UC Santa Cruz will be 'primarily remote' in the fall

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz told incoming freshmen this week the university would be going "primarily remote" this fall, while other University of California campuses, including Berkeley, are offering some sort of hybrid education in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Santa Cruz freshmen likely will not be able to live in the dorms, and in fact, the university is encouraging these teens to live at home, spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said. 

Priority will be given, he said, to existing students because of the tight housing market in Santa Cruz. Other schools, like UC Berkeley and UC Davis, are allowing on-campus living for freshmen and some others. 

"We ask that all first-year students consider postponing their move onto campus until we are able to accommodate a higher density in housing," Hernandez-Jason said. 

Hernandez-Jason added that there will be a small number of mostly upper-division students in classes smaller than 40 people who will likely get to meet in person, but otherwise, classes at UC Santa Cruz in the fall would be "primarily remote."

According to the state, Santa Cruz has had no deaths in the last 14 days and 28 positive cases during those two weeks. 

The other universities in the 10-campus system comprising 280,000 students were offering a more mixed experience as health officials and the public grapple with returning to society while also working to curb the spread of the disease. 

Here is a roundup of what's going on at some of the other campuses.

UC Berkeley will have a hybrid fall semester, with some in-person classes and activities but a majority of services and courses online, according to the university. 

Cal is offering some options for students, including limited in-person classes for those who want to come to campus. The in-person classes will be restricted to a small number of people.

Instruction in large courses will be offered remotely, the university said, although some smaller discussion groups may be offered in person.

Students will not be required to take any classes in person to have “full-time status” and campus administration will have a completed course guide listing the classes that will be offered in person by July, according to the website.

All in-person instruction will be delivered remotely following Thanksgiving break to reduce COVID-19 exposure from traveling, according to the website. 

In terms of housing, Cal is planning to house up to 6,500 students in the on-campus residence halls in single and double rooms. 

Certain students will be giving housing priority including freshmen and continuing students for which Cal housing "is their self-selected best option."  Spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said that means students who have "few or no other best options, such as students with a foster care background or students who identify as LGBTQ. 

She added that freshmen, and other undergraduates, "are certainly welcome to apply if they choose.  While we are prioritizing some groups, that doesn't mean a student who doesn't fall into one of those groups would not get a housing offer. It truly depends on the volume of interest we receive. We did want to manage expectations that if we have a large volume of interest, given our limited capacity, we might not be able to offer contracts to all who apply."

Gilmore said that if students don't get on-campus housing, Cal staff help with finding them places to live off-campus.  

Other Cal housing and dorm opportunities will be given to students with prior housing contracts, students with disabilities and those on full scholarship. 

Students moving into UC Berkeley residence halls will likely be required to undergo COVID-19 testing and isolate for 7-10 days after arriving on campus.

UCLA will offer about 15% to 20% of its courses on campus or in a hybrid format. Some of those classes will include labs, performing arts classes and some courses in clinical health fields. The rest will be virtual. 

In addition, UCLA administrators said they will be taking steps to make on-campus housing less dense by prioritizing housing offers based on factors such as financial need and how far away a student’s primary residence is from the university. Officials said they will also try to “offer housing to as many first-year students as feasible.”

UC San Diego is doing a hybrid of in-person and online teaching and will have dorms open for students to live on campus. The dorms will no longer have triples though. 

More details on the fall semester should be out Friday. 

UC Davis plans to offer mostly remote instruction, allowing in-person classes for those that cannot be delivered online such as live performances and hands-on experiences. 

On-campus residence halls will have reduced density and dining areas on campus will operate under the proper health guidelines. 

In an interview, spokeswoman Julia Ann Easley said that typically, the dorms are reserved for freshmen, some returning students and some transfer students. 

“The benefits of a residential education go beyond classes and instruction,” Chancellor Gary S. May said in her statement. “We look forward to providing that experience for our students — all in keeping with the guidance of our health authorities.”

Shira Adatto said she's frustrated for her daughter, whose senior year was dashed and whose college freshman year at UC Davis will certainly not be a typical one. 

And she added it seems like a lot of money to be paying for distance learning.

Still, she said she appreciated the fact that the school was trying to do what it can, and was especially grateful that the dorms would be open. 

"It's disappointing," she said. " At the same time, the college experience is also about being on campus and having automony. There's something to be said for trying to get the kids on campus." 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@foxtv.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez