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Read on for an important message about holiday travel over the Thanksgiving Holiday from UCSB Student Health and the COVID-19 Response Team.

By Graduate Division Staff
Thursday, November 12th, 2020 - 2:15pm

Travel Guidance slider

Read on for an important message from Student Health and the COVID-19 Response Team about holiday travel.

November 9, 2020

Dear UC Santa Barbara Students,

We are writing to you as members of the campus's medical community to strongly urge you to avoid traveling if at all possible during the Thanksgiving Holiday to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 to your families and friends and to our UC Santa Barbara and greater Santa Barbara County community. Your choices will have a significant impact on everyone around you.

We have posted detailed travel guidance on the Student Health website and included it at the end of this message, and here is a summary:

  • We urge all students who live on campus or in the local area to remain in town and avoid traveling outside the community for the remainder of the quarter.

  • For those students who travel during Thanksgiving - or for any weekend through the end of fall quarter - we ask that you consider not returning to the area, and complete the quarter from home.

  • If you travel over Thanksgiving or any other weekend or time period and return to UCSB, we ask that you strictly follow our campus's health guidance.

  • Continued daily symptom monitoring

  • Seven-day sequestration period upon returning to the area (mandatory for undergraduate students living in campus housing

  • COVID-19 test within 48 hours of your return (mandatory for undergraduate students living in campus housing)

  • The most effective way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 is to wear appropriate facial coverings, to observe physical distancing guidelines, and to avoid social gatherings outside of your household.

We know these recommendations are challenging and would not ask you to make these sacrifices if they weren't critically important.

We are grateful to you for taking seriously these mitigation measures and for continuing to follow all public health guidelines to protect the entire UC Santa Barbara community.


Vejas Skripkus, M.D.
Executive Director, Student Health

Laura Polito, M.D.
Medical Director, COVID-19 Response Team

Thanksgiving Guidance for Students

UCSB campus medical experts and Santa Barbara County Public Health officials strongly recommend that all students currently residing in the UCSB area (either on campus or in Isla Vista), remain in the area and avoid travel - particularly for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Avoiding travel during the academic year minimizes the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus to friends and family you visit, as well as to anyone you encounter while traveling. It also reduces the risk of bringing the virus back to our community from other areas when you return.

If you are traveling home for the Thanksgiving Holiday/Fall Break, it is strongly recommended that you remain at your family home for the remainder of the quarter, and complete your courses remotely from home. Please do not return until Winter Quarter begins in January.

If you are currently enrolled in a Fall Quarter in-person class and you must leave Santa Barbara, please consult your instructor to make alternative arrangements for the remainder of the quarter.

If you remain in the Santa Barbara/Isla Vista area, there will be limited campus services available.

  • Click here for Student Health Services hours of operation.

  • Testing clinics will be run all day Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday morning of Thanksgiving week.

  • Housing services will be limited and on an emergency basis only.

If you do leave the area and then later return, you should follow the guidelines listed below to ensure the safety of yourself and our Gaucho community. Please click here for CDC information on risks involved with Thanksgiving travel and celebrations.

Before you leave...

  • It is recommended that you self-quarantine for 14 days prior to your departure to decrease the risk of carrying COVID-19 out of the area.

  • Testing will be available and can be scheduled here: UCSB Student Testing and Santa Barbara County Public Health Testing

  • A negative test prior to leaving does not mean you won't carry the virus home!

    • The COVID-19 test is an indicator of COVID-19 status only at the time of testing.

    • If you have been exposed either shortly prior to your test or after your test, you can still develop COVID-19 before you leave, or while you are gone. While testing accuracy is improving, you can still have a false negative test.

    • Quarantining after a negative test result can help reduce your risk of carrying the virus home to loved ones.

While Away...

  • Wear a mask at all times

  • Maintain physical distancing

  • Frequently wash your hands

  • Avoid social gatherings

  • Continue to complete the daily symptom survey if you live in campus-owned housing or must be on campus for in-person instruction, labs or work.

Upon Returning...

  • Do not leave your apartment/residential complex except for essential activities (such as medical appointments; consider using grocery delivery services).
  • If you share space, wear a mask except when in your personal bedroom or in the shower.
  • Maintain physical distancing within your apartment or residential complex.

  • Set up a kitchen schedule so residents do not occupy the kitchen at the same time

  • Wipe down all surfaces with appropriate cleaners in all common areas after use.

  • Take a second COVID-19 test 7 days after returning to the area to ensure that infection has not subsequently developed.

  • If both tests are negative:

    • You may resume normal activities, including on-campus classes, labs and work while continuing to follow all COVID-19 public health protocols.

    • Wear a face covering at all times when outside of your residential unit, except while eating or exercising.

    • Maintain physical distancing at all times.

    • Frequently wash your hands.

    • Continue to monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, remain in you bedroom, contact the UCSB COVID-19 response team:

      • 805-893-7129 for Student Health Advice Nurses

      • 805-893-3113 or for COVID-19 Call Center

As COVID-19 cases increase at an alarming rate in the United States and in the world, we urge you to take these Center for Disease Control warnings seriously. Your decisions will have consequences not only for your own health, but also for the health of your family, friends, and the entire Santa Barbara community.

Click here for tips on protecting yourself and your community after you travel.