December 14, 2020 - Tips for Winter Break Travel

The Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Anna Harte, MD, Medical Director; and Guy Nicolette, MD, CAQSM, Assistant Vice Chancellor, sent the following message to all undergraduate and graduate students on 12/14/20:


Winter break is approaching, and we know many of you are making plans. We have some additional tips and public health advice to help with this unprecedented holiday season. 

We know that many students will be traveling for winter break and while generally travel is to be avoided as much as possible, we encourage those who choose to travel to do so as safely as possible. The campus encourages that, if you travel to gather with family, you confirm on your departure date: A) that both your planned travel and gatherings are permitted by local public health restrictions in effect in Berkeley or other Bay Area location where you presently live; and B) that your travel/gatherings are also permitted at your destination.

The vast majority of students living on-campus informed us that they plan to leave campus for the winter break. Every year most of our student residents leave for the break, and it is for this reason we annually reduce - but not completely close - many campus housing operations during this time. A small number of students have let us know that they wish to stay on-campus over the break, and we do have plans to accommodate them. If you wish to remain in the residence halls, apartments, or suites over the winter break and have not already done so, please inform Cal Housing.

Please pay careful attention to the following details, depending on your category:

Students living in on-campus residential halls, apartments and suites (non-family housing):

  • Please refer back to recent Cal Housing and Residential Life emails we have shared with you with specific details. You may also contact your hall staff with questions or needs.
  • Remember: You are required to continue biweekly testing until you depart campus, according to your regular schedule (Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri). If you stick to this schedule and receive negative results during the week before travel then it is safer to travel than it would be if you were not tested, assuming you have not had recent known contact with a positive case. If you have NOT been getting consistent testing, we recommend that you get a test 3-4 days before planned travel so that you get a negative result before travel (current turnaround time for results is 2-3 days). Remember that recent negative test results do not guarantee that you are not positive when you arrive at your destination, and that you can contract COVID-19 while traveling.
  • If you plan to leave campus early, please fill out this form to let us know which weeks you will be gone for (including all or part of the week).
  • UHS has additional travel guidance.

Students living off-campus, in Berkeley and/or the Bay Area, or in family housing (University Village):

Students living remote from the Bay Area (for example, with family members elsewhere in California, or in other states or countries):

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommendations regarding travel. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take these steps during your trip to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Also, if you are traveling, consider getting tested 1-3 days before your trip. Consider getting tested 3-5 days after your trip and reduce non-essential activities for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you aren’t able to be tested, consider reducing non-essential activities for 10 days after travel.
  • UHS has testing information, as well as additional travel guidance.
  • If you live within California, refer to statewide and regional stay at home orders.
  • If you live outside of California, please consult your own state, and/or local government COVID-19 orders.
  • Check with your destination: State and/or local governments may have travel restrictions in place.

As always, please continue to follow protocols such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings. For more, visit UHS’s Coronavirus Health Information site, and the campus COVID-19 website for the latest details. Together, we can help reduce virus transmission. While these are challenging times, we wish you a healthy and restful winter break.