Students are shown wearing masks near Kearney Hall on the campus of UC Davis where a student has shown symptoms of coronavirus.
Nick Otto/Washington Post via Getty Images
  • A California university is awarding students grants equivalent to around R1,000 for avoiding travel during the northern hemisphere spring break.
  • UC Davis is trying to limit students' possible exposure to the coronavirus.
  • One university official said the response was so positive, they increased the amount of grants.
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A California university is opting to pay students who stay in town over the northern hemisphere spring break, rather than traveling and potentially exposing themselves to the coronavirus.

UC Davis announced last week that the first 750 qualified students to apply for the "staycation" grants will be awarded $75, the equivalent of around R1,130. But after the overwhelmingly positive response, the school decided to increase the number of grants to 2,000, one university executive told The Washington Post.

"If we could reach out to any number to be able to help impact their behavior, that is good," Sheri Atkinson, the associate vice chancellor for student life, told The Post. "The more, the better, and the more effective it will be in preventing the spread of COVID."

The only catch is that the money can only be redeemed at "selected Davis businesses." To ensure students are actually following the rules, Atkinson told CBS13 the students will have to pick up their grant gift cards in person at the start of spring break.

Chancellor Gary May said in a statement the response from students so far has been "awesome." UC Davis has pleaded with its student body to stay local throughout the school year, and has "strongly discouraged" travel during spring break in particular.

Atkinson told CBS13 that the efforts to keep students from traveling came after the school saw a small surge in Covid-19 cases after the recent winter break when students traveled out of state.

The school has required that anyone traveling outside the state isolate themselves for 10 days after they return, in accordance with state guidelines.

The school has also required that students get tested every three to four days during the two weeks leading up to their departure dates, and during the two weeks after they return to campus.

"It is critically important for symptom-free students, especially those who have traveled, to get tested regularly," the school said in its guidance for spring break travel.

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