Checking In With Chancellor May: An Aggie Model
To the UC Davis Community:
As we continue operations at our Davis campus employee vaccine clinic — 1,379 vaccinations administered by the end of today — we’d like to focus on another key element of our COVID-19 response: our screening for the coronavirus on campus and in the community.
The saliva-testing protocol for asymptomatic individuals continues to draw national attention, by way of MSNBC and The New York Times, and, this week, a three-minute segment by NBC News. It shows the out-front part of Healthy Davis Together, the city-campus partnership that brought testing into the community. I am so proud of everyone involved in this effort — from the diverse array of UC Davis departments that developed the protocol, to the campus and Healthy Davis Together teams that run the testing kiosks, to the lab personnel analyzing the samples.
Today, we have a video of our own, showing what goes on after you spit in the tube, how your sample is processed at our Genome Center, and how they do it so quickly. The video is from the Finance, Operations and Administration communications team. Well done!
We are proud to share this testing model with the country and world — a system to identify infected people before they are showing symptoms, so they can isolate before infecting others, enabling us to curb the spread of COVD-19.
Employee vaccine clinic
At midweek, we expanded Phase 1B, Tier 1, eligibility at our Davis campus employee vaccine clinic to include those at any age who are at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus because of their job duties, based on public health tiered guidelines. And we are still vaccinating employees who are age 65 and up, no matter their job duties. Appointments are required (and are being made available on a rolling basis as additional vaccine doses are obtained) in the Health-e-Messaging portal.
As we have stated, our supply is limited. We have given out all the doses we have received. We have hope for an increased supply. Keep checking our COVID-19 Vaccine Program webpage to see when eligibility will be expanded again.
If you have other options — say, your health care provider — to get the vaccine sooner than waiting your turn at the Davis campus vaccine clinic, then, by all means, go with the earliest option. UC Davis Health, for example, is vaccinating its patients who are 65 and older.
3-day weekend and spring break
As we begin a three-day weekend, we are again urging everyone to avoid gatherings except with people in your own households. And we also have spring break travel and testing guidance for students and employees.
- Travel guidance — All members of the campus community should continue to avoid all non-essential travel. Employees and students who are planning on traveling out of state should plan to self-quarantine for 10 days upon returning, per state guidelines.
- Testing guidance for students living in the Davis area — While travel is strongly discouraged, if you choose to travel during spring break, you are expected to get tested every three to four days during the two-week period PRIOR to your departure date and AFTER you return. It is critically important for symptom-free students, especially those who have traveled, to get tested regularly. This is how we can identify and isolate people who have the virus. Testing at the ARC will remain available throughout spring break for those who are not traveling.
- Continue to wear your face coverings and adhere to all of the public health guidance helping to protect us during the pandemic.
Students living in residence halls should follow the same travel and testing guidance as above. In addition, any student who leaves their residence hall to travel during spring break will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days upon their return to campus.
With evolving state and county guidance, the campus may also need to modify the guidance for the campus community prior to spring break; we will communicate any updates. You may also visit the COVID-19 Testing page to access the most up-to-date information.
Checking in elsewhere
- Tell us how we’re doing — Next week, employees will receive an email invitation to take the fourth annual UC Davis Academic and Staff Satisfaction Survey, to provide feedback on campus services that you used in 2020 as part of your job. This year, in lieu of gifts to respondents, the university will make a $1 contribution to one of three emergency funds that support students, staff or pets as a token of our appreciation. Your input truly makes a difference.
- Happy Lunar New Year — It’s the Year of the Ox, as of today, a time for (remote) celebration. For me, it’s also a time to reflect on and condemn the increased racism and xenophobia, and violence and hate crimes against the Asian Pacific Islander community over the last year. We turn, as always to our Principles of Community: “We affirm the dignity inherent in all of us, and we strive to maintain a climate of equity and justice demonstrated by respect for one another.”
11 months in
We are teaching and learning in new ways. We are working in new ways. We are wearing face coverings, staying 6 feet apart and washing our hands frequently.
We are doing research, including clinical trials, and caring for the sick. We are sharing our expertise in virtual symposia and other online programming.
We are testing. We are vaccinating. We are screening for mutations and variants like those we discussed on yesterday’s UC Davis LIVE.
We are standing up to the challenge, doing all we can to help fight the spread of COVID-19 in our university and community.
And we will continue fighting. Yes, infection rates are declining — but we are not done. We see light at the end of the tunnel, but we must be steadfast in our efforts to get there.
Gary S. May