Return to Learn draws criticism as UCSD reveals 47 tested Positive for COVID-19 since April


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According to UCSD’s latest testing dashboard, at least 47 students and 21 campus employees have tested positive for COVID-19. This tally includes tests beginning April 3 for students, and June 6 for campus employees. UCSD has not been publicizing these recent positive tests via TritonAlert as they were back in April when the third student tested positive

These statistics were released alongside testing data for UCSD’s Return to Learn Program. Initiated in May, the program aims for students to return to in-person instruction by conducting consistent and widespread COVID-19 testing. So far, the program has conducted 5326 tests on asymptomatic students and employees, and 1514 tests on those with symptoms. 

Though UCSD will not begin instruction until October 1, other campuses in southern California and across the nation have experienced spikes in on-campus COVID-19 cases. Some colleges, like University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, have even published more extensive databases tracking the location of outbreaks on their campus. UCSD has not disclosed any such information.

The Return to Learn Program has drawn criticism from students and faculty alike. Recently, the UCSD Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) movement released an open letter calling for a fully remote Fall Quarter 2020 and criticizing layoffs of campus workers. 

“For many reasons, including the reality of this virus, limited resources, and a widespread failure to include the UCSD community in the planning and decision-making processes of the Return to Learn program,” the letter reads, “we believe UCSD’s efforts are insufficient to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff, and the broader San Diego community.”

There are expected to be around 14,500 students housed on campus come October, with 30% of classes being conducted in-person. These classes are mostly lower-division courses, graduate seminars, and research/studio based classes, totaling around 4750 sections. UCSD has not responded to these concerns regarding Fall Quarter 2020, despite the rising number of cases on various college campuses nationally.

Sahana Narayan is the Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow her @sahanasnarayan.