online for students (PDF)staff and faculty who are not performing health care work on campus (PDF)third-party contract workers (PDF); and essential visitors (PDF).

As part of an early-warning strategy for the detection of COVID-19 among the campus community, UCLA’s Office of Environment, Health and Safety is regularly testing wastewater from on-campus residence halls for trace amounts of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — that are commonly shed in fecal matter, sometimes days before any symptoms appear.

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.

What is currently open on campus?

Bruin Café and De Neve have resumed limited-capacity indoor dining. Physical distancing protocols will be in place for guests from different households, and guests will still be encouraged to dine outside. De Neve will continue to offer carry-out meals.

Plateia at the Luskin Conference Center has resumed indoor dining at 25% capacity for parties of up to six people from a single household; it is also offering limited outdoor dining and takeout meals.

The A-level of Ackerman Union and the Court of Sciences Student Center have also resumed indoor seating at 25% capacity. For Ackerman hours and available services, visit ASUCLA.

ASUCLA Catering also 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 several ASUCLA restaurants, including Bruin Buzz, Southern Lights, Blaze Pizza and LuValle Commons.

The Charles E. Young Research Library and the Hugh and Hazel Darling Law Library are currently open at reduced capacity to UCLA students, faculty and staff. Seat reservations are required, and all entrants to these buildings will be required to wear a face covering, 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, first at 25% capacity and 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.

Currently, students are able to meet with faculty, instructors and TAs for small group discussions (not to exceed 10 people, including the person providing instruction) in certain outdoor areas on campus with prior approval. Proper face masks must be worn, and physical distancing must be practiced. Departments offering these opportunities will communicate directly with students in their programs.

Other than approved in-person courses, small group discussions and certain department-approved academic activities for students, all nonessential events of any size remain suspended.

Sunset Canyon: The amphitheater lawn and tennis courts at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center are open at reduced capacity for students and will soon be open to staff, faculty (including emeriti) and retirees. Those interested in accessing these facilities must complete a “Return to Rec” membership form on the UCLA Recreation website prior to making a reservation.

Other facilities: In the coming weeks, the Park Pool at Sunset Canyon, Drake Stadium, the outdoor courtyard at the Kinross Recreation Center and the Marina Aquatic Center in Marina Del Rey will reopen for use by the campus community. Watch for updates on the UCLA Recreation website.

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

Hammer Museum: The Hammer will reopen to the public on April 17 with limited guest capacity. The reopening will highlight 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.

In accordance with Los Angeles County guidelines, the Hammer will be operating at 25% capacity. Advance reservations (free) will be required.

Fowler Museum: The Fowler is planning to reopen in June. Please check its website for further updates.

The UCLA Store in Ackerman Union is open for item pickups Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other campus stores currently operating limited pickup and/or delivery services include the Court of Sciences, Health Sciences and the Hill Top Shop. Check for a list of all these stores’ hours, as they may change.

Lu Valle Commons and the North Campus Shop are currently closed.

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.

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