Checking In With Chancellor May: Progress

In this week’s Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May and LeShelle answer a Black History Month question, talking about who influenced them the most. On location in front of Latitude, which is open for takeout, the Mays list some of their favorite dishes at this “international” destination.

To the UC Davis Community:

It was just around two months ago, Dec. 15, when UC Davis Health received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine and began giving them to frontline workers and soon after that to patients — more than 40,000 inoculations to date. Add to that the hundreds we have given to eligible students and employees since Monday when we opened the Davis campus vaccine clinic.

This is a truly remarkable effort in our nation’s battle against the coronavirus, and I want to express my deep appreciation to everyone involved, from the organizers to the health care personnel, including our campus Fire Department and its student EMTs who are administering injections in Davis.

The health system and the Davis campus clinic are working their way through the government-specified phases and tiers of vaccine allocation. As of today, the health system is vaccinating patients who are age 65 and up; UC Davis employees in that age group and who are patients of UC Davis Health should certainly make appointments through UC Davis Health. Others with different health care providers are more than likely to get the vaccine from them.

As we advised last week, you should get your vaccination wherever you can — and that might be the Davis campus clinic, which is now vaccinating employees and students age 65 and up. Given the very limited vaccine supply, we also advise patience as we work toward our goal of a fully vaccinated campus, hopefully before summer.

The Davis campus clinic expects to further expand eligibility this coming Wednesday (February 10) within Phase 1B, Tier 1, to employees of any age who are at risk of exposure because of occupational risk, including faculty, teaching assistants and postdocs who are teaching classes in person this quarter. We will get to spring quarter’s in-person instructors after instructors currently teaching in person are vaccinated. 

Others due to become eligible February 10 are campus child care and child development workers, police and fire personnel not previously vaccinated, dining employees including custodial and facilities staff who work in dining facilities, and agricultural researchers and specialists currently working in the field or directly with ag workers.

We have all this information, including future phases, laid out on our Campus Ready COVID-19 Vaccine Program webpage. It includes FAQs. Please check back frequently with our Campus Ready website for updates as we receive more information.

A note about vaccine supply: UC Davis receives its doses directly from the California Department of Public Health, through the UC Office of the President Office of Emergency Management. As such, our planning is subject to the UCOP distribution plan. The Davis campus clinic received 500 doses this week and expects the same next week. We are hoping for more in the future.

Continued vigilance

With every vaccination, the light at the end of the tunnel grows a little brighter, but we cannot let down our guard. Even those who have been vaccinated need to continue following health protocols, including state and county guidance that prohibits indoor gatherings. Which means, this Sunday (February 7), Super Bowl Sunday — please, please skip the parties with people beyond your immediate households. The number of COVID-19 cases has been declining recently, and it would be disappointing to have case numbers increase again as a result of Super Bowl parties.

Also remember, UC Davis prohibits indoor AND outdoor gatherings on our campuses and in our facilities. Off campus, if you’re planning to bring your TV outside, remember Yolo County limits outdoor gatherings to a maximum of three households and 16 attendees.

We know that many people are experiencing COVID fatigue, but the good news is that cases are trending down from the winter break surge. Now is the time to stay the course to protect ourselves, our families and friends, and the broader community.

Testing program expansion

Earlier this month we hit a milestone of having analyzed 100,000 saliva samples from our campus kiosks and others run by Healthy Davis Together, our partnership with the city. This week we hit 200,000! This program, in which we test asymptomatic people, is key to our strategy of early detection, before symptoms appear, so people can isolate themselves to keep from spreading the virus to others.

Today I am happy to announce an expansion of the Healthy Davis Together testing program, which, until now, has been limited to city residents and people who work in the city of Davis. Now, in regard to UC Davis employees and others who come to Davis for work, we also are including their households — family members or others. This will increase our early detection capability and further reduce spread of the virus.

Healthy Davis Together runs three testing sites: Davis Senior Center, Veterans Memorial Center (which opened last week) and Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Appointments are required and can be arranged online. Register for testing here (use “davis” for agency code), or sign in if you are already registered. 

Employees and students must continue using the ARC testing kiosk. It has a separate appointment system, on the Health-e-Messaging portal.

‘Protective bubble’

Our saliva-testing system, which we developed at the UC Davis Genome Center, and our Healthy Davis Together efforts received more national attention last weekend with a New York Times article headlined “A University Tries to Bring an Entire City Into Its Protective Bubble” (print edition) and “A California University Tries to Shield an Entire City From Coronavirus” (online).

We are proud to be of assistance to our neighbors and proud to show the strengths of UC Davis right here at home, as an example of the kind of work we do around the state, nation and world.

Campus Ready

As of today, the Daily Symptom Survey is now part of the Health-e-Messaging portal. You can also access the survey the “old” way, via the buttons on the Daily Symptom Survey webpage. Once you submit the survey, you will receive an email confirmation with detailed information about facility access and any additional items related to your survey status. If approved to access campus facilities, you will be required to show your approval email upon entry. With this transition, we have new status categories. Get the details on the Daily Symptom Survey webpage. Campus visitors, contractors and other temporary campus affiliates will still use the visitor version of our Daily Symptom Survey.

Checking in elsewhere:

  • Aggies Leading the Way! — This conference, now in its eighth year, began yesterday and continues through tomorrow, helping our undergraduates reach their leadership potential and practice their professional skills. The theme this year is “Moving Through Disruptions.” I am so impressed by our undergrads who have not only persevered through the pandemic and other disruptions but are taking steps now to become our future leaders. The conference, sponsored by the Center for Leadership Learning, part of Undergraduate Education, is for students — but the keynote speakers may be of interest to a wider audience, and so the organizers are inviting the campus community to join the free presentations on Zoom. Tonight’s speaker (February 5) is Stockton’s Brandon Leake, who won America’s Got Talent last season with his deeply personal spoken-word performances. The Saturday keynote (February 6) is by Gabriela Cristina Fresquez, actress and television host with NBC Universal Telemundo. See the conference website for more information and the registration link.


I am inspired every day by our response to this pandemic, transitioning to remote instruction, implementing a testing program that is receiving national attention, and now our quick rollout of vaccines to our patients and frontline workers, and our employees at the greatest risk of exposure. I cannot think of a better institution to be associated with during this ordeal than UC Davis.

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

Gary S. May

Media Resources

News and Media Relations, 530-752-1930

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Current Perspectives