Important return to campus information and updates
January 7, 2022
Dear UCI community,
Thank you for your patience, commitment and cooperation as we work through the latest COVID surge. Below are some important updates.
Decision on return to in-person instruction
As you saw in the Jan. 6 message from the Chancellor, remote instruction is extended through Jan. 28, with plans to return to in-person instruction on Jan. 31.
Since Jan. 2, UCI has administered more than 7,000 COVID tests to students, faculty and staff. We are pleased to report that testing wait times have been minimal.
UCI community members who need a COVID test for any reason can access the three campus testing sites by making an appointment in the Student Health Patient Portal or on a walk-in basis. Test locations and hours can be found on the UCI Forward site. Note, campus testing sites are for students and employees only. Unfortunately, family members cannot be accommodated.
To allow for increased testing capacity, all campus testing locations are open to both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. We encourage those who are symptomatic to get tested as quickly as possible and stay home. The sites use infection control standards for testing locations. Please follow all directional signage and instructions from test site staff. Remain masked at all times. Only remove your mask when instructed to do so by test site staff for specimen collection. The testing sites have minimal exposure risk as the time to swab or collect a saliva sample without a mask is less than a minute. Community testing sites are structured similarly and when physical distancing and masking protocols are followed, the risk is reduced to nearly zero.
Thank you to those who make our robust testing system possible.
At home tests
Students living on campus have received at-home COVID test kits. Faculty and staff received a message on Jan. 7 with instructions on picking up at-home kits while supplies last.
Pivoting to manage the surge
With positive case counts increasing to levels we have not seen before on campus, Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services is prioritizing its efforts on resident students, athletes and employees. UCI students and employees should not wait to be contacted by UCI Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services, the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health or Student Health to proceed with testing, isolation or quarantine, if necessary. Employees and commuter students are asked to self-monitor and self-release from isolation or quarantine according to the posted instructions and the category that best describes your situation. Resident students in campus provided isolation housing will need to coordinate with Campus Housing for release from isolation once they have met criteria.
The isolation and quarantine instructions have been updated to accommodate the latest public health guidance. The instructions for quarantine offer steps to follow based on your vaccination status. Remember that if you test positive, you should seek medical advice from your personal care provider in addition to following the isolation and quarantine instructions.
The UCI executive directive requirement to wear a face covering when indoors on UCI property continues. As information and data related to the Omicron variant continues to change, the university is encouraging the campus community to evaluate the quality of face coverings being worn. Guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that a snug fitting mask like a surgical mask is effective for fit and good filtration. These factors improve protection for others if you are infected and protection for you, if you are exposed to an infected person. An FAQ on face coverings has been developed to answer many commonly asked questions.
Please remember to get your booster as soon as you are eligible, then upload the verification through the Student or Occupational Health portals. Boosters are required for all eligible staff, faculty and students by January 31, 2022.
Note that to be eligible for the booster, recipients must now be five months past the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months past the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
We realize this is a time of anxiety. We recognize and commend everyone’s efforts to this point. Please remain vigilant, practice healthy habits and take care of yourselves.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chief Human Resources Officer & Vice Chancellor
Willie L. Banks Jr.
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs