UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Oct. 13 - Music festival safety, environmental health disparities

Section 1

Education does not stop, it flows throughout one’s lifetime, like this rain pool that formed near the Continuing Education building recently.

Education does not stop, it flows throughout one’s lifetime, like this rain pool that formed near the Continuing Education building. Photo by Ian Parker


Each day, a UCI expert will answer one of your questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.

Today’s question is answered by Andrew Noymer, associate professor of population health and disease prevention:

(Question comes via The Washington Post): 

Are music festivals too risky? Some friends and I have plans to attend a music festival that requires proof of vaccination or a negative test. Everyone in our group is fully vaccinated, and we intend to avoid indoor spaces completely. We plan to do our best to stay out of the most crowded parts, i.e. mosh pits, and wear N95 masks whenever social distancing is not possible.

Given all of the parameters this person laid out, they have my blessing to go to the music festival. However, my approval is not the same as a watertight guarantee that they won't get a breakthrough case. There are no absolutely watertight guarantees right now given where transmission is at in most of the country. Even vaccinated, you will want to take the typical pandemic precautions to protect yourself while you travel: mask-wearing and being mindful about crowds in places such as hotel lobbies and airports. If you're eligible to get a vaccine booster shot, I recommend doing that ahead of the festival. If you live with an elderly person, you should consider doing an at-home test five days after getting back from the music festival just for an abundance of caution, or a PCR test if the at-home tests are not available.


Correction: The people in a 1963 photo that appeared in Monday’s UCI Digest were misidentified as descendants of the Gabrielino tribe. Thanks to the keen eye of our academic readership, we have learned that the photo actually depicts Chief Clarence Lobo of the Acjachemen/Juaneño tribe, along with his wife, Bess, and son. The UCI digital archives photo description will also be corrected.

UCI Public Health launches Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research

Public health professors Jun Wu and Alana M.W. LeBrón will direct the Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research, which is dedicated to addressing environmental justice through community-based research and promotion of equitable environmental health policies locally and nationally. Established as a result of the UCI Black Thriving Initiative Faculty Cluster Hiring Program outcome, the CEHDR will build upon the university’s ongoing efforts to expand the base of scholarship focused on the experiences of black, African American and Caribbean communities as they relate to environmental justice.


U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will reopen for fully vaccinated

Beginning in November, the U.S. will allow nonessential travelers to enter the country along the long land borders it shares with its two neighbors. Inbound nonessential travelers will have to prove they are fully vaccinated, along with other more standard paperwork required for legal entry. Essential travelers are currently allowed to enter the U.S. without having been vaccinated, but the Biden administration says vaccinations will be required across the board starting in January. 

WHO announces new team to study novel coronavirus origins

About 700 people applied for a spot on the new World Health Organization team, which includes specialists in multiple fields to satisfy those who believe the virus came from a lab in China. “The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last.”

Hawaii will soon encourage tourists to return: governor

With the pandemic showing signs of slowing in Hawaii, Gov. David Ige is expected to make an official announcement within the next two weeks encouraging tourists to return to the Aloha State. Hawaii last week became the first state to have 90% of its eligible residents receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “As we see trends continue, and we are seeing lower and lower cases counts, we definitely will be inviting tourists back, and it’s just a matter of how we would do that,” Ige says in an interview (video).


LXi Conference
Friday, 10 a.m. (sponsored by Paul Merage School of Business)

Staff Appreciation Week 2021 (sponsored by Human Resources):

Campus Fun Friday – games in the park
Friday, 11 a.m.

UCI Health presents the Irvine Barclay Theatre Jazz Concert
Friday, 11 a.m.

The Futures of Higher Education Festival (sponsored by Division of Undergraduate Education):

The Shifting View of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Friday, noon

“Dear Professor” – A Syllabus Competition + Student/Professor Open Discussion
Friday, 1:50 p.m.

The Return to Reinvigorated Learning
Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Read to Create: a workshop with Monica Youn and Krystal Tribbett featuring the poetry of Tracy K. Smith
Friday, noon (sponsored by UCI Illuminations)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.

Weather is warming, surf is up – is it safe to go to the beach?

Orange County Register, Oct. 12
Cited: Matthew Bracken, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology

Facing floods and fires, undocumented immigrants have nowhere to turn for help

Grist, Oct. 12
Cited: Michael Méndez, assistant professor of urban planning and public policy

This claim from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen isn’t the smoking gun people think it is

BGR, Oct. 11
Cited: Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science


Not reads: Hello stranger! Welcome to UCI! I’m so happy you’re here now. I’m excited to see all the grand things you’ll do. I know this transition may be intimidating, but know that everyone wants to help you succeed! I’m sending you love and I support you in all your endeavors. From, your friend

Hello stranger! Welcome to UCI! I’m so happy you’re here now. I’m excited to see all the grand things you’ll do. I know this transition may be intimidating, but know that everyone wants to help you succeed! I’m sending you love and I support you in all your endeavors. From, your friend

Alltruism (“all true”) is a new project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts. The initiative was part of The Alltruism Project, and more letters can be found on Instagram.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


3 new campus cases

Three students were reported positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

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Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.