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

Flu Vaccination Mandate

  • The Office of the President has issued an executive order making influenza vaccinations mandatory for all students and employees. The order, effective throughout the 2021-22 flu season, requires that all students and faculty and other academic appointees and staff members who live, work or learn on any UC campus indicate that they have received or declined to receive a vaccination. The UC Office of the President has developed FAQs for employees and FAQs for students to address general questions. Additional information is also available on UCnet.

Housing Update

  • The university’s response to the difficulties some students have faced in finding housing for fall quarter, which have been covered in local news media, is outlined in a message to the campus community. Among the items noted are the challenging rental market in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Isla Vista; housing contracts offered to undergraduate and graduate students; the university contracting with local hotels to provide rooms for fall quarter for students who had not been able to secure housing elsewhere. More details can be found in the September 24 message from Chuck Haines, associate chancellor, finance and resource management; Garry Mac Pherson, vice chancellor for administrative services; Margaret Klawunn, vice chancellor for student affairs; and Willie Brown, associate vice chancellor for housing, dining and auxiliary services.

Fall Update: Housing, Testing and Vaccinations

  • To address difficulties some undergraduate and graduate students have had securing off-campus housing, the university is negotiating with local hotels to make rooms available to those who cannot find suitable housing elsewhere for fall quarter. Additionally, as the new academic year approaches, the COVID-19 Response Team is developing a mandatory random surveillance testing program for vaccinated students in order to gather data that could help identify and address cases before they spread. While the campus is weeks away from the deadline for providing vaccination verification or being approved for an exemption and deferral, 92% of incoming and returning in-state students have been fully vaccinated or are in process. Student Health continues to offer vaccination appointments and is planning to hold vaccination clinics after move-in and prior to the start of fall quarter. A section will be added to the COVID-19 dashboard that highlights the campus’s compliance with UC’s vaccination policy mandate. Details regarding housing, testing and vaccinations can be found in the Chancellor’s August 27 Fall Update.

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.

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.

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

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:

Vaccine Policy

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.

Face Coverings

When do I need to wear a face covering? If you are unvaccinated, in all situations. If you are vaccinated, when in any indoor shared space or campus vehicle..

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 university employment, business or activities. Per Cal/OSHA, a face covering is a surgical mask, a medical procedure mask, a respirator worn voluntarily or a tightly woven fabric or non-woven material of at least two layers. A face covering has no visible holes or openings and must cover the nose and mouth. A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar or single layer of fabric.

Appropriate cloth masks are tight fitting and made of materials that filter out small particles. They should have two layers of tightly woven cotton with a third layer of non-woven fabric, which could be a mask filter insert of a synthetic fabric such as polypropylene. They also should have wire nose bridges to reduce gaps from the nose and adjustable ear loops or straps that go around the head to reduce gaps from the face. Face masks lacking these properties should not be used in higher risk situations if other options are available. Less effective face masks include two-layer cotton masks, bandanas and gaiters.

Two face mask designs that feature transparent face panels have been approved for general use, from Safe 'N' Clear and ClearMask. Face shields require special approval from Human Resources Workplace Accommodations or the Disabled Students Program for specific medical conditions. The California Department of Public Health has developed a set of FAQs explaining why face shields are less effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. 

Employees, students and campus visitors are required to follow the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards for the use of face coverings during an outbreak, and California Department of Public Health guidance for the use of face coverings in certain settings, including health care settings, public transit, indoor youth settings and mega events.

Face coverings are not required in the following situations:

  • Working alone in an enclosed office or room
  • 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.
  • Workers who are required to wear other respiratory protection.
  • Children under two years of age.
  • An alternate face covering may be used on campus in the following situations, after obtaining an approved accommodation from Human Resources or the UCSB Disabled Students Program
    • 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.

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.

Physical Distancing

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. 


Frequent hand washing and surface cleaning is recommended. Disinfection should be performed in work areas where a COVID-19 exposure has been reported.

Campus Resources

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.

In addition, campus community members are encouraged to activate CA Notify on their cell phones. CA Notify is a free COVID-19 exposure notification system for smartphones, made possible by the California Department of Public Health, to anonymously alert you if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. Add your phone today by following the instructions on the CA Notify website.

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