Updated COVID-19 protocols for fall 2021 instruction

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force

To: Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues:

When forced to pivot on short notice to fully remote instruction 18 months ago, UCLA faculty rose admirably to a daunting set of challenges. This fall we see a return to in-person learning, but given the continuing effects of the pandemic and spread of the Delta variant, there is still a need for flexibility — including the possibility of pivoting to remote instruction for short or long periods of time in response to localized outbreaks. We write to share protocols intended to provide campus guidance to deans, chairs and faculty about this still-challenging situation.

All of you have done an incredible job of keeping our students engaged and progressing toward the completion of their degrees since we abruptly pivoted to remote learning in March 2020, and we sincerely thank you for your dedication to learning and innovative thinking in times of uncertainty.

The CRRTF and Academic Personnel Office developed protocols for fall 2021 instruction document (PDF), which includes the following information:

•             Current authorizations for in-person and remote instruction

•             The need for flexibility and ability to pivot to remote instruction, if deemed necessary

•             Instructor pre-authorization to change modality for limited remote instruction

•             Other public health-related situations where advance approval for modality change is required; and

•             Guidance for masks, eating food and drinking liquid in class

The Academic Senate has also communicated additional guidelines for instructors for fall 2021.

We understand that, for some, returning to the classroom comes with a sense of apprehension. We understand your concerns and want to reinforce that the health of our campus community remains paramount.

To support a safer return to campus, UCLA has implemented a variety of protocols and mitigation strategies, including the UC vaccination policy; masking policy; mandatory COVID-19 testing (PDF) for all unvaccinated members of the campus community; strong contact tracing tools; required COVID-19 prevention training for all employees; daily symptom monitoring for students, staff and faculty; and wastewater testing in our on-campus student residential community. As a reminder, students, faculty and staff can check their clearance status on the UCLA COVID-19 Clearance Portal. This portal will be updated later this month for instructors to view the vaccination policy compliance status of their students; we will provide another communication when this update is completed.

Collectively, these actions should result in much lower rates of COVID-19 on campus during the fall quarter.

We are also encouraged by the decreasing rates of new and suspected COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County and the increased number of individuals in our communities who are fully vaccinated.

We are optimistic for a somewhat regular academic year, though we are prepared to pivot and readjust, if necessary. The COVID-19 Pivot Plan and Decision Matrix (PDF) describes the criteria that will inform possible operational changes.

We are continuing to monitor developments and will keep you informed of our plans and any changes to our protocols and procedures. Please visit UCLA’s dedicated COVID-19 website for further updates and guidance for faculty as we return to on-site instruction and work, and look out for other campuswide communications on this subject.

We wish you a wonderful start to a year that will undoubtedly be rewarding and offer a renewed sense of community among all Bruins.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force

Michael Levine
Vice Chancellor
Academic Personnel

Megan McEvoy
Professor, Institute for Society and Genetics, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force

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