UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Sept. 3 - Return to campus: facilities and environmental health

Section 1

The Brian Pellar sculpture and Watson bridge at UCI’s Laurel Wilkening Rose Garden. Photo by Ian Parker.

The Brian Pellar sculpture and Watson Bridge at UCI’s Laurel Wilkening Rose Garden. Photo by Ian Parker.

Q&A Ask the Expert header

Each day, a UCI expert will answer one of your questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.

Today’s question is fielded by Sanghyuk Shin, associate professor of nursing and director of the UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative

Have there been many cases of vaccinated people who have still gotten COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital?

The currently approved vaccines are highly effective at reducing severe illnesses and hospitalizations for COVID-19, but they do not prevent 100% of such cases. So hospitalizations with severe illness have indeed occurred among fully vaccinated people. From the latest research studies, it seems that severe COVID-19 illnesses among fully vaccinated people are more likely to occur among people who are immunocompromised or have underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease and cancer. So, if community incidence of COVID-19 remains high, there will be a greater chance of vulnerable people getting infected and developing severe illness even though they are fully vaccinated. This is why it’s important for everyone to work together to reduce COVID-19 in the community by avoiding crowded indoor gatherings, improving ventilation in our buildings, masking and getting vaccinated.


Return to Campus: Facilities and Environmental Health 

In a webinar hosted by Environmental Health & Safety, experts discussed prevention and safety measures implemented at campus facilities for the return to campus this fall quarter. You can visit the EH&S website for detailed information. A link to a recording of the webinar will be available on UCI Forward. Here is a brief recap:

  • EH&S is available to evaluate work spaces and provide face coverings and cleaning supplies. Send an email to safety@uci.edu.

  • All employees are reminded that they must complete the return to campus training, whether they’re working on site or remotely.

  • Campus buildings have been in operation throughout the remote environment and were maintained.

  • Core buildings opened in July and are open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Auxiliary buildings have their own schedules.

  • There are hand sanitizing stations in lobbies and at elevators; restrooms are outfitted with hands-free faucets and towel dispensers.

  • Disinfection of campus buildings takes place nightly. Entrance door handles and elevator buttons are disinfected during the day as well. 

  • The webinar included a thorough presentation on the advanced air filtration and ventilation systems for various campus buildings.

What do you do when a COVID-19 case occurs?

The first step is to report it. Students should visit the Student Patient Portal, while staff and faculty should visit the COVID-19 Case Reporting Website. Detailed instructions for the rest of the process, including a pdf checklist, are on UCI’s Human Resources website. If you are not sure what to do, call UCI’s COVID Response Center at 949-824-9918 or email covid19@uci.edu.

The recall election is Sept. 14. Where can you vote?

All registered voters in California received a vote-by-mail ballot. After filling it out, you can mail it or drop it off at a vote center or a secure ballot dropbox. There is a dropbox on West Peltason and Pereira, near the bike repair shop and Student Center. You can also vote in person on campus at the Anteater Community Resource Center starting Sept. 11. Find your polling place.

Staff engagement survey deadline extended

You now have until Friday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. to complete the 2021 staff engagement survey. Results from the survey, which is conducted every two years, are confidential and will be used to make workplace improvements. Access the survey here; your UCINetID is your survey code.

No UCI Digest on Monday

In observance of Labor Day, this newsletter will not publish on Monday. Have a safe weekend and we’ll see you Tuesday.


UCI alum works to end the cycle of homelessness

When he was 9 years old, Jack Toan, BS ’94 and MBA ’02, and his family arrived in South Carolina as refugees from the conflict in Vietnam. They depended on the care of strangers to meet their basic needs and get on their feet. That perspective shapes his work today as chief operations officer for the Illumination Foundation, which provides services for adults and children experiencing homelessness. He believes homelessness in Orange County can be solved — if everyone contributes. “If you want to enact social change, we all have to come together and we all have a role to play,” he says.

L.L.Bean funds research on the science of awe

Paul Piff, an associate professor of psychological science, will study how awe, prompted by an experience with nature, affected people’s emotional and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll also look at whether increasing moments of awe has a positive impact on overall health and happiness.


Friday fun fact

Educational access: 40 percent of UC undergraduates are the first in their family to attend college and the majority go on to earn more than their parents seven years after graduation

The hard COVID-19 questions we’re not asking

The CDC and public health experts need to do a better job of connecting advice and policy recommendations to clear goals, two health experts suggest.

Full FDA approval triggers more universities to require the COVID-19 vaccine

With the FDA’s decision to fully approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, more and more colleges and universities are instituting vaccine mandates, NPR reports. So far, more than 800 colleges have instituted mandates, according to the College Crisis Initiative, which has been collecting data on COVID-19 vaccination requirements at universities.

New COVID variant Mu added to WHO’s watchlist

The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm on another mutation of the virus that could circumvent immunity generated by vaccines or previous infection, Fortune reports. The variant Mu has been spreading in the U.S. for more than a month. Health officials have called for further study to determine if it is more contagious or more deadly than other COVID mutations.


Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Tech Workplace
Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Paul Merage School of Business)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


UCI Health CEO on expanding during pandemic: 'Access was even more important'

Becker's Hospital Review, Sept. 2
Cited: Chad Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health

How Much Longer Will Schools Have to Scrape Together Technology Funding?

EdSurge, Sept. 3, 2021 (Opinion)
Author: Allison Starks, doctoral student in the School of Education

Champions of the Tailgate: How the South Tackles the Tradition Better Than Anywhere Else

Southern Living, Sept. 2, 2021
Cited: Tonya Williams Bradford, associate professor of marketing


One new campus case

One on-campus student tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.