UC Merced will delay the start of in-person instruction in light of the highly contagious omicron coronavirus variant sweeping the nation, but otherwise is moving forward with plans for on-site courses and carefully coordinated campus operations for spring semester.
Resident students are scheduled to start returning to campus Jan. 14. Instruction for spring semester is set to begin Jan. 18, but courses will be delivered remotely until Jan. 31 to give students, faculty and staff more time to be tested for coronavirus and take appropriate steps depending on results.
The university has employed strict COVID-19 guidelines — informed by local, state and national health experts — for nearly two years. According to UC Merced data, 97% of the university’s students are fully vaccinated, along with 88% of academic personnel and staff.
In addition, UC Merced is adhering to University of California system policy that requires everyone to receive a booster shot once they are eligible, which is generally six months after their last vaccination.
Our campus community demonstrated this fall how we can work together and do our part. With the additional protocols in place, coupled with our campus commitment, we are ready to continue the great work of UC Merced.
Faculty will use the CatCourses system to provide information about how online classes will be conducted. University leaders emphasized that plans could change based on health concerns.
The university’s groundbreaking research will continue, with labs continuing to use strict safety protocols.
“Our campus community demonstrated this fall how we can work together and do our part,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said. “With the additional protocols in place, coupled with our campus commitment, we are ready to continue the great work of UC Merced.”
The university updated Campus Ready, its pandemic-focused website, with the latest information and guidance.
As the omicron variant drives record levels of cases across the nation, booster shots are highly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to reduce the incidence of severe illness and prevent infection that can be transmitted to others.
UC Merced resumed full campus operations Jan. 3 after a regularly scheduled two-week winter break. Though many essential on-site employees returned to work that day, others able to work remotely were told to stay home until further instructions. Face coverings are required at all of the university’s indoor spaces; UC Merced leaders recommended the more protective surgical-style masks over cloth face coverings.