Checking In With Chancellor May: Onward Toward Fall
To the UC Davis Community:
I hope that you’re having a great summer and looking forward to the fall as much as I am. This is often a slow time of year, but I’ve been staying busy getting ready for the academic year and participating in a number of initiatives. You can follow me on Instagram to see what I’ve been up to and what’s on my mind.
In just a few weeks our Davis campus will be fully open for the first time since March of 2020 when we switched to remote learning and adjusted our operations due to the pandemic. Seeing our bike circles busy with traffic and the lecture halls filled with students once again will be a most welcome sight.
Our campus leadership has been working hard to make sure the fall reopening goes as smoothly and safely as possible. Over the past year, I’ve sent out weekly letters that detail the latest news and guidance related to COVID-19 and UC Davis operations. This letter is now being sent monthly, so look for more updates on August 13 and September 17. We’ll also send out special letters if the need arises.
As always, the health and safety of our campus community is our No. 1 priority. The most critical way to stay healthy — and protect others — is by getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The current rise of the Delta variant only reinforces the importance and value of having a fully vaccinated Aggie community.
Yesterday, July 15, the University of California formally enacted its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all students, staff and faculty who are returning to campus in the fall. The deadline for compliance is September 8, which is two weeks before instruction begins in our colleges and schools that operate on the quarter system.
The announcement of this vaccine requirement can be read here, which also contains links to FAQs for students and employees, along with a link to the full policy.
Students, staff and faculty should use the Health-e-Messaging portal to verify their vaccine status. Please watch this “how to” video or visit the Campus Ready vaccine page to learn more about the process.
Face coverings and testing
Regardless of your vaccination status, face coverings are still required inside classrooms, health care settings and for certain other situations on campus.
Both Yolo County and Sacramento County have strongly recommended that vaccinated people wear face coverings indoors when they don’t know if everyone else is vaccinated. This is in addition to the existing requirement for unvaccinated people to wear face coverings indoors at all times. Our campus policy remains unchanged around face covering requirements; look for the latest information in Public Health Policies and Recommendations on the Campus Ready website. We also strongly encourage vaccinated people to wear face coverings indoors while navigating public spaces where the vaccination status of others is unknown.
I’d also like to note that vaccinated people may still choose to wear face coverings under any circumstance. It is their choice and I ask that you please respect their decisions without assuming that someone is vaccinated or not.
Even for those who are fully vaccinated, regular asymptomatic testing is still recommended using our free tests with rapid results. Look for the latest testing information here.
I’d like to commend our students, faculty and staff for following the guidelines over the last 16 months, as each of us was responsible for keeping our community healthy. Let’s continue to encourage healthy behavior and good judgment.
Our Workplace Reimagined Working Group has released new guidelines and resources for Davis campus supervisors and staff to help with flexible work planning, off-site work planning and on-site work planning.
Departments should already be planning for the fall — keeping in mind sustainability, employee experience and advancing the university’s mission. These plans should be submitted to your dean, vice chancellor, vice provost or designee. Every school, college and division has a Flexible Work Liaison designated to help individual managers/supervisors assess and plan for flexible work arrangements.
On Monday, August 2, two new forms will be released for formalizing flexible work arrangements: the Flexible Work Agreement and the Flexible Work Schedule. Some departments may be ready to enter into long-term flexible work arrangements immediately, while others may need more time to better understand on-campus service needs in the fall. Your feedback on fall 2021 planning is always welcome.
We have received questions from the community regarding travel planning and a possible sequestration requirement for students traveling to Davis for the start of fall quarter. Based on the recent fall planning guidance issued by the University of California and our continued effort to implement public health measures to protect our community, any student who is unvaccinated when they arrive in Davis will be required to self-sequester (i.e. separate themselves from others) in their residence for a minimum of seven days and have two negative COVID-19 tests.The self-sequestration requirement is independent of quarantine and isolation guidance and being implemented specifically for the start of fall quarter.
During the self-sequestration period, students should not leave their residences except for food or medical needs, say grocery shopping, picking up a prescription, or getting tested or vaccinated for COVID-19, and are not permitted to attend classes in-person. Students who will need to sequester should plan travel accordingly and, if possible, arrive in Davis at least seven days prior to the first day of classes.
It is generally recommended that international students arrive more than seven days before the start of classes. Unvaccinated international students who have questions about their travel plans should contact their Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) advisors. Please note that we are happy to provide vaccines for all international students who are unvaccinated or who would prefer to receive a different vaccine than received in their home countries.
If you arrive unvaccinated, you will also need to follow campus requirements regarding testing and face coverings to access campus facilities. In addition, students living in Student Housing and Dining Services-managed spaces should follow any supplemental sequestration requirements included as a condition of living in the residence halls and The Green at West Village apartments.
Checking in elsewhere
I know many of you have read or heard that we have suspended the baseball team pending an investigation. We are responding to credible allegations of misconduct primarily related to hazing. A thorough investigation is underway, and we will take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation.
Let me be clear that whenever there are credible allegations of misconduct of any kind, the university will take appropriate steps to review those claims. The university has a posture of zero tolerance with respect to hazing. Our students’ health and well-being is our No. 1 priority.
We also want to highlight our student-athletes’ academic successes, as announced this week by the Big West and Big Sky conferences:
- Big West — A record total of 95 UC Davis student-athletes from 12 sports were named to the 2020-21 Big West Academic All-Conference teams for winter and spring sports, for maintaining a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, among other criteria.
- Big Sky — Twenty-four of our football players earned spots on the 2020-21 Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team, for holding a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade-point average, among other criteria.
Congratulations to all these honorees! I also hope you’ll come see them in action in the fall and beyond. We’re in a golden age of Aggie Athletics and there’s never been a better time to root for our student-athletes and enjoy a game.
Refresh in the fall
Finally, we know students who started at UC Davis during the 2020-21 academic year had a unique experience, and may want a refresher on the foundation they built during last year’s virtual orientation experience.
To that end, we are offering Aggie Refresh to all students who entered UC Davis anytime during the 2020-21 school year. The program is designed to help them explore and navigate our UC Davis campus to find their classrooms and campus resources. It will also help them build in-person connections with other students and feel welcomed to our campus.
You have your choice of two Aggie Refresh sessions on Tuesday, September 21: 2-4:30 p.m. or 5-7:30 p.m. To register and learn more, visit the Aggie Refresh website.
For now, I hope you are enjoying the summer and are looking forward to the new academic year like I am. I can imagine there must be a lot of anticipation for our incoming freshman and transfer students. You spent most of the past year in distance learning and you’ll soon be back to in-person instruction, and all of that happening on a new campus. There’s lots of items to pack, new friends to make and maps to learn for navigating UC Davis.
That can all feel like a lot to process so please reach out if you have any questions about the return to campus. Take care and I’ll see you all very soon.
Gary S. May