UC Irvine campus open, but final exams, spring classes to go remote in response to coronavirus

Bren Events Center Anteater and the Water Tower / Photo: Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Communications

By Ann Frances –

In a March 10 statement by UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, the university is responding preemptively to stave off the spread of coronavirus. According to Chancellor Gillman, the threat of coronavirus triggered immediate actions that will remain in effect until the threat lessens. This includes administering final exams via alternate delivery methods and conducting classroom instruction remotely, beginning with the spring semester. However, he stressed, the UC Irvine campus remains fully operational.

Because large groups have the highest potential for community transfer of the virus from person to person, Chancellor Gillman said that the university made its decision in support of “social distancing.” This is a practice that requires individuals to maintain a distance of six feet from other individuals to help prevent the spread of infections that are caused by exposure to droplets that result from coughing, sneezing, etc.

Bison Gate UCI monument sign / Photo: Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Communications

Chancellor Gillman instructed faculty and staff to ready for administering final exams beginning the week of March 15 via online portals and other means, and to prepare to conduct spring session class instruction remotely.

“We are transitioning to a remote learning mode for spring quarter,” Chancellor Gillman said in a statement. “In limited cases, such as courses involving a lab, studio instruction, or clinical experiences, instructors will need to make accommodations to meet the course requirements, whether in person or via an alternative delivery mode.”

Students living in on-campus housing reside in quarters that put them in close proximity to one another.

Chancellor Gillman said, “Students living on campus are strongly encouraged to return to their off-campus residences and, if possible, and to stay at home during the spring quarter.” 

There are less restrictions imposed on graduate students conducting lab work and research because this is often a more individual pursuit, rather than work done in large groups.

“Instructional tools and classrooms remain available for hosting online meetings, seminars, and course development,” Chancellor Gillman said. He added, “Access to research spaces and other resources necessary for graduate work will continue.”

In addition, all events that anticipate more than 100 people attending are immediately cancelled. However, events with fewer than 100 attendees are to be handled with “social distancing” in mind, the chancellor directed. 

All UC Irvine athletic events and competitions will continue, but they will be void of spectators.

The university has established the UCI Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Center. Students, staff, faculty, parents, and community partners may call 949-824-9918 or email

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