UCLA on Friday became the latest UC campus to postpone students’ return to in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 surge that has sent infection numbers skyrocketing across Southern California.
Remote instruction at UCLA will be extended through Jan. 28.
Initially, many UC campuses announced a two-week delay to in-person classes, along with a booster mandate, after winter break. Now several campuses are extending the return date as COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers climb.
UCLA officials said the decision was driven by high case rates on campus and in the region.
The campus has recorded more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases involving faculty, staff and student since the start of January, and it is impacting UCLA’s “teaching and campus services, as well as our ability to respond to this level of cases.”
Another issue: Just around 34% of eligible UCLA students have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine boosters — a “smaller than anticipated” percentage, officials said.
“While we had hoped that our safety protocols and enhanced testing requirements would be sufficient to allow us to resume in-person instruction after next week, regional and campus trends in positivity rates, as well as staffing and operational concerns, have led us to conclude that an extension of remote education is the prudent course of action,” the university said in an online announcement.
UCLA’s announcement came after Los Angeles County on Thursday reported 37,215 new COVID-19 cases — the highest single-day level for county since the start of the pandemic.
At UC Irvine, officials cited a coronavirus testing positivity rate of more than 13% this week.
“We want to emphasize that this decision should not be seen as a precursor to a fully remote winter term. We have every expectation that we will return to in-person instruction after this extension,” UCLA officials said.