UCSB Academic Senate

Guidance for Faculty during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published 10/1/2020. Last updated 4/14/2021.


The information on this page is intended as a resource for faculty/instructors during changes in campus operating status due to the COVID-19 crisis. It reflects current planning on our campus based on state and local restrictions, as well as public health and academic best practices. The situation is expected to remain fluid for some time, and new information will be added as it becomes available. At this time, the campus remains closed for most in-person instruction.

Helpful guides and strategies for remote teaching can be found on the Keep Teaching website.

Please contact Executive Director Shasta Delp (shasta.delp@senate.ucsb.edu) with questions or suggestions for information to add.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Policies and Updates

Fall Quarter 2021

Academic Senate Town Hall - Planning for Fall 2021 Teaching - April 8, 2021

Spring Quarter 2021

COVID-19 Vaccinations

All individuals ages 16 and older are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Details about vaccine administration and appointment scheduling can be found on the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website.

Spring Quarter Instruction

Per Chancellor Yang's message to the campus on February 22, the majority of spring quarter courses will be offered remotely, and we will continue to offer selected laboratory, performance, and field experience courses in a face-to-face format. Students who have questions about specific courses are encouraged to check with their instructors.

Senate Policy on Undergraduate P/NP Grading

On the recommendation of the Undergraduate Council, the Faculty Legislature voted on March 11 to approve the following adjustments to undergraduate academic policies for Spring Quarter 2021 and Summer Sessions 2021:

  1. Extension of the deadline to exercise the change of grading option until the last day of classes (June 4 for Spring Quarter 2021, and the final day of instruction for each summer session).
  2. Pre-approval for departments to offer their pre-major, major, and minor courses with optional P/NP grading, and to enable departments to permit courses taken for a P/NP grade to be applied toward the pre-major, major, and minor requirements.
  3. Exemption of Passed units earned in the following quarters from being calculated into the University Letter Grade Requirement for graduation: S20, M20, F20, S21, and M21 (this policy also applies to W21, for which it was previously implemented).
  4. Permission for students on academic probation to take one or more courses P/NP.

A notification memo was sent to all undergraduates on March 16, 2021.

Senate Policy on Final Exams

A final exam is required for every undergraduate course, per Systemwide Senate Regulations 770 and 772. However, instructors have a lot of flexibility in terms of the weight and the style of the exam. See the FAQs below regarding remote assessment of student learning and options for administering remote exams.

Campus Policy on Use of Faculty Offices

Faculty are to work remotely through the remainder of the 2020 academic year, whenever possible.

Per Chancellor Yang's memo of November 1, the campus received approval from the County of Santa Barbara for limited and managed access to individual faculty offices for the purposes of delivering instruction and conducting research. Public health protocols require building-level plans to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, building-by-building inspections to address air-flow and traffic-flow, and review and approval from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. Faculty should contact their Building Access Committee or department chair to inquire about access to their office space and departmental facilities.

Consult the Recommendations for Faculty Office Use, Guidance for Use of Faculty Offices and the Building Commissioning Process presentation for more information.

Single occupancy spaces have also been made available in Davidson Library and the Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSSB) for graduate students and instructors. These spaces can be reserved for up to 10 hours per week, subject to availability. For reservations, please visit the following pages:

Campus Policy on Use of Research Laboratories

The campus is engaged in a gradual return to on-campus research activities. Limited access to laboratories and research facilities is available under state and county guidelines. The current status, stage 4a, restricts both the total number of researchers allowed and the density in each space at any given time. Only authorized users may access campus laboratories, with the permission of the appropriate building committee. The Office of Research maintains a webpage containing COVID-19 Information for UCSB Researchers. Vice Chancellor Incandela's February 16 update on the status of on-campus research is available here.

Library Open for Research Appointments

The UCSB Library Special Research Collections (SRC) offers a limited number of research appointments for faculty and graduate students to use on-site archival and non-circulating materials from the Main Library and Music Library. The UCSB Library remains closed for general use.

For more details, and to request an appointment, please see this page.

After making a request, a UCSB Library staff member will contact the individual to confirm the availability of the materials of interest and help them identify relevant items so that they can make the most of their time in the Reading Room. Approved visitors will be booked for 3-hour appointments beginning between 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Appointments related to scholarly projects with deadlines (e.g., promotion, book contract, dissertation) will be prioritized.

All visitors will be required to follow the terms of use for UCSB Library Special Research Collections and to adhere to UCSB's requirements for working on campus during COVID-19, including enrollment in the COVID-19 screening program and completion of the daily COVID-19 screening survey.

Campus Policy on COVID-19 Testing and Wellness Monitoring

Per Chancellor Yang's message to the campus on October 15, faculty, staff, and members of our research community who have received authorization from their department chair/building committee or supervisor to come to campus for instructional, research, or work purposes that cannot be performed at home are strongly urged to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. This asymptomatic testing is critical to helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in the broader community. To schedule an appointment, students, staff, and faculty should visit our campus patient portal.

Campus Policy on Physical Distancing and Face Coverings

Physical distancing guidelines may require building stairwells to allow one-way travel only; elevator capacity may be limited to one, two, or three people at a time; and physical distancing within office spaces may require reconfiguration of work spaces, meeting rooms, common areas, and lobbies to ensure appropriate physical distancing measures. These types of changes will be evaluated and implemented on an on-going basis by appropriate campus officials.

All individuals on the UC Santa Barbara campus and UCSB-controlled properties are required to wear face coverings (indoors or outside), in compliance with the California Department of Public Health and the County of Santa Barbara Health Officer Order. (This does not apply when (a) in a personal office when alone with the door closed; (b) while eating or drinking when well separated from others, or (c) if a reasonable accommodation granted by the University exempts the individual from this requirement.)

Reporting of a Failure to Comply with Campus Safety Protocols Related to COVID‐19

The following options are available to address issues related to violations of safety protocols on campus:

  1. An individual may bring their concern directly to the person in violation, or to the Department Chair. In matters that involve COVID-19 policies, Department Chairs are recommended as the first point of contact to assist in resolution.
  2. Anyone with concerns of retaliation, or other undesirable outcomes as a result of reporting violations, may file a Hazard Incident Report directly with the UCSB Environmental Health and Safety office by accessing their website (www.ehs.ucsb.edu). At the top of the homepage, there are links for reporting a Hazard (Blue), Near Miss (Turquoise), and Incident/Injury (Orange). Concerns related to COVID-19 should be reported as a “Hazard”. An EHS staff member will follow up with a telephone call if the reporting party chooses to identify themselves. The reporting party can remain anonymous if they so choose. In that case, the investigator will do their best to adjudicate the claims.

To report repeat violations or severely egregious claims, a reporting party may also contact the UC Whistleblower Hotline for investigation by calling (800) 403-4744.

Merit and Promotion Reviews

COVID-19 and Merit and Promotion Reviews guidance was developed in consultation with the Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP), the Office of Academic Personnel, Academic Senate leadership, Deans and Associate Dean-Faculty Equity Advisors, and other administrative colleagues.

Childcare Resources and Active Service Modified Duties (ASMD)

The University's Early Childhood Care and Education Services (ECCES) center has reopened. Resources and programs for families with school-age children are posted on the following websites:

ECCES may be able to assist families in need of childcare by connecting them with trained student employees. For more information and a list of interested students, contact Annette Muse, Director of ECCES at: annettemuse@ucsb.edu

Please note: ECCES's students are required to complete several mandated trainings (Healthy Schools Act, Mandated Reporter trainings, UCSB COVID-19 training). Depending on where they are within the hiring process, students may have completed these trainings and received additional trainings specific to ECCES. All vetting of candidates and families is to be conducted by the parties involved.

Faculty members with family responsibilities that conflict with their university duties should communicate with their Chair and Dean about possible ASMD accommodations.

California COVID Notify

UC Santa Barbara is a member of California COVID Notify, an anonymous and voluntary COVID-19 exposure notification system that allows users to receive automatic alerts via their smartphones following potential exposure from other enrolled users, regardless of whether the individuals know each other. The program is a collaboration between UC and the State of California to assess the use of the technology on a voluntary basis as a means of reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. More information, including a link to instructions for opting in to the system can be found at California COVID Notify and on The Current.

Systemwide Executive Order on Flu Vaccination

To support the health and well-being of UC students, faculty and staff and our communities, the University of California, in consultation with UC Health leadership, issued a systemwide executive order requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization before Nov. 1, 2020. The Office of the President has compiled a list of frequently asked questions for employees about the 2020-21 UC influenza vaccination order.

UCSB is holding a flu vaccination clinic on campus for all faculty and staff members and students. Those who receive their vaccinations at the clinic should incur no out-of-pocket expenses. Health insurance providers will be billed automatically, and any costs not covered by insurance providers will be paid by the University. More information can be found here:

If faculty or staff working remotely need to access a UC facility in person, they must certify, by November 1, that they have received the 2020-2021 flu vaccine or have an approved exemption or accommodation. For more information on exemptions or accommodations, please visit this frequently asked questions page.

Questions can be directed to FluVaccination2020@sa.ucsb.edu. Additional information about the clinic is available in a Q&A on The Current.

Access Archives from Earlier Quarters

Campus Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic