Going to UC Berkeley in the fall? Here's what you need to know amid COVID-19

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Students returning to the University of California, Berkeley in the fall will find a combination of online and in-person classes, which campus officials said Thursday creates a sensible balance during the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person classes will be offered for smaller courses that don't translate well online, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said.

All students will, however, have the option to study fully remotely if they want.

During a virtual conversation Thursday afternoon, campus officials emphasized that the university would be guided by public health orders, but intends to provide "outstanding instruction" by combining in-person and remote class offerings in the fall.

At this point, Christ said the greatest concern is congregate living, or students living on campus.

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Christ said students living on campus will be required to be tested for coronavirus "upon arrival" and again, seven to 10 days later.

The campus is also reserving the Foothill Housing Complex, which has roughly 806 beds, for student quarantine if someone who lives on the campus tests positive for the virus.

At that point, Christ said the university would go through contact tracing for the student who tested positive.

Those who are not living on campus are "strongly encouraged" to be tested for the virus.

Students living in dorms will also be housed with other students taking similar classes to create "tighter social units," the chancellor said.

Students will also be housed in dorms with two people rather than three because of the pandemic.

As far as students moving into dorms at the start of the fall semester, move-in dates will be staggered to limit the number of families on campus at once, the chancellor said.

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In May, UC President Janet Napolitano said the nine California UC campuses would reopen in the fall semester, at least partly.

The future of classes is up to each individual campus, the president said.

The California State University system has taken a different approach with classes remaining entirely online in the fall.

At UC Berkeley, students will have a choice whether they want to study remotely despite the different approach.

Campus officials said Thursday that there have been a small numbers of positive cases of coronavirus at UC Berkeley.

This is in addition to some students who tested positive after studying abroad.

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