Please note: Working remotely is the default mode of operation and all are requested to continue to do so until further notice.
We understand that there has been a lot of messaging about returning to campus, especially around the steps to take before and upon returning to the workplace. While we are requiring training, checking in on the daily symptom check app, and risks assessments, completion of these steps does not mean that you should be coming back to campus. All returns to the workplace must be pre-approved. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please speak with your supervisor.
How does one get approval to return to campus?
If a unit leader determines that an employee’s job duties or a group of employee’s job duties require on-site engagement, the unit leader or dean must clearly identify what activities these are, and submit a unit plan to the Campus Recovery Implementation Team (CRIT).
The CRIT Team will review and the Return Plan Review Committee will approve, or ask additional questions to ensure we are only returning staff to campus who really need to be on-site.
CRIT will notify units whether or not they are approved to return to campus. Employees will be notified by their unit leader or dean when they are approved to return to work on campus.
Additionally, with the understanding that spikes or outbreaks of new COVID-19 infections could occur, all operations will be ready to retreat to conservative phases if safety concerns arise.
Returning to campus: What’s next
When the coronavirus pandemic upended our work and study spaces in March, we transitioned to remote operations and instruction quickly and smoothly. UCI is considered a leader in innovative learning, with esteemed faculty members developing more than 200 online courses over the past decade, and we built on this experience to create an effective remote environment.
On June 8, we began resuming some campus operations as part of a careful transition from remote work. Not all of us will return to campus at the same time. Instead, the process will be done in phases, assessing as we go, building on lessons learned. You will be informed when your unit is about to begin a transition phase.
The phase-in decisions are being made with an abundance of thought and planning. Your health and safety are at the forefront of this process and we remain committed to high-quality instruction, research, health care and public service. We also acknowledge that changes may occur rapidly in the pandemic environment. So, we may adjust our plans if new therapies, techniques and technologies become available, or if stricter limitations are required.
As we ramp up on-campus operations, there are new protocols for staff, faculty, researchers and students coming to campus. These guidelines also apply to the essential workers who continued their important duties on campus throughout the stay-at-home orders. Additionally, UCI's new Working Well™ program provides employees with the tools they need to work well, and as a result, be well. More than just a set of materials designed to help you and your colleagues reduce the spread of illness, the new Working Well™ program is a philosophy, a movement, a state of mind, and an important part of our culture. Thank you for joining us as UCI enters a new era of Working Well™.
All employees who plan to be on-site are required to view a training video titled “Returning to Campus,” which explains what COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted, the steps we’re taking to reduce potential exposure, and how you can protect yourself and others. This training is required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health. Even if you will continue to work remotely, but may need to come to campus occasionally, you must complete this training. Additionally, completing the training is only one step of the process to being approved to return to on-site work. The video is available through the UC Learning Center and can be searched by title using the Find a Course function.
As we carefully and systematically bring employees back to campus, it is important that everyone designated to work on-site take precautions to keep themselves and others well. State and county guidelines indicate that employees should assess themselves each morning before coming into an office where others will be present. To assist employees in this daily assessment, the UCI Working Well Daily Health Check-In application has been developed as part of the new Working Well™ program.
The check-in is available via email and mobile app. If an employee is unable to use either of these methods, he or she should call the UCI Employee Experience Center (EEC) each workday at 949-824-9918 to complete the assessment by phone with an EEC customer service representative.
All employees returning to on-site work must be activated in the app the week before they are scheduled to return to campus. To make this happen, managers/supervisors should send a list with the names and UCInetIDs of all employees returning to on-site work to Stephen Whelan at email@example.com at least three business days before the return date. Please allow 72 hours for activation. Once an employee is activated, he or she will receive an email directly from the EEC explaining how to access the symptom check app.
As UCI conducts the phased-in return to campus, the COVID-19 Logistical Support Team is coordinating the inventory and supply process for sanitation items needed by various departments to meet local requirements. Visit this link for information on how cleaning, sanitation and janitorial supplies will be centrally purchased and distributed.
As part of the State of California Resilience Roadmap, all returning businesses are required to complete a site-specific risk assessment and protection and monitoring plan. This document is to be drafted by the site manager and be specific to individual workspaces. To assist, UCI is releasing guidance from the Office of Research (for research-based workspaces) and Human Resources (for non-research operations). Non-research operations will receive additional information in coming weeks outlining how to complete the required documents, route them for approval and receive support to complete the paperwork.
Physical space assessment
The Campus Logistical Support Team has released thePhysical Space Assessment References GuideandPhysical Space Assessment Checklistto provide guidance and a tool for staff to utilize when conducting a physical distancing space assessment related to returning to work. If, upon completion of the checklist,you determine that your area needs plexiglass or other barriers installed and you would like to determine if the barriers are appropriate, or request an evaluation of your workspace, please complete theplexiglass/barrier formand submit to EH&S. If you have any additional questions please contact EH&S firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize that visitors, contractors, vendors and other non-UCI personnel may need to come to campus. Non-UCI-affiliated individuals coming to campus for essential work must abide by these visitor guidelines.
The below represents the positive COVID-19 case counts reported in the UCI community:
Employees: 20 positive cases, 7 recovered
Students: 21 positive cases, 15 recovered
*In accordance with health privacy laws, we cannot disclose the identity or personal information. We are in coordination with the Orange County Health Care Agency and connecting with those who may have been exposed through contact.
What to expect
Elevators will have signs noting capacity maximums of one, two, three or four people at a time. There are capacity signs at campus elevator banks and coordinating floor graphics so riders know where to stand. Priority should be given to those with disabilities. People who can use stairs are encouraged to do so when possible to alleviate lines at elevators.
In general, stairwells will allow two-way travel – unless there is a high-traffic problem. For crowded stairways, optional signs have been created for building managers to create one-way stairwells. In an emergency evacuation, all stairs may be used to exit.
Physical distancing in workspaces
Physical distancing guidelines (also referred to as social distancing) to stay at least 6 feet from other people remain in place on campus. Physical distance signs, decals and floor graphics will be installed in stages around campus in lobbies and high-traffic areas (stage 1 includes 40 research buildings). Building and department managers can print additional signs as needed from the EH&S website.
We recognize that not every concern or question may be addressed, especially those with uniquely individual circumstances.
We have established the UCI Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Center. Students, staff, faculty, parents, and community partners may call 949-824-9918 or email email@example.com to connect directly for more information.
I want to start today’s update by thanking our dedicated and talented team of experts leading our surge preparedness and response efforts. As mentioned last week, we have several workgroups working day and night to ensure we are well prepared for challenges ahead.
Thank you for the enormous contributions you have made to the university during this difficult period. It is a historic time and you continue to rise to the many challenges we face. You have done so in ways that reveal your commitment to our mission and, no doubt, at times leave you exhausted. We appreciate all you have done and continue to do for UCI.
A total of 19 faculty and resource center director proposals were funded in response to a call aiming to understand: "Are We in this Together? Advancing Equity in the Age of COVID-19." Thirteen individual and team faculty projects were funded from a total of 25 proposals totaling over $500,000 in requested funding, and six resource center projects were selected from 10 submissions that represented more than $80,000 of funding requests. All awards reflect a range of cross-disciplinary collaborations and perspectives to examine the effects of the pandemic on the UCI community, and the project leads will present on their efforts in a forum next spring.
The choice of whether to live on campus may be a difficult one given the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with respect to restrictions involving health and travel. Here is some additional information that may help when making decisions regarding living arrangements for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Today marks 100 days since California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the stay at home executive order. Since early March, UCI Health has made significant progress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I continue to be amazed to see all of the hard work each of you put forward every day and I’d like to reflect on a few milestones we’ve achieved in a short period of time, which would otherwise take months of planning.
Reducing the spread of viruses starts with basic hygiene. Here are preventative measures that you can follow to keep our community healthy.
Stay at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms' length) from other people
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth
When in public, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth.
Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. *It's not the water temperature, but the time you take rubbing the hands (20 seconds).
If you are sick, stay home and do not travel. Call ahead before visiting your doctor or the Student Health Center to arrange a time to be seen.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.