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Space Prioritization for the 2020-21 AY

Re: Space Prioritization for the 2020-21 AY
To: All staff and faculty
Sept. 8, 2020
 
Dear Campus Colleagues,
 
We are frequently asked when faculty and staff will be able to return to their regular workplaces. Reopening will depend on improvement in public health conditions as determined by the state and local authorities, as described on a county-wide basis under the state’s staging criteria (color coded from worst to best as Purple, Red, Orange and Yellow).
 
We are building the infrastructure we need to test all of our workers and students who will use campus facilities as well as to monitor the allowed density of occupants for each building. Thus, we will be re-populating our buildings in phases, both to align with conditions in the county and our ability to meet the state’s criteria.
 
For the foreseeable future, we ask that all activities that can be done remotely continue to be done remotely.
 
Campus Space Utilization Categories
 
We are working to increase access to the campus according to the following sequence of space categories, tied to the latest state categorization scheme.
 
Category I (Purple status)
During periods of remote instruction, faculty may schedule access to designated classrooms and labs to prepare and record material for remote instruction. They may also conduct research under approved essential research protocols.
 
Category II (Purple & Red status)
Faculty whose research or scholarship can be conducted only on campus may gain access to the facilities needed to support their research (e.g., equipment, labs, organisms, confidential data, private-access census data, HIPAA data, etc.) through approved research ramp-up plans. Category II status does not include research that can be done off campus (e.g., writing, planning experiments). Faculty can request access by submitting a research ramp-up plan to the interim vice chancellor for research.
 
Category III (Orange & Yellow status)
Category III provides access for those faculty members, post-docs, teaching assistants, students and staff whose workplaces and offices provide a space to conduct their work without interruptions. Access may be regulated depending on occupancy limits for specific buildings as well as our testing capacity. The approval process is in development. Department chairs and/or managers will be the primary points of contact.
 
Category IV (No color status)
All campus space open with no restrictions on access.
 
As health conditions continue to improve, we intend to increase our flexibility in using space on campus. However, we must ensure that the density within the buildings continues to meet public health guidelines outlined in the stages. The Red status allows for limited operations in various “sectors.” The use of office space is still limited to only “essential” activities consistent with the requirements established by the State. Orange status provides greater opportunity for increased utilization of private office space. Occupancy limitations associated with physical distancing requirements and any specific State requirement will require careful assessment of each facility’s utilization.
 
Current Space Status at UC Merced
 
As of today, Merced is in the Purple status and thus we provide access to Category I and II spaces. Technically, Purple does allow the campus to provide access to private offices to support remote instruction. However, at this time we are unable to provide access to this space for this purpose. As our testing capacity increases, we will communicate how additional space will be opened up to support remote instruction in private offices. In the interim, if extenuating circumstances arise exceptions can be requested.
 
As always, UC Merced resources, policies and communications about COVID-19 planning and ramp-up to fall semester research, work and instruction can be found at the Campus Ready site.
 
Best,
 
Gregg Camfield
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
 
Andrew Boyd
Chief Resilience Officer