Checking In With Chancellor May: About Masks
To the UC Davis Community:
The state’s indoor mask mandate will expire Tuesday (Feb. 15), and Yolo and Sacramento counties will drop theirs, too. Given that we are mid-quarter, still transitioning back to in-person instruction and still receding from the omicron peak, we have decided to maintain the status quo — our indoor mask requirement will stay in place on the Davis campus and at all UC Davis locations at least through the winter quarter. Our decision is in line with guidance from Yolo County Public Health — guidance that we have been following since the beginning of the pandemic. Yes, Dr. Aimee Sisson, the public health officer, is lifting the requirement for masks indoors, but she still recommends them.
As I’ve said before, in any decision we make, we weigh all of the data, consult with experts and other campus leaders, and review all relevant information before making decisions that impact everyone at our university.
On the Davis campus, we distributed approximately 135,000 N95 and KN95 masks (funded by the central campus) through our departments and units, so all students, staff and faculty who wanted the extra-protective face coverings could have them. Some units, like the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, have secured additional masks and still have them available.
We will remain vigilant in our monitoring and testing for the virus, continuing the best practices that have kept our campus COVID-19 positivity rate under 1% throughout most of the pandemic — showing our commitment to be healthy together.
I am personally grateful to you all for your efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We need you to continue to do so. We will provide further updates about spring quarter in the coming weeks.
As always, you can check for updates at the Campus Ready website and its Public Health Policies and Requirements page. We encourage continued flexibility and remind students and faculty to refer to the Academic Senate’s Policies and Guidelines for winter quarter.
With the implementation of UC’s COVID-19 booster requirement this quarter, we’ve adjusted the Davis campus’s Daily Symptom Survey to include a new status, designated by the color pink, for faculty, staff and students who are booster-eligible but not yet compliant with the UC Vaccine Policy.
If you receive a pink DSS result and have gotten your booster, verify your vaccine information in Health-e-Messaging by following these step-by-step instructions as soon as possible.
Students who need booster shots have access to expanded vaccine clinic hours the next two weeks (and possibly longer, if there is demand) at the Student Health and Wellness Center: Appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, through the Health-e-Messaging portal.
For now, even if your survey result is pink, you will still be able to access most campus facilities and events. While you are in the process of becoming policy-compliant, there may be additional public health requirements for this group that are more restrictive than those who are up-to-date on vaccine policy.
Checking in elsewhere
Our faculty and researchers continue to do amazing things. Researchers at UC Davis Health remain on the forefront of COVID-19 research, having engineered a novel antibody that helps block transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
In very exciting academic news, plant pathology professor Pam Ronald was named a Wolf Prize laureate, among scientists and artists recognized for their “achievements in the interest of mankind,” in her case for her “pioneering work on disease resistance and environmental stress tolerance in rice.”
Also receiving top honors this week were Professors Kate Scow and Dan Sperling, who were elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional distinction granted to engineers.
Further, I would like to highlight the 2021 UC Davis Annual Report, which summarizes the incredible work and accomplishments by Aggies throughout campus. This yearly look at our student and research successes, rankings, fundraising and other benchmarks illustrates the many reasons we have to be proud.
And finally, this quarter’s Chancellor’s Colloquium will focus on past, current and future issues related to the University of California as I am joined by UC President Michael V. Drake, President Emerita Janet S. Napolitano and President Emeritus Mark G. Yudof. I look forward to what I know will be a lively conversation, and I hope you will get your get your free tickets and join us at the Mondavi Center on Thursday, Feb. 24.
Midway through this academic year, during a time of sustained and unprecedented disruption, I continue to be thankful to all in our Aggie community who are working so hard toward our shared goals of student success, academic excellence and public service. I believe that historians will look back on this era and marvel at what we have managed to accomplish together. Go Ags!
Gary S. May