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Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies provides latest updates for fall housing and instruction

Re: Instruction and Housing Update
To: Undergraduate and continuing students and parents
July 10, 2020
Dear Students,
As we have shared in earlier communications, UC Merced has been preparing for a fall semester of some in-person instruction, with the majority of courses delivered remotely, and with some students residing on campus.
Given the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States, in California and in Merced in particular, we are tightening our plans.
We came to this decision out of an abundance of caution and a commitment to the well-being of our community, both on campus and off. We also consulted extensively with public health officials, as well as experts across the UC system and our own faculty and administrative leadership.
We believe today that a minimum number of classes — only those that by their nature are hands-on — should be taught in person, and that campus residency should be offered to students for whom UC Merced is the best or only place to live while pursuing their education.
Our goal, of course, is to minimize in-person contact on campus to the fullest extent possible, while still remaining true to our mission.
If you signed a housing contract for the fall 2020 semester, we will work with you to cancel that contract and address any questions or concerns you may have. You do not have to reach out to us; we will be in touch soon. We will share our new criteria for residing on campus this fall, along with details for how to apply, on Monday, July 13.
You will also be receiving communications next week regarding course registration, including how to ensure that you can take a full course load remotely if you choose to do so. We still intend to deliver every class remotely after the Thanksgiving break.
For all students, regardless of residency, we have developed a robust and exciting support structure, the Student Den program, which will create online communities around shared interests, with staff guides and mentors to help you navigate university life. We will share full details about the Student Den program on Tuesday, July 14, and we will continue to provide additional details in the coming weeks, including online Q&A sessions to be announced.
Though circumstances have dictated that we cannot all be physically together on campus this fall, we want you to know you are a valued member of our community and we are here if you need support. Please do not hesitate to call the Students First Center at (209) 228-7178 or email if you have questions or concerns.
The fall semester may look different than any of us anticipated, but we are committed to ensuring that you will still benefit from the best possible UC Merced experience. I hope the remainder of your summer is happy and healthy, and I look forward to connecting with you again soon.
Charles Nies, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs