COVID-19 Information

Campus Updates

Last updated: Feb 2, 2021

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community and to assist our students, faculty and staff in managing the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has taken a number of actions and adopted a range of practices and protocols. They are outlined in the following campus communications:

Recent Announcements

J&J Vaccination Clinics Through Spring Quarter

  • Student Health Services will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine at a series of four weekly vaccination clinics beginning Thursday, May 20, and concluding Thursday, June 10. Open to all UC Santa Barbara faculty and staff members and students, the clinics will take place in the SHS building from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled by logging on to the Student Health Patient Portal. Additional information can be found in a message to the campus community. from Vejas Skripkus, M.D., executive director of Student Health; Stuart Feinstein, COVID-19 response team coordinator and professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology; Scott Grafton, M.D., campus COVID-19 mitigation program manager and professor of psychological and brain sciences; Mary Ferris, M.D., campus COVID-19 clinical advisor; and Garry Mac Pherson, associate vice chancellor for administrative services.

Commencement Update on Grad Walk

  • Following consultation with campus medical experts, deans and local public health officials, graduates are invited to bring up to two guests each to accompany them for Grad Walk during the week of June 7. Each graduate’s two guests will be able to watch in-person as their student takes part in the graduation processional. In the same way that guests are not allowed on the stage during traditional Commencement ceremonies, guests will not be allowed to join their graduate on stage during Grad Walk. Information on how to reserve a Grad Walk time and details about safety protocols are available on the Commencement website. The deadline to register has been extended to midnight Tuesday, May 11. More information, including health guidelines for Grad Walk participants and guests may be found in the Chancellor’s Commencement Update.

COVID-19 Budget Update

  • Through key financial strategies and policies, the campus has weathered the budget shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year such that units and departments will not be called upon to implement one-time reductions this year. Details about the broader impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the university's budget and how campus officials have responded may be found in the Chancellor’s 2021 Campus Budget Update.

Oprah Winfrey to Address the Class of 2021 

  • In a message to the campus community, Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced that media executive, talk show host, author and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey will deliver the keynote speech to the Class of 2021 at the campus’s special online commencement ceremony June 12. Winfrey’s talk will begin a day of multiple virtual or small in-person celebrations arranged by the university’s schools, academic divisions and departments, as allowed by public health orders. In addition, graduating students are invited to participate in the campus’s in-person 2021 Grad Walk, which will take place during the week of June 7. Students will have an opportunity to participate in a graduation processional — complete with regalia — that includes having their names read aloud as they cross a stage, and photographs taken with the campus lagoon as the backdrop. Class of 2020 graduates, who were not able to have an in-person experience last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, also are invited to join the Grad Walk. Information on how to reserve a Grad walk time and details about safety protocols are posted on the campus’s Commencement website.

UC Announces Proposed Policy Regarding Vaccines

  • The UC Office of the President has announced a proposed policy that would require students, employees and academic appointees who wish to access campus facilities at any UC location beginning fall quarter to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The requirement would go into effect once a vaccine is granted full approval from the U.S. Food and drug administration. More information can be found on UCnet along with student FAQs and employee FAQs. Members of the UC Santa Barbara community are invited to share comments about the proposed COVID-19 vaccination policy by emailing

Fall Planning Update

  • With flexibility in mind, and contingent upon public health guidelines and recommendations from campus medical experts, a resumption of as much in-person instruction as possible is being considered for fall quarter, as well opening student housing to as full or near-full capacity as is allowed. In addition, the gradual return of staff members to their on-site offices is expected to begin this summer, following applicable public health guidance, with the goal of a fuller return for fall. Discussions are underway nationally and at the UC Office of the President, and a working group has been established on campus to consider policies, logistics and potential for flexible work arrangements in the future. Details about fall plans can be found in the Chancellor’s Fall Planning Update: In-Person Instruction and Housing.

Vaccination Update

  • COVID-19 vaccines appointments continue to be available through the MyTurn portal and at pharmacy sites. In addition, Cottage Health’s Drive-Up Vaccination Clinic at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital has appointments. The drive-up clinic can accommodate walk-ins and bicyclists. Appointments can be made at

Return to Campus Requirements

  • All members of the university community who will be on campus or in campus-owned housing must complete the daily COVID-19 screening survey. Additionally, undergraduate students who live in campus-owned housing or who work, attend classes or conduct research on campus or want to access campus facilities must obtain a weekly COVID-19 test. Weekly testing is strongly recommended — though not required — for graduate students and for faculty and staff members coming to campus. Details regarding the daily screening survey and weekly testing can be found in the Return to Campus Requirements.

    In addition, employees working on-site must complete the “COVID-19 Returning to Work Training” course required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health, which is available through the UC Learning Center.

Library and Recreation Center Reopen on a Limited Basis

  • Beginning March 29, the UC Santa Barbara Library will open to students and to faculty and staff members on a reduced-capacity basis. The library will reopen a portion of the main library for reservation-only study space. Reservations can be made online. Guidelines and expectations for students regarding use of the space can be found on the library’s website. More information about the library’s reopening process is highlighted in an article on The Current. Beginning April 12, the Recreation Center will resume outdoor activities for students and for faculty and staff members, including reservation-only use of the aquatic complex, the outdoor fitness area and the outdoor climbing tower. Details and reservation information can be found on the Recreation Center’s website.

Chancellor’s COVID-19 Update: Vaccines, Spring Quarter Instruction, Commencement, Enhanced Summer Program, Fall Quarter, and Remote Work Through June

  • Information regarding the University’s continuing COVID-19 vaccination effort as well as plans for spring quarter remote instruction, housing and reduced-occupancy openings of the Library and the Recreation Center are highlighted in the Chancellor’s COVID-19 Update. Also included is preliminary information about this year’s Commencement celebration, an enhanced summer quarter and possibilities for fall quarter instruction. In addition, guidance provided to staff members asks that those who have been working remotely continue doing so through June 30, 2021.

Regional Travel Guidance

  • Highlighting the travel advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health, campus medical experts and Santa Barbara County Public Health officials strongly urge community members to avoid non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who must travel, medical experts and the UC Office of the President recommend following all Centers for Disease Control guidelines, which outline the pre- and post-travel testing requirements the campus applies to the Daily COVID-19 Screening survey. More details can be found in the Travel Advisories section of the Health & Wellbeing page. If documentation of campus COVID-19 testing is needed for travel, please see Student Health’s student instructions. Faculty and staff members should email their requests to 

Temporary Change to Absence From Work Policy Extended Through June 30, 2021 

  • UC President Michael Drake, M.D., has approved an extension through June 30, 2021, of the temporary change to the Absence from Work Policy for policy-covered staff employees, intended to offer relief to parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy-covered staff employees may use all of their accrued sick leave if they are unable to work or telework because they are caring for children who cannot be physically present at school or at their place of care (or with their child care provider) due to the pandemic. Subject to collective bargaining, a similar expansion of the use of sick leave is available to represented staff employees who have accrued sick leave. Also extended through June 30, 2021, is the time period during which paid administrative leave may be used for COVID-19-related reasons. More information can be found here and here.

Influenza Vaccination Mandate

  • Beginning Nov. 1, 2020, the UC Office of the President is making influenza vaccinations mandatory for all faculty, staff and students who will be working, living or learning on a UC campus anytime during the 2020-21 flu season. Faculty and staff members in need of a flu vaccination should contact their primary care providers or visit their local pharmacy. Students in need of a flu vaccination should contact Student Health. Appointments may be made through the Student Portal. Details about the influenza vaccination mandate as well as instructions for verifying a flu vaccination has been received can be found on the flu vaccination information page.

Additional notices from the Chancellor and others may be found in Messages to Campus.

Campus Mitigation Protocols

For essential personnel who are reporting to work on-site and for students who live in university housing or attend classes or conduct research on campus, a number of protocols are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. They include:

  • Practicing physical distancing, staying at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Wearing face coverings in all workplace settings, and both indoors and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Per the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, exceptions apply in the following settings:
    • Individuals in a car alone or solely with members of their own household
    • Individuals working along in an office or room
    • Individuals actively eating or drinking, provided they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others who are not members of their household
    • Individuals who are outdoors and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others who are not members of their household. Those individuals must have a face covering with them at all times and must wear it if they are within 6 feet of others who are not members of their household.
    • Individuals obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary.
    • Workers who are required to wear respiratory protection.
    • Individuals specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other California Department of Public Health guidance.
      Per the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, the following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
    • Children under two years of age.
    • Those with a medical or mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes individuals with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
    • Those who are hearing impaired or are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, in which the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • Those for whom wearing face coverings would create a risk related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Cleaning/washing hands frequently.

Human Resources’ Guidance for Staff and Supervisors During COVID-19 Impacts provides information and resources for staff and supervisors. Links on the page are updated as announcements are made and new information becomes available.

The Environmental Health Program at Environmental Health & Safety offers numerous resources, including general information, guidance documents, information on masks and face coverings, cleaning resources and infographics and signage.

To support the health and wellbeing of faculty, staff and students as well as our broader communities, the University of California, in consultation with UC Health leadership, has issued a systemwide executive order requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization before Nov. 1, 2020.

COVID-19 News

Visit The Current, UC Santa Barbara’s official news source, for the most recent campus news, including COVID-19 research features. Subscribe to receive The Current’s biweekly email. Here a few of the latest COVID-19-related headlines.

A Second Look at Sunlight

Tuesday, March 31, 2021

Researchers urge a closer examination of sunlight’s efficacy in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Read A Second Look at Sunlight on the Current

More Eyes on the Virus

Monday, March 1, 2021

UC Santa Barbara, Cottage Health roll out COVID-19 variant surveillance collaboration

Read More Eyes on the Virus on the Current

COVID-19 Prevention and Intervention

Monday, March 1, 2021

Online discussion with campus experts explores the science behind the COVID-19 vaccines and other interventions

Read COVID-19 Prevention on the Current