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Coronavirus: New Campus Directives

By News and Media Relations on March 12, 2020 in University

Updated 8:30 p.m. March 15 to reflect a lowering of the attendance cap on events, to 50, based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Updated 1 p.m. March 12 with a clarification on which events are subject to the university-mandated 150-person cap on attendance. This cap will now apply to all events, university-sponsored or otherwise, in all spaces and venues at all UC Davis locations, starting Friday (March 13) and continuing until at least March 31.


To the UC Davis Community:

Acting out of an abundance of caution amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have decided to take additional steps in our efforts to protect our students, faculty and staff, and the community at large, as we all do our part to help contain the spread of the virus.

We take these actions in consultation with the UC Office of the President, the Academic Senate and campus administrators, as well as Yolo County Public Health (which, as of today, has reported one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county, none on the Davis campus). As this situation continues to evolve rapidly, we will respond with further directives. For now, this letter addresses the following topics:

  • Instruction and final exams — Expanding on our message of March 7 to include a directive on canceling in-person final exams next week and choosing an alternative option.
  • Paid leave and remote work — For staff and faculty who become ill or who need to stay home to care for family members who become ill, or whose children’s schools are closed.
  • Travel — Adding a caution against nonessential travel, domestic or international (beyond the international prohibitions already in place).
  • Gatherings — Our cap on event attendance — now set at 50 people — will continue through spring quarter. Any more than that and events must be canceled or postponed. (The cap had been 150, but was reduced due to updated guidance issued March 15 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Our overarching goals: For the sake of everyone’s health, we want to minimize face-to-face contact, in instruction and office hours, in workspaces and large gatherings. And we want to emphasize to students, staff and faculty: If you are sick, stay home.

Instruction

As we strive to minimize face-to-face contact, we announced March 7 that faculty and students have maximum flexibility to complete their Winter Quarter work without having in-class instruction. We are now strongly encouraging faculty to go online with their teaching. We said webinars would be available to faculty who needed assistance making the conversion — and we now have a schedule of four different webinars on quizzes/exams and other Canvas tools, and web conferencing and video. Each is being presented daily, every day this week. The schedule and links are here on the Keep Teaching website. It is very likely that we will need to have online capacity in place for Spring Quarter classes.

Faculty also are strongly encouraged to make use of other technologies, such as Zoom and Facetime, to provide opportunities for students to approach them with questions.

Graduate and professional instruction: Given the special nature of graduate and professional instruction, we ask the faculty involved to use their discretion in endeavoring to optimize curricular delivery (as well as graduate advising and mentoring) while remaining mindful of public health advice to observe social distancing to the extent possible. We encourage graduate and professional instructors to utilize opportunities for virtual instruction and testing where appropriate.

Final exams

In-person final exams (the week of March 16-20) are canceled for Winter Quarter. Alternatives that we described in our March 7 letter are all still viable options (e.g., substituting a take-home exam or other assignment for the announced final examination, or dropping the final exam altogether and grading students based on already completed work). For courses whose instructors decide not to avail themselves of one of these opportunities, the final examination must be conducted online. Information and Educational Technology can assist with online proctored exams, at no cost. IET asks for 48-hour advance notice, and adds that faculty members will need a minimum of 24 hours to complete the set-up process with the online proctoring vendors before students can sign up to take the exams.

Paid leave

Staff and faculty unable to work due to their own or family members’ COVID-19 illness, or because their children’s schools or daycare facilities are closed due to COVID-19, should use their available leave balances (e.g. sick leave, paid time off-sick or other accrued leave). Employees without sufficient leave time will be granted up to 14 days of paid administrative leave. Academic appointees who do not accrue sick and/or vacation leave and who are not otherwise eligible for paid medical leave under applicable provisions of the Academic Personnel Manual will receive up to 14 days paid administrative leave to cover absences as described above. The Office of the President has provided complete guidance here, and this information will be added to Human Resources’ Coronavirus Guidance for Supervisors webpage.

Remote work

UC Davis’ commitment to safely and effectively meeting the public health challenge presented by COVID-19 extends to ensuring that university employees can work from home or another remote location whenever necessary in the coming weeks. Teleworking (or telecommuting) arrangements are not new, but because they may be unfamiliar to employers and managers who have never done so, this resource will help you and your team navigate potential teleworking scenarios. On this new resource page, you will find guidance for supervisors, employees and departments designed to help set up temporary remote work arrangements quickly and successfully.

Travel

UC travel guidelines already prohibit nonessential university travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — all tagged with Level 3 (widespread sustained transmission) or Level 2 (sustained community transmission) Travel Health Notices by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and other countries that may subsequently be designated Level 2 or 3. Also, anyone returning from a Level 3 country must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work. UC Davis is now cautioning staff and faculty to reconsider all their international travel, and domestic travel, too, whether personal or university-related. See the Global Affairs Travel Announcement page.

Gatherings

Public health officials are advising people to practice “social distancing” as a way to help protect themselves from illness, but that is not always possible in large gatherings. Therefore, UC Davis administrative and academic units must cancel or postpone all events, on or off campus, with planned attendance of more than 150 people from Thursday, March 12, through March 31, and offer flexible refund options. This applies to events at all UC Davis locations. (Instruction is not included through March 14). Clarification: Campus spaces and venues will not be available for any event (university-sponsored or otherwise) with more than 150 expected attendees, starting Friday (March 13) and continuing until at least March 31.

University event planners should consider leveraging technology in lieu of in-person gatherings. Although instruction is excluded, note that the campus is already strongly encouraging faculty to switch to online teaching for the remainder of Winter Quarter, and to choose a final exam option as outlined above (in-person finals for the week of March 16-20 are canceled).

For questions related to canceling or postponing events, contact Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor, Finance, Operations and Administration.

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art remains open for visitors.

See a list of canceled and postponed events, as reported to Dateline UC Davis.

Stay healthy, stay informed

This is a trying time for all of us at UC Davis. For those of us feeling overwhelmed, please reach out for assistance.

  • Students can call Counseling Services at 530-752-0871 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services are available in 219 North Hall, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at the Student Health and Wellness Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointment is needed. 
  • Faculty and staff can contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program, or ASAP, at 530-752-2727 (Davis campus) or 916-734-2727 (Sacramento campus). ASAP offers confidential, cost-free assessment, intervention, consultation and referral services to all UC Davis and UC Davis Health academics, staff and their immediate families. ASAP offers confidential, cost-free assessment, intervention, consultation and referral services to all UC Davis and UC Davis Health academics, staff and their immediate families.

Finally, simple steps you can take to try to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, or, as an alternative, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.

And steps we are taking to keep the campus clean: Custodial teams are disinfecting student housing, administrative and teaching spaces daily, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Dining services is disinfecting some food-service areas hourly. Additionally, hand sanitizers are stocked and available at building entrances and exits across UC Davis, and bathroom soap dispensers are being filled regularly. Contact Facilities Customer Support if you find an empty dispenser.

We encourage everyone in the campus community to stay informed about the coronavirus outbreak and our response. Detailed information for the UC Davis community is available online (and is now divided by topic: Health and Well-Being, Instruction, Students, Workplace, Travel, Operations and Events, and Campus Community). The latest updates are summarized here.

Thanking you all for your assistance.

Best regards,

 

 

About the author(s)

News and Media Relations News and Media Relations is a unit of the Office of Strategic Communications. Phone: 530-752-1930.

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