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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

By Dateline Staff on March 17, 2020 in University

Online finals Day 2 is underway. Remote instruction is the general order for spring quarter. Many of us are working from home. Students are moving out.

The Davis campus is eerily quiet. This is the coronavirus crisis, as we try to keep people apart to limit the spread of the disease. Signs on doors say it all: “Six Feet Apart. Wash Hands. Be Well. Save Lives.” Signs in restrooms warn of germs all around us, and add: “Stay healthy. Wash your hands.”

The Office of Research provided guidance today (March 17) strongly recommending that on-campus research activities be adjusted and reduced where possible to minimize the spread and possible impact of the coronavirus. “In addition, as local public health requirements are changing rapidly, we must prepare for the possibility of a complete cessation of on-campus, noncritical research on short notice, while maintaining critical systems,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research.

Earlier this week, campus leaders reduced the university’s attendance cap for events to 50 and are now urging no gatherings at all. Picnic Day and the Whole Earth Festival are among the events that have been canceled or postponed.

Elsewhere in the UC system, the Riverside campus is closed (except for critical operations), by order of Riverside County public health. UC Berkeley is rapidly moving toward a maintenance-only mode of physical operation, the campus announced Monday (March 16). The UC Office of the President in Oakland emptied after Alameda and five other Bay Area counties (Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara and Santa Cruz) issued shelter-in-place orders Monday (March 16).

The Board of Regents meeting scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. today and continue through Thursday will be a virtual meeting. Agenda and livestream available here.

Teleworking

The city of Davis announced just before 12:30 p.m. today that it was urging residents to follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s advice to shelter in place, recommending people stay at home unless they must go out for essential purposes.

UC Davis is working closely with experts at Yolo County Public Health and will follow their guidance. Yolo had not issued a shelter-in-place order as of 2:30 p.m.

Earlier today the county confirmed its fourth case of coronavirus — none at UC Davis. As a precaution, campus firefighters are outfitting themselves in personal protective equipment when responding to medical emergencies.

The Davis campus remains operational, though the university is minimizing face-to-face contact. Human Resources has asked supervisors “to exercise maximum flexibility when approving a remote or telework arrangement.” It won’t work for all employees, but the more people who can work from home, the better.

Paid leave

The UC system has a paid leave policy in place for employees who need to stay home to care for their children (amid school closures) or who become sick with coronavirus or need to care for family members with the illness.

Last week, UC President Janet Napolitano said employees could use up to 14 days of their leave balances to cover for coronavirus-related absences and that the university would provide up to 14 days of paid leave to employees who did not have sufficient accumulated leave.

Monday, Napolitano issued an executive order amending the coronavirus leave policy: to provide 16 days of paid leave to all employees for coronavirus absences, regardless of the employees’ leave balances.

Health and Vet Med

UC Davis Health remains open, though visitation restrictions are in effect. “Our teams are trained and equipped to treat patients with symptoms of novel coronavirus, as well as any other patients with potentially contagious diseases,” officials declare on the health system’s coronavirus information page.

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, or VMTH, is accepting fewer patients, concentrating on urgent and critical cases. The emergency department remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please call 530-752-1393 if you need help assessing the urgency of an animal’s condition (press 1 for large animal or 2 for small animal).

Most VMTH appointments scheduled for the weeks of March 16 and March 23 will be rescheduled. Status of appointments beginning the week of March 30 will be addressed in the upcoming week.

The VMTH pharmacy will reach out to clients needing prescription medications. The pharmacy is encouraging mail options for those needing refills rather than coming to the hospital.

Instruction

The administration announced Saturday (March 14) that lecture and discussion sections will be offered through remote means, such as web conferencing (e.g., Zoom), lecture capture, Canvas tools and other methods, all spring quarter. Instructors can continue to find resources for these alternative methods of instruction on the Keep Teaching website.

For courses that have lab, studio, clinical, rehearsal and similar learning activities, the administration strongly encourage instructors to devise methods of remote instruction that make it possible for the courses to still be offered.

Should conditions improve, instructors will have the option of resuming in-person instruction — but they must continue their remote instruction all quarter. That means students can move home and not return, if they wish.

See the complete directives.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or dljones@ucdavis.edu. Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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