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December 16, 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

Winter Move-In

On-campus undergraduate housing will remain at single occupancy for winter quarter. Move-in for new undergraduate residents will be staggered over a three-day period from January 2-4, 2021. New undergraduates will participate in scheduled drive-through testing while returning undergraduates will complete a self-administered test at their residential location.

Campus Staff Remote Work

For the majority of campus staff employees who are currently working remotely, they will continue to do so at least through May 31, 2021. The campus population will remain at low-density to provide plenty of space for effective physical distancing.

Winter Instruction

Current public health orders restrict teaching to outdoor in-person or remote modalities. In-person courses—primarily lower division classes, graduate seminars and research or studio-based courses—will be conducted in outdoor classrooms. Each instructor may choose the teaching modality that is best for their class.

Upcoming Town Halls

Faculty Town Hall

Monday, Jan. 11, 3:00 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.

Staff Town Hall | Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 3:00 p.m.

UC San Diego Forges Ahead

Scripps pier
What has made the Return to Learn program a success? The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on the “blueprint for renewal” that Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla initiated shortly after the pandemic hit, and how the versatile program has enabled the university to welcome more students while maintaining a low positivity rate.

Your Top Questions Answered: Vaccines

Question: When will a vaccine for COVID-19 be available?
Answer: Emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was granted Dec. 11, 2020, with similar FDA approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine anticipated later in the month. The first allocations of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in all 50 states, beginning Dec. 14, 2020, with distribution to more than 600 locations. The first allocation arrived at UC San Diego Health on Dec. 15, 2020; inoculations are expected to begin within the next few days. 
Question: Who will be vaccinated first?
Answer: Per guidance for the CDC, FDA and public health experts, the first doses will go to health care workers at UC San Diego Health who are deemed at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as emergency department staff, critical care staff, trauma staff, respiratory therapists and personnel with face-to-face patient care in urgent care clinics. Even with vaccinations starting, we must continue to follow all current measures designed to slow viral spread and infection, from masking and distancing to hand washing and activating exposure notifications through CA NOTIFY.
Question: How do the vaccines work?
Answer: Different vaccines are employing different methodologies, both well-tested and new. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, and represent a newer approach. These vaccines give our cells the instructions to produce a harmless piece of the virus' characteristic spike protein. Our immune systems recognize the spike protein as "foreign" and build an immune response against it. Then, if our bodies are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the future, our immune systems are already prepared to help prevent us from getting sick. It is important to note that none of the current leading vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen) contain whole SARS-CoV-2 virus; they cannot infect you with COVID-19. 
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