Winter travel reminders and return-to-campus health protocols

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force

Dear Bruin Community: 

We write today to provide information on remaining safer through the holidays and UCLA’s protocols for returning after the winter break. The campus will mostly be closed beginning Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, and will reopen on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Hospitals and other critical functions will remain open and operational. Please refer to the winter closure BruinPost for more details. 

We expect that when the campus reopens, our current COVID-19 protocols and prevention measures will remain in place. In the meantime, however, we know that many people will be traveling and gathering for holiday celebrations. As we prepare for these activities, we must remain mindful of COVID-19 mitigation measures and the important role we all play in preventing transmission of the virus.

These mitigation measures continue to be critically important given the rise in case numbers and the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is being monitored in Los Angeles County and other parts of California, as well as across the country and internationally.

L.A. County public health experts have developed guidance for those traveling during the holidays. It is important to note that travel is strongly discouraged for those who:

  • Are not vaccinated
  • Are sick with or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not ended isolation
  • Have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days (unless fully vaccinated or they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days)
  • Are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test

For all travel, it is important to take preventive measures to protect yourself and others, such as wearing a mask during travel, avoiding crowds (especially while indoors), and washing your hands frequently.

In addition, students, faculty and staff members are urged to follow the LACDPH travel advisory for pre- and post-travel testing and to quarantine or isolate if applicable. The LACDPH has adopted the CDC’s latest recommendations for international travel, which state in part that all travelers entering the United States from foreign countries must present proof of a negative viral test taken one day prior before the flight’s departure, regardless of their vaccination status.

In order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after our winter break, the following measures will be in place:

For students

  • All students living in university-owned housing, either on or off campus, regardless of vaccination status and travel over the break, must take a COVID-19 test upon their return. To account for New Year’s Eve activities, all students must also complete a second COVID-19 test three to five days after their first test, but no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6 (unless they are returning to campus on a later date, in which case they must test three to five days after their first day back). Test kits are available in vending machines and distribution centers located throughout campus.
  • All students who do not live in university-owned housing, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test prior to returning to in-person learning or other on-campus activities and to take another test three to five days later. 
  • Unvaccinated students who are returning from out-of-state travel must quarantine for 10 days; or quarantine for seven days if they have proof of a negative test taken three to five days after returning. 
  • Unvaccinated students who remain in California throughout the break are strongly encouraged (but not required) to limit social interactions for five days upon their return to campus, but they may still attend class during this period.

For faculty and staff:

  • Unvaccinated employees are required to complete a COVID-19 test upon returning from the winter holiday closure. Test kits are available in vending machines and distribution centers located throughout campus (see map). If unvaccinated hourly employees are unable to test before or after work, or during a break, departments may grant them up to 30 minutes of paid time per test.
  • Vaccinated employees are highly encouraged to test upon returning from the winter holiday closure.

Workers in UCLA Health hospitals and clinics should follow guidance issued by UCLA Health.

We are excited to welcome even more faculty and staff back to campus for the winter quarter. We are also proud to report that over 90% of students, faculty and staff are fully vaccinated. In addition, many have received or are planning to get a COVID-19 booster shot, which is highly recommended, and a flu shot, which is a University of California Office of the President requirement for members of the UC community. When the new quarter begins, most courses will be administered in person and face masks will still be required indoors for everyone. 

As an added layer of protection, those who have smartphones are encouraged to download and activate the CA Notify app, which alerts users when they have been in close contact with another user who tests positive for COVID-19.

As 2021 comes to a close, we want to wish everyone a safe, happy and joyous holiday break, and we hope you enjoy your time with friends and family. It has been a year defined by change and resilience as we returned to our academic and scholarly pursuits at UCLA, and we now look forward to a bright and prosperous 2022. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with our COVID-19 protocols and for your continued service and commitment to UCLA. 


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

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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