(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
4/30/2021 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Postdocs,
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This is an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of one of the biggest groups of students, staff, and faculty on our campus. Even if you do not identify as part of this group, these are your friends, colleagues, roommates, and professors. For some additional information on the month and celebrations, check out these links:
I had a fun time filming for commencement though I will miss the big experience with all the music of a full in-person commencement. Hopefully, for those graduating this year, you have received your invitation and scheduled your time to walk.
- More information is here: https://commencement.uci.edu/
- You may now have two guests with you. These are not tickets in the traditional sense where you can give one to someone who wants three guests and you only want one. The limit is based on how many people can be in the space within our existing Covid guidelines.
- We are working through processes that should allow for “hooding” of our terminal degree students. If this applies to you, please be patient as we work it out, but you may want to ask your advisor to hold the date: Sunday June 13, 4-7PM (or if you already know your appointment time within that range, do that)
UCI Giving Day was this week, and I am happy to share that we raised more money to support grad students during this year’s giving day than in any other year. Donors believe in the value of graduate education and are supporting you. May this be the beginning of a long string of successful giving days to grow graduate fellowships.
International Students and Researchers
Two positive updates and one restriction have come through in the last two days. Please read below for what information we have on each.
- National Interest Exceptions are being extended to students from Brazil, China, Iran and South African to travel to the US beginning August 1, 2021 (previously just Schengen Area)
- ICE is extending the March 2020 COVID-19 guidance, flexibility for online course loads, through the 2021-22 academic year.
- The US President issued a temporary halt to entry for most travelers from India.
Expansion of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for Students: On April 26, 2021, the Department of State announced they will extend the National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) to permit students from Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa to travel to the United States for academic programs beginning August 1, 2021. The exceptions, similar to existing those permitted for Schengen countries, the UK, and Ireland, will allow students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program to enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. The announcement says, “students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.” State Department officials have also shared that “U.S. visa sections in China plan to begin interviewing students the week of May 4.” While the Chinese embassy has not yet confirmed this start date, this is positive news students may soon see visa appointment availability.
- “National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland,” U.S. Department of State, last updated April 26, 2021
- “Students from China, Iran, Brazil, and South Africa to be Allowed into U.S. This Fall,” The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2021
- “Exclusive: U.S. to Ease Travel Restrictions for Chinese Students – Sources,” Reuters, April 27, 2021
ICE Guidance Renewed for 2021-2022 Academic Year: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) yesterday announced it will extend guidance for international students through the 2021-22 academic year, continuing flexibility for students to take online courses during the pandemic. The FAQ also clarifies that students can seek enrollment in a program of study inside the U.S. that includes in-person and online components beyond the limitations (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)) and that this includes new or initial students.
- “Broadcast Message: ICE Continues March 2020 Guidance for the 2021-22 Academic Year,” Student and Exchange Visitor Program, April 26, 2021
- “Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, last updated April 26, 2021
- “No Change in Guidance on Foreign Students and Online Learning,” Inside Higher Ed, April 27, 2021
Temporary Travel Limits from India:
The White House released a temporary halt to travel due to Covid today related to the rising cases in India. You can read the order here:
We have not yet seen an explicit exemption related to students nor do we know how long this might last, but we will continue to monitor the situation.
President Drake and all ten UC chancellors sent a joint letter to Secretary Blinken (Department of State) and Secretary Mayorkas (Department of Homeland Security) expressing the urgent need for international students and scholars to travel to the United States in time for Fall 2021 terms to begin. Many other universities are doing similar advocacy work, releasing statements, supporting engagement with elected representatives and so on.
The NASA Postdoctoral Program
The NASA Postdoctoral Program provides fellowships to conduct cutting-edge research at NASA Centers and NASA-affiliated research institutes. Click here for more information: https://npp.usra.edu/opportunities/
Tax Webinar for International Students
Taxes are a pain no matter who you are, but especially for our international students. The International Center has put on this webinar and resource page that can assist in answering a lot of those frequently asked tax questions: https://ic.uci.edu/resource-pages/international-taxpayer-information.php
REMINDER: Tax Day is now May 17th!
Reminder to Input Personal Email Address in UCPath
All Grad Students should input a personal (home) email (non-UCI) in UCPath if they do not currently have one. This will enable you to retain access in times when you are not on payroll status or after you leave UCI.
- Login to UCPath Online (ucpath.universityofcalifornia.edu)
- On the left look for Employee Actions /Personal Information/Email Addresses or Dashboard Personal Information/Personal Information Summary
- If you only have Business then click Change Email Addresses to add a ‘home’ email address
Continuing Student Fellowships Applications/Nominations Now Open.
- Faculty Mentor Program (FMP)
- President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship (PDY)
- Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (GDDF)
For more information about these fellowships, please visit - https://grad.uci.edu/funding/
The Graduate Division deadline for completed nomination packets is 12:00PM (NOON) on Monday, May 10, 2021. Students should be aware of their own school’s internal deadlines to ensure submissions adhere to the Graduate Division’s final deadline. Instructions on submissions from students and schools can be found on the fellowship page and forms.
Questions about the FMP and PDY Fellowships? Contact Craig Farmer, (email@example.com).
Questions regarding GDDF? Contact Celina Mojica (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next Graduate Division Town Hall
May 14th | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UCI
- A panel of UCI experts will address concerns and campus actions around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Register: https://uci.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xnvifz-kRaaLqvpq8gxo8A
- Gillian Hayes, Vice Provost, Graduate Education
- Phong Luong Assistant Director, Academic Counseling, Grad Division
- Craig Farmer, Outreach and Retention Coordinator, Grad Division
- Roxy Silver, Associate Director of ADVANCE, Office of Inclusive Excellence
- Miguel Hernandez, Associate Dean of Students, Student Life & Leadership
- Adisa Ajamu, Director, Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research
- Karen Andrews, Director, Disability Services Center
Office Hours (all times Pacific, all sessions half an hour)
Monday, May 3: 5PM, with me: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
Tuesday, May 4: 11AM with Dir. of Academic Initiatives Celina Mojica https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
Wednesday, May 5: 1PM, with Assoc Dean Rodrigo Lazo: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
Thursday, May 6: Noon, with Assoc Dean Jaymi Smith: https://uci.zoom.us/j/4520706918
Friday, May 7: 4PM, with me: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057
I’m such a solidly Gen X 90’s kid, and some days, you have to deal with the aftermath of that. It might be me worrying too much about you or thinking that flannel is still cool (it is very comfy no matter what you think!). Today, it means you have to deal with Semisonic lyrics. Ever since recording my commencement remarks this week, I have been thinking a lot about those of you who are graduating. First of all, YOU DID IT! In a PANDEMIC! I hope you are just so proud. And yes, closing time is about a bar closing, but the lyrics speak to this moment in a lot of ways. It is closing time for some of you on your time as students, and while some of you may come back for another degree, for many of you this is the end of your time being students. That might be unfathomable after decades of school! For us here in Grad Division, this means, “open all the doors and let you out into the world,” and for you, this means “time for you to go out to the places you will be from.” I cannot wait to see what you are going to do next. Congratulations (and if you have a few more weeks, stick with it, you will be done soon)!
On behalf of the Graduate Division
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division