(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
11/25/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students,
I know it’s not my usual Friday message, but I hope you will find some value in a few quick clarifications on this Wednesday before a national holiday. As you know from a variety of messages last week and this, we are now in the Purple Tier in Orange County. I honestly don’t see us recovering to the Red Tier during the Fall quarter. So, what does this mean?
- No one should have any kind of indoor gathering with anyone who does not live in their home. Dependent care and accommodations for disability and health are still allowed broadly in California as well as in Grad and Family Housing here at UCI.
- Because of the high rate of infections in our community, only limited outdoor interactions are possible with a small number of individuals (2-3), physically distanced and wearing facial coverings, and lasting a short time. The state of California also has a curfew right now.
- Classes that can be offered remote but were being offered in-person, such as reading seminars or small lectures, have transitioned to remote and will remain remote for the remainder of Fall quarter. If any faculty member asks you to come in for instructional purposes, you have the right to say no. Please check with your department chair or graduate advisor for any concerns or you can come to Graduate Division for help.
- Only in-person research that was already approved under the limited research reopening plans can continue. This includes both academic work and employment work. As in the case of teaching, none of you should be forced to come into a research lab while in the Purple Tier. If you do not feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your PI, please talk to a graduate advisor, associate dean, department chair, or someone from Graduate Division.
- Travel in which you only interact with your family unit, such as camping, is allowed. Any other travel will require a 14-day sequestration period in your housing unit upon return.
COVID cases in our undergraduate population are at an all-time high, with half the new cases since August emerging in the last week. So, they are going to face even tighter restrictions over the next few weeks. Please note that campus does recognize the difference in the student populations. Most of the undergraduate students live in dormitory style housing, which is very different from grad and family housing. In addition, graduate students have continued to have low rates of infection, even while the rates are skyrocketing in our surrounding communities. Please continue to attend to physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, and handwashing as you have been. Make sure that you refer to graduate housing policies only, not those for undergraduates (including the message sent to undergraduate students earlier this week).
Normally, the next four days are a time of reflection, relaxation, family, and friends. I am sad for you and for all of us that it will not be so this year. I am happy to be able to relay, however, that plans are still being prepped for grad zotpods, including consultation with the residence council.
We are now fairly confident that there will be little in person instruction in Spring quarter:
- Like Fall and Winter, all instruction, even that which is offered in person, must accommodate students who are not comfortable attending in person.
- If you live on campus, you may cancel your lease without penalty up to Dec 31. Please contact your housing community if you want to take advantage of this.
- Graduate Division will be prepping some modest fellowship funds to cover things like printers, software licensing, office supplies, and so on to make your schooling and working a bit more comfortable as we are truly in it for the long-haul. I hope to have those programs up and running when you return next week. In the meantime, please check the licensing database for software that is free to UCI students, such as SPSS, SAS, Mathematica, and Office: https://www.oit.uci.edu/licenses/
- We are still working through the details of supplemental fellowships for those who need some extra time and should have that ready to announce in January.
Very few people predicted this pandemic would be the long slog that it has become. I can feel the frustration and sadness from you all, and I commit to you that the administration will do what we can to support your needs in this new context.
As a reminder, I will be hosting office hours on Thursday at noon for anyone who needs to talk or just wants to say hi https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057. Many of you have already reached out to tell me you are alone on Thursday, so we will try to use some breakout rooms if there are a lot of you, make it as fun as we can, and I promise to stay on as long as you need.
Additional office hours for next week are here:
Dean Hayes 3PM - https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
AD Lazo 3PM - https://zoom.us/j/3555252120?pwd=Nm43MmxzVkZvV2grNmNCZlVidk9pQT09
AD Smith 3PM - https://uci.zoom.us/j/4520706918
No Office Hours
Friday, 12/4 -
Dean Hayes 4PM - https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
Finally, please keep these resources to hand should you need to talk with anyone else:
- Campus Assist List: https://whcs.uci.edu/do-you-need-help/campus-assist-list
- Red Folder: https://counseling.uci.edu/docs/Red%20Folder.pdf
- Graduate Wellness article: https://cgsnet.org/new-initiative-support-graduate-student-mental-health-and-wellness
- Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion: https://studentwellness.uci.edu
Please stay home, stay safe, and stay kind to yourselves this week.
On behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division