Detailed information on campus actions (March 9, 2020)

Chancellor Carol Christ recently announced that beginning Tuesday, March 10, the following campus actions will go into place to mitigate the potential transmission of coronavirus in the Bay Area community. Below are further details from the Chancellor.

These changes are effective starting Tuesday, March 10 and will remain in place through spring break, which ends March 29. A decision on what will happen on March 30 and beyond will occur at a later date, based on the latest coronavirus information at that time.

Instruction

  • Starting Tuesday, March 10, we will be suspending most in-person classes and will be offering ALL lecture and discussion instruction through alternative modalities (e.g., Zoom, course capture, etc.) through Spring Break. Classes that are remote-learning ready should proceed to go online starting March 10. Course syllabi are likely to change as a result. Faculty will be adjusting to significant pedagogical change, and best practices for remote instruction and assessment, in a very short period of time.
  • While further adjustments to campus operations may take place in the coming days or weeks, campus operations, including research operations will generally continue at this time.
  • Instructors who do not have remote learning processes in place by March 10 will be given a two-day period (March 10 and 11) during which they may cancel classes, to allow them time to establish such processes and to ready their course(s) for resumption online by Thursday, March 12.  Students, please look for communications from instructors about plans for individual courses.
  • Courses that must meet in person because alternative instruction outside of the classroom is not appropriate will continue to meet in person. For the time being, this will include all laboratory, performing arts, and physical education courses. Students, assume for the time being that courses other than lecture courses and sections, and seminars, will be meeting in person unless you hear otherwise from your instructor. If you are an instructor who believes that the pedagogical objectives of your lecture or seminar course cannot be accomplished without in-person instruction, please contact the chair of your  department or dean of your professional school. Chairs and Deans should then contact the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (vcue@berkeley.edu) or Vice Provost for Graduate Studies (graddean@berkeley.edu), respectively, for approval.
  • During this time, course attendance policies will also be suspended and students will not be penalized for non-attendance of remote course offerings. 
  • Students who have concerns about instructors not adhering to the above guidelines should contact the chair of the department or dean of the professional school. Issues not resolvable at the local level should be elevated to the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (vcue@berkeley.edu) or Vice Provost for Graduate Education (graddean@berkeley.edu) respectively. 

Events 

  • All campus-sponsored events with plans for more than 150 attendees, will be canceled or postponed. This includes events put on by the administration or an academic department and scheduled to take place through March 29. This does not include events scheduled by Cal Performances events and Intercollegiate Athletics; however, those events should include generous refund policies for anyone who wishes not to attend for any reason. Guidance will be forthcoming regarding registered student organization events.
  • Those choosing to host non-campus sponsored events should review the California Department of Public Health Guidance for Mass Gatherings and Large Community Events document
  • For campus-sponsored events with fewer than 150 attendees, we strongly encourage planners of those events to explore alternatives to in-person gatherings.

Campus Operations

  • The campus is not closing. Campus buildings will remain open, and many campus operations will proceed normally, including student housing and dining and research support operations. Please note, however, that there may be some limitations in operations and services as managers will be directing their employees to work remotely, when possible. More communications to managers and employees about working remotely will be provided soon. Since not all jobs and job duties can be adapted to working remotely, managers and Principal Investigators should work with their teams/research groups to determine appropriate measures to allow for social distancing, relevant to the operation of each unit/group. Managers should continue to allow student employees to work their regular shifts as much as possible.
  • Research and related support operations will be maintained, but Principal Investigators and Research Managers should immediately begin planning for the potential of reduced staffing, should members of their groups/units test positive for the virus and have to self-isolate. Please see guidance to aid in planning on the Vice Chancellor for Research website.
  • University Health Service is maintaining normal hours. Currently scheduled appointments are being kept, and the full spectrum of clinical services are currently available,however this remains under daily review and assessment as the situation evolves. Check uhs.berkeley.edu for the latest information on operations and services. 
  • Residential halls and dining facilities will remain open.  Home is not necessarily a better option for students, as they may have to get on an airplane or they may have vulnerable groups (older parents/grandparents) in the home. 
  • Regarding spring break, we strongly recommend that each student carefully weigh the risk of travel given current guidance and recommendations from the CDC and other authorities.

On-going recommendations and actions

  • Students, faculty staff, postdocs or visitors with fever or respiratory symptoms should not come to campus.  Please seek advice from your healthcare provider should you have concerns about COVID-19. Students are encouraged to call the UHS Advice Line (510-643-7197) before coming in.
  • All faculty, staff and students should cancel all non-essential UC-related travel to CDC Level 2 and 3 countries.  Per new guidance from UCOP on March 6, all individuals who have traveled to or from a Level 3 country in the last 14 days will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date they departed the Level 3 country, and watch for symptoms.  UC Berkeley faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider upon arrival in the Bay Area for guidance. Students should call the University Health Services COVID-19 Travel Line at (510) 642-6622. University of California affiliates including visiting scholars, visiting student researchers and postdocs should contact the Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs Office at vspa@berkeley.edu, and notify their host department and Berkeley International Office.. Travelers to/from all other countries should monitor their health for 14 days.  Any travelers who develop symptoms (including fever, cough and shortness of breath) should contact their health provider (students only: call the the UHS Nurse Advice Line at (510) 643-7197).  More information about travel guidelines is on the UC Berkeley coronavirus web page.
  • Managers are encouraged to allow their employees to work remotely where possible. When telework is not possible due to the nature of an employee’s job responsibilities or personal situation, we urge supervisors to be as flexible as possible in seeking alternatives to allow for social distancing, especially for employees who may have underlying health conditions (or need to care for someone with underlying health conditions) that may put them at greater risk for serious health consequences should they contract the coronavirus. Please refer to UCOP PPSM-81 for the “interactive process” required when an employee with a disability requests a workplace accommodation, including telework. 
  • For those events and activities that will proceed as planned, the university is following health and safety guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recently released guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
  • Please seek guidance from CDC regarding events that include individuals who could be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes).
  • Continue to practice good hygiene including lathering with soap and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (hand sanitizers work too), sneeze or cough into a tissue or your sleeve, and avoid touching your face. 

We understand that these changes can be disruptive and we appreciate the campus community’s cooperation and patience.  In our assessment of the current situation, including the likelihood that the Berkeley campus could have a coronavirus case here at any time, we believe that the suspension of in-person classes and the limitations on large events  represent the best action for our campus community and the broader Berkeley community.