(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
10/30/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Postdocs,
To those who celebrate, this weekend is both Halloween and Día de los Muertos. To those who don’t celebrate, happy weekend!
National Geographic has a fun list of ten things to know about Día de los Muertos: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/mexico/top-ten-day-of-dead-mexico/ You do have to enter an email address to get access, but from what I can tell, you can enter any address you want. The history channel also has a nice history of Halloween: https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween
Whatever you do this weekend, try to relax at least a bit. It has been another tough week at the end of another tough month.
Our thoughts go out to the victims of the earthquake off the coast of Greece and Turkey. https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/aegean-sea-earthquake-dle-intl/index.html Please reach out to the UCI counseling center for any needs related to this or anything else weighing on you:
If you are in the area and have been affected, please let your faculty know, as they will accommodate you with coursework and so on and let us know if you need anything as well.
There may be some good news for Iranian students:
- In a notice posted yesterday, Iranian students appear to have some restrictions lifted.
- I have not gotten full guidance yet on what this means from the International Center nor the Office of Research.
- Stay tuned for more information next week.
- The notice is here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/iran_gl_M.pdf
For all our international students, we know how hard it is to be so far from home for those who are here and to be so far from your studies for those who have started remotely. Please reach out if we can be of help in any way.
Early voting started today:
- Open at the student center from 7AM to 8PM through election day, November 3.
- There have been short to no lines so far. When air quality is good, the lines will be outdoors if there are lines. However, if the air quality degrades substantially like it did this past Monday, they do have an indoor line plan ready to go.
- There is a UCI ballot dropbox located near the bike repair shop on Campus and W Peltason
- Check out more information about voting here: https://advocacy.uci.edu/election/
Coping With Election Stress
We know this is a stressful time due to the upcoming election. Our counseling center has many resources and tips available here https://counseling.uci.edu/resources/Wellness-Resources-during-COVID-19.html#election-stress.
Next week Thursday (Nov. 5) Career Pathways has a great event with three UCI PhD alumna who will discuss their recent transitions from PhD candidate to Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Faculty roles.
We have had a lot of questions and confusion around some emails that went out from other offices last week about travel:
- In short, travel remains restricted across the campus for all faculty, staff, and students: https://uci.edu/coronavirus/executive-directives/UCI20_UCI_TravelDirective_08-17-20.docx.pdf
- If you travel for the holidays, you will be asked to sequester upon return.
- We understand that some students and postdocs have encountered struggles when negotiating with their faculty advisors/PIs regarding work plans. You are encouraged to speak with your DECADE mentor, department chair, or our offices in Grad Division for help in negotiating how you can conduct your work given these restrictions. As always, Phong Luong - firstname.lastname@example.org will be a great resource for you.
- Reminder that the guest policy is still in effect in grad and family house, but children and caregivers/essential workers are allowed. Please register adult caregivers/essential workers online through your housing portal. The exception for minors means you can do childcare exchanges.
- Both pods and additional approvals for outdoor areas are being discussed, but I don’t yet have an update for you on that. Stay tuned, and thank you for your patience. I am hoping that this weekend will be nice and quiet, making it easier for the campus to approve such plans.
- Please please please talk to your neighbors, flatmates, and friends if you see them doing something unsafe or that you don’t like. If you are unsure how to do this, come talk to me in office hours and we can roleplay [seriously not joking] or talk to Phong about how to discuss. We don’t want you to get in a fight over asking someone to wear a mask, but we also don’t want you to feel like your only choice is to report people to student conduct.
- Come talk to us during office hours if you want to discuss this more. It is a LOT easier to talk through your individual issues by Zoom than over email.
REMEMBER: IT IS FALL BACK THIS WEEKEND!
- Daylight Savings time ends this weekend, and we revert to “standard time”
- This means that at 2AM Sunday morning, it will suddenly be 1AM Sunday morning
- Good news: you get an extra hour!
- Bad news: It will now get dark even earlier. Also, you gave up that hour during “Spring Forward” in March
- Even worse news: Spring Forward seems to maybe kill people: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200130144410.htm
- For all the details on time zones and daylight savings, check out this authoritative resource: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/change/usa
- November 13th | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Health, Wellness, and COVID-19
- Dr. Albert Chang, Medical Director, Student Health
- Dr. Frances Diaz, Director, Student Counseling Center
- Dr. Phong Luong, Assistant Director of Academic Counseling
- Scott Bartell, Associate Dean / Professor, Public Health
- Sharon Robert, Director of Program Development, Public Health
- December 11th | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Diversity and Inclusion at UCI
Office Hours This Week
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
- Nov 2: 4PM
- Nov 3: 4PM - Election Day in the US
- Nov 4: 1PM
- Nov 5: 5:30PM
- Nov 6: 4:30PM
This week, we were reminded again how fragile life can be and how quickly things can change. Multiple graduate division staff were impacted by the evacuation orders related to Monday’s wildfire as were students, staff, and faculty from all over campus. This is one of those weeks where I had to actually check whether it was JUST Monday, five days ago, that we woke up to smoke and winds blowing here in Irvine. You know the jokes about 2020, but it really does seem each week and each month that we can’t take yet one more thing the world is throwing at us. We can though, and we are doing it. You are doing it.
Three things that I hope will uplift you:
- For those of you who need an escape and a good laugh--bonus if happen to like horror movies: https://www.pophorror.com/horror-themed-covid-19-memes/
- For those of you who need a little inspiration: “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” - John Lewis
- This meme: Freddie is a little close to Jason, and that face covering Jason has on sure has a lot of holes in it.
[alt text: three super villains from famous American horror movies with text overlaid on top of them: Halloween! Seriously? 2020 Hasn’t Scared You Enough]
Scare yourselves silly with horror movies this weekend if that’s your thing. Eat yourself sick with candy. Enjoy the clear air and sky and be grateful the wildfire is controlled. If you are eligible and haven’t done so yet, vote.
Whatever you do, please do it while wearing a face covering, washing your hands regularly, and physically distancing.
Take care and be well, on behalf of all of graduate division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division