A safer start to the 2021–22 academic year is a collective effort
COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force
Dear Bruin Community:
In the coming weeks, UCLA will be welcoming new and returning students to campus and in-person instruction. As a result, many of our faculty and staff will also be returning to campus for on-site work and teaching. We understand that the past 18 months have been extremely difficult for all of you and we expect that this upcoming year will continue to provide new challenges and uncertainties. We look forward to seeing those who are able to return to campus in person again — even if things will be a little different than in years past — and to the ways in which Bruins will continue to contribute to academic and research excellence and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our local and global communities.
We remain cautiously optimistic about our plans for the year ahead. We all share a collective commitment to the health and safety of our entire Bruin community, and to carefully managing the twists and turns that a surge in COVID-19 and emerging coronavirus variants may have on these plans. While our goal is to support as much in-person activity as possible, we will be cautious and measured in our approach and our success will largely be dependent on our individual and collective commitments to adhering to public health and campus safety protocols. The campus is continuing to identify when certain activities may have to be reduced or temporarily administered remotely, including moving some classes or other activities to remote delivery if necessary.
As we plan for our return to campus this fall, we want to remind the community about the following protocols:
For employees working in UCLA Health hospitals and clinics, please refer to the weekly COVID-19 all-staff email from UCLA Health.
FlexWork may continue to be used where possible and practical, and when consistent with job duties and operational needs. (See FlexWork Guidance (PDF)). Our planning target for in-person work for departments had been set at 50–75% starting in September, although for some departments we had projected that they might approach 100% in-person work to deliver educational and support activities. At this time, we ask for your patience and flexibility as the timing of return to work in various units remains fluid. Employees should continue to work with managers and supervisors as departments finalize their ramp-up plans.
COVID-19 surveillance testing — NEW POLICY IN EFFECT
We have reassessed the mandatory testing requirements after reviewing COVID-19 case data on campus and in the community. Effective immediately, unvaccinated individuals working, learning or living on campus or other UCLA property are required to participate in twice weekly testing. Testing for vaccinated asymptomatic individuals who have verified their vaccination status is no longer required, although they are highly encouraged to test at least once per week. Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, individuals may be directed to test if they are considered a close contact to a positive case or if conditions change that warrant additional testing.
COVID-19 vaccine requirement
As was previously communicated in campuswide messages on August 16 and July 15, the University of California has established a systemwide COVID-19 vaccination policy which requires all faculty, students and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to the start of the fall term (or September 1 for all UCLA employees who work in our hospitals and clinics), with limited exceptions. All students and employees should be compliant with the policy no later than September 9. Employees can submit their proof of vaccination or request an exception through the UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring and Vaccination Verification System even if they do not plan to come to campus the day they complete the verification process.
UCLA students can consult the Arthur Ashe Health and Wellness Center electronic patient portal, which contains information necessary for students to comply with the vaccination requirement.
Daily symptom monitoring
Daily symptom monitoring for all UCLA students, faculty and staff members who are living and/or working on campus and other UCLA properties is required and should be completed using the same UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring and Vaccination Verification System.
UCLA COVID-19 clearance portal
All UCLA students, faculty and staff can check their own clearance status, and supervisors can check the clearance status of their direct reports, using the UCLA COVID-19 Clearance Portal (UCLA logon ID required).
For your convenience, you can access both the UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring and Vaccination Verification System and the UCLA COVID-19 Clearance Portal on the recently updated UCLA Mobile App. Download the app at one of the following links:
Wearing a face mask indoors remains an L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) requirement on campus and within the county. Outdoor masking is also being encouraged at this time, especially at gatherings or congested areas.
We have taken action to evaluate all building ventilation systems on campus and are happy to report that the majority meet industry recommendations for air exchanges and filtration. The campus will provide portable air purifiers to those who work in spaces that will be occupied by more than one person and do not meet the ASHRAE standards.
We have developed a Building Ventilation Assessment Status website where you can look up whether your building or space meets the ASHRAE standards or requires use of a portable air purifier.
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force Infection Control Working Group will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic and provide recommendations for any necessary further mitigations. Comprised of staff and faculty including experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases from the main campus and the health system, the group will track new developments and work closely with LACDPH on future actions.
These actions, along with our collective commitment to demonstrating patience through this next phase of COVID-19, are critical to our success as a campus community dedicated to maintaining our commitment to academics, research and service in such unusual times.
For more information about UCLA’s response to the pandemic, please see UCLA’s dedicated COVID-19 website, which includes all campuswide communications on this subject.
The months ahead will likely be filled with excitement and more than a bit of trepidation. The one thing we do know is that we will get through this together as a Bruin community. Thank you for your continued support and flexibility.
Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force
Immediate Past Chair, UCLA Academic Senate
Professor of History
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force