Chancellor Gary May smiling, looking at camera on white background. Words "Gary May Chancell-ing" is overlaid on the white background.

CHANCELL-ING: We will get through this together

I hope this column finds you and your loved ones staying healthy and as comfortable as possible. I know that keeping our spirits up through this era of COVID-19 and sheltering in place can certainly be a challenge.

There’s no way around the disruption of these times. But we will persevere, through kindness, compassion and patience. We are a tight-knit community, and in times of crisis we open our hearts wide and stay strong.

Like all families, we’re just trying to make the best of things at home right now. Our oldest daughter, Simone, is visiting with us since she is able to work remotely. Simone, LeShelle and I are trying not to disturb each other while all simultaneously teleconferencing each day. We’re also continuing to exercise daily while honoring shelter-in-place guidelines.

UC Davis continues to move forward, even with suspended operations. Spring quarter started Monday and campus essential services remain operational. Our dining crews are providing meals for the few students who are remaining on campus and minding social distance recommendations.

Informational technology teams are keeping our computer infrastructures supported. But, we’ve made unprecedented adjustments. Classes are being conducted remotely this quarter in the name of health and public safety. Campus traditions like Picnic Day and the Whole Earth Festival are taking the year off.

I know our UC Davis seniors and their families have been anxious about the status of upcoming graduations. Our family can certainly relate. We learned recently that our youngest daughter’s college graduation was postponed indefinitely.

At UC Davis, I’m discussing commencement ceremony options with students. I know any decision has an impact on our community, and I want to make the best decisions we can.

No doubt, this is a school year like no other. But through all the difficult decisions and disappointments, we’re working hard to continue our mission. The stories of goodwill and resilience around us keep us optimistic.

I’m thinking of our UC Davis students who are volunteering and stepping up with donations to the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, which distributes food to students in need.

I’m thinking of our College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which donated 2,400 face masks, 700 N95 respirators and other protective equipment to UC Davis Health as it remains on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Other campus departments contributed as well, with more equipment donations coming from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Design and Construction Management and others.

I’m inspired by the urgency of UC Davis researchers in being part of the COVID-19 solution. We have engineering researchers who are collaborating across campus to make innovations in producing protective equipment. Our doctors and medical researchers are working hard on diagnostic tests and conducting clinical trials to prevent further outbreaks.

I’m awed by the health care workers at UC Davis and beyond. Their commitment to patient care and public health in the time of a pandemic is nothing short of heroic.

It’s during times like these that we’re reminded about the value that a top-notch public research university like ours can make to solving global challenges.

I’m grateful to live in a community that shows so much care. All around the city of Davis, we have neighbors looking after one another, offering to share supplies and go on grocery runs for the elderly and those most at risk.

On social media, local parents are banding together to share resources about home schooling and strategies for keeping kids entertained. There’s even a “Rainbow Connections” project that encourages kids to draw rainbows with chalk on sidewalks to brighten our days.

As uncertain as the upcoming weeks may be, I know we will endure. We’re finding creative ways to stay connected. We’re rising to the challenge and coming together as a community. We will get through this and come out stronger.

Take care everyone, and stay healthy and safe.