Updated April 13, 2022

Below is information curated for graduate students about what we expect to happen in spring 2022. The Graduate Division will be updating this on an ongoing basis throughout the spring and summer. More detail regarding policies and accommodations related to COVID-19 can be found on our COVID-19 Information for Graduate Students page. View UC Berkeley’s central campus Covid-19 webpage for additional information.

Vaccination Mandate

The Office of the President has mandated that all faculty, staff and students be fully vaccinated by January 31, 2022. The CDC’s definition of a fully vaccinated person now means having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson and Johnson AND a booster shot, if eligible. Please take a moment to read through the UC immunization requirement and the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

All faculty, staff, and students who are eligible must get their booster shot no later than January 31 (or the first day they are on campus). Please note that eligibility for the booster has been expanded. If you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you’re eligible for a booster five months after your last shot. If you got the Johnson & Johnson/Johnson vaccine, you’re eligible two months after you got the shot.

UHS will be holding booster clinics.

Please review the instructions for how to update your vaccination record in eTang with your booster information.

If you were vaccinated abroad with other COVID-19 vaccines you are most likely eligible for a booster as well. See the CDC booster shot eligibility page for more information.

Mask Requirements

For more information, see the updated masks page and the instructor guidance page on the campus coronavirus website.

Note that guidelines for compliant mask types have been updated as of January 2022. For instructors, OSHA requirements for masking have changed. Employees must use approved masks, which include surgical masks, N95s, KN95, or KN94s. Find the latest information on the campus Coronavirus Face Coverings page.

Arrival Guidelines for Students

To help you plan for your arrival to campus in the fall or spring, University Health Services has developed testing, vaccination, and self-sequester arrival guidelines for students. The guidelines pertain to all students, with specific details as well for those planning to live in on-campus housing or coming from abroad.

We recognize that, if you are outside the United States, you may not have access to vaccines. We have free campus vaccine clinics for students who still need to obtain a vaccine.

All students will need to get tested through a campus testing site.

International students should get tested before they depart and after their arrival in the U.S. These guidelines are detailed in these arrival guidelines for students.

The policy allows for exceptions to COVID-19 vaccination. Those that receive a vaccine mandate exception (for medical or religious reasons) will need to wear a face-covering inside campus buildings and will need to be tested at least once per week. See the UHS COVID-19 site for exemption forms and process.

Please note that with the continually evolving nature of COVID-19 variants, campus vaccine and testing policies may need to evolve. Please refer to the Campus Covid-19 website for the most current information.

International Vaccines

UC Berkeley will accept COVID vaccines from other countries that are approved by the World Health Organization. As of June 3, 2021, WHO has evaluated that the following vaccines against COVID-19 have met the necessary criteria for safety and efficacy:

As the World Health Organization approves new vaccines, we will accept them.

Flu Vaccine mandate

To support the health and well-being of our campus and the community, a UC-wide executive order was issued on Friday, October 8, 2021, strongly recommending all students, faculty, and staff to receive an influenza immunization (flu shot) against influenza, and requiring documentation of immunization or declination as of November 19, 2021. The flu vaccine needs to be for the current flu season (administered September 1, 2021 or later).

To comply, students need to either:

  • Get a flu shot on campus (see below for flu shot clinic dates)
  • Get a flu shot elsewhere in the community (pharmacies, flu clinics, Kaiser, etc) and add their immunization information to the Medical Clearances section in eTang.
  • Decline getting a flu vaccine, by reading and acknowledging the influenza vaccination information web page and submitting a declination at portal.berkeley.edu/people.

The following are frequently asked questions by Graduate Student Instructors for Spring 2022.

Will GSIs be Teaching Remotely?

Because we expect a high level of absenteeism this semester and to ensure that students who are ill or quarantined are able to access the course material, the spring 2022 semester will begin with a two-stage process, with most courses being offered fully remote for the first two weeks (January 18-28) and then moving to fully in-person instruction in the third week of the semester on January 31. Details can be found on the instruction page of the campus Covid-19 website.

Helpful guides and strategies for remote teaching can be found on the Keep Teaching website, along with links to important updates and communications as they become available. GSIs should bookmark and regularly check the campus Covid-19 website and the Academic Senate Instructor FAQ spring 2022 for any changes in campus policies.

Can a GSI teach if they are not fully vaccinated?

The CDC’s definition of a fully vaccinated person has changed. It now means having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson and Johnson AND a booster shot. The Office of the President has mandated that all employees be fully vaccinated by January 31. If they are not, GSIs will not be able to access campus, and therefore will not be able to teach. UHS will be holding booster clinics throughout the month of January.

If I have a medical condition or medical caregiving responsibilities that make me unable to teach in person, may I teach remotely?

Please consult the Quick Guide for Remote Teaching Request, Spring 2022 to ascertain the steps you should take. If you want to request an accommodation, you may do so through the Berkeley Accommodation Process for Academic Appointees with Disabilities. This relates only to accommodations in relation to your employment; accommodations you may need as a student should be directed to the Disabled Students’ Program.

Can GSIs receive an exception from in-person teaching because of a small child at home?

Having a child at home under 12 will not make an instructor eligible for an accommodation. The campus plans to make N95 masks available for free for instructors in that situation.

For instructors who are breastfeeding, per PPSM 84 (Accommodations for Nursing Mothers), the University will provide other reasonable accommodation or transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position upon receipt of information from the nursing mother’s health care provider stating that a reasonable accommodation or transfer is medically advisable.

Can a position that was offered to me be rescinded if I have a medical condition that prevents me from teaching in person?

Article 3 of the collective bargaining agreement addresses appointment security. Article 23 of the collective bargaining agreement addresses Reasonable Accommodation. Please see the answer above and consult Disability Management Services for assistance with requests for disability accommodations that cannot be resolved by the employee and the department.

Can I hold office hours remotely?

Your supervising faculty member (the Instructor of Record) will inform you as to where you may offer office hours and address any questions you may have. As per the Graduate Council Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of GSIs, faculty members who teach with GSIs are required to meet with GSIs before the semester begins to review the course syllabus, clarify GSI responsibilities in the course, and, in the case of discussion sections and labs, describe the relationship of sections to lecture. Where you hold office hours may depend, in part, on the nature of the class.

Is distancing required in the classroom?

Unless otherwise indicated by the University, distancing is not required.

Currently, the University has a mask mandate in place. However, when such a mandate is not in place, may I still wear one in teaching?

Yes, you are free to voluntarily wear a mask even when the masking mandate is lifted. See the Instructor Guidance on the campus Covid-19 webpage. We would note that OSHA requirements for masking have changed as of January 14, 2022. Employees must use approved masks, which include surgical masks, N95s, KN95, or KN94s. Masks are available from the Office of Environmental Health & Safety. Students are not bound by OSHA requirements but must follow mask guidelines listed on the Face Coverings page of the campus Covid-19 site

When the University’s masking mandate is lifted, can I require students in my section to wear masks?

No, you may ask students to wear masks, but you cannot require it if the University has not mandated it. Please see instructor guidance offered on the campus coronavirus webpage, as the masking mandate may shift throughout the semester.

Are masks available to me as part of my GSI position? 

UC Berkeley continues to offer free face coverings that meet OSHA requirements to all employees. GSIs are also welcome to pick up a free box of disposable surgical masks for their classroom, department or office. Instructors will also be able to pick up a face shield with a drape once they arrive. See the face coverings distribution schedule for pick up times and location.

As a GSI, I need to be able to see my students enunciate words and they need to see how I pronounce sounds. Can clear masks or shields be made available?

The university has face shields with a drape to be used by instructors. GSIs may also request boxes of surgical masks they can make available to their students. Such requests may be sent to [email protected].

If the University has a mask requirement in place and students do not comply, am I allowed to ask the students to leave my class out of caution not only for myself but also for other students?

If the campus has an indoor mask mandate at the time, then students must follow it, in the same way that they must conform to elements of the Code of Student Conduct or other campus policies. If a student shows up to class or office hours without a mask, you may remind the student of the requirement (if in place) and ask them to put on their mask. You can also offer them a mask. If the student refuses to put one on, you may ask the student to leave, just as you would ask a student who is being disruptive to either cease their disruptive behavior or leave. If you cannot control the situation yourself, you may end class early for the well-being of all. Note: as of March 7, 2022 campus ended the mask mandate.

Please do not call the police if a student is not wearing a mask. Please report such a student to the Center for Student Conduct (CSC). The CSC will need the students’ name, SID and other relevant information submitted via the online report form.

To head off this situation, remind your students ahead of time of whatever indoor face covering requirement is in effect at the start of the semester. You could add it to the first slide of your first presentation, write a reminder on the board, and/or put something on the syllabus that states that students must adhere to the current campus directives related to COVID-19 and refusal to do so may result in the student being asked to leave. GSIs are welcome to pick up a free box of disposable surgical masks for their classroom, department or office, which they can then offer to students who may have forgotten to bring a mask. Requests for masks may be sent to: [email protected].

How should departments respond to union inquiries about their members enforcing mandates on top of their teaching responsibilities?

Like other academic conduct policies which GSIs may be asked to monitor (e.g., cheating or plagiarism), the ultimate responsibility for enforcement lies with the faculty member who may delegate this responsibility to the GSIs. As with all other responsibilities, faculty need to convey to GSIs how any infractions of policy should be handled and by whom. Similarly, GSIs should keep the Instructor of Record apprised of any conduct matters that need attention. The time it takes for a GSI to monitor and resolve issues that may be delegated to them must be factored into the GSI workload.

Can I ask students if they are vaccinated?

No, instructors cannot inquire about the vaccination status of their students. All students have to complete the Daily Symptom Screener and be cleared with a green badge to access UC Berkeley campus. While it certainly may be good practice to remind students of that requirement, faculty are not authorized to verify compliance with that mandate. See the Instructor FAQ spring 2022 webpage.

If a student tells me they are not vaccinated, can I ask them to connect with the class remotely?

All students have been asked to abide by the university’s vaccination mandate and upload proof of vaccination. Those who may not be able to be vaccinated (for example, due to a medical condition), are required by the University to go through regular testing. Your responsibility is to provide the same degree of access to in-person instruction to all students, so you cannot make the decision to ask a student to attend your section remotely. Should a student become ill, you should speak with the Instructor of Record about how to address absences and missed work.

What happens if a GSI is assigned to a classroom without course capture capability but has students who, due to illness or quarantine, will not be able to be physically present in class? 

We are asking that GSIs be as flexible as possible in order to ensure that students can access course material even if they cannot attend class. The Teaching and Learning Center has many resources available to support asynchronous learning. GSIs are not expected to teach their sections in hybrid mode. The GSI should work with the Instructor of Record to determine the best way to provide students with this flexibility.

What responsibilities do instructors have in informing other students in the class if a student comes down with COVID?

UHS will take responsibility for contact tracing after a confirmed COVID case. The instructor should not involve themselves in notifying students or determining an appropriate response to the situation. That will be handled by the public health experts on campus.

If we need to pivot again to remote instruction, how much advance warning will we be given to make the transition?

It is difficult to know this information in advance, but the University will alert instructors as soon as possible. While the spring 2022 default mode of instruction for the campus is in-person, we anticipate there may be occasions when a shift back to remote teaching may be required, either for specific courses or for the campus as a whole. Reasons could include additional COVID-19 related quarantines, poor air quality due to fires, power outages, etc. Instructors are encouraged to continue to plan for instructional resilience by making use of tools and trainings available from the GSI Teaching and Resource Center and Research, Teaching and Learning.

If GSIs need microphones to project their voices and those of their students while wearing masks, who will provide these microphones? 

A limited number of microphones are available for instructor use through the classroom technology support office. GSIs can contact them at [email protected] or call the classroom AV Help Desk: 510-643-8637. GSIs should also check with their departments to ascertain whether the department has microphones available or can purchase them. GSIs should check in with their hiring unit and their Instructor of Record about microphone availability.

I am concerned that the amount of work involved this semester may take me over the number of hours stipulated in my letter of appointment. How can I address that?

The workload expectation for a GSI cannot exceed the hourly limits provided in the ASE UAW contract. GSIs should keep track of their hours. If GSIs find they are working more than allowed under the contract, they should approach their supervisor immediately so that their duties may be adjusted. Their Faculty Advisor GSI Affairs and department chair are also there to help make certain GSI workload remains within contractual parameters.

How will the University have my back if we need to pivot to remote instruction? 

To prepare for this possibility, first-time GSIs will receive resources on remote instruction at the January 14th Teaching Conference for GSIs. All GSIs will have access to the resources provided in the GSI Remote Teaching Hub and one-on-one consultations with staff from the GSI Teaching & Resource Center and Digital Learning Services. The GSI Center is also arranging for Digital Learning Services to offer a special bCourse workshop tailored to the needs of GSIs. Faculty will be asked to provide guidance to GSIs and to monitor GSI workload.

What policies and protocols do I need to be aware of in a lab setting?

The campus’ expectation is that lab courses will be taught in person. But we ask that GSIs make every effort to ensure students who cannot attend lab are able to access the course content, to the extent that is feasible. In terms of masking, the same policies apply in labs as in other classroom settings.

The spring 2022  semester will begin with a two-stage process, with most courses being offered fully remote for the first two weeks (January 18-28) and then moving to fully in-person instruction in the third week of the semester on January 31.

Some courses such as lab sections, studio courses, fieldwork, clinical courses, and graduate seminars may be taught in-person January 18-28. For these in-person courses, instructors may require in-person attendance but must offer appropriate make-up arrangements for students who are unable to attend because they have symptoms or are in isolation/quarantine.

Instructors may teach some courses in hybrid mode or allow their students to attend their lectures in-person during the initial two-week period. Hybrid is not a desirable modality for many courses; instructors are not required to teach any course in a hybrid mode. See FAQs for GSIs in the above section.

More details about these plans are available on the instruction page of the campus coronavirus site.

You may also refer to the Spring 2022 Instruction FAQ webpages for instructors. More details about the spring semester return to campus will be shared as they are finalized.

You may search the “mode of instruction” filter in the Academic Guide’s Class Schedule or the Cal Central Schedule of Classes to see the mode of instruction for classes. Please consult with your academic advisor if you need remote options and are unable to find suitable alternatives.


The UC Berkeley campus has resumed on-campus research activities. Please visit the Vice Chancellor for Research website for specific information, answers to frequently asked questions, and more detailed guidance.

The university plans to permit travel to conferences and in-person lectures and seminars. Note that no food or drink will be allowed at indoor events and all campus COVID-19 event guidelines will be observed.

Guidance for international students is evolving. Please visit the Berkeley International Office (BIO) website for current information.

BIO encourages individuals to use caution when considering international travel due to COVID-19. For current travel updates (including vaccination, quarantine, and testing) see our COVID-19 FAQ page and Immigration Policy Updates for current immigration news.

Global travel conditions remain impacted by the pandemic. The Department of State has announced a phased resumption of routine visa services. Visit your local U.S. embassy or consulate website to confirm operating status and find information about appointment rescheduling and/or emergency services. Students who are unable to obtain a visa and/or are unable to enter the U.S. due to travel bans should consult their departmental advisor regarding the availability of online classes or the option to defer enrollment until the next semester.

BIO plans to review cases with documented visa delays on an individual basis and most likely allow those individuals to continue to work remotely from abroad until they can get their visa and arrive in the United States. This will likely be the only reason the university will allow someone to work remotely from abroad.

The university has prioritized increasing the number of university-owned housing units for all students, including graduate students. The university’s housing plan calls for 7,500 new student beds overall to be added by 2028, and providing one year of university housing for all incoming graduate students. While UC Berkeley has added hundreds of beds in recent years, we need to create more housing to meet this goal.

In the past couple of years, UC Berkeley has opened three new buildings, the Enclave apartments, Panoramic Berkeley, and, as of January 2022, the new Intersection apartments, all of which offer housing for graduate students in convenient locations close to campus.

Here are some tips to finding housing or roommates near Berkeley.

In terms of future development, our plan is to develop the best and closest sites for housing first. Learn more about housing options on the Cal Housing website.

If you need financial support in order to secure housing, all UC Berkeley students can apply for rental assistance and/or a Housing Security Deposit Award through the university’s Basic Needs Holistic Support Fund. Please read through the entire application to understand elibigility.

From January through August 2022, Moffitt Library will be closed for seismic upgrades. In the spring 2022 semester, Doe Library, Main Stacks, and some other libraries will extend their hours. Learn more about the changes in library hours.

Sports and recreation facilities and student spaces are currently open as of January 2022, although with some capacity limits.

For the most current information on event guidelines and restrictions, refer to the Central Campus Coronavirus.

Read campus messages on the topic of returning to campus.