Phase 3 Research Transitioning

Bill Maurer
Thursday April 1 15:57:03 PDT 2021

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

    You will have seen Vice Chancellor Khargonekar's email regarding
    Phase 3 Research Transitioning, beginning April 5. I know the
    guidance is still confusing as we prepare for Orange County to enter
    the state's "orange tier," but things are moving in the right
    direction. At the same time, the campus and the state will continue
    to require adherence to the CDC's guidance and other public health
    directives. What this means for us is:

    1) There will still be a process to apply for approval to return
    to campus to conduct research activities. Associate Dean McBride
    will send more information shortly, along with a new Google form
    to complete in order to apply to return to campus for research

    2) Phase 3 means no more strict occupancy limits, but six feet of
    distance between people and the use of masks/face coverings is still
    required for all on-campus activities, including research.  I am
    leaving it up to individual departments to decide whether they still
    want to maintain a shared calendar in order for people to plan time
    in their offices/labs so as to minimize interaction. Your department
    manager will let you know if you should be continuing to use your
    department's shared calendar.

    3) We submitted a number of questions to the campus Environmental
    Health and Safety unit about our buildings' air handling equipment
    in order to inform you of whether air exchange and flow through the
    buildings will still meet safety standards given the expected
    increase in occupancy. We are awaiting answers--and I or Allison
    Marks will update you as soon as we have them. A huge thanks to
    Allison for staying on this topic for us.

    4) The travel restrictions are being lifted, BUT please do not plan
    any research-related travel just yet, until I am able to provide
    you with more guidance on this matter. Soon, soon!

    It's exciting to be able to begin the approval process for more
    research to take place in our facilities, but I want to remind
    everyone that continued vigilance is still crucial to overcoming
    this pandemic. I don't need to cite statistics or send links to
    articles about the rapidly changing situation. My default recommendation
    is still: If you don't absolutely need to be using the campus
    buildings to do your work, then please don't, so that those who
    must be on-site can do so as safely as possible.

    Once again, thank you all for your patience and your diligence as
    we get ready for the the next phase of our gradual return to campus.
    And please get vaccinated if you have not done so already!