Chancellor Gary S. May, speaking from the Chancellor’s Residence where he is sheltering in place, thanked faculty, staff and students for successfully completing what was a very stressful end of the winter quarter and expressed optimism for what lies ahead.
“We came through it, and I think we’re going to be OK,” he says in his latest video update on the university’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In the video he made Monday (March 23), May said the the university had no reported cases of COVID-19 on the Davis campus. That is still true today, although overnight officials learned a UC Davis student had tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home from a UC Education Abroad Program in Spain.
The student is currently self-isolating at home and test results were reported to the their home county. The student had been studying abroad since summer last year apart from a brief visit to campus in early January.
May took the action to suspend campus operations last Wednesday (March 18) after Yolo and Sacramento issued shelter-in-place directives. Gov. Gavin Newsom followed up Friday (March 20) with a stay-at-home order for the entire state.
The chancellor acknowledged “anxiety is very high right now.” But he assured: “There are many people doing a lot of planning and problem-solving behind the scenes for you. ... Staff are continuing to regularly disinfect and clean areas of campus that are open, for those that are sheltering in place, and students and staff are keeping the Aggie Compass running for those who are in need.”
Spring quarter classes begin Monday (March 30). “Faculty are working hard this week, preparing for remote instruction when spring starts,” Chancellor May said.
Checking In With Chancellor May: Messages and videos.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter and Academic Senate Chair Kristin Lagattuta, in a letter last Friday, encouraged faculty to think of the first week of the spring quarter as a “transition” week.
“You are currently developing plans for remote delivery of course materials — an immense undertaking considering the short time frame and numerous competing responsibilities,” Hexter and Lagattuta wrote in their March 22 letter to members of the Academic Senate and Academic Federation. “Likewise, many students are facing housing changes while trying to gather technological resources and course materials for remote learning. Concerns about personal, family and community health understandably remain high as well.”
They offered three suggestions for Week 1 to help ease the transition to remote instruction:
- Help students familiarize themselves with remote instruction tools for the course.
- Make any introductory materials available via Canvas so students joining late or experiencing technical difficulties can catch up.
- Refrain from having assignments or assessments due during this first week.
Hexter and Lagattuta closed their letter to faculty this way: “Thank you for your incredible dedication and perseverance in the face of these challenges, as well as for your continued above-and-beyond efforts to support students and the larger UC Davis community.”
Research working group
The Office of Research announced it has set up the COVID-19 Research Working Group to help faculty, postdocs and students connect with collaborators and funding opportunities. A website, Slack channel, Sympa email list and curated list of funding opportunities have been set up. There are also weekly teleconferences via Zoom.
The office also continues to update the following:
- Research Continuity and Planning for COVID-19 — Resources and guidelines, including for the ramping down of all noncritical on-campus research activities.
- COVID-19: Guidance Related to Studies Involving Human Subjects
- COVID-19 Related Resources for Startups
‘Uncertain, unusual times’
Chancellor May, concluding his video, said: “Remember, do all you can to follow the CDC guidelines for your own health and for the health of your neighbors. Let’s flatten that curve. Let’s all do our part to foster a healthy community.
“These are really uncertain and unusual times for us, but we’re going to get through it, we’re going to get through it together. So let’s practice kindness and show compassion and be patient with each other as we adapt to our current circumstances. Remember the Principles of Community and let’s get through this, as I said, together.”