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COVID-19 Response - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last updated on March 16, 2020

Please see UCSB’s campus website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, including Chancellor Henry Yang’s latest communication about the measures the campus is taking. 

Below you will find information for some of the questions that we have been getting from students over the last two days. We will update this information as needed given that conditions are changing rapidly in the U.S. and around the world.  We also ask for your patience as the campus adjusts to these new plans and puts arrangements in place.  For questions that are not answered here, you can email, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Why is UCSB transitioning to alternative forms of instruction and replacing in-person modalities with remote strategies as much as possible? 

Our top priority is the health and safety of our community.  Given what we know about transmission of COVID-19, prevention is aided through social distancing and avoiding exposure which means it is helpful to reduce the number of people on campus and to avoid as much as possible bringing novel coronavirus into our community when we currently have no cases.    

The transition to alternative instruction is in process but requires some time and preparation. Faculty are working as quickly as possible to respond to the new directive for remote instruction. If you have not heard from your instructors, please confirm with them what arrangements are in place.

What about finals?

Students should check their email and Gauchospace for information from their professors about how their final will be managed.

I don’t have a laptop available to me. What can I do?

UCSB will offer a laptop loan program for the spring quarter. Students wishing to take advantage of this program can visit the Basic Needs Advising Center beginning Monday, March 16 at 10 a.m. Laptops must be returned by June 12, 2020. Students must agree to a $200 fee (charged to BARC) if the laptop is damaged or not returned. Laptops will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. 

Will the Library remain open?

Yes, the campus remains open and there are no plans at this time to close the library or other public study spaces (UCen, SRB, etc.)

Will Campus Learning Assistance Services/ the Recreation Center/ the University Center be open the remainder of this quarter and next quarter?

The information we have currently is that the campus will remain open and campus services will continue, but they may have limited hours or alternative ways of providing their services. Please contact these departments directly for any alternative scheduling.

After Monday March 15, the Recreation Center will be closed until further notice. The Rec Center will remain open March 15, until 7pm but practicing social distancing. For further information please check their website: UCSB Recreation

How does my accommodation through Disabled Students Program work with on-line exams?

Disabled Students Program (DSP) is working to adjust accommodations in the DSP Portal to list Gauchospace/Online when it receives confirmation from the professor that an exam is to be offered online. If you see that one of your accommodations is outdated, please forward the relevant information about the professor's decision to change the location to an online exam to DSP, and we will make the change as soon as possible.

Please reach out to the DSP Office, if you are facing unique circumstances and need assistance.

What about refunds and adjustments given that students are changing their plans for the spring quarter?

The University of California is developing policies to address any changes in enrollment for the spring quarter.  We will post this information as soon as possible.   

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will work to ensure a smooth transition for students. As a reminder, full-time enrollment at UCSB is 12 units for undergraduates and 8 units for graduate students. Students who drop below full-time status may have their aid adjusted according to federal guidelines.

UCSB is committed to meeting the basic needs of all students. Please see the comprehensive list of basic needs programs here: Basic Needs Programs. If you are experiencing a financial hardship, please email the Financial Crisis Response Team at

The Billing and Cashier’s offices will remain open March 16th. Beginning March 17th,  the office will remain open for business, with the office closed to foot traffic. For status updates, please log on to

Can I get a refund from my landlord if I stay home?

The University does not have authority over private landlords. Check your lease and contact your landlord for any questions.

What does UCSB’s response to COVID-19 mean for me as an international student?

Per guidance from government entities, international students are authorized to enroll in remote coursework full-time for the duration that the campus is on remote instruction. In other words, students will be able to maintain their visa status under these special circumstances. You are still expected to maintain your minimum unit load and comply with other regulatory requirements associated with your visa status, unless otherwise authorized.

Once in-person courses resume, you will be expected to attend and maintain your full course load physically at the UCSB campus. 

Please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars if you have additional questions.

What is happening to my on-campus job that I need?

Students should check with their respective supervisor about this.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will be reaching out to all campus departments to provide guidance on allowing work study students the opportunity to work remotely. We will strongly encourage departments to work with student employees to ensure they can continue to work and earn a paycheck throughout the spring quarter. 

Will graduation in June 2020 take place?

As of now, UCSB is planning that graduation ceremonies will take place as scheduled.  We do not know yet how COVID-19 transmission will progress and will keep you updated if anything changes regarding commencement.

Why is UCSB suggesting we do not travel?

Travel guidance from the U.S. Department of State, California, and public health agencies continues to change, and there is no way to anticipate if, or when, additional travel restrictions may be issued that could impact your ability to return to campus. Please monitor closely public health notices in cities, states, and countries where COVID-19 is a growing concern. 

Please consider that with any travel and all modes of public transportation there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the possibility that you will have to self-isolate or be quarantined upon return depending on rapidly changing rates of infection is likely.

Some helpful sites for up-to-date information include:

With spring break approaching, we encourage our faculty, staff, and students to carefully consider the risks associated with travel, both international and domestic. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged and we urge extreme caution and judgement for personal domestic travel.  Students who travel home, even within California, may be traveling to communities that are already using mitigation strategies to address confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.  Returning to campus may bring cases here from other parts of the state. 

Travel restrictions imposed by government officials as a result of the impacts caused by COVID-19 are still in place, and will likely continue to evolve. Should you decide that you must travel, we encourage you to monitor travel advisories and restrictions offered by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to make the best decisions for you and your family.

Please be aware that there is risk of not being able to re-enter the U.S. if travel restrictions are in place at the time campus resumes in-person classes. You may also be required to self-isolate or quarantine.  In addition, access to online coursework may not be guaranteed from international locations.

International Students Travel:

For the reasons noted above, the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is currently discouraging all non-essential travel for international students at this time. OISS encourages you to remain in the U.S. and continue your coursework online from your home in the U.S. until further notice. 

Although you are empowered to make your own decisions, please be aware that certain travel risks taken may have future implications for your visa status. Please refer to the OISS COVID-19 Information & Resources page for a full list of trustworthy sources, which we will continue to update in a timely manner.

Please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars if you have additional questions.