As we move into a new academic year, much of what we will face is uncharted territory because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, UC Merced is a resilient community that we know will rise to the challenge. Staying the course requires a commitment from all of us to do our part to keep the community healthy and safe. Together, we will uphold UC Merced’s mission to excel in research, teaching and service, while demonstrating the concern and care for one another that have been the hallmarks of our campus.
Fall Semester On Schedule. In June we began ramping up our return to campus research and other campus operations. You will be notified when your unit will begin to transition in this phase. We will continue this process over the summer as we work toward the fall semester. Beginning on August 26, our campus will open on schedule with a predominantly remote model for instruction. While plans are subject to change based on recommendations from local and state public health officials, as of July 21, the decision has been made to make nearly all courses remote for at least the first four weeks of the semester, with the exception of graduate research which can be performed under strict health and safety protocols. All courses have now been updated in the course schedule and university adminstrators will keep students and the campus community apprised of any changes.
Your Safety is our Priority. The phase-in decisions are being made with an abundance of thought and planning. Your health and safety are at the forefront of this process. We also acknowledge that changes may occur rapidly in the pandemic environment. So, we may adjust our plans if new therapies, techniques and technologies become available, or if stricter limitations are required. As we ramp up to reopening our physical campus, there are new protocols for staff, faculty, researchers and students coming to campus. These guidelines also apply to the essential workers who continued their important duties on campus throughout the stay-at-home orders.
Support Continues for Hybrid Modality. For faculty, staff, and students who continue to work, teach, and learn in a remote environment for the fall semester, we will continue to provide resources through our virtual portal, making access to websites and resources readily available. The Educational Continuity site will remain a source of information for students and faculty. Before the semester begins, students will be notified about whether their classes will be held online or on campus.
In compliance with the California Department of Public Health, all individuals on UC Merced property are required to wear face coverings to reduce possible exposure and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please read UC Merced’s policy for details, which include exceptions to the requirement, such as when an individual is alone in a private office or in their campus residence. Cloth face coverings, non-medical masks and face shields are available at no charge (just show a CatCard) 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Classroom and Office Building (COB1) box office.
Individuals must follow all guidance provided by the University regarding cleaning and disinfection of their personal workspace and/or dorm room.
As we ready our spaces for certain departments to return to onsite operations, each returning department will need to examine their work environment and create a worksite plan that meets current public health and Merced County guidelines before employees who’ve been working remotely may gradually return to campus. Click here to view the checklist and once you have ensured that all requirements have been satisfied, submit your form digitally via this online form for review/approval and be sure to share the worksite plan with the employees in your group.
Every day, and before reporting to campus, individuals must conduct a symptom survey. If you have any symptoms, stay home, report your status to the COVID Response Center, and inform your supervisor. If you live on campus, stay in your dorm, report your status to the COVID Response Center, and inform your RA. Go here for further guidance.
Physical Distancing: All individuals must maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, except for those with whom they share a primary residence.
Wash Your Hands: Individuals should wash their hands several times a day, especially after being in a public place and touching an item or surface that was likely touched by others. Hand sanitizer is available from vending machines at five locations on campus (Kolligian Library, Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center, The Pavilion, Science and Engineering 2, Administration Building). Use a CatCard to dispense a 4-ounce container.
If You Are Sick, Stay Home: Individuals may not enter University facilities if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or feel unwell, and should immediately contact their supervisor to approve remote work or to approve the use of available leave.
Limits on Campus Visitors: All non-essential meetings, events or visits should be canceled or postponed unless they can be held online.
Limits on Large Gatherings: Individuals should not congregate on University property or in University facilities, including indoor and outdoor common areas and private rooms and offices, except when attending University sponsored and controlled events such as classes and lectures, and must maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. This includes classrooms, dining facilities, offices and conference rooms, and common areas such as kitchens, breakrooms, restrooms, patios and courtyards.
All individuals must follow all facility-specific guidance provided by the University when entering or present in University facilities, in addition to these Universal Requirements. The facility-specific guidance controls if there is a conflict with these Universal Requirements.
Please read the full interim policy on Universal Requirements for Physical Mitigation and Reduction of the Transmission of COVID-19. Individuals who witness violations of this policy may make a report to their supervisor or by email to UC Merced’s Emergency Management group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UC Merced has prepared a COVID-19 Prevention Plan for the Fall 2020 semester.
Standardization of university-wide communications will clarify expectations for faculty, staff, students and visitors. As UC Merced ramps up to reopening our physical campus, POPD has developed a comprehensive signage program that responds to state and local requirements. Please do not adjust or modify the building signage that has been posted.
We have additionally developed several digital signs and posters available to print that will provide visual cues in your worksite to help minimize potential exposure to COVID-19. These signs may be printed and posted as needed as a part of your area worksite re-occupancy plan.