Re: Planning for Fall
To: All faculty, staff and students
July 2, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Throughout this pandemic, we have assured you that the health of our community has been at the center of our planning for fall, and that remains just as true today. We have been actively monitoring the situation both locally and across the state and collaborating with the Merced County Department of Public Health in our ongoing planning efforts.
Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again, across the country, in California and here in Merced. Hospitals in the San Joaquin Valley have limited capacity and the weekly average reproductive number (R0) regionally has remained above 1.0, which indicates increasing transmission of the virus.
On Wednesday, July 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 California counties, including Merced, to again halt many indoor operations , including restaurant seating and bars. In preparation for the holiday weekend, access to many state beaches is being restricted as well, and others will have no parking, to deter potential beachgoers.
These conditions, along with the governor’s new order, are factors we are weighing heavily when considering how we begin the fall 2020 semester.
We want to reassure everyone that our commitment is to the well-being of our faculty, students and staff. Leadership has commissioned numerous teams to analyze and prepare the campus for the expected public health challenges led by Dr. Thelma Hurd, our director of medical education, and includes a wide range of UC Merced’s faculty experts. Our fall 2020 plan remains flexible, allowing us to adapt to changing pandemic conditions, state orders and new data. Given the worsening conditions, we may need to exercise a more conservative approach to teaching, learning and living on campus. We expect to share more detailed updates next week.
Enjoy the holiday weekend with loved ones, and please do your part to stay healthy for yourself and our community.
Chief Resilience Officer