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Return to Tier 1 Purple Status

Re: Return to Tier 1 Purple Status
To: All campus
Nov. 18, 2020
To the Campus Community,
The public health in Merced County has continued to degrade, with the return to Tier 1/ Purple status due to consecutive weeks of high case rates of COVID-19. While there will be a number of limitations imposed on our campus and community, please remember that these mitigations are designed to help limit further transmission of COVID-19. Over the next few weeks, our actions and behaviors will define how well we as a campus, community and state respond the risks associated with the pandemic.
County Risk Level
With the return to Tier 1, there are specific limitations to what activities we can hold on campus. Specifically on campus:
  • Research will continue with safeguards and protocols already in place. Use of offices is limited only to research activities that must be performed on campus.
  • Academic use of space, anticipated to expand under Tier 2 status, is restricted to those that have a legitimate need for physical access to support instruction or research. We will continue to allow applications of office use to be submitted, but approval will not be granted until the county returns to Tier 2 status.
  • Numerous services such as the library, dining and other operations must comply with the Tier 1 requirements which in general limit activities to “grab and go” types of interactions.
  • Consistent with Tier 2, visitors are limited to essential activities. Individuals not engaged in educational or research activity, or providing direct support, are not permitted on campus at this time.
  • Restaurants are open only for outdoor seating with modifications
  • Houses of worship are open only for outdoor services.
  • Hair salons and shops are open with modifications.
Travel Advisory
Also, the state Department of Public Health has issued a pre-Thanksgiving advisory about non-essential travel. Among other guidance, the state recommends that anyone returning to California from holiday travel self-quarantine for 14 days.
UC Merced has also issued guidance for the holiday. As a reminder:
If you visit family and friends, please employ best practices such as:
  • minimizing the size of the engagement
  • engage outdoors
  • physically distance
  • wash hands frequently
  • utilize a face covering
All residential students who traveled will be required to take two additional COVID-19 tests on campus, and we will host a one-day employee testing site on campus as well. When we return from Thanksgiving break, all courses will be offered remotely.
For those intending to travel using UC Merced resources or for campus-approved research or educational purposes, please review the approval process and seek essential travel approval beforehand.
Any plan to travel to high-risk (CDC Level 3) countries must be submitted in writing to Risk Services for approval by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Gregg Camfield. Check the CDC for latest information before submitting plans.
Our ask of the campus community is to continue to do your part in making wise choices that keep the health and welfare of yourself, family, friends and community as a top priority. Be ambassadors of positive behavior and encourage others to remain diligent as we move into the winter months. Thank you for all of your efforts to maintain the health of our campus and community.
Andrew Boyd
Chief Resilience Officer