New county guidelines further impact UCLA’s fall plan for classes and housing
UCLA’s fall quarter guidelines include COVID-19 testing and symptom monitoring. (Justin Jung/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Arya Goyal
Sept. 22, 2020 10:54 a.m.
Los Angeles County guidelines and restrictions forced UCLA to implement strict plans for the fall to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak among students.
LA County surpassed 250,000 confirmed cases and 6,000 deaths due to COVID-19 early September, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.
In an Aug. 21 announcement, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter said UCLA will further reduce in-person classes and limit university housing to those with no other housing alternatives in order to comply with a recent LACDPH protocol.
“Based on the new guidelines and at the recommendation of the campus’s COVID-19 Future Planning Task Force, UCLA will be moving to remote-only instruction for the fall, with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions,” Carter said in the announcement.
UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said students will be expected to retain 6 feet of distance from others in their in-person classes, wear face coverings and undergo daily symptom monitoring if they are on campus.
UCLA also will employ public health ambassadors on campus to enforce regulations and remind students about health protocols, Carter said.
UCLA’s guidelines are based on guidelines for higher education institutions from the LACDPH, Vazquez added.
Timothy Brewer, an epidemiology professor, said that people need to follow public health guidelines, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing, for the school to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
“The concern is when you bring a large group of individuals, it increases the risk of transmission,” Brewer said. “And we have seen that with the universities trying to go in-person.”
Brewer said he thinks that it is better to isolate individuals who test positive rather than send them home since traveling would potentially spread COVID-19 to other places. He stressed the need to trust the students.
“I think we have to depend on everyone making a commitment and doing their part,” Brewer said. “We don’t have to police. We can trust them to act like adults.”
Brewer added that the opening of universities may have a disproportionate effect on the surrounding community.
LA County has reported more than 250,000 cases of COVID-19, according to the LACDPH.
Vazquez said that in the event of a positive case, UCLA will report the case, disinfect the area, initiate contact tracing and contact state and county officials who, in the case of an increase in cases, will impose additional restrictions to contain the spread.
For students living on the Hill — which is limited to single-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms — students will self-isolate in their rooms and be in contact with UCLA Housing for their needs and will have three meals delivered a day, he added. Some university apartments will have two people per room.
As students move into on-campus housing, they will be required to test negative for two consecutive COVID-19 tests — one on arrival and another seven days later. UCLA Housing expects students to isolate themselves before the test results are released, he added.
Symptom monitoring at UCLA will require students and faculty who come on campus to complete a short survey based on their COVID-19 symptoms every day before entering the campus.
Brewer said that the case rate in LA County is high and coming to LA can be risky for students.
“This is a two-way risk depending on where (students) are coming from,” Brewer said.