Return to Campus: Student FAQs

Updated as of 1/14/22

On Friday, January 7, campus leaders provided an update on UC Berkeley's plans for the spring semester, including mostly remote instruction through January 28 as well as new booster and testing requirements.

Please note that policies regarding COVID are campuswide and are not subject to School or instructor discretion. For up-to-date information on policies, please visit

An email was sent to all MSW students in field education, and all field instructors on January 14, 2022. The default to remote field education will continue through January 30, 2022. The school may grant individual exceptions if both the student and their field instructor complete required steps. (Please see email for details).

Please continue to send your questions to our listening box.


Which classes will be in person and which will be remote during the first two weeks? I.e. what counts as a graduate seminar?

For the first two weeks of instruction, January 18th - January 28th, all Social Welfare classes will be delivered via remote instruction. We will continue to follow central Campus policies and guidance as they evolve, and will update students if there are any changes to the current two-stage plan for classroom instruction (as communicated by Chancellor Christ in her January 7th email). You should be receiving communications from your instructors about their specific remote plans over the first two weeks of class, likely via BCourses.

Will students be given the option to continue attending their field placements IN PERSON even if classes are remote? As students I think we should be given the option to continue our placements in person as long as our sites are operating in person.

Will field continue to be remote after 1/14/22?

Christine Scudder, the interim field chair, communicated with all MSW students about field education on Thursday (1/13) and Friday (1/14).  Although all Haviland classes will default to remote, MSW students will have the option to petition to return to in person field education. All other students (and students whose petitions are not approved) will engage in remote field education activities between January 18th and January 30th.

Can you please confirm if there is a plan to distribute PPE grants this semester? As several of us have returned to field placement in person (and many more of us expect to return to in person in a few weeks), any information that you can please share would be welcome. 

We understand acquiring appropriate PPE for your field placement may be challenging and/or costly. We are doing everything we can to secure the funds to provide this grant again for the Spring.

How many instructors within the SSW will be offering remote options? If an instructor chooses to hold only in person, can we zoom in using the Owl system and not be penalized?

As of January 11th, the semester will begin with a two-stage process, with all Social Welfare courses being delivered remotely January 18th through January 28th, followed by a move to fully in-person instruction beginning the third week of the semester, on January 31st. Once we have transitioned to in-person instruction, faculty have been asked to continue to plan for scenarios where either they or students are symptomatic, need to quarantine or isolate. While all our instructors understand the need to be flexible under the circumstances and are generally aligned, attendance policies may differ across classes for pedagogical reasons and we, as a community of instructors, respect each other’s expertise. As a community, we ask that all students keep in close communication with their instructors and that instructors clearly communicate attendance expectations to students. 

I would feel unsafe and dangerous to be in the campus since I have heard and seen many people getting Covid. Especially doing in person learning in the fall semester, we all were disappointed about the class room size such as no air filtering system in every class room and not even little space allowed between students in class. If we have more bigger rooms like 340 or less students in class with opened windows, students would feel less insecure. With surging cases and cold weather, I do not think it is secure to proceed in-person learning even after two weeks. If we have to proceed in-person learning, students should have the choice to decide whether they want remote-learning or in-peron leaning for Spring 2022.

Exceptions to in-person instruction are approved centrally and not subject to School or instructor discretion. Faculty at the School of Social Welfare also value the ability to deliver in-person instruction and believe that this mode of instruction is particularly valuable for social work education AND we know that we must remain adaptable. While we understand that remote options open up opportunities for flexibility and can provide an important supplement to in-person instruction, they are implemented as an emergency measure to maintain instruction. 

Teachers did not enforce the no drinking policy in classrooms last semester. How will this be changed for spring? I am more concerned this semester with students taking their masks off or pulling them down to drink in a classroom.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. One of the benefits of the two week remote phase-in is that we can continue to fully implement and reinforce these important community-level risk reduction measures. 

Many classrooms in the SW building are not big enough to have approximately 20-40 students sitting apart from each other. Thus, it is not safe for us to pursue in-person learning for spring 2022 until the numbers of covid cases are going down in California.

For example, Room 340 is big but it does NOT have windows, we can’t leave the door open at all time during the lecture because we can hear the noise from the hallway. it gets hotter when sun comes up and when students start talking. It means that we can be exposed to virus easily because air does not circulate itself.

The Campus Public Health Committee is aware of the spacing and ventilation in classrooms throughout campus. They believe it is safe to return given the extremely high level of vaccinated people in the UCB community and surrounding areas. Except in limited situations as directed by occupational health, distancing is not required. As we all know, distancing is preferable if possible but often is not possible operationally or practically.

Room 340 receives external air through supply vents.  Room 340 also has vents that exhaust air out of the separate ventilation system for the third floor.  Haviland Hall also gets 100% outside air. Air is filtered at the point of entry into the building and we are not recirculating any air that would need to pass through an additional filter.The campus is also in compliance with CDC and Cal/OSHA recommendations and requirements with regard to ventilation.