Checking In With Chancellor May: Weathering the Storms

In this week’s Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May and LeShelle, discuss COVID-19 vaccines, their favorite classes to take and teach, and shopping (clothes for her, comics for him).

To the UC Davis Community:

Here in Davis, we are “Campus Ready” for all things pandemic and ready as always for other emergencies that seem to have followed us from 2020 into 2021.

This week it was a fierce storm that left many of our students, faculty and staff without power. Our Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center is providing food and blankets to our students, and our academic leaders are strongly encouraging faculty members to provide instructional accommodations. Vice Chancellor Reguerín of Student Affairs sent a message yesterday encouraging students to reach out for assistance.

On the pandemic front, I am excited to announce that we will open a vaccination clinic as soon as next week. Following the allocation system set up by public health officials, we will start with Phase 1A for health care workers and certain other frontline workers as listed on our new COVID-19 Vaccine Program webpage. Next up: Phase 1B, Tier 1, for those 75 years and older (employees or students).

Vaccine supply will be limited, so we are encouraging employees to get their vaccinations wherever they can, in most cases from their health care providers. Also, please keep in mind, the allocation system is subject to change. We will keep our vaccine program page updated — and you should keep checking the page to see when it’s your time to make an appointment. As I write this, we are not scheduling appointments.

As we have said from the beginning, the health of our community is priority No. 1. Our new clinic is in support of a fully vaccinated campus community, hopefully by this summer.

If you’re looking for more information on COVID-19 vaccines, consider these links from UC Davis Health:

Campus Ready changes

And while we are definitely Campus Ready, we are also ready to fine-tune our processes as appropriate, like the following:

  • Self-reporting — Starting Monday (February 1), we will have a “Report COVID-19” button on the home page of the Health-e-Messaging portal, for use by employees and students, who are required to report to the campus if they receive a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result or a COVID-19-positive diagnosis from a physician, or if they are advised by an outside/community case investigator they are a close contact of a COVID-19-positive person. The reporting form may also be used to submit questions or concerns about a member of the campus community having COVID-19.
  • Daily Symptom Survey — This is also moving to the Health-e-Messaging portal, effective next Friday, February 5. That’s the same portal where we make appointments for testing. You can also access the survey the “old” way, via the buttons on the Daily Symptom Survey webpage. Once you complete 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 notice upon entry. With this transition, there will be new status categories, and we encourage everyone to review the Daily Symptom Survey webpage next week for the details. This transition is the first step in a process to connect COVID-19 testing and flu vaccination information with Daily Symptom Survey data. Campus visitors, contractors and other temporary campus affiliates will still use the visitor version of our Daily Symptom Survey.

Checking in elsewhere:

  • Healthy Davis Together — Yesterday our city-campus partnership added a third community testing site, the Veterans Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St. The others are the Davis Senior Center and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Appointments are required; see the Healthy Davis Together website for more information.  (Employees and students must use the testing kiosk in the Activities and Recreation Center. It has a separate appointment system, on the Health-e-Messaging portal.)
  • Summer instructional guidance for faculty — Academic Senate Chair Richard Tucker this week sent out guidance regarding remote instruction in Summer Sessions 2021. Read it here.

Record applications

As we prepare to return to in-person instruction in the fall, we announced this week we had a record number of applications for admission: 105,850 for freshman and transfer admission, up 11.7 percent over last year’s 94,763, contributing to a record number of applications for the UC system as a whole.

The diversity among our UC Davis applicants is impressive. Here’s what Ebony Lewis, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, had to say: “Our future Aggies come from all walks of life and reflect a broad diversity of thought, experiences, communities and backgrounds that embody a spirit of inclusive excellence.”

Among California residents seeking freshman admission, 36.7 percent are from historically underrepresented groups (African American, American Indian, Chicano/Latino and Pacific Islander), and among domestic students seeking transfer admission, 34.5 percent are from historically underrepresented groups.

Among California freshman and California Community College transfer applicants, 41 percent are from low-income families, and 42 percent would be in the first generation of their family to graduate from a four-year college.

Here’s our news release on application data.

Year-in-review video

I close today with a video report on 2020 at UC Davis, highlighting our proudest moments as well as simple acts of kindness and generosity amid the pandemic. I invite you to look back and reflect, and, as you do, please know that all of you  played a role in helping us successfully navigate the year’s unprecedented challenges. Thank you.

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

Gary S. May

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