All departments and offices are expected to return to “close-to-normal” in-person operations to coincide with the Aug. 18 start of the fall semester. This page provides information about what to expect as most of the UC Berkeley workforce that has been working remotely transitions back to working on campus, a process that will begin on June 16, 2021.
- June 16, 2021: Consistent with state of California reopening, employees who previously were working remotely were permitted to return to on-site work on a voluntary basis, subject to their supervisor and business unit’s approval.
- July 12, 2021: Employees who have been working remotely will return to on-site work unless they have entered into a flexible work agreement or have obtained an approved accommodation for a disability.
- Aug. 18, 2021: Start of the fall semester and “close-to-normal” operations.
- Aug. 25, 2021: Instruction begins.
- Plans for the fall semester (CALmessage – March 16, 2021).
- Return to campus for faculty and staff (CALmessage – April 22, 2021).
- Update on the voluntary return to campus (CALmessage – June 11, 2021).
- June 16 voluntary return to campus (CALmessage – June 15, 2021).
Plans are contingent upon the following:
- ✓ Widespread availability of the vaccine. (As of late April, vaccines are readily available.)
- ✓ Few to no daily cases within the campus community. (See the testing dashboard for current numbers.)
- ✓ California fully reopening the economy on June 15.
- ✓ Cal/OSHA revises or retracts their Emergency Temporary Standard that requires employees to maintain six feet of distance in the workplace. (The California Occupational Safety And Health Standards Board adopted a revised Emergency Temporary Standard on June 17, 2021.)
- Being vaccinated is now the primary means of preventing infection by the coronavirus causing COVID-19. As of June 17, 2021, more than 147 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A total of 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections had been reported as of April 30, 2021, representing 0.01% of fully vaccinated individuals as of that time.
- Students are expected to be in residence in time for the start of instruction if vaccinated or in time to observe a one-week period for testing, vaccination, and self-sequester before the start of in-person classes if unvaccinated.
- Classes with enrollments of 200 or more students will continue to be delivered remotely during the fall semester.
- Most courses will not have an “all-remote” option.
- A limited number of remote instruction offerings are being made available primarily to support the needs of international students who may not be able to enter the country.
- As always, if you need accommodations for a disability in order to fully participate in your in-person courses or to postpone your studies until you are able to attend your courses in person, please visit the Disabled Students’ Program website to apply for services.
- Faculty, staff and students will be able to return to their offices, labs and other research spaces without occupancy or distancing restrictions as of June 16. Building access will need to be coordinated with local access controllers. Building access for non-affiliated collaborators, workshops and events, travel, etc will continue but be loosened over time.
- Large gatherings such as conferences and events will have capacity limits or vaccination requirements.
- Update on the first week of fall 2021 instruction (CALmessage – May 21, 2021).
- Clarifying expectations for in-person instruction this fall (Response and Recovery – April 30, 2021).
- Message from leadership (Response and Recovery – April 23, 2021).
- Update on ventilation expectations for fall (Response and Recovery – April 23, 2021).
- CDC deemphasizes cleaning in updated guidance (Response and Recovery – April 9, 2021).
- Events guidelines (Coronavirus website – updated April 23, 2021).
Planning assumptions for the return to campus
UC Berkeley will continue to follow all state and local regulations, including Cal/OSHA requirements. The following assumptions are made based on currently available information about the regulations that will be in place when employees return to campus on July 12. These planning assumptions are subject to change and will be updated as more information becomes available.
- Face coverings will probably be required while at work, even for those who are vaccinated, at least through the summer. People will be able to take off their face coverings to eat and drink, or if alone in a room.
- Physical distancing requirements will be relaxed or eliminated in most campus workplaces.
- Density restrictions limiting the number of people per square foot will no longer be required.
- Cleaning surfaces beyond once-daily cleaning will not be required. Disinfection will not generally be required in workplaces.
- Screens or barriers between workspaces will be required where any remaining distancing required by external regulatory mandates can’t be maintained and employees are present for extended periods.
- Ventilation will remain at maximum feasible outside air and the highest efficiency filtration when recirculating air. Other extraordinary ventilation practices will not be in place.
- Daily symptom screening will still be required.
- COVID-19 safety training will be required.
- COVID-19 surveillance testing will be required every week for anyone who is not fully vaccinated and for randomly selected individuals. Additional targeted testing may be required based on emerging epidemiology and for individuals not able to meet distancing or other requirements.
- Vaccination will be required for all students, faculty, staff and academic appointments who have not obtained an exemption, consistent with the system-wide proposed vaccination mandate.
Understanding the lifting of restrictions
Please note that as we head into the fall, being vaccinated will become the primary means of preventing infection by the coronavirus causing COVID-19. The campus continues to follow Berkeley Public Health Department guidance and state regulations. Many temporary public health measures such as physical distancing, face coverings, capacity restrictions, enhanced cleaning, increased attention to ventilation and testing will be modified, or in some cases, no longer be necessary thanks to the widespread availability of the vaccine.
- CDC update: We’re over-cleaning to stop COVID-19 (The Mercury News)
- C.D.C. says vaccinated people can go maskless in most places (The New York Times)