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September 24, 2020
The purpose of this weekly newsletter is to provide the campus community with important updates and recent news related to the Return to Learn program. If you have specific questions or would like to submit feedback about the program, please email

In Case You Missed It

New Exposure Notification System Available

UC San Diego is partnering with the state of California to launch a voluntary pilot program called California COVID Notify that uses Apple and Google smartphone technology to help rapidly reduce the spread of COVID-19 outbreaks. The program is designed to quickly notify participants when a COVID-19 exposure may have occurred. The voluntary program is available for students and employees.

COVID-19 Leave Protections for Staff

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, staff are encouraged to review the different types of COVID-19 leave provisions afforded to UC staff members. UC San Diego staff are eligible for not only the leave provisions offered through the University of California and through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, but also for Chancellor Supplemental Leave, which is unique to our campus.  

Upcoming Town Halls

Zoom meeting illustration

Staff Town Hall

Sept. 24, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.
Join us as campus leaders share updates on the Return to Learn program and address your questions related to campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Town Hall | Oct. 8, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Faculty Town Hall | Oct. 14, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Your Top Questions Answered

Question: Is the university expecting zero infections upon return to campus? 
Answer: As we begin to repopulate our campus during a pandemic, it is unreasonable to assume there will be zero infections. The number of infections will largely be driven by the choices and behaviors of our campus community. We are confident that Tritons will take care of Tritons and will behave responsibly by wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, and otherwise being caring and considerate of others. The campus has plans in place to reduce infections, mitigate outbreaks, and care for those impacted by COVID-19. Many hours have been spent planning to make a return to campus as successful as possible. While there is no way to remove all risk, what we can do is try, as a community, to make our university an exemplar of caring and responsible behavior as we enter into the fall 2020 quarter.
Question: How many faculty members are going to be on campus this Fall? 
Answer: As of Monday, Sept. 14, 1,282 faculty and other academic appointees have been approved for on-site access through the Research Ramp Up system. Fewer than 100 instructors-of-record have chosen to come to campus to teach in person. Not all those approved for on-campus work will be present on campus at the same time; individuals’ use of campus is staggered to ensure we stay below 25% occupancy of all buildings at any given time. If faculty wish to access their offices, they need to submit a request through their department's Return to Campus plan.
Question: What are the university's plans for outdoor instruction this Fall?
Answer: Following an extensive inventory of potential alternative classroom spaces, we have identified about 20 outdoor locations across campus that may be suitable for instruction and/or student support services based on electrical power access, shade, acoustic isolation, ADA accessibility and capacity for social distancing. In the Fall quarter, there will be four, 50-person tents equipped with electrical, AV and Zoom capacity. Several smaller tents will be available for office hours, TA work and other student support needs. Once the outdoor spaces have been completed, the Registrar’s Office will work with departments to identify appropriate courses that can take advantage of this option, as public health regulations permit. 
Faculty interested in hosting their course in one of the limited outdoor teaching spaces should speak with their department scheduler to determine whether that request can be accommodated. In accordance with state guidelines, instructors can only host in-person classes in their designated spaces; faculty and TAs are not permitted to provide instruction to students in-person in a personal office, a random spot outdoors, or any other space that has not been specifically approved for instructional purposes.