By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Eligible students and staff returning to University of California campuses will be required to have received a COVID-19 booster shot when school resumes, University of California President Michael V. Drake said in a letter Tuesday.

In the systemwide guidance sent from Drake to campus chancellors Tuesday morning, Drake said, “Under existing UC policy, students, faculty, and staff are required to keep their vaccination status up to date. The policy mandates COVID-19 boosters for those who are eligible,” Drake said.

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Drake also advised school leaders to prepare for the possibility of switching to a remote learning style.

“Based on consultation with University leadership and public health experts, I am asking each of you to design and implement a plan for a January return to campus that mitigates public health impacts, responds to the unique circumstances facing your campus, and maintains our teaching and research operations. This plan should incorporate a test, sequester, and retest model as described in the UC Health Coordinating Committee’s guidance for returning students,” Drake said.

“This may require campuses to begin the term using remote instruction in order to allow students to complete an appropriate testing protocol as they return to campus.”

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The length of the remote instruction period may vary from campus to campus, Drake said.

Following the letter, UC Irvine announced it would switch to remote classes for the first two weeks of the winter term in January.

UC Riverside and UC San Diego also announced temporary shifts to remote learning for January.

Chancellors were advised to include “preventive measures on campus” in their return plan, “particularly during the initial return phase when students are still in the testing protocol.”

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This includes vigilance around masking, limiting in-person gatherings and avoiding “large, congregant events, particularly indoors.”