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 announcements.
COVID-19 Protocol Changes Beginning Winter Quarter 2023
- Due to the low rate of COVID-19 positivity, the decreasing number of weekly tests performed on campus, and the availability of at-home rapid antigen tests, the university will modify its COVID-19 mitigation efforts at the start of the 2023 winter quarter. Changes are consistent with evolving approaches at other UC campuses and current public health guidelines. The changes include discontinuing the campus COVID-19 testing center located in Building 434; ending PCR testing on campus except at Student Health; no longer requiring persons with approved COVID-19 vaccine exemptions or who otherwise are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations to obtain weekly testing; and discontinuing campus isolation housing except for unusual medical circumstances. Conditions for these COVID-19 operational changes depend on COVID-19 positivity remaining low. The pandemic will continue to be monitored carefully, and if warranted, procedures and operations will be re-established as needed to ensure the welfare of the campus community. Read the November 18, 2022 communication to learn more.
Campus Masking Guidance Update
- Indoor masking in shared spaces on the UC Santa Barbara campus continues to be strongly encouraged, in alignment with the recommendations recently released by the California Department of Public Health. Face masks, both surgical and N95, are available without charge for students, faculty, and staff at the UCEN Campus Store Customer Service desk and the A.S. Pardall Center, and at other locations on campus. UC Santa Barbara departments may receive larger quantities of masks by request.
Discontinuing Daily COVID-19 Screening Survey Requirement
- Starting Monday, May 16, 2022, students, staff and faculty will no longer be required to complete the Daily COVID-19 Screening Survey prior to coming to campus, and the Rec Center and Dining Commons will no longer require a COVID-19 Badge before entry. Additional information, including details for visitors, can be found in the May 13 communication.
Employee Return to Work After COVID-19 Isolation or Quarantine
- In adherence with CalOSHA policies, all UC Santa Barbara employees, including student employees, must stay in isolation or quarantine outside of the workplace for 10 days following a COVID-19 diagnosis or close contact exposure (if not fully vaccinated). However, as outlined in a recent message from the campus COVID-19 Response Team, the required 10 day period can be shortened to 5 days by meeting certain conditions and following certain protocols, such as being free of COVID-19 symptoms and providing a negative test result. The type of test required and manner in which it is taken vary by vaccination status. Complete details are in the February 10 communication.
Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program
- The University of California - Policy on Vaccination Programs establishes a required opt-out program for annual influenza vaccinations for all students, faculty, and staff using campus facilities. The order, with a deadline of December 1, 2022 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 an influenza vaccination. Compliance is satisfied at UC Santa Barbara through the Student Health Patient Portal under the "Medical Clearances" section by completing either the influenza self-attestation or opt-out declination. Students who receive their influenza vaccination from UC Santa Barbara Student Health do not have to complete this step.
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.
- 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.
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:
The UC Office of the President has established a systemwide vaccine policy, which requires all UC faculty, students, and staff to receive all vaccine doses in a primary series and any boosters recommended by CDC or by the California Department of Public Health 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.
Individuals are considered up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination if they are either:
- fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose; or
- fully vaccinated and not yet eligible to receive a booster dose
Individuals are considered compliant at UC Santa Barbara if they have provided verification of having received vaccinations approved by FDA or WHO to meet the University of California - Policy on Vaccination Programs, or have obtained an approved medical or religious exception.
Individuals who are eligible for a booster but recently tested positive for COVID-19 can wait 90 days.
Masks are no longer required but are strongly encouraged in indoor shared spaces on campus, regardless of vaccination status, except when working alone in private offices. Universal masking is still required in high-risk settings such as healthcare facilities.
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. A summary of California Department of Public Health and CDC face mask guidelines can be found on the Health & Wellbeing page.
Face masks, both surgical and N95, are available without charge for students, faculty, and staff at the UCEN Campus Store Customer Service Desk and the A.S. Pardall Center, and at other locations on campus. Access the "N95 Mask - How to Wear" and the "N95 Respirator Use" videos to learn about proper use of N95 respirators.
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.
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, and the “COVID-19 Returning to Work Training” course required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health, are outlined on the 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.