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.

Feb. 28 - Masking guidance, 2022 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

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cactus wrens at the UCI Ecological Preserve.

Something catches the attention of a pair of aligned cactus wrens at the UCI Ecological Preserve. Photo by Ian Parker


UCI masking guidance is not changing at this time

Universal masking, regardless of vaccination status, is required for anyone who is indoors in a public space on university-controlled property. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its criteria for identifying COVID-19 risk in communities, impacting mask guidance. In addition to CDC guidance, UCI follows California Department of Public Health, Orange County Health Care Agency and Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards guidance and regulations, which we expect to see updated as a result of the recent CDC change. UCI will evaluate state and local guidance as they are updated and will announce when updates to campus requirements are implemented. The current policy is detailed in the campus Executive Directive on Face Coverings and UCI Environmental Health & Safety’s Face Coverings guidance. For more information, see the EHS FAQ. Direct questions to safety@uci.edu.

2022 COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave program announced

All campus employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of 2022 Emergency Paid Sick Leave through Sept. 30, the UC Office of the President announced. The program went into effect Feb. 19, but hours can be used retroactively to Jan. 1 for qualifying events. The EPSL is for full-time employees, and a prorated amount is available for part-time workers. Employees who did not use all of their EPSL in 2021 may use their remaining hours from last year through Sept. 30. To see a chart detailing qualifying situations, FAQs and the EPSL request form:
For staff: UCI's COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Web Page
For faculty and other academic appointees: https://ap.uci.edu/2022-emergency-paid-sick-leave-epsl/

Questions and requests for support:
For staff: UCI Employee Experience Center at eec@uci.edu or 949-824-0500 Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For faculty and other academic appointees: Academic Personnel at acadpers@uci.edu.

‘Understanding the Russia-Ukraine Crisis’ recordings available

On Friday, UCI social scientists offered expert perspectives on the Russia-Ukraine crisis:

  • Jeffrey Kopstein, political science professor, on politics and history of Russia and Ukraine, authoritarianism, NATO and the transatlantic alliance and European Union policy
  • Erin Lockwood, political science assistant professor, on economic sanctions, financial sanctions/financial infrastructure and the prospect of cutting off Russian access to the SWIFT financial communications system
  • David Meyer, sociology professor, on the difficulties and importance of trying to promote human rights and democracy from abroad, and on the prospects of a powerful anti-war movement in Russia
  • Heidi Hardt, political science associate professor, on Russia's demands, NATO’s response and international law

Video and podcast recordings of the discussion are now available.

New nursing school dean fascinated by intersection of medical and spiritual care

Mark Lazenby grew up as “a spiritual kid” in Blythe, Calif., before becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and join a college faculty as an associate professor of philosophy on the East Coast. But after a family tragedy brought Lazenby back home in 2004, the career path changed for the new dean of the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing.

Taylor Fagins gets the ‘American Idol’ Golden Ticket to Hollywood

On the “American Idol” season 20 auditions premiere episode Sunday night, Taylor Fagins, a 2017 drama alum, wowed judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. After singing his moving song “we need more,” which he dedicated to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless others who have died through violence, Fagins got three yeses from the judges to go to Hollywood and compete to become the next American Idol. Longtime host Ryan Seacrest called it  “one of the most powerful moments in ‘Idol’ history.” Fagins spoke with Claire Trevor School of the Arts in 2020 about the making of “we need more.”

Princeton Review survey of UCI undergrads

Reminder: Princeton Review survey deadline is Friday

Undergraduate student insights on academics, student life, campus organizations, professor/student interaction, housing, dining and more provide invaluable guidance for college-bound students searching for their best-fit schools. Complete The Princeton Review’s anonymous online survey about your experiences at UCI, and you will be automatically entered in a $50 Amazon gift-card giveaway. Important links:

Complete details and official rules of the giveaway
Gift card terms and conditions
The Princeton Review’s privacy policy


California to lift school mask mandate after March 11

As reported in UCI News and Announcements above, campus masking guidance is not changing at this time. Indoor masking will no longer be mandatory at California K-12 schools and childcare facilities after March 11, state officials announced today. They added that masks will be strongly recommended, but no longer required, for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings starting Tuesday.

Poll shows pandemic fears are fading along with omicron

As coronavirus pandemic case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths continue to plummet, fewer Americans now than in January expressed concern that they will be infected after the rise and fall of the wildly contagious virus variant, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 24% said they were “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or a family member contracting COVID-19, down from 36% in both December and January, when omicron caused a massive spike in infections and taxed public health systems. 

What is long COVID? Current understanding about risks, symptoms and recovery

The condition known as long COVID continues to frustrate its sufferers, baffle scientists and alarm people who are concerned about being infected by the coronavirus. Technically known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, PASC is also referred to colloquially as “long-haul COVID,” “long-term COVID,” “post-COVID conditions” and “post-COVID syndrome,” among other names. Understanding PASC at the chemical level remains elusive, experts say.


Pathway to Retirement
Wednesday, 2 p.m. (sponsored by Human Resources)

Graduate Student Mixer
Wednesday, 5 p.m. (sponsored by UCI DREAM Center)

UCI Winter Jazz Concert
Wednesday, 8 p.m. (sponsored by Claire Trevor School of the Arts)

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.

Facebook, Apple and Other Tech Giants Face Rising Pressure Over Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 27
Cited: David Kaye, clinical professor of law, director, International Justice Clinic, and co-director, Fair Elections and Free Speech Center

CDC: Many healthy Americans can take a break from masks

AP, Feb. 25
Cited: Andrew Noymer, associate professor of public health

‘They were fooled by Putin’: Chinese historians speak out against Russian invasion

The Guardian, Feb. 27
Cited: Jeff Wasserstrom, Chancellor’s Professor of history


UCI's Instagram post features a puppy

Here’s some puppy love for your feed, just because. Credit: Instagram/@ucirvine

#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.


14 new campus cases

From Friday through Sunday, UCI recorded 14 new cases of COVID-19: 12 students and two employees. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Upload your vaccine and booster records

Student Record Upload

Employee Record Upload

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.