UCSC’s Plan for Handling COVID-19

Written by Natasha Gunion (News Writer)

 Since the amount of Coronavirus cases have been reducing in Santa Cruz county, local college campus UCSC, has been considering bringing students back onto campus. Right as the COVID-19 cases had started to rise in Santa Cruz, and some students tested positive, students and staff were suggested to continue teaching/learning off-campus (from UCSC), until the virus is under control. As a team, they hope to have all students back by the latest on January 4th, 2021. Students and staff at UCSC want nothing more than to have their normal daily life back on campus. 

With this time away from campus, students have learned how to distance learn, while staff has learned how to distance teach. As this has been a struggle for many, “This is well within our wheelhouse. We have all the instrumentation and the people we need to do it,” said Jeremy Sanford along with Michael Stone, Assistant Professor of MCD Biology. They are trying to create a lab on campus, to test students for the virus, and to make sure they are keeping staff and students healthy with no false positive tests. Holger Schmidt, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has designed a new form of technology called the “optofluidic chip,” which can instantly detect the Coronavirus. This new invention can also help prevent the spread. Although we don’t have any information explaining how the chip works, we do know that it can detect whether or not someone has already been exposed to the Coronavirus. With the testing strategy UCSC will be using, students will receive their results within 24 hours or less, to prevent any possible germs coming back on campus, and spreading the virus once again. “It would have to be anonymous, because without being a certified diagnostic lab, we can’t return results to anyone,” Sanford explained. Although this may not be allowed at other campuses, UCSC will have the most accurate testing facility that will hand back results within 24 hours, as some COVID-19 testing facilities can take 3-5 business days for you to receive your results. 

Now that UCSC has a system and plan to stop the virus to spread at their campus, they are moving very quickly towards getting things back to normal for them. With the many tools and strategies that they have, UCSC is hoping to have things back to normal by the new year, with of course still taking precautions.

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