Academic Continuity and Campus Operations Related to COVID-19

March 10, 2020
Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Thomas M. Smith
March 10, 2020

Dear Campus Community:

Thank you for your commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone at UC Riverside. There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 within the UC Riverside community.

However, as local, national and global public health recommendations shift to include mitigation of transmission, we are proactively taking steps that will help to protect the community. Provided below are important updates regarding UCR’s academic continuity and campus operations. These measures will allow us greater flexibility as we work to prevent further spread of COVID-19. 


Instructors should accelerate their efforts to transition their course materials and instruction online and minimize in-person instruction for the remainder of winter quarter (see this memo for guidance). Additionally, following consultation with the Academic Senate’s Executive Council, we have determined the following changes to instruction:

  • Winter quarter final exams will not be held in person. Instructors are asked to communicate with students how final exams, if any, will be offered in place of in-person exams (for example: take home, online, or other alternative format).
  • Instructors should plan to teach spring quarter courses fully online through April 3, 2020, and prepare to continue online instruction through the remainder of the quarter, as needed. This is a precautionary measure that is being announced early to provide instructors with as much time as possible to prepare. Academic Senate further wishes to emphasize that faculty will retain ownership and control of their online instructional materials.
  • Students living on-campus may elect to return home through April 3, 2020. With final exams and early spring quarter instruction moving online, students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or decide to remain in on-campus housing, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures will be in place. We ask all students to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations, while considering whether they have adequate access to the internet, computers, and textbooks to continue their studies effectively in an online environment.

The spring quarter measures are meant to be temporary, and will be reviewed and updated regularly. The Provost’s office will continue working with the Academic Senate to provide additional guidance regarding online instruction and resources, as well as considerations for laboratory- and performance-based instruction.  Additional guidance is forthcoming.

The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will provide specific guidance to all students, including student employees and on-campus residents.


Although spring quarter in-person instruction will be suspended through April 3, 2020, the campus will not be closed. Campus buildings will remain open, and most campus operations will continue. 

Please note, however, that services may be limited as some employees may be allowed to work remotely. Managers and supervisors should immediately assess whether their employees’ job duties can be conducted off-site, at least on a part-time basis if not full-time; and be prepared to implement these work arrangements, pending approval from their direct supervisor and cognizant Dean, Vice Provost, Vice Chancellor, or equivalent organization head.

Human Resources will soon provide additional communication to managers, supervisors, and employees about working remotely, and leave options for those who are ill or may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Similarly, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development will provide information regarding research support operations.


Going forward, the following guidelines have been adopted for gatherings on campus and university-hosted events:

  • Large Gatherings (150 people or more): Cancellation, postponement, or moving to an online platform.
  • Other Gatherings (Less than 150 people):  Cancellation, postponement, or moving to an online platform. If these options are not feasible, in-person gatherings for less than 150 people require approval from the Provost, in order to proceed; and must include proactive measures for social distancing and hygiene.
  • Campus Visits (15 people or more): Cancellation or postponement of non-essential visits to campus by groups of more than 15 people. This would include, for example, campus tours and other events that bring visitors to campus.
  • All Other Visits (15 people or less): These visits should be conducted online or via teleconference.
  • Athletic Events: All UC Riverside-hosted athletic events are scheduled to continue, however, events will now be “fan-less,” meaning there should be no fans at the events.


To prevent infection, we recommend adhering to the following social distancing practices:

  • Vulnerable populations should limit outings and not attend large gatherings. Vulnerable populations are people 60 years of age and older; and people with health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune systems.
  • If you are sick, stay home. Do not come to school or work, travel, or participate in large gatherings.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms or suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID-19: Students should contact Student Health Services or their primary care physician.  Staff and faculty should their primary care physician, and UCR Health will be providing additional resources soon for all UCR employees.
  • Important reminders regarding hygiene: (1) regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, (2) cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and (3) clean and disinfect surfaces often.
  • For more information about social distancing and hygiene practices for the workplace and home, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice will have broad impacts and will be challenging and disruptive for many of you, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation.

We are grateful to the staff throughout our campus for their tremendous efforts, especially our front-line staff who serve in health care, custodial, and food service roles. Your work is critically important at this time and we greatly value you and your contributions. 

Please stay up-to-date on the latest communications at the UCR COVID-19 website. We will continue regular updates and provide details about modified campus operations, as new information is available.