(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
10/2/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Postdocs,
This has been an incredibly busy and newsworthy week. Does anyone else feel like October is the longest month ever and we are only on day two? I won’t comment on the big headlines this week, but a small one you may have missed is that California released updated guidance for institutions of Higher Education. We are currently in “red tier,” but you can track our progress here: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/
Please remember to continue taking cautionary steps with regards to COVID-19, such as wearing your face coverings, social distancing, and limiting any interaction with other people. We must remain vigilant, especially as more schools open, people return to the area, and some of you have returned to your offices and labs.
As Dean Rameen says, Sanitize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktUEfFmu4HM&feature=youtu.be
Mandatory COVID-19 Testing for Graduate Students
Phase Three of testing begins next week. Undergraduates will first be tested and then graduate students. As you saw in the email from VC Banks, the testing sites have moved indoors. Some of you have expressed concerns about this change, which I understand was made in part to respond to weather challenges and in part due to air quality concerns and other related issues. These procedures continue to be examined by both the medical staff and the public health experts and may change again.
In the meantime, if any of the following apply to you, there are accommodations available:
- The certified Nurse in the First Aid Room at each of the specimen collection sites is trained to assist and perform swabs for those students who are unable to self-collect due to physical disability.
- Those students that are seen to be high risk due to chronic disease or immunocompromise may use the isolated First Aid Room for sample collection, with the support of the Nurse.
- Students with social anxiety or similar concerns around testing may also be scheduled earlier or later in the day and utilize the First Aid Room for privacy during their sample collection.
Students may ask for these accommodations when arriving at their sample collection sites, or call SHC to schedule early or late appointments.
For additional concerns, please reach out to Disability Services for an assessment.
COVID-19 Testing for Post-Docs
Faculty and staff are on the roadmap for testing, but the logistics have not quite been worked out yet. I believe we will get information on this soon.
Inclusive Learning Environments
If you are taking courses and need any accommodations, please know the university is here for you. If you are teaching or serving as a teaching associate, here are some things you can do to support that mission:
- Understand that the provision of accommodations is a legal responsibility
- There are resources and training available if needed, for example: ZotAbility Ally Training
- Familiarize yourself with the Disability Services Center as you will need to liaise with them
- Support your faculty member(s) in creating accessible course content
- As you are reviewing course content, let faculty know of any inaccuracies or garbled text or if you see anything that could be an issue
WEBINAR: Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America’s Research Enterprise
Oct. 6, 2020 - 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm PT
Click here to Register
Graduate students and postdocs are invited to attend a regional webinar on research security and integrity of America’s Research Enterprise featuring the Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, and supported by the National Science Foundation. The webinar is being hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno and several other institutions from Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, California and Washington including UCI have been invited to participate.
The title of the presentation is “Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America’s Research Enterprise.” Dr. Droegemeier will provide an update on the many activities undertaken by OSTP and others during the past several months, provide examples of risks to research security that can harm the enterprise, and provide an update on steps being taken by OSTP and agency partners to address risks to security and integrity while maintaining an open and collaborative enterprise.
Housing Guest Policy
Thank you for your immense patience as just about every office on campus gets involved in addressing the graduate and family housing guest policy.
- Not yet: I had hoped we would have something to share today.
- But: I have seen a draft that looks very promising.
- There are many layers of approval and consultation, including with public health authorities in terms of any changes. I do believe the updated policy, when available, will address the bulk of concerns regarding caregiving and support.
- Please talk to your local housing staff should you need immediate assistance or come to office hours and we can discuss any particular situations.
Management Beyond the Classroom Certificate Program Full
Thanks to all who showed interest in our new Management Beyond the Classroom Certificate Program.
- It’s full: Space for this first pilot was limited to just 25 people, but we far surpassed that in interest forms!
- Waitlist/Second Offering: Not to worry, we will be offering this again soon, so stay tuned. We will keep all of the names on file of everyone who signed up but can’t fit in this first class.
Census Deadline Extended
An item in yesterday’s UCI Forward newsletter erroneously said Sept. 30 was the last day to complete the 2020 Census. Federal courts have temporarily extended the deadline, although the legal battle continues. If you haven’t already completed the census form, you can do so here.
Duration of Status Visa Proposed Rule Change
As we noted last week, the US government has begun a process that would require student visas to be renewed after either 2 or 4 years.
- We are currently in a 30 day request for comment period. During this time, the University of California will file a comment that notes the severe burden this places on our students and the damage such a rule could do to higher education, research, and scholarship nationwide.
- I am confident in the abilities of the University of California to work with legislators and address this action.
- However, that does not take away the fear and anxiety this is likely provoking in some of you. Please reach out to Gabriella Pham [firstname.lastname@example.org] or Phong B. Luong [email@example.com] if you want to talk. We are here for you, and we want you to be here!
Upcoming Office Hours
As always, we look forward to seeing you in office hours. No agenda needed, all questions welcome.
https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057, all office hours are half an hour
- Monday, Oct. 5th: 5:00pm – 5:30pm
- Tuesday, Oct. 6th: 5:00pm – 5:30pm
- Wednesday, Oct. 7th: 6:00pm – 6:30pm
- Thursday, Oct. 8th: 1:30pm – 2:00pm
- Friday, Oct. 9th: 5:00pm – 5:30pm
- Monday, Oct. 12th: 4:00pm – 4:30pm
- Tuesday, Oct. 13th: 4:00pm – 4:30pm
- Wednesday, Oct. 14th: 1:00pm – 1:30pm (GD staff member)
- Thursday, Oct. 15th: 5:00pm – 5:30pm
- Friday, Oct. 16th: 5:00pm – 5:30pm
Our Anteater graduate student community continues to be a source of great pride for the campus. Throughout all of the struggles and challenges of 2020, you have by and large kept your heads up, taken care of each other, and looked for the good in the world. The fall quarter started yesterday, but for many of us, there was no summer break to recharge batteries. So, I want to encourage you as always to listen to yourselves, know your limitations, but also stretch to be the best you can be no matter what the context. Rest when you need so that you can really get after it when you want.
Maya Angelou once wrote “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” I am confident that no matter what 2020 throws at you, at us all, we can work together and thrive.
On behalf of all of us in Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division