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

Masking Required Indoors on Campus

  • Effective immediately, all faculty and staff members, students and visitors to campus are required to wear face masks in all shared indoor spaces. The mandate, the result of a sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on campus and in the broader community that is driven by the far more contagious Delta variant, is based on analyses and discussions by campus medical experts and the COVID-19 Response Working Group. The mandate also comes in the wake of last week’s revised recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, which includes Santa Barbara County. More information can be found in the Chancellor’s COVID-19 Update: Masking Required Indoors on Campus

UC SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy

  • UC’s final SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy requires all faculty, academic appointees, staff and students to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or of an approved exception or deferral in order to access any UC or campus facilities, including university housing; attend classes; or participate in university programs. At UCSB, those who received their COVID-19 vaccines from a provider other than Student Health should upload their vaccine documentation through the Student Health Patient Portal Gateway. Requests for exceptions or deferrals also should be submitted through the Student Health Patient Portal Gateway. Proof of vaccination and requests for exceptions or deferrals must be received by the campus no later than Sep. 9. Individuals who are not immunized by this deadline, or who have not submitted a request for an exception or deferral based on medical, disability, religious justifications, or pregnancy will not have access to any campus facilities. More information about the UC policy can be found at UCnet and in FAQs developed by the UC Office of the President for employees and for students. More information about exceptions and deferrals can be found in a July 29 message to the campus community.

Flexible Work Arrangement Resources for Staff

  • Human Resource (HR) has developed a new webpage, Flexible Work Arrangements, that contains a set of resources and tools to assist staff members and supervisors/managers with transition planning as the campus moves toward the resumption of full on-campus operations in the fall. Staff members who have been working remotely should be in contact with their supervisors/managers regarding work arrangements during July and August, with the expectation that normal co-campus arrangements will begin September 1. This transition period offers the opportunity to review and consider a variety of flexible work arrangements, and HR’s tools and resources assist with evaluating the appropriateness of flexible work arrangements and ensure the adjustment to a new way of working is successful. Among the Employee Resources are the UCSB Remote/Hybrid Employee Proposal. A toolkit for employees seeking a remote/hybrid arrangement is forthcoming. Supervisor/manager resources include the Department Readiness Audit Tool and the UCSB Remote/Hybrid Position Assessment. A toolkit for managers and supervisors is forthcoming. 

COVID-19 Prevention Plan

  • The Office of Environmental Health & Safety has updated its COVID-19 Prevention Plan, an all-inclusive preparation plan for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within the UC Santa Barbara community amid the campus’s gradual return to in-person instruction, research, operations and other activities.

Updated Campus COVID-19 Guidelines

  • Thanks to the low COVID-19 transmission rate and as a result of changes to state and local COVID-19 health orders, UC Santa Barbara is updating the campus’s COVID-19 policies and implementing the Emergency Temporary Standards enacted by the California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA Standards Board on June 17. The regulations largely reflect the California Department of Public Health’s current guidelines concerning the use of face coverings and physical distancing for the general public in situations outside the workplace, as well as providing for employee symptom screening before coming to work and for verification of COVID-19 vaccination status. Complete information about these and other topics can be found in a June 23 message to the campus community.

Campus Planning Update

  • As California does away with tier designations as of June 15, increased access to campus buildings will be available to faculty and staff members, researchers and graduate students, in accordance with UC policies and guidance from federal, state and local regulatory agencies. In addition, after June 15, fully vaccinated students coming to campus will no longer be required to undergo testing for COVID-19. Staff members should continue their current remote work arrangements through June 30, and during the two-month period from July 1 to September 1, employees will gradually transition to normal, in-person, on-site work. During this transitional period, units may wish to explore flexible work arrangements that are in keeping with UC and campus policies. In addition, UC's mandated vaccination policy will be finalized and issued by July 15, and more information will be provided by the UC Office of the President in coming weeks. The effective date for compliance at UC Santa Barbara will be Monday, Sep. 6. In the meantime, campus community members are encouraged to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and upload their vaccination information into the confidential Student Health Services patient portal. With the increased vaccination rates and decreasing COVID-19 transmission rates, the university plans to open student housing to full capacity for fall quarter. However, the campus will need to remain flexible in the event of changes in public health guidelines or UC policies. More details can be found in the Chancellor’s June Campus Planning Update.

J&J Campus COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

  • Student Health Services is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine at twice weekly vaccination clinics through the summer. Open to all UC Santa Barbara faculty and staff members and students, the clinics will take place every Tuesday and Thursday in the SHS building. Appointments can be scheduled by logging on to the Student Health Patient Portal. Additional information can be found in a May 17 message to the campus community.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Travel Guidance

  • For those who must travel, medical experts and the UC Office of the President recommend following all California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. 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 It is recommended that those who must travel and are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 obtain COVID-19 testing no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should not travel and should immediately self-isolate and follow public health recommendations. Upon return from travel out of state or out of the country, it is necessary to quarantine for 10 days. Obtaining a COVID-19 test after 5 days of the quarantine period also is recommended. The quarantine period can be shortened to 7 days if a COVID-19 test on day 5 or later is negative and no symptoms are present. Individuals who have completed a full COVID-19 vaccine series more than 14 days prior to their departure do not have to quarantine and test if they have no COVID-19 symptoms.

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

Campus Mitigation Protocols

For faculty and staff members 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. Among them are the following:

When do I need to wear a face covering? If you are unvaccinated, in all situations. If you are vaccinated, only when in a childcare facility or a healthcare facility.

  • The UC Office of the President has established a systemwide vaccine policy, which requires all UC employees and students to be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus or receive an approved exemption before they will be allowed in any UC facility or office or to participate in any University programs. More information can be found in the Chancellor’s UC Systemwide Vaccine Policy Update and at UCnet. In addition, the UC Office of the President has developed FAQs for employees and for students.
  • All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face coverings in all shared indoor campus spaces, including vehicles used during the course and scope of employment. Face coverings are not required in the following situations:
    • Individuals are working alone in an enclosed office or room
    • A medical or mental health condition or disability prevents wearing a face covering. This includes individuals with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering would obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
    • Individuals are hearing impaired or are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, in which the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • Individuals obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary.
    • Wearing a mask would create a risk related to their work, as determined by local, state of federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
    • Actively eating or drinking, provided they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from those around them.
    • Individuals who are outdoors and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others around them. 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 other respiratory protection.
    • Children under two years of age.
  • Vaccinated individuals are not required to maintain a specific physical distance, whether indoors or outdoors. For non-vaccinated individuals, Cal/OSHA recommends the use of face coverings outdoors when working within 6 feet of other people. 
  • Any employee who chooses to do so may continue to wear a face covering in any setting. In addition, any employee may request and be provided an N95 respirator from their supervisor if needed. Information on respirator fitting can be found here.
  • Frequent hand washing and surface cleaning is recommended.
  • Disinfection should be performed in work areas where a COVID-19 exposure has been reported.

Additional guidelines, including those related to the daily screening survey, weekly COVID-19 testing for non-vaccinated undergraduate students and the “COVID-19 Returning to Work Training” course required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health, are outlined on the Return to Campus Requirements page.

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.

Environmental Health & Safety has posted its COVID-19 Prevention Plan, an all-inclusive mitigation and preparation plan for the campus’s gradual return to in-person instruction, research, operations and other activities.

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.

Unraveling the Delta Variant

Friday, July 23, 2021

Campus COVID experts discuss the fast-spreading Delta variant.

Read Unraveling the Delta Variant on the Current

An Act of Caring

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Campus receives funds designated for Minority Serving Institutions to help mitigate academic impacts of COVID for students.

Read An Act of Caring on the Current

Come One, Come All

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Undaunted by COVID, Physics Circus beefs up its interactive learning experience for school-aged children .

Read Come One, Come All on the Current