March 30, 2020
Dear UC Santa Barbara Alumni and Friends,
I write today from our beloved campus to share that Dilling and I are holding you in our thoughts during this challenging time. As the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate across the globe, we send you and your families our encouragement and heartfelt wishes for good health. I also want to express my deep gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from so many of you. We are strengthened and uplifted by your care and concern.
In recent weeks, our campus community has worked together – in true UCSB form – to implement many actions and policies at UC Santa Barbara to address the impacts of COVID-19. All of our actions are guided by our shared commitment to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community.
We made the difficult decision to suspend all in-person instruction through the end of the spring quarter in June. Our faculty and staff are rapidly adapting courses for remote instruction, with the goal of maintaining the educational excellence that has become a hallmark of UC Santa Barbara. We have also made the difficult decision to postpone our annual commencement ceremonies until a time when we can safely hold large gatherings. To slow the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing, we have asked our students to return to their family homes, and not to return to residence halls or Isla Vista apartments for the spring quarter. Our housing and dining services remain open for those students who are unable to return home. Those students who move out of our residence halls will receive housing refunds.
During this time of uncertainty for our students, we have instituted a number of assistance programs. Our Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and our Basic Needs Task Force have expanded and created new direct student support resources; student-worker relief programs are in place; and health services continue.
We have also taken measures to safeguard our staff colleagues. While Governor Newsom has issued a statewide mandate to stay at home, his order also identifies the University of California as an essential state service. We are committed to maintaining the critical operations and functions of our campus, but we have reduced on-site staff to a bare minimum. Many of our dedicated staff colleagues are continuing their important work remotely, and those impacted by COVID-19 have access to an administrative leave program established by our UC President.
In a crisis such as this, we also have an eye toward our global community. We are continuing to conduct academic research, even if on a limited basis. Our world-class faculty are involved in many aspects of the courageous fight to control and defeat this virus. We recognize and applaud their work, and the innovative and ambitious spirit that it represents.
We do not know when this pandemic will end, or how it will have changed our way of life. What we do know is that our entire Gaucho family has united to care for and protect one another. We have been through fires, floods, and earthquakes here at UC Santa Barbara. We have persevered, and emerged stronger and more resilient. It will be no different with COVID-19. With your help and support, and your strong affection for UC Santa Barbara, we will prevail.
Henry T. Yang