To the UC Davis community:
As we reach the end of this very challenging quarter, we want to commend students, faculty and staff for their resilience in the face of the many disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Our continued monitoring of the situation leads us to even more difficult decisions for spring quarter 2020.
First, campus remains open and operational, and we expect it to remain so, pursuant to directions by public health officials. Even though Yolo County reports only two known cases of coronavirus (as of this writing), neither on the UC Davis campus, we know from the public health experts whom we regularly consult that there will inevitably be more. There is an immediate, urgent need for social distancing to limit the spread of this global pandemic. This led to our previous decision to cancel in-person final exams.
Students: The campus is providing resources for those of you who need access to computers for your remote finals, including a number equipped with webcams for those who require them. You will find all the information on Student Affairs’ Coronavirus Update webpage.
We are announcing the following directives for spring quarter instruction, which begins March 30, 2020:
- For lectures and discussion sections, instruction will be offered through remote means, such as web conferencing (e.g., Zoom), lecture capture, Canvas tools and other methods. Instructors can continue to find resources for these alternative methods of instruction on the Keep Teaching website.
- For courses that have lab, studio, clinical, rehearsal and similar learning activities, we strongly encourage instructors to devise methods of remote instruction that make it possible for the courses to still be offered. We recognize that there may be some courses where remote components are simply not feasible. In these cases, departments should make every effort to offer alternative remote-instruction courses that still help students make degree progress, or in cases where alternatives are not possible, develop strategies to offer the students the courses at some future time.
- For upper-division laboratory, design or capstone courses that cannot be offered through remote delivery, departments should arrange alternatives, particularly as students might need such courses to graduate soon. Guidance needs to be communicated to students as expeditiously as possible.
We will continue to work with all our colleges and schools to develop alternative strategies where necessary. We thank everyone involved for the monumental efforts they will be making to ensure educational continuity for our students.
Graduate education and training
- Graduate education will also transition to remote delivery with some exceptions. Colleges and professional schools, working closely with department chairs and graduate group chairs, will determine, in accordance with social distancing guidelines, which graduate courses will move to remote instruction and which courses may require some in-person instruction. Certain courses may need to be offered at a future time or remote-instruction alternatives may need to be provided to assist graduate students in making degree progress.
- The COVID-19 Graduate Education Guidance webpage lists current recommendations regarding qualifying, comprehensive and Ph.D. final examinations as well as degree filing and other provisional procedures.
With both individual and community health in mind, the goal is to continue graduate education — including laboratory, research and scholarship components — to the fullest extent possible. Some professional schools are on the semester system and will apply this guidance accordingly. In addition, health science schools operate in accordance with guidelines specifically applicable to them (for example, in clinical practice).
Our comprehensive educational and personal support services will be available in both in-person (small groups with social distancing) and remote formats, to meet the widest possible range of student needs. This includes, for example, office hours, academic advising, tutoring, supplemental instruction, and library and mental health services.
Health remains our foremost priority. We hope these directives will help students continue progress toward their degree and reduce enrollment load for future courses.
As the spring quarter progresses, we will continue to monitor the coronavirus crisis and may reassess our directives. Nonetheless, the decision to allow for remote instruction will continue throughout spring quarter. Should the situation improve, instructors may be given the option to resume in-person classes but would not be required to do so. Students, however, would still be allowed to finish their spring courses remotely.
- Our cap on event attendance — now set at 50 people — will continue through spring quarter. Any more than that and events must be canceled or postponed. (The cap had been 150, but was reduced due to updated guidance issued March 15 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
- Picnic Day is canceled, as recommended by the ASUCD student organizers.
- No decisions have been made regarding spring commencements but will be communicated as soon as feasible, both for the individual graduate and professional ceremonies as well as those for graduating seniors.
Organizers of events of any size are strongly encouraged to communicate to participants whether an event has been canceled or if alternate formats are being made available.
Housing, dining and facilities
We anticipate that residence halls, dining halls, recreation facilities and student support services will remain available throughout the quarter, while we work continuously to make these spaces as safe as possible. As noted previously, custodial teams are disinfecting student housing, administrative and teaching spaces daily, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Dining services is disinfecting high-traffic areas hourly. Additionally, hand sanitizers are stocked and available at building entrances and exits across UC Davis, and bathroom soap dispensers are being filled regularly. Contact Facilities Customer Support if you find an empty dispenser.
Residents who hold current contracts with Student Housing and Dining Services will receive a communication about their options within the next few days.
Now is the time for all of us to protect our health and the health of our community. Our health and well-being topic page has information on prevention and mitigation, and what to do if you feel sick (please stay home if you are). We are also grateful for words of comfort from Peter Yellowlees, chief wellness officer at UC Davis Health, a psychiatrist who shared strategies to help cope with the crisis, to help manage our anxiety and fear.
The COVID-19 public health emergency continues to evolve. We have a dedicated team working nonstop to inform our campus response. Beginning next week, we will send weekly Friday updates on this situation and post them here. We also have a general information page addressing multiple topics, including instruction and research, workplace and travel, and operations and events.
Today’s message has focused on instruction, but we are working tirelessly to help all members of our community find ways to adapt to our current situation. Staff are critical members of the UC Davis community. Human Resources has prepared guidance for supervisors and managers on workplace concerns, such as employees who become sick or need to care for loved ones, and a telework page that allows managers to make decisions concerning remote work arrangements.
For our employees and students with young children who are impacted by the recent K-12 school closures, please know we will do our best to be flexible and understanding during these most unprecedented times.
We are optimistic for the future when campus operations and classes can return to normal. On a bright note, UC Davis this week sent approximately 32,000 admissions notices to potential new freshman students, and observed the recipients’ joy on social media. And while we have canceled our April 4 Decision UC Davis event, an open house for our freshman admits and their families, we immediately shifted to our backup plan: Aggie Experience Live! — a virtual open house.
Working together as a community, in accordance with our Principles of Community, we will continue to adapt to these challenging times. Now more than ever, let us collectively confront and reject any and all manifestations of discrimination.
Our best regards and deepest appreciation for all you do for UC Davis.
We will get through this, together.
Gary S. May
Ralph J. Hexter
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Kristin H. Lagattuta
Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
Vice Chancellor, Human Health Sciences
CEO, UC Davis Health