This article is a part of our news series on the COVID-19 pandemic. For information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, click here.
UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla announced in an email sent to the UCSD student body Monday night that Spring Quarter classes will be held remotely due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. At this time, there are no known cases of coronavirus on the UCSD campus.
“We remain in contact with the California Department of Public Health, San Diego County officials, university health officials and the UC Office of the President,” Chancellor Khosla states in his email.
The email explains that for the remainder of Winter Quarter instruction, from Monday night through March 20, classes will continue to meet in person. However, professors have been instructed to cease considering attendance requirements as a part of their students’ grades.
Once Spring Quarter begins on March 30, UCSD courses will be held remotely via online access. The chancellor’s email cites both Zoom, a site used for live and recorded video sessions, and the campus’s current online portal, Canvas, as tools for this transition.
Classes that require in-person participation and experiences, such as lab courses and studio classes, will not be affected by these changes. Additionally, on-campus housing and dining services will not be closed during this time period.
The email was sent in a staggered manner, meaning that certain students received it before others. This led to widespread confusion and concern among students Monday evening. A spokesperson from Chancellor Khosla’s office commented on students not receiving the email at the same time.
“The staggered distribution was not intentional,” the spokesperson said. “There are approximately 75,000 emails in the “all-official-l” list, which was used to distribute the campus notice. That large volume of email causes the servers to send them out in batches resulting in the staggered distribution.”
The UCSD Guardian asked the student body to ask for their primary reactions, concerns, and questions regarding the online transition.
“What are they going to do with tuition since they are essentially discouraging going to campus? There’s so many fees going to resources other than tuition that it’s kind of useless if we can’t go on campus to use them.” Eleanor Roosevelt College junior Manyi Leung said. “How will this affect on-campus housing and housing costs?”
“I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Thurgood Marshall College senior Michael Lee said. “We should be aware of our habits and make better choices, but we shouldn’t be so anxious.”
“I think that it’s really concerning for seniors or people graduating early because there’s so many questions about what events are going to be held, like Sun God or even commencement, and how people are going to meet their professors to get a final letter of recommendation,” Marshall College junior Heather Maitino said. “It’s also really unfortunate because this is my last quarter at UCSD, so I was excited to finish strong.”
In addition to the online transition of classes, the Chancellor’s email lists further precautions UCSD students and clubs are encouraged to take. These recommendations include canceling and postponing events that would involve more than 100 participants, and not having groups larger than 15 people visit campus. UCSD athletics will continue to host events, however it will not allow admission to fans to watch.
The email also advises UCSD students, as well as faculty and employees to limit their travel to countries the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider “to be of high risk for widespread and sustained community transition of the virus.”
Students experiencing anxiety regarding the coronavirus are encouraged by the university to reach out to campus Counseling and Psychological Services. The university also recommends the maintenance of proper hygiene practices such as regularly washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying home if sick. Students who are sick and wish to visit the Student Health Center should call ahead to make appointments.
More information about UCSD policies regarding coronavirus can be found by visiting http://coronavirus.ucsd.edu.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Lazo of the UCSD Guardian Photography Department.