Students urged to avoid gathering or traveling as COVID cases spike

Outdoor+seating+for+downtown+restaurants+on+State+Street+on+Nov.+18%2C+2020+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+The+state+was+placed+back+into+the+%27purple+tier%27+restricting+dining+to+outdoor+due+to+the+spike+in+coronavirus+cases+across+the+country.

Jacob Frank

Outdoor seating for downtown restaurants on State Street on Nov. 18, 2020 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The state was placed back into the ‘purple tier’ restricting dining to outdoor due to the spike in coronavirus cases across the country.

Rodrigo Hernandez, News Editor

Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami urged students to avoid traveling or gathering for the Thanksgiving season in a campus-wide email Tuesday morning, keeping in line with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s advisory for the entire state.

Along with 40 other counties in California, Santa Barbara County was placed back in the “purple tier” of restrictions on Monday, which means many businesses that may have been operating indoors, such as restaurants, movie theaters and museums, must either move everything outdoors or close down.

With Thanksgiving next week, and Christmas and New Years’ around the corner, City College has been consistent in cautioning students against gathering or traveling for the holiday season. 

According to the travel advisory from the CDC, which was referenced in Goswami’s email, “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

Goswami said that anyone who attends classes on campus and will be traveling out of Santa Barbara will be required to be tested within 48 hours of their return before they are allowed on campus, and are encouraged to quarantine and monitor any symptoms for seven days. 

The Santa Barbara County Public Health department suggests gathering virtually for the holidays, as the recent spike in local cases is primarily caused by private gatherings and the lack of face coverings being used.

Before the county was moved from the red back into the more dangerous purple tier, the College was planning to increase the number of classes being taught in-person. But if the number of cases continues to rise, only the programs that have already been approved by the state will be available for in-person instruction.

“We really, really want to get that message out to students to do their part, along with the rest of the community, to keep those cases down,” said Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Luz Reyes-Martín. 

The college will be providing more information and updates to students as the situation continues to change.