With pandemic lingering, Orange County universities strive for in-person experience

David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID-19 response team, said the emergence of the Delta variant was an unforeseen snag at this stage in the pandemic, and changing guidance on masking led the university to institute an indoor mask mandate for everyone, regardless of vaccination – a shift from what university leaders previously anticipated. But availability and effectiveness of the vaccine “has been huge,” he said, in allowing in-person instruction to resume. The university requires all its students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus, except for people with an approved exemption.