After two years of online classes, UCR has finally welcomed students and faculty back to campus for in-person learning. While for the majority of students this is their first year on campus, those who previously attended in person are also still adjusting. One difference from the last time in-person instruction occurred is the inclusion of COVID-19 and the precautions that come with it. The threat of the virus remains present, and those attending classes or working on campus are required to wear a mask indoors and be fully vaccinated or have an exemption. With masks and vaccination statuses being the main defense against COVID on campus, UCR has also implemented several other precautions to help keep students safe. 

Students and faculty who live on or commute to UCR must fill out the Daily Wellness Survey each day they are on campus before they leave their residence or arrive. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and asks a series of health-related questions to ensure you have not contracted the virus. The survey also tracks what residence hall or building you live or work in to assist in contact tracing if someone you came into contact with has tested positive. 

When returning to campus was proposed for the fall, the University of California system set a goal of having 90% of all students vaccinated. UCR was able to meet this goal, with current statistics reporting that 94.2% of students are vaccinated along with 81.6% of employees. The total combined percentage is 92.3%. Students who did not report their vaccination status were blocked from enrolling in on-campus classes. 

Although those living on campus are all vaccinated, students are still required to participate in regular random testing to help locate any potential outbreaks. Students who test positive on campus will be required to self-isolate in a designated on-campus room for 14 days. During this period, they may not leave their room unless they want to return home and quarantine. Students with a meal plan can contact dining services to have meals delivered to them. A student who no longer has symptoms after the 14 days will be released back to their on-campus residence.

Ryan Poon / The Highlander

To maintain a type of “UCR COVID bubble,” guests are currently prohibited from visiting on-campus housing units. Students living on campus may not visit resident halls or apartments that they do not currently live in. Students are also discouraged from leaving campus to go back to their main residence since traveling to and from campus can potentially spread the virus. 

Social-distancing practices are still in effect, and it is recommended that people on campus remain six feet away from others when in public spaces. Additionally, elevators are currently limited to one person at a time. 

UCR Chancellor Wilcox stated in a message to the community that until COVID cases in Riverside County trend downward, “campus leaders have elected to minimize the number of non-essential, in-person events, gatherings and meetings on campus for now.” This has caused many classes that were previously scheduled to be in person to switch to online last minute. Gatherings like the annual Block Party have also been postponed as a result.

Students wishing to, or who need to, get tested are able to do so on campus. Someone is recommended to get tested when they begin to have COVID symptoms, have come into contact with someone infected or have been in an area where an outbreak has occurred.

On-campus testing is located at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave meeting room. They are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. On Wednesday’s, their hours are 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. On Friday’s, the hours are 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m.

There is also a drive-thru site on campus that is run through Curative. This testing site is located at Lot 26. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Appointments can be scheduled online up to five days in advance. 

The circumstances surrounding the coronavirus are continuously changing due to state, county and University of California restrictions. These precautions could potentially become worse if not abided by. They could also loosen as cases improve. With the start of a new school year, in an out of the ordinary situation, students and faculty are expected to follow these rules to help keep the community safe.

Up to date COVID restrictions for campus can be found at campusreturn.ucr.edu/

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