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COVID-19 Guidance Update

Section 1

May 26, 2022

The takeaway:

  • Cases continue to increase, but county hospitalization rates remain low.
  • CDC has moved Orange County from the low to the medium community level.
  • Face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended.
  • Year-end events and gatherings are encouraged to take place outdoors.
  • COVID-19 testing remains available on campus.
  • Face coverings required at UCI commencement ceremonies at the Bren Events Center.

Dear UCI Community,

As we head into the final weeks of spring quarter, we want to provide an update on COVID-19 case activity and tips for staying healthy. With upcoming end-of-year celebrations, including commencement, we want to make sure to take special care before our students go home for summer break and our employees take their vacations.

Case counts are up

Case counts and positivity rates for the campus and the county in general continue to increase, although hospitalizations remain low. The county recently moved to “medium community level” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention community level metrics. Although this does not require any immediate action, we believe it is important that we commit to certain steps.

As shared in our April 14 COVID update email, we remain in a much better position than where we were in January. However, with the increase in cases, it is important for all of us to take steps to protect our health and the health of our community. As such, we are sharing with you the following guidance.

Face coverings strongly recommended

Statecounty and federal public health officials continue to strongly recommend that all persons, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings in indoor public settings. This is particularly important as we attend indoor campus gatherings and celebrations. Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services data suggests that most campus cases with a known exposure have been the result of attending gatherings and events or from household contacts. Free face coverings are available at these distribution locations. Please remember that masking is still required in the Student Health Center, the Counseling Center, campus COVID-19 testing locations and on Anteater Express busses.

Events and gatherings

There are many opportunities to gather in person as the quarter ends. It is recommended that events and gatherings take place outdoors whenever possible. If you do gather indoors, open windows and doors to increase air flow. Additionally, if you are serving food at an event, consider doing so outside and in individual servings.

Test before and after events & gatherings

Testing for COVID-19 one to two days prior to attending a gathering or event and three to five days after attending a gathering or event is a key strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you test positive before or after a gathering or event, stay home and follow campus instructions for isolation and case reportingFree testing continues to be available at both the Student Center and Plaza Verde test sites (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Rapid antigen at-home test kits are also available for pick up at these campus testing centers. For students in campus housing, these kits are available from your housing community office. Every household in the U.S. is also eligible to order eight additional free COVID-19 tests through the United States Postal Service.

UCI commencement guidance

Bren Events Center: Face coverings will be required for UCI commencement ceremonies and celebrations in the Bren Events Center, and all graduates, audience members, event staff, and volunteers must wear them. Hand sanitizer stations and free face coverings will be available at the Bren Events Center commencement events. For information and directions, please follow all posted signage at the Bren.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim: While face coverings are not required at the outdoor ceremony for the all university commencement at Angel Stadium, graduates and their guests planning to attend should follow the signage posted at the venue for COVID-19 protocols.

Further details on COVID-19 protocols will be made available to those attending commencement ceremonies at both the Bren and Angel Stadium. As with all events, you are encouraged to test before and after the commencement ceremonies you attend. For questions regarding commencement, please contact the UCI Commencement Office at commencement@uci.edu or (949) 824-6378.

General COVID-19 guidance

If you receive a call or email from Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services, please take the call or review the email. If you have symptoms, stay home, get tested and reply to the daily symptom check. If you have not been vaccinated or boosted, consider doing so now. Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services continues to offer robust support, including to those needing assistance with scheduling or uploading proof of booster doses. They can be reached at contacttracing@uci.edu or (949) 824-2300. As always, visit the UCI Forward site for the most up-to-date information.

Thank you, Anteaters, for all you continue to do to keep the campus healthy. Best wishes during finals week.


David M. Souleles
Director, COVID-19 Response Team