As the end of the 2019-2020 school year looms ever closer, there is still much uncertainty in regards to what the future of UCR’s fall quarter will look like. On Wednesday, May 20, the UC President, Janet Napolitano, announced that she expects that “most of, if not all of, our campuses will operate in some kind of hybrid mode.”
So long as public health restrictions permit, this would mean that the majority of the university campuses will be open again at the beginning of the academic year, with some instruction occurring onsite and some remaining online. In order to properly and safely implement such a mixed learning system, the UC Board of Regents is adopting a new set of standards formally titled the “Principles for Responsible Operation of University Locations in Light of the SARS-COV-2 Pandemic”.
The principles include specific safety guidelines that each university must meet before proceeding with any on campus functions, such as the completion of a satisfactory testing plan, a contact tracing plan as well as a quarantine and isolation plan. Once these expectations are fulfilled, then every individual school will be able to advance their own strategies to reopen their respective campus.
One student, Kevin Tang, a fourth-year electrical engineering major, expressed his own misgivings concerning UCR possibly reopening the campus in the midst of the pandemic. “I think it will be better for the safety of the overall population in UCR to maintain some level of social distancing,” he stated.
While Anney Lin, a third-year education major, spoke with more optimism on the uncertain prospect of hybrid learning, stating, “If the school is able to provide us with proper sanitation and ensure every student follows protocols then yes it is a good decision.” Lin added that even so, she is still chiefly concerned with the overall health of the students willing to return to campus and how the shift might negatively affect them and their families in all physical, emotional and financial aspects.
Still, regardless of the individualized campus plans, all UCs will also be required to follow any public health regulations in place including but not limited to physical distancing and the general use of face masks. In addition, should conditions worsen, they must also be ready to make swift modifications to their current procedures.
According to Napolitano, every UC campus is now actively engaged in these executive preparations for the incoming fall term. Final decisions are predicted to be released around mid-June.