Will Housing Reopen in Fall 2021?

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Photo Courtesy of UCSB

Zoey Jia

National Beat Reporter

After the University of California system announced its fall reopening plan, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Resident Assistant (RA) Selection Committee has opened RA applications. If COVID-19 causes further complications among students however, these positions can be rescinded.

“While we plan to reopen in fall at our normal (or slightly reduced capacity) … If at any time, our campus leadership decides that we cannot reopen our housing communities, we may need to rescind our offer of the position,” the committee stated in a RA Selection information video. 

UCSB students were glad to hear the news of dorm doors possibly opening on-campus residential housing for the fall quarter in 2021. 

Flora Lin, a third-year psychology and neuroscience major, explained her optimism about the potential residential reopening in the fall. 

“The UCSB University & Housing Communities has been actively updating housing information and provided chances to go back to UCSB,” she said.

Because of the limited supply of flight tickets back to China last March, she stayed in the limited campus housing provided during the spring quarter of 2020. 

“Decisions made by the housing committee have helped students like me …  who had to remain on campus because of all kinds of issues — like family issues and flight ticket shortages — to get through those challenging months,” said Flora. 

On March 13 last year, UCSB University & Community Housing Services gave students three housing options for the spring quarter of 2020: living in the Santa Catalina residence hall, living off from campus during April, or cancelling residence contracts altogether. 

After Chancellor Henry Yang released an updated letter addressing the statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, the housing committee ordered all remaining undergraduates living in residence halls to relocate to the Santa Catalina dorms, a building that “provided ample space to house all residence hall students in a way that maintains appropriate social distancing,” said in Chancellor Yang’s letter. 

Almost nine months later in December, UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises decided to allocate space during the winter quarter for residents in the San Joaquin, Sierra Madre, and Santa Ynez undergraduate apartments. Those who signed housing contracts that went unfulfilled in the fall had major priority.  

According to Jill Hurd, the director of UCSB Residential & Community Living, these students were allowed to move into the undergraduate apartments between Jan. 15 and Jan. 18. 

All students currently residing there are required to follow medical precaution guidelines before and after entering the new spaces. These medical precautions include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and “the Student Health daily COVID-19 symptom screening survey” that was due 10 days before arrival. 

The California Department of Public Health recently issued updated health guidance and lifted the regional stay-at-home order because of increasing intensive care unit capacity. As Santa Barbara county moved into the purple tier, which indicates the high spread of COVID-19 cases in the county, campus officials responded in cooperation with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the UC Office of The President to reduce COVID-19 infections.