March 16, 2020 - Email to Res Life res hall residents following up and answering major FAQs re: housing and other services

UC Berkeley Director of Residential Life Glenn DeGuzman and Associate Director of Residential Life, Zan Tansey, sent the following message to students living in on-campus housing 03/16/2020:


Over the weekend, public health officials confirmed a UC Berkeley graduate student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). This individual does not live on-campus or in the city of Berkeley and has self-isolated in their city of residence. The individual is in good condition and has no serious symptoms. Public health officials have determined that there are no high risk contacts from this case, meaning no one is at significantly higher risk of contracting it from the infected individual than would be expected in the general population. You should continue to monitor your health and if you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), contact your physician or University Health Services. More information can be found here:

We understand that this news may be unsettling, but we want to assure you that your health and safety remain our top priority. We are coordinating closely with public health officials and following CDC guidelines in responding to this case. We empathize with your concerns and want to do our best to answer your questions during this uncertain time.

Supporting Your Decision - Staying or Leaving

The campus will have remote instruction for the remainder of the semester. You may choose to leave campus or you may choose to remain on-campus. The Berkeley Health Department has confirmed that the “shelter in place” order does not prevent students from moving out of our student housing facilities to reside somewhere else. Our residential and dining facilities will remain open should you choose to remain on-campus though there may be modified services. It is possible we will close one or more of the residence and/or dining halls and relocate students into fewer locations, as well as adjust our operations to improve social distancing (e.g., spreading students out, delivering box meals, scheduling use of common facilities, etc). 

These decisions will be made once we understand how many students choose to remain and in consultation with campus leadership, Residential Life staff, University Health Services (UHS), our maintenance and custodial teams, and public health officials. We are also taking into account the impact and concerns many of you have surfaced as we make these important decisions. Your health and safety remain our top priority.

For answers to frequently asked questions, see new FAQs below and visit for a listing of all FAQs (including details on deadlines, refunds, and more).

Supporting Your Physical Health 

Students are encouraged to contact the UHS advice line (Nurse Advice Line (24/7) at (510) 643-7197) if they have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or had close sustained contact with a known positive case of COVID-19 (as a reminder, public health officials have determined the graduate student who tested positive did not have high risk contacts). We encourage everyone to view the helpful resource information we have circulated, including social distancing and tips on proper hygiene such as lathering your hands and washing for at least 20 seconds, on the UHS website.  

Food and Basic Needs

Cal Dining Dining Commons remain open to serve students. We are adjusting service and menu offerings as a health and safety precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

  • Effective 03/16/20: Only our Dining Commons locations will remain open (and this includes retail locations within those Dining Commons)

  • We are limiting access in our Dining Commons to no more than 250 people at once, and we are working to distance seating out of an abundance of caution; However, please note we are offering unlimited to-go boxes. 

  • Please refer to signage in the dining locations for the updated menu and allergen information or ask our staff for additional information if you have food allergies.

  • Cal Dining will be providing service over Spring Break for students who remain on campus. There will be service at Crossroads location Sunday, March 22 through Saturday, March 28, with hours of service to include brunch 10am-4pm and dinner 5pm-8pm. 

Many students have asked questions about their meal plans in the event that they choose to leave campus, including refund options. Please see this FAQ page for more details.

The campus has several basic needs resources. The Basic Needs Center serves as a resource hub, and you can see details about their Food Pantry. Please email or call (510) 859-7507 (Monday-Friday 9 am.-6 p.m.) for immediate support. For University Village residents, note that the UVA pantry and diaper bank remain open and operating on the normal schedule at this time.

Supporting Your Mental Health 

This situation is evolving rapidly and you may experience fear and worry during these times. We encourage you to reach out for support if you need it. Counselors at University Health Services (UHS) at the Tang Center are available for urgent concerns: Counseling and Psychological Services website or (510) 642-9494 (after-hours counseling line (855) 817-5667). Also, please see UHS’s Managing Fear resource for more information.

Staying Healthy

We continue to encourage handwashing and social distancing by leaving at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others when you are in the common areas. This includes study rooms and lounges, bathrooms, and dining halls. Please also social distancing if you go outside or visit a cafe or the library. Here are some other ways to stay healthy.

Cleaning Procedures

Our staff is diligently cleaning our residential halls, including tables and touchpoints throughout the building. This includes an hourly wipe-down of touch areas, e.g. building entrances and exits, elevator buttons, light switches, etc.; utilizing hospital-grade disinfectant/detergent that is a cleaner, sanitizer, fungicide, mildewstat, and virucide.

Contacting Us

Finally, we want you to know that Residential Life staff remain available here to support you during this uncertain and difficult time. In alignment with social distancing, please call or email your Resident Director or Senior Resident Director with your concerns. Their contact information can be found on our Staff Directory

Kindly keep our Principles of Community in mind, and don’t forget to express empathy for ourselves and others. As Bears we are inherently resilient, and we will get through this moment in time together.