Getting ready for Fall -- some important updates

Bill Maurer
Wednesday September 23 15:48:21 PDT 2020

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

    With the equinox yesterday, the seasons change. I hope everyone is
    doing well after a summer of work, rest, research, and hopefully a
    little rejuvenation. I know it has been a busy time for many of our
    staff members as well as those teaching and getting trained for
    remote instruction and contact tracing. And slowly, some on-campus
    activities are resuming.

    Undergraduates started moving to campus yesterday; we are expecting
    somewhere between 4,000-4,800 undergrads in dorms (in contrast to
    our normal on-campus population of around 13,000). Our enrollment
    numbers are strong. California state resident undergrad enrollment
    is only down about 2%; non-residents are down around 7%. In Social
    Sciences, our enrollments actually look pretty steady so far. And
    asymptomatic testing has begun: grad students were tested over the
    past couple of weeks and all incoming students will be tested upon
    their arrival and weekly thereafter. I am pleased to report there
    have been no positive tests.

    But, of course, we still have to stay on top of this pandemic.
    Physical distancing, continued testing, and the daily health check-in
    will continue. And the UC Office of the President has also mandated
    the flu vaccine for all members of our community.

    There is a new one-stop website for all UC Irvine Covid-related
    information. Please review it!

    Herewith, some important items:

    1) Working Well Daily Health Check In: Please do this. As I wrote
    before, it's irritating, but we're in a historic pandemic. I've
    found it much easier and less crazy-making to use the app, which
    is available here (specific app instructions on page 5). This is
    not about "monitoring you" (panopticon-style) but rather about
    helping the campus get a handle on what level of compliance will
    help us manage return-to-campus planning and to get on top of any
    possible outbreaks.

    2) Testing of grad students: Again, please do this. And again, while
    the results clearly affect the individual who receives them, this
    effort is also about finding the level of compliance that will help
    us deal with outbreaks. Language in some campus communications about
    "consequences" for lack of compliance is overblown. Grad students:
    if anyone gives you a hard time about anything related to testing,
    please let me know. But: please get tested. [Faculty and staff:
    There will be updates soon on asymptomatic testing for us, as well.]

    3) Flu vaccine: Please get it. I hate shots. I got mine. It hurt
    for a second and then it was over. After you get yours, you can
    respond to the prompt you will have received from the Working Well
    app or to the email you should have received today.

    4) Remote everything: We continue strongly to encourage working
    from home wherever possible. If you intend to come to campus please
    complete the returning to campus online training and let your
    department manager know when you intend to be in the buildings so
    we can maintain < 30% occupancy at any given time. If you would
    like authorization to resume research activities on site, please
    contact Associate Dean McBride to apply.

    5) Some teaching updates: Working with our China specialists and
    others in the campus leadership, I'm pleased to report that there
    will be some common guidance for helping our students working from
    "countries with different laws" (as Vice Provost Michael Dennin
    rather judiciously puts it in a communication we'll receive soon)
    regarding course content and VPN access. Associate Dean Castellanos
    will be forwarding this information to those teaching in the Fall
    and Winter. She will also be providing other teaching resources as
    we face the Fall. Resources for remote teaching live at, and

    6) Faculty Covid-related leaves: There are currently two new leave
    policies for faculty members who may need to take a full or partial
    leave due to Covid and/or dependent care responsibilities impacted
    by Covid. Chairs and department managers were provided further
    information today on these policies. (A third policy, for Winter,
    Spring, and beyond, is also in the works). There are nuances to
    these, so please discuss with your chair, department manager, or
    contact Natalie Cook to talk about your options.

    7) New faculty! We welcome 8 new faculty members this year! You may
    read about them and watch them talk about their work in short videos
    here. Please join me in extending them a hearty welcome. We will
    celebrate them at our annual Zotoberfest, to be held virtually on
    Oct 8. Stay tuned for details.

    8) And lots of events! The School is hosting or co-hosting a ton
    of exciting events this Fall. From a series on the 1619 Project to
    a conference spotlighting the Census Regional Data Center, celebrations
    of the Latinx experience, and of course the coming election, our
    colleagues have been busy putting together some terrific workshops,
    colloquia and training opportunities. As always, the full calendar
    of events is at
    and you can always subscribe to our shared school Google calendar
    to have all events delivered straight to your smartphone.

    I'll be resuming regular updates as the Fall commences, but hopefully
    not at the same frequency as the Spring. Stay safe, take care of
    yourselves, and I'll see you in all the virtual spaces that have
    helped us keep our School of Social Sciences spirit alive and well!