University of California system to Return to In-Person Instruction in Fall

The+welcome+sign+at+the+entrance+of+the+University+of+Irvine%2C+Calif.+entrance.+Starting+Fall+2021%2C+the+University+of+California+system+will+return+to+in-person+instruction.+

"UCI Welcome Sign" / Allyunion / CC 2.0

The welcome sign at the entrance of the University of Irvine, Calif. entrance. Starting Fall 2021, the University of California system will return to in-person instruction.

Starting Fall 2021, the University of California (UC) system will return to in-person instruction. UC campuses have been conducting classes completely online since July 2020. 

The UC Office of the President announced in a Jan. 14 press release that students, staff, and faculty of their ten campuses will be primarily returning to in-person learning after an improvement in “current forecasts” of California’s COVID-19 daily cases, UC President Michael V. Drake, said.

Megan Jansen, BOHS counselor, is “excited” at the reopening of UC schools. “I hope this is a sign that campuses across the world will soon be filled with students once again,” she said.

Since UC schools closed in March, the ten UC Chancellors met frequently to discuss the safety measures of distance and in-person learning. Once vaccine developments and research progressed, all “10 UC Chancellors decided to return to an on-campus model,” according to Patch.

Both current and former Wildcats are cautiously excited about this development because of the possible return to college festivities. UC Berkeley freshman Bella Kang (‘20) said, “We’ve missed a whole year of making new connections, actively participating in clubs, and some students are tired from Zoom fatigue.”

During the Fall and Spring semesters, residential halls were limited to people who lived far from their homes, and students living in dorms were under constant preventative measures to avoid catching the virus. Most UC schools only allowed 10 to 20% of the roughly 300,000 students to reside in their dorms, which meant that one to two students would at times have large dorm areas to themselves. 

I’m really excited to go back, because I feel like I didn’t really experience college life as a freshman.”

— Eileen Hsing

UC Irvine freshman Eileen Hsing (‘20) said, “I’m really excited to go back, because I feel like I didn’t really experience college life as a freshman. I really want to move out so I can be more independent. I think I’m looking forward to living with my friends the most.”

Now, with two vaccines continuously distributed throughout California, and about 85% of UC’s 85,000 frontline healthcare workers vaccinated, UC executive vice president Dr. Carrie Byington, “expects the vaccines to be available to most students, faculty and staff by May or June,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Most UC campuses have also maintained their positivity rates below 1% which was more reason for campus leaders to support the decision for the UCs to reopen. 

Upon reopening, COVID-19 safety measures will still be in place, with mandatory testing and mask-wearing at all times. Despite these restrictive measures, students like Tyler Youn, UC Santa Barbara sophomore, value the in-person opportunity. “Virtual lectures are fine, but ‘real’ lectures are so much better,” Youn said. “It’ll take some time to adjust again, but I’m excited to dive right back into the learning experience.”

UCLA freshman Claudia Lara (‘20), who experienced her first year as a Bruin completely online, agreed: “I’m really excited to be in person next Fall. I missed out on my freshman year but I feel like it’ll make me appreciate the next three years even more. I most look forward to exploring L.A. and meeting new people.”