Faculty update on the start of winter quarter

December 21, 2021
Elizabeth Watkins (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor) and Jason Stajich (Chair, Academic Senate, Riverside Division)
December 21, 2021

Dear Faculty Colleagues, 

The following message announcing a switch to remote instruction for the first two weeks of winter quarter was just sent to the campus. 

This step is being taken to provide instructors and students with as much clarity and predictability as possible amidst the uncertainty caused by the onset of the Omicron variant. Waiting to take this action immediately before or after the start of the quarter would be more disruptive for all. 

We know of the challenges instructors face in managing large numbers of individual requests for accommodations when students are required to isolate or quarantine. And it’s quite possible that we may see a notable increase in positive COVID-19 cases among students following the New Year’s holiday. 

Delaying the start of in-person instruction will allow time for the implementation of a robust testing protocol for students returning to campus and for students who test positive to isolate and to continue to participate remotely without need for individual instructional accommodation.

All students will be tested a second time for COVID-19 prior to the start of in-person classes.

UC Riverside’s conservative approach to repopulating our campus, our aggressive health and safety measures (including mandatory vaccinations, masking, testing, and remote work flexibility), and the exceptional cooperation of our students, faculty, and staff resulted in a successful return to campus this fall. 

We know that this decision requires you to make additional adjustments and we appreciate your continued flexibility. 

Our plans are to return to in-person instruction after two weeks, but we will adjust if the health and safety needs of our campus community require additional changes.