(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
3/31/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Grad Students and Post-Docs,
I hope your transition back to classes is going well. Please feel free to share any funny Zoom stories with me. So far, I have had a 6 year old decide to yell “butt” at the top of his lungs in one Zoom meeting and accidentally muted everyone and couldn’t unmute them in another. Thankfully, I am finding that a little humanity is going a long way right now. In all seriousness, let’s not sweat the small stuff! The most important thing we can do during this time is to communicate and show understanding. That goes for all of us, whether it’s in an academic environment or in our personal lives. There will be challenges along the way, but they will never be YOUR challenges, they are OUR challenges. Please keep that in mind as we get through this quarter together!
Are you so utterly sick of Coronavirus news that you could spit? Well, you better skip ahead and miss this section.
But if you just can’t get enough… we have you covered.
First, check out the good news on the healthdata forecasts: FLATTEN THE CURVE IS WORKING! California that just last week was forecasted to run out of a lot of beds and other equipment now shows a much healthier outlook. You can play around with other states here as well. https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections
Oxford also has some really helpful information here: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/
If you haven’t seen it already, do check out the Johns Hopkins map. The site is not nearly as accessible as I wish it were, and the coloring is a bit terrifying, but the data are pretty up to date. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
A little birdie told me that AGS may be putting out some fun and informative resources too, so we have that to look forward to.
A quick update… OIT continues to work on the on campus housing Internet, and my understanding is that all of the students who have tried so far have succeeded in getting Cox and Comcast to upgrade for “instructors.” Remember, if you are a TA, Reader, mentor undergraduates, etc. you are an instructor and should be eligible. The one unique case is ACC… this is not on campus internet nor is it a typical consumer cable account. We are looking into whether speeds can be improved there. Last measured at ~88MB/ps download, it should be good enough but if we can get faster, it’s worth a try.
Adobe has provided temporary at-home access for students and faculty, to continue to work remotely. This special license is active through May 31. OIT has posted instructions for accessing and installing Adobe Creative Cloud. I am a design nerd and think everyone can benefit from learning parts of the creative cloud. So, if you have the time and mental energy, I recommend downloading and checking it out while you can. There are also loads of good tutorials on the Adobe website (https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/tutorials-explore.html), YouTube, and so on.
By popular demand, OIT is hosting two more Teach Anywhere: Moving to Canvas webinars this week!
The session will run from 3:30-4:30 PM and cover the basics of creating a Canvas course space, uploading files, creating assignments and quizzes, and using Zoom.
To join the session, click here: https://uci.zoom.us/j/677052156
If you can't attend this session, try the one on Thursday April 2nd from 10-11AM. For the complete schedule, https://sites.uci.edu/teachanywhere/pedagogy/webinars/
The schedule link above also has session recordings so that you can watch on your own time.
Due to the ongoing situation and the many questions from UC travelers, the Central Travel Office and Risk Services will host an encore Q&A on COVID-19 and Travel on April 9th at 11AM.
- Campus Local Amendment to Policy G28
- Travel reimbursement questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to COVID-19 Updates from UC
The University of California posts the latest breaking news developments on COVID-19 across the University of California system on its website. Sign up for alerts to receive the latest updates to your inbox. Executive Vice President of UC Health Dr. Carrie Byington provides regular updates and links to important and interesting articles on COVID-19, University of California, and health systems in general on Twitter @carrie_byington.
TOEFL and GRE Tests Available to Take at Home
ETS is introducing a solution for students who have been impacted by the coronavirus to take the TOEFL iBT® test and the GRE® General Test at home until test centers can reopen. TOEFL® testing is scheduled to begin on March 26, and GRE testing will begin on March 27.
Testing will be conducted through the use of live remote proctoring serviced by ProctorU®. This high-touch, real-time human monitoring of test sessions limits the number of seats available. Students can register beginning today in the following countries:
- United States
- Hong Kong (China)
- Macau (China)
ETS is working diligently to provide this at home option in other affected areas. We will share additional details about the rollout plan as we are able and appreciate your patience as we work toward this goal.
ETS is taking every precaution to ensure that the tests students will take from home meet our high standards for validity, reliability and security. We are employing multiple best-in-class security measures that use both real-time human monitoring and artificial intelligence technology:
- Live proctors will ensure constant vigilance, including confirming the test taker's identity and scanning their home environment before testing begins, flagging any suspicious activity and intervening if necessary.
- Artificial Intelligence technology — such as facial recognition, gaze tracking and video recording of the entire session — will guard against malicious activity. Examples of test taker activities that AI will flag as possible cheating incidents include attempts to open a new browser, run unpermitted software and use unpermitted objects such as a cell phone.
For more information regarding these tests please email TOEFLnews@ets.org or GREtests@ets.org.
The 2020 #UCISpringUpChallenge is Underway!
Spring is in the air and while we may be practicing ‘physical’ distancing, we sure are not ‘social’ distancing. It is extremely important to your health and well-being, including your student success, to continue to build and find community during this unprecedented time.
Based on the success of our Winter Recharge event, this Spring quarter we would have hosted our 4th Annual Spring Up wellness day event. We did not want you to miss out on this experience since everything has moved online.
Fear not, we present to you the #UCISpringUpChallenge!
To partake in the #UCISpringUpChallenge, you must post a photo on your Instagram paired with a weekly prompt. This Instagram photo challenge has the same mission as our in-person event, it will touch on every aspect of your student/postdoc experience: your health and wellness, professional development, school/ life balance, and most importantly, will build community. Of course there will be no shortage of fun and prizes (Amazon gift cards… cuz at least we know we can get stuff delivered if we are trapped at home). Be sure to tag and reach out to your peers, lab mates and even faculty to join in the fun. It’s time to perk up, pep up, and Spring Up! Click here to see the rules and join the fun!
Drop In Virtual Office Hours Available With Graduate Counselors
With the support of Harinder Singh, Director, Graduate Professional Success in Science, Tech., Engineering & Math (GPS-STEM), Graduate Counselors Phong Luong and Elizabeth Dunn are leading a new “Restore-antine Graduate Support Group” for Spring Quarter.
These drop-in sessions will be held several times throughout the quarter as a means for students to express their frustrations or ask questions in a safe environment, gain advice from the graduate community about establishing routine and remaining motivated, while sharing their wellness and school-from-home tips with their peers. The first meeting will take place on Thursday, April 2nd via Zoom from 3:30 – 4:30 pm PT. Click the link below to join!
Dean’s Virtual Office Hours
As a reminder, I or someone from my senior staff will be available for virtual office hours for 30 minutes every day, Monday - Friday for as long as needed to answer any questions or concerns. All graduate students and postdocs are welcome!
You don’t have to have a question to stop by office hours, you can just come to chat. This morning we had a great catchup and some fun time complaining about the internet in grad housing (yes, its been bad, its not just you, and yes, we are working on it).
All you need to do is click this link to join the virtual officer hours and you’ll be in: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057. Below are our office hours for this week. We will post more for the coming weeks soon. All times are Pacific Standard Time.
- Wednesday, April 1: 10am – 10:30am
- Thursday, April 2: 12:30pm – 1:00pm
- Friday, April 3: 10am – 10:30am
Today is Cesar Chavez’s birthday. He was a great man who did much for the people of California and for the world. So, today, let us reflect on his wise words:
We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.
You are strong, and you are smart, and you are you. Together, we can and will endure. Graduate Division is here with you.
As always, I hope to see you soon!
On behalf of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division