UC Davis offers $75 for students to stay on campus for spring break

‘The idea behind this was to provide a positive incentive for students to follow public health guidance’

UC Davis intends to keep students safe during the pandemic. Instead of “non-essential travelling” to spring break destinations, the school is offering $75 gift cards to students. The gift cards can be spent on local businesses.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the university made the announcement last week on Facebook as a part of their “Healthy Davis Together” spring break grant program.

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“As per state guidance, all nonessential travel should be avoided, and staying local is a good way to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” the announcement said.

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Sheri Atkinson, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, said she’s “confident” that students will continue to follow health protocols. California currently has 3,523,563 total coronavirus cases, according to California For All.

“The idea behind this was to provide a positive incentive for students to follow public health guidance,” Atkinson told the outlet. “Based on how our students have done so far, we’re pretty confident that this group is conscientious and will do what they signed up to do.”

According to Atkinson, 50 percent of students either live on campus or in the surrounding area. In order to receive gift cards, students must apply by giving a description of their plans for spring break and pledge to stay in town during the week long break, in addition to taking a COVID-19 test.

The university planned to give 750 grants, but increased it to 2,000 due to student interest. The $150,000 program is being funded by philanthropy and other funds — not through student fees or tuition.

UC Davis was one of the first college campuses in California to require their students to self-quarantine during the pandemic a year ago.

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Last month, UC Davis said that students who will travel are expected to be tested every three to four days prior to and after their departure. According to the “Healthy Davis Together” website, the weekly COVID-19 positivity rate is 0.3 percent, down from 5 percent in January. Out of the 9,540 tests performed in the last week, only 27 were positive.

Atkinson said a few students planned to leave town, but decided to stay because of the program.

“I have the sense that it may have helped,” Atkinson said. “Even if it was the students who were just already planning to stay, it’s still trying to incentivize them to engage in healthy COVID practices. There’s a lot of COVID fatigue right now.”

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