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Checking In With Chancellor May: On Course

By Chancellor Gary S. May on October 23, 2020 in University

Thursday Thoughts: October 22, 2020

On location for Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May talks about the choices the university must make during a time of finite, scarce resources. He and LeShelle answer questions about the ARC and making friends in isolation. The video ends with the Mays introducing a song about social justice, “No More Running,” by a student and her collaborator, who are directing sale proceeds to the Equal Justice Initiative Fund.


To the UC Davis Community:

More good news from our COVID-19 Dashboard: 2,300 COVID-19 tests administered October 11-17 and zero positives in our asymptomatic testing program. This program launched September 14 for students who live in campus housing and subsequently expanded to include sorority and fraternity houses off campus. Last week we added the campus Police and Fire departments, Student Health and Counseling Services, and Occupational Health Services.

Specifically, the dashboard results are from nasal swab tests that we send to a private lab for analysis. We are administering another test concurrently, taking saliva samples that we send to the UC Davis Genome Center for quicker results (back in 24 to 48 hours). This is a pilot project, and once it is validated we will switch to saliva tests exclusively and start expanding our program even more with the help of a second IntelliQube instrument we just installed.

We’re looking to add approximately 7,000 more people to our testing program in the next week or two — more students and employees who are coming to campus regularly or even occasionally.

All of us should be proud of ourselves for how things are going, but we must not be complacent. Please keep wearing your face coverings, maintaining physical distance and washing your hands often. This is what we must do to protect our health and our community’s health.

About gatherings

Incremental progress ... this is the road we are on. Today we take one more step forward with revised guidance on gatherings, consistent with actions by the state and Yolo County. Under the state’s modified guidance, up to three households may interact outdoors. Yolo County has added a restriction of 16 people maximum for any outdoor gathering.

The Davis campus is aligning with the Yolo County guidance. Please visit the Campus Status and Operations page on the Campus Ready website for the gathering guidance details.

The times we are in

“Unprecedented” is a word we see often to describe this year of COVID-19, social justice issues and wildfires — not to mention the presidential election. All of us are affected in one way or another, students in particular. That’s why I am so proud today to help announce a new series of programs for faculty and graduate students who hold instructor roles, to help them teach and support their students in ways that account for the impact of ongoing and emerging crises.

Graduate Studies, Academic Affairs, the Center for Educational Effectiveness and Student Health and Counseling Services developed the series to address concerns holistically, discussing the impact of stressors on both pedagogy and mental health, and taking into account the different roles grad students play — not only as students but, also, often as instructors. 

 The “Unprecedented” series includes three workshops for faculty next week:

  • “And the Winner Is: Supportive Response to the Distressed Graduate Student” (October 27)
  • “Addressing the Elephant in the (class)Room: The Impact of Crises on Student Learning” (October 28)
  • Advising and Mentoring Graduate Students and Scholars Remotely” (October 29)

Workshops for graduate students are scheduled as follows:

  • “Everything is Not Fine: Supporting Students During Difficult Times” (October 29)
  • “And the Winner Is: Supportive Response to the Distressed Undergraduate Student” (November 2)

The complete schedule and all the registration links can be found here.

Another resource: “Tips for Managing Socio-Political Stress,” created by Aggies for Aggies. As always, students are reminded, if stress starts to interfere with your daily activities and academics, consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional. You can schedule a no-cost video or phone appointment with Counseling Services by phone, 530-752-0871, or Health-e-Messaging. You’ll find more information here on how to make mental health appointments.

YMCA Learning Labs for children

We also have a new WorkLife resource for UC Davis families: Learning Labs for children from kindergarten through sixth grade, to help with distance learning and provide enrichment activities. These YMCA-run, fee-based programs will start Monday, October 26, at UC Davis Health, and Monday, November 2, on the Davis campus.

Children will be group by age when possible and will socialize within a consistent group of 12 to 14 children, limiting interactions with any other groups — which helps to minimize contact and spread of COVID-19.

The labs will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and enrollment is by the week — sign up for as many weeks as you would like. More information, including how to register, is available here.

UC Davis Forums

This year’s UC Davis Forums on the Public University and the Social Good will begin Wednesday, October 28, with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of UC Davis ethnic studies programs. Our guest, Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), author, attorney and tribal leader who serves today as president of the Pawnee Nation Business Council, will discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Native American Graves Protection Act, and the role of California universities in America’s full realization of the Human Rights Era for Indigenous Peoples. Register here.

Checking in elsewhere:

  • Healthy Davis Together — Our campus-city collaboration distributed free face masks to the community yesterday and is gearing up for a campaign encouraging everyone in the community to get flu vaccinations.
  • Flu shot clinic, Davis campus — Student Health and Counseling Services and Occupational Health Services are running this clinic for students living on campus, and any student, staff member or academic who is not able to get a flu shot through their health insurance. See our Campus Ready flu vaccination webpage for information on how to schedule an appointment. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through next Friday, October 30, in The Pavilion at the ARC.
  • Staff survey, Davis campus — There’s just over a week to go for the Staff Experience Survey, the first of its kind for represented and policy-covered staff. The deadline is Saturday, October 31. For every survey returned, Human Resources is donating $1 to the Staff Emergency Fund — $3,411 as of 5:15 p.m. Thursday, based on a 45 percent response rate. See how your school, college or division is doing. Please participate!
  • Staff survey, UC Davis Health — Likewise, please participate! The deadline for the Employee Engagement Pulse Survey, for all clinical and nonclinical staff (except those who started work after August 12), is Monday, November 2.
  • Election — If you’ve already voted, great! If not, please make a plan! The Davis campus will host an official Yolo County Voter Assistance Center, Saturday, October 31, through Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, in Ballrooms A and B of the Activities and Recreation Center (hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Election Day). Go there to drop off your ballots, receive general assistance, get a replacement ballot, solve registration issues — you can even register and vote (via a process known as same-day conditional registration). Need more information about voting or the California ballot measures? Check out Aggies Vote!

I am proud of how our campus community is pulling together to keep each other healthy. Let’s keep up the good work.

"Campus ready" email signature (with web address and cow on bicycle)Sincerely,

Gary S. May
Chancellor

Media contact(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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