UC Santa Barbara has extended remote instruction for the entire spring quarter and encouraged students to leave campus housing if possible.

Saturday’s announcement came days after officials decided to end in-person instruction through April because of coronavirus-related public health safety concerns.

“As the situation has continued to evolve, we have made the difficult decision, in consultation with many of our students, faculty and staff, to extend remote instruction through the entire spring quarter and to end all in-person instruction,” Chancellor Henry Yang said.

“We are asking instructors, who are faced with the daunting task of adjusting to remote instruction, to extend their planning through the spring quarter. We know that there will be specific courses that cannot be taught effectively in remote formats. Faculty and departments will have to exercise maximum flexibility in these unique circumstances.”

As of Saturday, public health leaders said that Santa Barbara County had no confirmed cases, but San Luis Obispo County reported its first case.

Yang said that UCSB staff will work to ensure that students receive courses needed to fulfill requirements, noting “extraordinary circumstances” will mean addressing individual challenges among students, faculty and staff.

“While we know how disappointing this situation is, especially for our graduating students, social distancing and lowering the density on campus is the best way to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19, according to our health expert,” he added.

“With these changes and in order to lower the density on campus, we are also urging students who can safely leave to do so and to take all of their personal items from their university-owned housing. We have a small window to take proactive steps to protect our community, and we are asking everyone to do their best and to be community-minded. Instructions related to moving out of campus housing will be forthcoming.”

Housing and dining refunds have been addressed in guidance sent directly to students to help with decisions for the coming spring quarter, Yang added.

Related questions can be directed to housinginfo@housing.ucsb.edu or 805.893.4371.

UCSB leaders will continue assessing options related to campus-based fees as well as financial aid considerations, and expect to communicate the new policy developed “by the end of next week” with students and parents.

“Our campus remains open and operational in order to accommodate our students who need to stay and to continue with our research mission,” he said. “We will do our best to continue to offer roles to our student employees, although the work may be modified based on campus needs.”

As for staff, Yang said managers should exercise “maximum flexibility.”

“We know that the K-12 school closures across the region have only added to the pressure on our community,” he said.

For more information on matters related to faculty, staff or students, click here.

Meanwhile, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo leaders on Saturday urged faculty to encourage virtual final evaluations next week. 

“Given the recent changes in our local environment, and in light of the significant impact these changes will have on our campus community, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our students, faculty and staff to encourage virtual final evaluations,” an update read.

Faculty choosing to offer their exam in a virtual manner should inform students beforehand and no later than 5 p.m. Monday, according to the update provided Saturday.
“Faculty have the academic freedom to administer their final evaluations as they see appropriate. Given current circumstances, we encourage flexibility, including options such as take-home exams or online exams,” Cal Poly’s update on Saturday said.

University leaders earlier announced that spring break would be extended a week. Spring-quarter classes will start April 6, with plans to offer virtual classes for at least the first two weeks. 

For Cal Poly campus updates, click here.

Westmont College previously announced a move to remote instruction beginning Monday and continuing through April 13. 

The college’s updates on the status of matters related to coronavirus can be found by clicking here.

Santa Barbara City College Superintendent/President Utpal Goswami said that all credit lecture classes will move to an online format. 

At this time, lab classes that cannot be offered online will continue to meet in-person, he added.

Noncredit and fee-based courses (offered primarily at the Wake and Shott campuses) are not yet ready to be offered online. Those classes have been temporarily canceled for the upcoming week. However, many of those courses will open in conference/synchronous online format on March 30.

All SBCC campuses will remain open. All business, administrative and student services offices will remain open. Employees with health vulnerabilities are being given options to telecommute with the approval of their manager. 

SBCC’s coronavirus updates can be found by clicking here

Allan Hancock College classes are on spring break Monday through Friday. Updates on Hancock’s status can be found by clicking here.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.