Frequently Asked Questions
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UCI continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This FAQ page is being regularly updated to reflect campus operations as well as the latest advice and information from county, state and federal authorities.
For specific questions and concerns, consider the following FAQs that are hosted by the listed departments:
- Human Resources
- International Center
- Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
How can I support UCI?
Many have asked, “How can I support UCI?” as we navigate this uncertain time. The best way is to support the UCI Emergency Response Fund, which provides the university with the flexibility to respond to the most pressing and emerging needs.
Returning to Campus
Required safety training
For the health and safety of the entire University, all employees, including all essential and employees still working on campus, must take “Returning to Campus” training online before reporting to their workstations on campus. This training is required by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health and addresses what COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted, the steps the University has taken to reduce potential exposures, and what you can do to protect yourself and others in the workplace. As employees return to campus, it is important to understand that your health and safety is a priority.
To start the course, log into UCLC here: www.uclc.uci.edu
Once on the UCLC home page, click on the orange box titled “Find A Course”, and search by title: “Returning to Campus”. When in UCLC, search using key words:
- Returning to Campus
Measures to control the spread
The best ways to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus are through frequent hand washing, use of face coverings, physical distancing, self-screening for symptoms, viral testing for those with symptoms, and contact tracing of individuals testing positive. As we return to campus:
- We will expect individuals to screen themselves for symptoms each day before coming to campus. Human Resources is providing easy-to-use software for your desktop or mobile device, along with a dedicated phone number, to facilitate this symptom check. As individuals return to campus, they will receive a check-in email or a mobile app notification. This process is already working well at our medical center, and you are expected to use the screening software before reporting to your workplace.
- We are enhancing custodial services with the hiring of additional workers and more frequent cleaning schedules.
- Supplies including hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, paper towels, disposable gloves, and washable face masks will be provided centrally to returning groups.
- Signs and other reminders encouraging physical distancing will be common.
- We will wear face coverings while in campus buildings and in outdoor campus spaces where it is not possible to ensure physical distancing, in accordance with orders from the Orange County Health Agency. Facial coverings are not required for those unable to wear them for health or other reasons, as set forth in the Orange County orders. Remember that we wear masks to protect each other.
Each day before coming to campus, students, faculty and staff are expected to screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. Human Resources is providing easy-to-use software for desktop computers or mobile devices, along with a dedicated phone number, to facilitate this symptom check. As individuals return to campus, they will receive a screening check-in email or a mobile app notification. This process is already working well at UCI Medical Center, and we expect everyone to use the screening software daily in consideration of others.
Employees must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19. Any employee exhibiting any symptoms must have had evaluation and clearance by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) to be eligible to report to work.
State and county guidelines indicate that employees should assess themselves each morning PRIOR to coming into an office where others will be present. To assist employees in their daily assessment, the UCI Working Well Daily Health Check-In application has been developed as part of the new Working Well program.
Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace are expected to conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. Employees must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19. Any employee exhibiting any symptoms must have had evaluation and clearance by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) to be eligible to report to work.
At this time, these symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Fever (99F+)
- Muscle aches
- Cough (new)
- Shortness of breath (new)
- Unexpected fatigue
- Sore Throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea
- Other cold symptoms
If employees have any symptoms, they will be advised to stay home, tell their supervisor they will not be coming to work and to contact the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.
In compliance with the California Department of Public Health, all individuals on UCI-controlled property are required to wear face coverings to reduce possible exposure and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the UCI community. Please read UCI’s Executive Directive for details, including permitted exceptions. Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is offering face coverings to campus employees.
Students returning to campus will be issued three washable masks per quarter. Although daily machine washing is recommended, the masks can also be cleaned with soap and water in a sink.
In labs where people are working with flammable materials they should not wear cloth face coverings and instead should wear ASTM Level 1 surgical masks. In some UCI locations, such as the UCI Health System (including UCI Medical Center, Gottschalk Plaza, and other UCI Health clinics) or labs with hazardous or flammable materials, stricter face-covering or PPE requirements may apply.
Bathrooms and other common spaces
Cleaning and disinfecting supplies
As UCI continues to prepare for the gradual phase-in return to campus, the COVID-19 Logistical Support Team has been established to coordinate inventory and supply-chain processes for items needed to support the work being done by various departments to ensure local requirements are met as we return to campus.
To avoid competing with ourselves in procuring common commodities, the following supplies will be purchased centrally and redistributed to the areas returning to campus:
- Disinfectant Spray
- Disposable Gloves
- Paper Towels
- Sanitizing Wipes (limited supply for areas with shared computers)
- Washable Face Coverings
The transition to phase 2 for research activities is underway. Point-persons from each department/unit that have received authorization to return to campus will need to complete the following form to help coordinate logistics for the above items: Supplies Needed to Return to Campus.
Wall-mounted and free-standing hand sanitizer dispensers are being ordered with the goal of being placed at building entrances, common areas, and classroom spaces. As there is considerable lead time on procuring and installing these dispensers, some groups will receive bottles of alcohol-based sanitizers while dispensers are being installed.
We understand that some workplaces may require physical barriers such as plexiglass or other impermeable dividers or partitions to help physically separate people. Please email your request to LogisticalSupportTeam@uci.edu so an evaluation of the workspace can be conducted.
In addition, custodial services is cleaning and disinfecting common areas more frequently. All high-traffic areas are cleaned twice daily, Monday through Friday. Employees are responsible for routinely cleaning their workspace such as keyboards, mouse, desktops, chair arms, telephones, etc. Visit Facilities Management’s website for more information.
If you need any guidance or have questions, please email LogisticalSupportTeam@uci.edu.
Signage for reengaging campus operations
As the UCI campus begins a phased approach to reengaging campus operations, signage, including decals, floor graphics, A-frames and posters, has been developed to communicate best practices for all individuals who are on site. A rolling installation is planned beginning with research buildings and high-traffic locations. Signs approved for campus-wide use may be downloaded and printed for individuals wishing to access signs directly for specific locations. Additionally, building managers may contact Dan Crout firstname.lastname@example.org in Facilities’ Sign Shop for more information.
If anyone with a disability should need special accommodations, they can reach out to building managers directly.
Signs will be posted at building entries/exits, restrooms and elevators, along with notifications requiring face coverings may be accessed here.
The highly recommended signs are:
- Stop the spread of germs: 7 Tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 – posted at entries/exits of buildings
- Notice before entering: Please wear a face covering; maintain at least 6 ft of physical distance; keep your hands clean and/or sanitized – posted at entries/exits of buildings
- Please maintain physical distance – posted in lobbies
- Protect your health; wash your hands – posted in restrooms
How will courses resume for the fall quarter?
Here is what we know. Classes will start on schedule. Most classes will be offered remotely, either as the only option or a complement to in-person instruction. Deans and department chairs are working with our Office of Teaching and Learning to identify which classes can be prioritized for in-person instruction.
Which courses will have priority for in-person instruction?
It is likely that there will be a higher percentage of in-person graduate classes than undergraduate classes, given the nature of graduate instruction in most disciplines and the apartment-style nature of most on-campus graduate housing. Small studios and labs may be more possible than large lectures. Most importantly, all students enrolled in the fall will be able to begin or continue their courses of study. More information about our plans will be sent to students soon.
What steps will UCI take for residence halls to facilitate physical distancing and other safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
We are committed to having as many students on campus as possible, and are working diligently to accommodate those who would like to live in our residence halls. We believe we can house one or two students per room, depending on policies and safety regulations, while rooms with three or four residents will not be possible.
What campus services remain open?
Updated June 4:
We are working on a phased approach for reengaging on-site operations. While the campus remains open, campus services are limited. Instruction will be remote until further notice. On-site operations will resume at a gradual pace, with some areas ready for in-person operations before others. The initial phase includes some research functions, which will begin transitioning on June 8.
How is UCI planning to reengage some campus operations?
Our Strategic Advisory Group, skillfully led by Interim Provost Hal Stern, has been in place for several weeks, mapping out the details related to our workforce, research, students (current and prospective), instruction (undergraduate and graduate), health (patient and public), technology, and business operations. Their good work paved the way to a new chapter in the COVID-19 environment. On May 11 we began sharing our plans for reengaging some campus operations, beginning the careful transition from remote work.
How will UCI decide if it’s safe to bring students, faculty and staff back to campus?
The phase-in decisions are being made with an abundance of thought and planning, with the health of our community at the forefront. Our guiding principles are as follows:
- Our primary concern is our people. Plans and activities will incorporate precautions to help protect the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, patients, research participants and visitors. We will create a process to accommodate those who believe they cannot return to an in-person work environment.
- We will follow public health directives. This includes guidelines on physical distancing, large-group gatherings, masking, protective equipment and testing, as outlined by federal, state and local governments and our own public health experts.
- Transitions will be measured, careful, and flexible. Decisions will be made based on thorough planning in light of prevailing and anticipated public health guidance, with a commitment to assessing the impact of each new step before proceeding to the next, and with a willingness to retreat to earlier phases if necessary.
- We will learn as we proceed and incorporate new techniques and technologies as they become available. We are already learning lessons from existing campus activities, and new methods and discoveries are emerging rapidly. We will adjust our plans as new testing, tracing and therapies become available.
- Our standards of quality will not waver. Whether our activities are remote or on-site, we will continue to provide a high-quality experience for our students, faculty, staff and community.
What are the phases of reopening campus? When will I return to campus to work?
We are working on a phased approach for reengaging on-site operations. The roll-out of these phases begins soon with some research functions returning on June 8, 2020.
We expect other operations to follow in a careful cadence. As always, the health and well-being of our entire community will be the primary factor in deciding how and when individual on-campus operations will reengage.
We are doing this with care, in phases, assessing as we go, building on lessons learned.
When will campus events and activities resume?
We are continuing to address how large gatherings – from sporting events and festivals to lectures and symposia – will be structured, but it’s safe to assume we will be following physical distancing protocols throughout the Fall quarter. We are working with outside governing bodies, such as the NCAA and local health agencies, and our own public health experts, for guidance in these areas.
Is campus mail still in service?
Mail collection and delivery on campus continues to be limited. Schedules may be updated as the campus response to COVID-19 is reevaluated.
Departments may drop off their outgoing mail at the North Campus Mail Processing Center between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Those with a valid UCI ID may retrieve their incoming mail from the Mail Processing Center between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
If you have questions, please contact Dylan Largent at email@example.com or (949) 824-4735. Thank you for your understanding during this time.
What is UCI's policy on university travel during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Students, faculty and staff should refer to the Travel Policy Amendment for COVID-19. The following policy is effective March 11 - June 30, 2020.
Will fall quarter include in-person instruction?
Classes will start on schedule. Most classes will be offered remotely, either as the only option or a complement to in-person instruction. We are doing everything possible to prepare classrooms for in-person instruction, but it’s too early to determine which courses will be ready for traditional on-site learning. Deans and department chairs are working with our Office of Teaching and Learning to identify which classes can be prioritized for in-person instruction. For the latest information, please visit students.uci.edu.
When will I know if I will be offered on-campus housing?
We are committed to having students on campus to the maximum extent possible. But, it will be some time before we know more precisely how many students we can safely accommodate in our housing units. Consequently, we are not offering a housing guarantee at this time. For more information about this as well as other expected changes for fall 2020 as they are determined, please visit the Admissions FAQ page and the Student Housing FAQ page.
How will I be able to take classes online if I don't have access to internet?
UCI will continue to provide remote instruction for most classes in the Fall.
For students who may not have access to the internet, the following resources are available:
Comcast Internet Essentials
“New Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service if you apply by June 30, 2020”
Charter Spectrum Broadband
“Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.”
I am anxious and scared about COVID-19 - does UCI have help for that?
Yes. We understand that the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus may be causing stress and worry among students, for a variety of reasons. You are encouraged to contact the Student Counseling Center. Other resources include:
Will fall quarter include in-person instruction?
Classes will start on schedule. Most classes will be offered remotely, either as the only option or a complement to in-person instruction. We are doing everything possible to prepare classrooms for in-person instruction, but it’s too early to determine which courses will be ready for traditional on-site learning. Deans and department chairs are working with our Office of Teaching and Learning to identify which classes can be prioritized for in-person instruction.
Which courses will have priority for in-person instruction?
Courses with fewer students, which may allow physical distancing, are better suited for in-person instruction in this environment. It is likely that there will be a higher percentage of in-person graduate classes than undergraduate classes, given the nature of graduate instruction in most disciplines. Small studios and labs may be more possible than large lectures.
What resources are available for faculty to facilitate remote learning?
We actively invest in the development and improvement of new teaching methods that shape the future of education. The recently established Online Learning Research Center is dedicated to providing evidence-based resources and defining best practices for educators, students and researchers throughout the world. The center’s work and other innovative approaches are applied through our Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, which partners with faculty and educators to develop exceptional learning experiences for our students, regardless of the setting.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and OIT offer additional resources:
Where can I get more information on Research Continuity?
For guidance on research continuity, please refer to the Office of Research: https://news.research.uci.edu/vcr/sars-cov-2-covid-19-coronavirus-and-research-continuity/
Where can I get more information about COVID-19 Research Seed Funding?
Statewide funding programs are together making available up to $2M to immediately support urgent research to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic:
What should I do about ongoing faculty searches?
For guidance on completing ongoing faculty searches, please refer to the Office of Academic Personnel: https://ap.uci.edu/2020facultysearches/
Are there plans for a reduction in workforce at UCI?
Since the earliest days of the coronavirus outbreak, UCI leadership has prioritized workforce preservation, despite the adverse financial impact of the pandemic. Our strategies to preserve jobs include flat budgets, position controls, a freeze on faculty salary scales, and no merit increases for non-represented staff for the 2020-21 year – all of which limit additional expenses on the campus at a time of financial risk and uncertainty. UCI has no current plans to lay off any employees. Normal summer curtailments and the ending of grants – which happens every year – will proceed as usual. We expect these curtailments to be temporary, and expect that our affected employees will return when the work returns. Most of these curtailments occur at our campus, as our medical center is a year-round, 24-hour operation.
When will staff return to campus?
Many of you have asked about the return-to-campus schedule. We are continuing to return to campus in phases, giving us a chance to assess as we go and build on lessons learned. We expect that the phases, which began on June 8, will activate every five or six weeks.
As always, your health and well-being are our primary concern. If you are able to do your job effectively without returning to campus, we urge you to talk with your supervisor about continuing to work remotely.
Deans and unit heads will determine which groups are needed to work in person. For those who are approved to return, we are instituting new protocols designed to protect yourself and others.
How do I report paid leave hours related to COVID-19?
The Time Reporting System was recently updated to allow employees to report paid leave hours related to COVID-19.
Employees who use TRS can report COVID-19 paid leave in the same way they report their normal work hours and leave usage. When you’re in a timesheet, simply select the "Paid Leave (COVID19)" code from the "Add" drop-down menu for the appropriate day and enter in your leave hours as normal. The same code is used for both hourly and salary employees. Paid administrative leave may be used in hourly increments for non-exempt staff and 8-hour increments for exempt staff. For changes to the Benefit Programs for COVID-19 Pandemic Relief, please review the message from Ramona Agrela, Associate Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Executive.
For more details, refer to the UCI Accounting & Fiscal Services website.
How do I pick up my paycheck?
Effective Wednesday, March 18, the Campus Billing and Collections Office service windows in Aldrich Hall (Room 101) will be closed. Campus Billing staff will be working remotely and remain available to answer questions by phone or email, but in-person check pickup will no longer be available in Aldrich Hall.
Students, faculty members and staff who wish to pick up a printed check must instead go to the Accounting and Fiscal Services Office located at 120 Theory, Suite 200 in the UCI Research Park. Pickup is only available for checks related to accounts payable and student disbursements. Printed payroll checks are mailed to employee homes directly from the bank. Check pick up will be available Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. Please be sure to bring a photo ID in order to have the check released to you.
Where can I get help if I’m feeling anxious or scared about COVID-19?
We understand that these are unsettling times and concerns about the coronavirus may cause stress and worry. Help is available through the following resources:
Parents & Community
Will there still be commencement?
UCI's university-wide commencement will be held virtually on June 13, 2020 at 10 a.m. PDT. The program can be streamed from any location. The link for viewing will be available on the Commencement website in early June. The campus is planning for an in-person winter commencement to take place during the 2020 winter break. Additionally, 2020 graduates can choose to participate in the 2021 in-person spring commencement if they do not participate in the special winter ceremony.
Will the Student Parent Orientation Program still take place?
This summer, Student Parent Orientation Program (SPOP) will be hosted remotely.
SPOP will consist of online modules, opportunities to meet with current and other incoming students virtually.
For more information, visit https://orientation.uci.edu/
About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) comes from a large family of viruses that are a common cause of mild upper respiratory infections, but also include both SARS and MERS, which can cause more serious disease. Many patients with coronavirus have mild symptoms, however some patients who have underlying health issues or have compromised immune symptoms are suffering more severe symptoms.
To learn more about the coronavirus, the CDC website is a reliable source of updated information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
How does COVID-19 spread?
This is still being worked on by the scientific community. However, here is what the CDC says: “COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.”
For more information from the CDC regarding transmission, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
In addition to partnering with the County for COVID-19 preparedness and testing, UCI has contracted with Quest for increased testing ability. Through this level of increased testing, we will be able to expand the number of tests we will be able to perform, which will help us manage our resources.
While we have increased capability for testing, please remember there are still specific criteria we consider prior to testing for COVID-19. Students who feel that they have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Student Health Center/or your physician’s office for further guidance. Staff and faculty should contact their primary care provider or call ahead to an urgent care center before arriving in person.
If you feel ill or think that you qualify for testing, contact your provider BEFORE going into the clinic. And please consider using Live Health Online, a newly offered USHIP covered service that connects you via a TELE-MEDICINE visit with a provider online, from the convenience of your home, 24 hours a day. See the details here: https://shc.uci.edu/services/livehealth-online
Tests are available at multiple locations in Orange County, including UCI Health, but only when recommended by a physician. If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your doctor. For information on screening and testing (by appointment only) at UCI Health, call 714-456-7002 or visit http://www.ucihealth.org/patients-visitors/pricing-transparency/covid-19-test-billing.
For additional testing sites, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: Cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fever; chills; muscle pain; sore throat; new loss of taste or smell. This list is not comprehensive of all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Do face coverings protect against COVID-19?
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, while also urging that high-grade masks and equipment be reserved for medical personnel. Healthcare workers interacting with coronavirus patients or suspected cases will follow CDC recommendations for personal protective equipment. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.