I write to share that we will proceed with the plan to resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 31. The decision to proceed was based on broad consultation with the community, including discussions with Academic Senate leadership, student government leadership, campus health leadership, and university administrators.
Since the winter quarter began, we have used this time to extensively test our population and assess our environment. We have seen a recent decline in the Omicron surge, in both case counts and positivity rate, and the models predict that this will continue.
In addition, the resources that help us manage on-campus cases are in a strong position. This includes our outstanding and dedicated contact tracing team, the availability of on-campus isolation/quarantine beds, on-campus testing for all members of our community, and the extraordinary commitment of our faculty and staff. As per recent public health advice, we have acquired increased supplies of appropriate masks. Our robust safety measures and protocols will continue to help manage campus public health upon the return to in-person instruction. Please remember to consult UCI Forward for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information and resources.
Given the high value we all place on in-person instruction, it is vitally important that each one of us continue to adhere to the public health measures and protocols put in place. This includes completing the daily symptom checker, staying home if sick, testing when required, following campus executive directives, and receiving a booster dose of the COVID vaccination if you are eligible. Eligible individuals must upload vaccine verifications by January 31, to remain compliant with the university’s vaccination requirement. Our ability to safely remain in person depends on your full cooperation.
As we return to in-person instruction and we continue to manage COVID infections among students, staff and faculty, we must recognize that grace and flexibility will be important in the days ahead. Members of our community may need to be away from campus to recuperate, quarantine or care for others. I ask for compassion and understanding in managing this reality. This has been a difficult time. I am grateful for the continued resilience of the members of our community.
Hal Stern Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics