whirlwind of a week

Bill Maurer
Tuesday July 14 15:02:42 PDT 2020

    Dear social sciences grad students, lecturers, faculty, staff and researchers,

    What a whirlwind week and a half! I had actually composed a message for
    Monday, but things have been moving and changing so fast on a number of
    fronts I held it til today.

    1) International students: The Trump administration has rescinded its
    one-week old policy that would have barred international students from
    remaining in the country if their universities offered their curricula
    wholly online. This is a victory, and a relief. Meanwhile, of course,
    the stress that this has caused so many of our international students and
    broader community is incalculable. Given that the situation for incoming
    students is still up in the air, we can't rest easily just yet. Still,
    thank you to everyone for your efforts to address this situation,
    and particular thanks to our graduate affairs office (Associate Dean
    Mike McBride, Jennifer Gerson, Gianna Virgilio and Matt Arias) for
    all your work this past week. We also owe Vice Provost Hayes and her
    hastily assembled International Student Workgroup a huge thanks for
    the administrative hustle it required on so many levels to develop
    contingency plans.

    2) New closures, and Covid cases on the rise: Last week the interim
    Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Research, and the Vice Chancellor
    for Health Affairs separately reminded the campus that the situation
    in Orange County is increasingly concerning, enjoining us all to
    redouble our efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Vice Chancellor
    Khargonekar was explicit about the chances that if the situation worsens,
    the advances we have made with Phase 2 research reopening might need
    to be reversed. And yesterday, the Governor announced a roll back of
    recent reopenings.

    What does this mean for us? As a School, our default remains working
    remotely to the extent possible. If you are coming to campus even for
    short visits, please complete the online training, sign up for the daily
    symptom check, inform your department manager, maintain social distancing,
    use face coverings and wash your hands frequently.

    But: Please also be ready to roll back your campus activities if it comes
    to that. For those who are commencing approved research activities on
    campus, make sure you have a plan in case you have to wrap it up quickly
    and vacate your labs or offices.

    3) Strong likelihood of remote instruction continuing into the Winter
    quarter: Well, there, I said it. We have to begin to face the reality
    that we will be dealing with the impact of the pandemic for some time
    to come. I will be providing the chairs and managers with additional
    information on planning for Winter, so that we can prepare for most
    instruction to be delivered online or via a hybrid model. Mike Dennin's
    office continues to provide additional teaching resources on the DTEI
    website. If you are not teaching in the Fall but will be in the Winter,
    you might want to start perusing those materials.

    I'll try to continue to minimize my messages to everyone, but I know
    each week brings new developments and new anxieties. Always feel free
    to reach out!