Washington Center

Fall Semester & Quarter 2022 FAQ

UCDC Fall Semester & Quarter 2022 Term

Frequently Asked Questions 

Last updated May 24, 2022

UCDC is very excited to welcome students to the nation's capital this Fall! Working, learning, and living in Washington D.C. is a transformative experience and we’re delighted to have another cohort join us in a few months. This page contains a wealth of information that all students should know before arriving in DC. Our priority is keeping our students, staff, and instructors healthy and safe in this very fluid COVID-19 environment. We communicate updates directly to our students by email and update this page as guidelines and requirements from the University of California, the District of Columbia, and the CDC change. Please review our FAQs frequently.

Housing and Student Services | Safety | Courses | Internships | Engagement

Questions about Housing and Student Services

What will living arrangements be in DC? We will be housing at full capacity in the Spring, which means students can expect to live in four-person apartments. Each apartment has two bedrooms, each of which houses two people. Most students can expect to have one roommate and two apartment mates. 

Who will I be living with? If you and one other person mutually requested each other, you have been assigned to reside with that person. You may also select two additional people (who must also request each other and request you and your selected roommate) to create a full apartment. We do not honor requests for 3 people in an apartment. Only requests for pairs will be honored. 

  • If you do not have someone you want to live with (or if that person does not also request you), you will be assigned to a roommate and your apartment mates based on the preferences listed in your Housing Preference Form.

Am I required to live at the Washington Center to participate in the program? Yes. UCDC participants are required to live in our building, which is in a lively, centrally located neighborhood six blocks from the White House.

What if I need ADA housing accommodations while I live at the Washington Center? Contact Debbie Deas (Director of Student Services) at debbie.deas@ucdc.edu immediately so that we can do our best to meet your needs. If you are registered with the student disabilities office on your home campus, you should contact us as well. The accommodations you have there do not automatically transfer to DC; you will have to inform them and us about your needs at UCDC. Please let us know what you need to make your time here successful.

Where can I find information about arriving in DC and moving into the Washington Center? Move-in dates are Saturday, August 20 - Sunday, August 21, 2022 (semester & extended quarter) and Saturday, September 17 – Sunday, September 18 (quarter students). For detailed information about transportation, shopping, and getting settled in DC and at the Center, see our webpage for arriving students.

Can I have family or friends visit me while I’m in DC? Due to the pandemic, UCDC will maintain a stringent guest policy. Students are not permitted to have guests. This includes the move-in weekend. Your loved ones are welcome to accompany you to DC, and they are welcome on the first floor of the building. They will not be permitted to go beyond the first floor or enter your living spaces. 

What happens if I contract COVID-19 while I'm in D.C.? We have a protocol for testing, reporting, quarantine, and isolation. You can find details in our COVID-19 Requirements for Residents (April 2022)Note: the protocol is subject to change as health and safety requirements and guidelines change.  

Will there be social programs so I can meet other UCDC students? Yes, but UCDC reserves the right to transition to virtual events as needed to manage pandemic needs and protocols. We will evaluate health and safety guidelines and update students as soon as we can. We will do our best to create an enriching social experience while adhering to safety regulations.

Will I be allowed to travel to other states once I arrive in DC? We follow DC policies for local requirements and currently the District has no travel restrictions to other states and does not require any quarantine upon return. This may change and we will inform you if it does. 

Will I be able to access Basic Needs resources at UCDC? Yes. Remote resources from your home campus are always accessible to you. Your home campus is the best place to start for your Basic Needs support. If you are not already connected to those resources, you should connect to them before you come to Washington D.C. As a supplement, UCDC operates a food pantry and provides other forms of assistance, to which you will have access.

What should I do about health insurance? UCDC strongly advises you to contact your insurance company's provider network to identify a local health care provider you can use while in D.C. There are local clinics near the Center, but we don't know where your health insurance can be used. If you are not covered by family health insurance, we strongly encourage you to sign up for SHIP, if you're eligible. There are local D.C. providers who accept SHIP insurance, but it may be much more difficult to use MediCal in D.C. 

  • We strongly encourage you to get 90-day prescriptions for any medications you may be currently taking and/or work with your doctor to transfer your prescription to a local pharmacy. We can help you identify pharmacies close to the building.

Are counseling services available at UCDC? Yes, counseling services are available at the Center. Additional information about accessing and scheduling will be available when you arrive. However, psychiatric services are not available through the program. You will need to make arrangements with your doctor for telemedicine or temporary care from a local provider.

Additional questions? Email StudentServices@ucdc.edu for housing and other student services questions and BasicNeeds@ucdc.edu for basic needs questions.

 

Questions about COVID-19 Safety

Will I be tested for COVID when I get to DC? You will be required to test when you arrive at the Washington Center, even if you are vaccinated and boosted. We will provide rapid antigen tests for all students. 

What precautions are being taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the building? We have implemented many procedures to quickly identify cases and contain spread. Our current protocols for testing, surveillance, and masking can be found here (updated). Anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask in all public spaces, including hallways and elevators. Contactless faucets and soap dispensers have been installed in all public bathrooms. Mandatory surveillance testing may be required of students, faculty, and staff. We are in regular contact with the UC Office of the President’s risk management team and will comply with all DC Department of Health requirements.

Will vaccines be required for everyone in the building? The University of California has released its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine policy, which you can access here. In accordance with this policy, all students who plan to attend UCDC are required to be fully vaccinated, with allowable exceptions. Proof of vaccination (or application for an exemption) must be provided to the relevant office on your home campus no later than two weeks before UCDC move-in. Move-in for Spring Quarter is March 19-20, 2022. 

What happens if someone in the UCDC building tests positive for COVID-19? All potentially exposed parties will be notified, and contact tracing will occur. Students who test positive may be moved to a quarantine/isolation space in the building. A protocol will be distributed for meals and managing your internship and class commitments. Details about the protocol for students who test positive for COVID-19 can be found here (updated).

How can I stay up to date on national and DC COVID information? We use the following websites for regular information about COVID health and safety recommendations and requirements. Please check them frequently for updates.

UC SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and COVID Prevention Documents

UCDC COVID-19 Protocols and Procedures

 

Questions about Courses

Will classes be taught in person or remotely? Our expectation is to hold classes in-person in the Fall term. We will evaluate health and safety guidelines and update students as soon as we can if this changes. We expect that masks will be required in classrooms regardless of vaccination status. We will continue to assess the COVID environment and make adjustments as needed.

What can I anticipate from the courses being offered? All classes are small, seminar-style and are scheduled in three-hour blocks. Most seminars are offered during the day and electives in the evening. All internship organizations know that students require a day off to attend classes and office hours. Our courses are offered across the week to provide choices for our students depending on their internship schedules. 

  • Seminars: All students are required to take one seminar, and one seminar only. These are writing intensive, requiring research and other writing projects. Other assignments vary and may include quizzes, presentations, infographics, video projects, and group discussions.
  • Electives:
    • Semester students are required to enroll in one semester elective. 
    • Quarter electives are truly elective and not required of quarter students. They are sponsored by UCLA or another UC campus; there may be a delay in the transmission of grades and a formal transcript to your home campus, which may be an important consideration, particularly for graduating seniors.
    • Elective course offerings vary from term to term. These courses may include midterm and final exams.

What courses will be offered? You can find information about seminars and electives on the Academics section of our website. You will find course titles and descriptions, faculty bios, and past syllabi to give you an idea about what to expect.

Who are the instructors and what will they bring to the classroom experience? Our instructors are experts in policy, government and media who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to UCDC courses. Most have been teaching in the program for years and are invaluable resources for connecting theory to practice in our classes.

How do I enroll in classes? Enrollment opened to students on Wednesday, July 13 at 9am PT. An instructional email was sent in advance. Enrollment is first come, first served. Classes fill quickly and space in any particular class is not guaranteed. All students are required to take a UCDC seminar; electives are optional for quarter students and required for semester students. If you have questions, please contact Sabrin Said (sabrin.said@ucdc.edu)

What date will instruction begin? 

  • Fall semester instruction begins on Tuesday, August 23, 2022
  • Fall quarter instruction begins Tuesday, September 20, 2022 

Can students be enrolled part-time in UCDC for internship credits only? No. All students must enroll in a UCDC seminar.

What if I have academic ADA accommodations? Contact your campus disability services office and ask them to send your accommodation letter to Professor Diascro, UCDC Associate Director and Academic DSP Liaison, at jennifer.diascro@ucdc.edu. When the term begins, Professor Diascro will share your letter with your instructor(s) and support them and you in providing the necessary accommodations.

For further questions regarding UCDC academics, please contact Sabrin Said, Administrator of Academic Services, at sabrin.said@ucdc.edu.

 

Questions about Internships

Will internships be offered in-person or remote? More than three-quarters of this winter's internships are either in-person or a combination of in-person and remote. We expect more internships will be in-person as spring approaches, depending on local COVID-19 conditions and regulations.

Our team is in contact daily with hundreds of organizations in DC to update employers’ plans for re-opening. It is important to remain flexible. An internship that begins remotely may shift to in-person (or visa-versa) as the term progresses. Currently:

  • In-Person. Roughly 25 percent of internships are offered in-person, with interns expected to report to a local office to work beside supervisors and other staff. 
  • Hybrid. Roughly 50 percent of internships are offered as hybrid, combining both in-person and remote work for interns.
  • Remote. Roughly 25 percent of internships are offered remotely. Interns will work on projects from the UC Washington Center, either from their apartments or in work areas designated for interns at the Center.

If the organization I am applying to states that internships will be remote or hybrid, what kind of work will I do as an intern? Remote assignments mirror those assigned in person. Projects vary based on the organization and could include research, analysis, news monitoring, social media management, or logistical support. Employers are encouraged to assign projects that relate to the goals of the organization and short-term projects helping with the day-to-day work of the office.

Where can I find a list of organizations offering internships (in-person, remote or hybrid)? We distribute a newsletter to students each Wednesday with internship leads and pertinent details. Internships can also be identified in our database by clicking on the "Winter/Spring 2022" and "Spring Quarter 2022" opportunities.

What are the dates for the internships? Spring Quarter internship dates are March 22- June 3, 2022.

How many hours per week are students expected to work? Generally, students intern 24-32 hours of work per week. Please check with your Program Administrator to confirm requirements for your campus. Schedules are determined by agreement between the internship supervisor and the student. Additional hours are permitted if both parties agree.

Are internships compensated? Some positions include compensation, though a majority are unpaid. You should review the description prior to applying and inquire about compensation during the interview with the organization. We encourage internship sites to offer compensation when possible. There are no restrictions on UCDC students receiving compensation while also receiving academic credit.

If remote, will a DC internship increase my chance of securing other internships or employment once organizations re-open to in-person work? The ability to connect with employers in a remote professional setting is a great asset. Since March 2020, thousands of organizations in the DC area have shifted to remote operations. Your creativity, collaboration, empathy, desire to learn, and flexibility are qualities that future employers will value. The connections you make and the experiences you will be able to share will make you a stronger candidate for future opportunities.

Who should I contact if I have internship questions? What should I do if I arrive in Washington, DC, without a confirmed placement? Members of the Academic Internship Team (AIT) are assigned by campus affiliation.  For further information, contact your Program Administrator:

 

Questions about Student Engagement, Networking, and Events

What other programming is planned? UCDC is more than internships and classes. We work with alumni to pair interested students with mentors in fields of interest and develop professional development workshops to help students convert their internships into jobs.  We offer a speaker series, to give students a chance to ask questions of policymakers, journalists, and lawmakers.

We expect these events to be in-person. We will evaluate health and safety guidelines and update students as soon as we can.

How open is Washington D.C.? Museums, restaurants, theaters, and most bars are open and the mayor of D.C. has modified the masking and vaccination entry requirements (pp. 3-5, effective February 28, 2022). Consider this when you are preparing for your stay in the city. D.C.-specific information is at the Government of the District of Columbia site, which includes the D.C. Mayor’s updates. Check these frequently for updated information.