(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
8/21/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Post-Docs,
We passed an interesting threshold this week: the Google doc where I keep a running tab of these messages passed 200 pages and our word count passed 75,000. So, I am here to apologize for this much inbox spam and thank you for reading these messages for the last several months. I am grateful that they have been helpful at times and even more grateful for the times that they have sparked messages back. These messages have at times thanked me and the Grad Division staff, at times have corrected things we got wrong, at times raised issues we needed to hear, and so on. They are always welcome.
Many of you may already know that this week marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US constitution: broadly known as the amendment that gave women the right to vote. Notably, while the 19th amendment was groundbreaking, it did not afford the right to vote to many women of color, some of whom would fight for this access for five more decades. If you are interested in more of this history, NPR has a good podcast.
For those who are eligible to vote in California, check out registration info here.
As many of you already know, wildfires are raging in Northern California, and some smaller fires are closer to Irvine, mostly in the LA area. The CalFire website has a lot of information. To those of you who are in the affected areas, please reach out if there is anything we can do to help you, and please stay safe. Follow evacuation orders and take care of yourselves. The UCSC campus has been evacuated, though the weather turned in a positive way last night, and it looks like the campus may remain unaffected. Our sister campuses that are closer have offered housing to people evacuated, and as I understand it everyone so far is safe. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to friends and colleagues in the affected areas. It is wonderful to see the sense of community as always from our Anteaters in this time of crisis.
We have gotten some concerns this week about Parking’s new permitting and policies for Fall quarter. Those have been passed up the chain, and we have learned that they were actually already working on some alternatives. Please hold tight a tiny bit more, as I believe they will be ready to share their plans next week.
Please know that our data systems across the county are not perfect, and so it is hard to know for sure where things are headed. However, according to some measures, Orange County is about to start a 14 day countdown to being off the state’s watchlist. This could mean K-12 schools could open. This could mean some businesses could open. Please do your part! Wear a face covering (it’s required on campus, and yes that means housing too!). Remain physically distant. Encourage your kids to do so as well. Wash everything! We have gotten reports of parties in grad and family housing as well as students in labs not wearing face coverings. No one wants to discipline you for your behavior during COVID-19, but we must do everything we can to work together as a community to slow or stop the spread. Every time someone chooses to disregard guidance, they are putting us all at risk. Please reach out if you need help in discussions with a labmate, roommate, or neighbor. We are all in this together, and we are here to help!
That said, things are in flux all the time. The dynamic nature of this disease, of the fire season that is now upon us, and everything else makes change the only certainty, to paraphrase Heraclitus. If you have concerns about a research activity, course, or anything else that might be in person in October, just know we are watching and will make decisions as we get closer. You, our students and postdocs, are the most important factor in all of this, but we simply don’t know the details until we get within a couple weeks of Fall officially starting. Check with your faculty advisors and program directors for the latest local updates to your programs.
Dean’s Office Hours
This has been a light week for me for office hours with my senior staff handling four of the five meetings this week. Next week, I will again miss a couple. With school starting and me learning to be a first and third grade teacher, I needed a little extra time. I hear my staff has been awesome for all of you though, and I am grateful for their ability to step in. Please come see us next week or the week after:
- Monday, August 24th: 12:00pm – 12:30pm
- Tuesday, August 25th: 9:00am – 9:30am
- Wednesday, August 26th: 1:00pm – 1:30pm
- Thursday, August 27th: 9:00am – 9:30am
- Friday, August 28th: 3:30pm – 4:00pm
- Monday, August 31st: 11:00am – 11:30am
- Tuesday, September 1st: 9:00am – 9:30am
- Wednesday, September 2nd: 3:30pm-4:00pm
- Thursday, September 3rd: 9:00am – 9:30am
- Friday, September 4th: 4:00pm – 4:30pm
I grew up in a place where summer meant 100+ degrees and air so thick with humidity you could swim through it. This means I have a lot of ways to talk to you about the weather: It’s hotter’n blue blazes! It’s hot as all get-out! You could fry an egg on a sidewalk. You could fry an egg on the hood of that car. I am here to tell you that the last one actually works, and you should also really not do it. It’s smelly and messy and probably damages the paint, but the 15 year old Mazda with no radio and crank windows that I drove when I tried it didn’t mind. Joking aside, I want to remind you, be mindful of the heat. Like many of you, I lack the finer things in life, also known as air conditioning. When it's hot if you don’t have A/C, drink lots of water, take breaks, and most importantly, put blankets over your windows during the heat of the day! We will get through this, but wow, it’s ugly right now.
Take care of yourselves, and as always, let us know if we can help.
On behalf of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division