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Checking In With Chancellor May: Meeting the Challenge

To the UC Davis Community:

Last week I told you how we were one of the first institutions of higher education to say “yes” to the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, as requested by the White House.

This week the White House called again, asking UC Davis to participate in a webinar about the challenge, to talk about how we are meeting the challenge. And, so, earlier today, Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff of Finance, Operations and Administration, joined the program that also featured Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and chief medical advisor to the president.

I’m so proud to share our best practices for getting our community vaccinated, and to receive this recognition from the White House. Thank you to VC Ratliff and everyone involved in our efforts.

Vaccine policy

I have been telling you about UC’s proposed COVID-19 vaccination mandateand encouraging everyone to get vaccinated in anticipation of the new policy. The Office of the President released the draft in April and now that the public comment period has closed, I can tell you that the policy will be issued and made final by July 15.

Vaccinations can save lives — I have been saying it, our UC Davis Health experts have been saying it. We encourage you to get your shots to help protect yourselves, your loved ones and your communities. Vaccines for ages 12 and up are available on the Davis campus and through UC Davis Health. Appointments are required and can be arranged through the state’s My Turn online system, or by calling My Turn, 833-422-4255.

Under the forthcoming vaccine policy, UC will allow narrow medical exemptions and consider requests for accommodations based on disability or religious belief. Look for general implementation guidance and campus-specific guidance by mid-July.

Health protocols

Due to anticipated changes in public health guidance by the California Department of Public Health next week (Tuesday, June 15), we are working on policy updates with regard to events, face coverings and physical distancing requirements. 

Some of you may be expecting to remove your face coverings next week, but not so fast! We have different rules as an employer and must ensure we are complying with workplace requirements from the state. We will provide an update to the community by next Friday (June 18).
 
As for testing, we are making some changes effective Friday (June 18):

Testing update: If you are fully vaccinated

Given increasing data demonstrating the efficacy of vaccinations, fully vaccinated employees and students accessing campus can secure an exemption from the testing requirement by verifying their vaccination status with campus. Individuals can verify vaccine status in the following ways:

  • Option 1 — Starting next Friday (June 18), you can sign a consent form in the Health-e-Messaging portal to provide access to your vaccine status via the California Immunization Registry database (CAIR2). This option will quickly and automatically verify your vaccine status with campus. Additional instructions on how to complete this option will be released on June 18. Please note that this option is available only if you received your vaccine in California.
  • Option 2 — Self-report through the Health-e-Messaging portal. Click on the new blue bar labeled “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information” — vaccine type and date(s), and images (front and back) of your vaccine card. Your self-reported information will be verified at a later date. (If you have already submitted this information, then you should see your COVID-19 vaccination status marked “Compliant” in the “Medical Clearances” section of Health-e-Messaging.)

As there are still examples of vaccinated individuals contracting and potentially spreading COVID-19, we encourage vaccinated individuals to voluntarily test on a routine basis. In addition, there may be occasions when campus might require situation-dependent testing of vaccinated people in response to other data indicating the potential for additional infections.

Testing update: If you are not vaccinated

Beginning June 18, all nonvaccinated employees and students who access campus facilities will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least every four days (roughly two times per week). This revision to the current weekly testing requirement is in alignment with CDC guidance that frequent COVID-19 testing contributes to low case rates in a university setting. 

Help wanted!

Students! Departments have jobs to be filled as we prepare for a return to full, in-person operations. The positions, offering competitive wages and flexible schedules, are available for summer and fall. Apply now via Handshake and/or save the dates for virtual job fairs — Thursday, July 15, and Thursday, Aug. 19 — where you can learn about the wide variety of positions.

The Internship and Career Center, which runs the job fairs, offered this advice:

More information will be available on the ICC job fair webpage by June 18 and promoted throughout campus channels.

Healthy Davis Together

Our university-city collaboration is shifting its free community COVID-19 testing program to include more neighborhood testing locations. On Monday, June 21, when summer school begins in the Davis Joint Unified School District, Healthy Davis Together will open three new community testing sites: Davis High School, Harper Junior High and Emerson Junior High. Two other sites, the Davis Senior Center and Veterans Memorial Center, will close after Friday, June 18, as these facilities will return to providing regular community services. The new school testing facilities will be open to all members of the Davis community. See all the testing sites and their hours here. Walk-ins are welcome or make appointments on the Healthy Davis Together website.

Spring finale

Commencement season comes to a close with undergraduate ceremonies today through Sunday (June 13) and Graduate School of Management ceremonies today and tomorrow. Thank goodness we were able to provide in-person processionals for our undergrads and many of our graduate and professional students. See a story and photos from one of this morning’s processionals.

Though limited in scale, these events cannot help but make us smile for our graduates and for the promise of our university, now and into the future when once again we will be the place to be — for learning and research and personal growth.

This is your last weekly edition of “Checking In With Chancellor May.” Instead, look for monthly letters on three Fridays over the summer: July 16, August 13 and September 17. We will, of course, send out special letters if the need arises.

Please be healthy, be safe and enjoy your summer.

 

Sincerely,

Gary S. May
Chancellor

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