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Housing and Fall Semester Update

Re: Housing and Fall Semester Update
To: All Campus
August 18, 2021
We appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to work with students to address their housing challenges, stemming largely from construction delays at the Merced Station apartment complex.
 
We can and will offer housing to all students who responded to our Sunday survey saying they need a place to stay before the start of the semester. Some will move onto campus for the academic year; others need only temporary housing until their leased housing in the community opens up. Our housing office is talking one-on-one with students to determine their individual needs.
 
For those moving onto campus, we have extended move-in to include a second period, from Thursday, Aug 26 through Saturday, Aug. 28, to accommodate those who are being offered residence hall accommodations.
 
To allow time for these students to move onto campus, in-person classes will begin Monday, Aug. 30. Remote learning for some classes may begin on Aug. 25, but students must check their CatCourses course sites for details.
 
Anyone with specific questions about housing should contact the Students First Center at 209-228-7178.
 
Finally, we have been asked why UC Merced has not switched to all-remote learning.
 
The emergency operations conditions that allowed the university to offer all courses remotely over the past year have ended.
 
Offering courses simultaneously in-person and online is generally difficult to do well, and online students have reported feeling disconnected from the class and unable to fully participate in discussion and activities. Courses with labs, field work or other hands-on activities require in-person attendance. Further, some graduate and professional programs no longer accept online preparatory courses. Medical schools, for example, accepted online pre-med courses over the past year but will no longer consider them for admission.
 
Finally, last year, over 40% of survey respondents reported that they did not have access to quiet study environment off-campus, and 30% were unable to access stable internet connection. And reports of mental and psychological difficulties were alarmingly high.
 
For these reasons and others, we do not think another year of fully remote learning is in the best interests of student mental health and academic success.
 
Again, the Students First Center can answer specific questions. We are working as quickly as possible to address individual student needs but are confident of resolving this challenge before the start of in-person instruction on Aug. 30.