- “Most prudent” to extend remote instruction and work through Jan. 28
- Decisions are being made based on science and public health guidelines
- He asks for continued patience, understanding as the pandemic evolves
Chancellor Gary S. May issued the above video message today (Jan. 6). Here is the transcript:
Hello, Aggies. It’s Chancellor May, checking in with you with an important message in place of Thursday Thoughts this week.
First, thank you for coming back to campus and being so diligent with our testing protocols. As Provost Croughan and I announced last week, we monitor COVID case positivity data on a continuous basis, as well as other information critical to our decision making.
I also want to thank you for sharing your concerns about our winter quarter plans. We are listening.
We had hoped that our award-winning COVID response program would allow us to resume in person instruction on Monday, but based on what we’re seeing with positivity rates related to the omicron variant, as well as staffing and operational concerns, we have decided that it is most prudent to continue remote instruction for three more weeks of winter quarter, through Jan. 28.
Now let me just say a few things to address what we’re observing and what we’re hearing. I say this a lot, but I need to repeat it. We will always consider the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority.
Since March 2020, the UC Davis community has been exceptionally responsible in following COVID prevention guidelines and requirements. That has protected all of us remarkably well. Now we need you to continue to be patient with us and with each other.
Campus leadership is comprised of human beings. We don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future. We weigh all of the data, consult with experts and review all relevant information before we make decisions that impact 70,000 people in our community.
We all want the same thing, so I’m asking for your continued understanding. Our doctors in Student Health and Counseling Services are working around the clock on a variety of issues to serve you better. Our Housing and Dining Services staff are developing MORE solutions to address growing needs. Our testing staff at the Genome Center have been working incredibly hard to get results back to you as quickly as possible.
Our positivity numbers may be higher than they have been previously, but our campus still has lower case numbers than most other areas in California. We continue to believe the Davis campus environment is among the healthiest in the country.
It's important to stay in the Davis area. That includes students living on campus. We need to stabilize our community, and that means staying put so that we can reduce the risk of introducing new COVID cases. We have the right tools and resources here in Davis, and restaurants and other local activities are still available. But we really need your cooperation so that we can return in-person.
There’s a lot we don’t know about the omicron surge. But we are making decisions based on the science and public health guidelines that we’ve been following from the beginning. We will continue to do that.
It’s going to be bumpy for a bit longer as omicron impacts our community. Again, please be patient as we determine how best to offer the education that you are here for. We have to remain flexible for a bit longer.
We are listening. We see you and we hear you.
Know that there are many staff and faculty behind the scenes working hard to keep our operations running, and they are stretched thin. We are impacted by staff shortages in some crucial areas, and that is also affecting our decisions.
Once again, we will continue with remote instruction and work through Friday, Jan. 28. We are confident this is the right thing to do.
Thank you for doing your part to stay safe and healthy. We know there’s anxiety out there. This is uncharted territory for all of us, including me. My highest priority is to provide a healthy environment for all of you to learn, conduct research and serve our community.
We’ll have updates for you in my next “Checking In with Chancellor May” letter on Jan. 14.
We are all in this together. We will continue to need your patience and understanding.
And we WILL get through this, together.