As of this update, UC Berkeley is moving forward with its instructional plans for the spring 2022 semester, which include returning to fully in-person instruction regardless of class size.
The campus is monitoring the developments related to the omicron variant very closely. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, plans are contingent upon the public health situation and are subject to change. Any changes to the plans outlined below will be communicated broadly to the campus community.
In light of the increased transmissibility of the omicron variant and based on the recommendations of the Public Health Committee, UC Berkeley will continue to require face coverings indoors for the foreseeable future. This decision aligns with a new state of California requirement that face coverings be worn indoors statewide Dec. 15, 2021 through Jan. 15, 2022.
Testing and travel
If you will be traveling over the winter break, it is strongly recommended that you get tested. Testing is recommended prior to and 3–5 days after travel or engaging in other high-risk activities such as attending gatherings indoors where face coverings are not required.
Requirements for students living in campus housing are being communicated directly to students impacted. UC Berkeley is also exploring increasing the frequency of testing of fully vaccinated individuals.
You’re highly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as the recommended time has elapsed since your final vaccination dose. While more study into the efficacy of boosters against omicron is needed, the CDC recommends that you get the booster as soon as you’re able to.
UC Berkeley remains committed to meeting the needs of all students, staff and faculty, including those who are immunocompromised or with other conditions made worse by the pandemic. Staffing shortages in the Disabled Students’ Program are being addressed to meet the increased demand for services. Instructors wishing to request remote instruction due to disability, dependent care or health conditions are encouraged to review a quick guide for remote teaching requests for spring 2022.
Delivery of instruction for spring 2022
UC Berkeley has never intended to offer hybrid instruction as a standard option, as this modality is extremely challenging for instructors and detracts from the experience for students. Holding courses with enrollments over 200 fully remote in the fall 2021 semester was an attempt to offer both in-person and remote instruction options while avoiding the hybrid model. This proved to have its own challenges. Students found it challenging to transition from in-person instruction to remote instruction with not enough time to travel between home and classrooms. Instructors and students found it harder to engage in remote learning because students had to join courses from locations where they could only listen in to lectures.
For these reasons, UC Berkeley plans to move forward with plans for fully in-person instruction as its default mode in the spring. If public health conditions require a pivot to remote learning, all courses will move to remote learning instead of just some courses.
In contrast to the fall of 2021 where UC Berkeley was among the first campuses to start instruction, many campuses on the quarter system will already have commenced instruction in early January. Campus leaders will be closely monitoring the progress and challenges of other campuses leading up to the start of instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
Thresholds for making decisions
Some have asked for thresholds related to case counts and other public health measures for when UC Berkeley would pivot to remote instruction. While the Public Health Committee has a number of factors it is monitoring related to the pandemic, given the unknowns and the complexity of the situation final decisions about any changes to campus operations are made using the totality of information available. The Recovery Management Team meets regularly to review the latest public health information and recommendations of the Public Health Committee. Every effort will be made to communicate any changes with as much notice as possible.