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COVID-19 Winter Break Information

Section 1

December 8, 2020

Dear Anteaters,

We hope this message finds you safe and well. We want you to be aware that the campus, like the county, has been experiencing a notable increase in positive COVID-19 test results among students in the past few weeks. With winter break approaching, and much of the state under a stay-at-home order, please review this important information about UCI expectations for students before, during and after winter break.

The data on this campus COVID case uptick points to three main causes:

  1. Traveling for Thanksgiving and returning with the virus.
  2. Gathering in small groups.
  3. Being infected by a friend who lives off campus.

* Please remember that if you test positive now, you may be placed into isolation during winter break. This means you will not be able to leave campus at the end of the quarter until you are cleared from isolation.

have a safe winter break

It just takes one - a lesson learned

As you consider your plans for winter break, let’s look at a real example of how your actions away can impact the campus community. A student who went home for Thanksgiving break celebrated with family members and relatives. One relative at the gathering was asymptomatic but positive for COVID-19 and infected the student. The student brought the virus back to campus, infecting the person’s significant other and several fellow dorm residents. All tested positive for COVID-19 and must isolate for a minimum of 10 days, while the contact tracing team determines their close contacts, who then must quarantine for 14 days from the date of their last contact with this student.

Winter break and returning to campus

Although instruction begins Jan. 4, plan to return the weekend of Jan. 16

For students residing on campus who are planning to leave for winter break, we strongly encourage you to return to the campus on or around Jan. 16. All winter quarter courses through Jan. 16 will be remote. After that, most classes will continue to be remote, although some graduate courses may be in person if conditions allow.

If you attend holiday gatherings during winter break, do not return to campus until the weekend of Jan. 16, following 14 days of quarantine at home. There may be multiple opportunities for gatherings during the break, however, as we learned in the example above, this is why the quarantine is critical.

Plan to quarantine before your return and sequester after you return

The procedures for students returning to their campus residence will be similar to those undertaken in the fall. For those who leave campus during winter break, the expectation is that you return on or around Jan. 16 after a two-week quarantine at home. Upon arrival back at campus, students must sequester for at least 7 days, and take a COVID test within 48 hours of returning, and another test in 7 days as part of the weekly testing. Two negative tests and being symptom-free will allow for the resumption of permissible activities.

If you must return before Jan. 16

If you have educational or other needs and plan to return to your campus residence on or around Jan. 4, you must sequester for 14 days upon return, as well as have two negative COVID tests, one within 48 hours and the second within one week. Regardless of your test results, you will be required to fulfill the entire 14-day sequester. During the sequester, you must remain in your residence with few exceptions, such as for obtaining meals, essential work or healthcare services.

Let us know your plans

If you leave campus during winter break, you also may opt to remain remote through winter quarter and return to campus housing after that. Campus residents are required to register travel plans for winter break here: http://cglink.me/s39479

*Students are not permitted to ‘come and go’ during winter break. If you choose to go home for the break, you will not be permitted to return to your campus residence until the date you have identified in the form above. This is to minimize the risk of importing COVID to campus and/or exporting it home.

We recognize and understand that many of you have COVID information fatigue. Your health and well-being are a priority. This virus does not discriminate between innocent behaviors and negligent ones. As we head into finals week, we applaud how hard you have worked to get to this point in these unusual times.

Willie L. Banks Jr., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
University of California, Irvine