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.

Dec. 3 - Is the pandemic worsening? UCI Health keeps hope alive

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Through holes: Glass panes on the Engineering Hall have been fitted with new perforated metal corners.

Through holes: Glass panes on the Engineering Hall have been fitted with new perforated metal corners. Photo by Ian Parker

Ask the Expert

Today’s question is fielded by David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID-19 Response Team:

We see and hear a lot about the new omicron variant: Is the pandemic getting better or getting worse?

As we wait for public health experts’ work to learn more about the omicron variant – including its transmissibility, severity and the effectiveness of current vaccines in protecting against the new variant – it is easy to forget how different our circumstances are today than they were a year ago at this time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Nov. 30, 2020, the United States’ seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases was 160,115; on Nov. 29, 2021, it was half that at 80,230 cases. Here on campus during the week of Thanksgiving last year, 36 cases were reported among students, staff and faculty and signaled the beginning of the winter surge. This year, we saw just a quarter of that, eight cases, reported the week of Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that is with a fully populated campus this year as opposed to all of us living under the 2020 stay-at-home orders.

Why is that? A big part of that success here at UCI is the fact that our campus is highly vaccinated, with 98% of our students and 96% of our employees fully vaccinated. So, as we wait for additional information on omicron, what can you do right now? Keep doing what you have been doing. Get yourself and those around you vaccinated, including booster doses. Wear masks while indoors in public places. Do your daily symptom check, get tested and stay home if you are ill. We will continue to keep the campus community updated as more information is learned about omicron, including if there are any changes to our prevention strategies.


Actor Thomas Varga gives new meaning to “wooden performance” in this radical reimagining of Helena Modjeska illustrations. Promotional photo from Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

‘Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale’ brings whimsy to UCI stage

“Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale: A Whimsical California Adventure,” an experimental film short by Annie Loui, professor of acting and CounterBalance Theatre artistic director, made its worldwide debut in August. Honoring the life and legacy of Helena Modjeska – an acclaimed Polish American actress and the namesake of eastern Orange County’s Modjeska Canyon – a stage adaptation of Loui’s film, with the shortened title “Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale,” is presented Dec. 8-11 at Experimental Media Performance Lab.

Interested in arts management or professional growth?

An information session for the first-ever spring offering of the Certificate in Arts Management (CAM) program will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. Presented by Paul Merage School of Business and Claire Trevor School of the Arts, CAM is a 10-week, interactive online program teaching the skills necessary to effectively lead and manage today’s arts and creative organizations. Topics covered include branding, fundraising, finance and business development. Payment plans are available for registrants. RSVP for the info session. Questions? Contact 949-824-6610 or exceed@merage.uci.edu. The spring session runs March 31 through June 10.

Teen survives rare stomach disorder

When no one else believed Kayden Lincoln's complaint of a mysterious stomach ailment, UCI Health doctors found and cured the teenager's rare disorder called median arcuate ligament syndrome. Dr. Kenneth J. Chang, executive director of the Digestive Health Institute “gave me so much hope that they were going to get to the bottom of things and find out what was wrong with me,” says the 17-year-old La Habra resident.


Friday fun fact

Tax returns: UC generates $12 billion in federal, state and local taxes that support other public-sector programs and activities.

First Southern California omicron case confirmed

One day after the country’s first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant was reported in San Francisco, Los Angeles County public health officials confirmed this region’s first case on Thursday evening. The individual is believed to have been infected while traveling back to LA County from South Africa, via London, on Nov. 22, authorities said.

Colleges prepare for unknowns with omicron variant

Officials at colleges across the country braced for a potential rise in coronavirus cases when students returned to campuses after Thanksgiving break. Then the world learned of the omicron variant, with its troubling mutations and a host of unknowns. With days or weeks left in the fall semester, most schools are sticking with the virus mitigation rules and strategies they have in place, but ramping up reminders about testing, vaccination and other safety measures.

‘Game-changing’ COVID treatments on the way

A new generation of COVID-19 treatments will soon be available, and they matter more than many people realize. They have the potential to substantially reduce hospitalization and death. And they are likely to be effective against the omicron variant, many scientists believe, even if omicron makes vaccines weaker at preventing infections.


UCI Law Swearing-In Ceremony
Sunday, 1 p.m. (sponsored by the School of Law)

Irvine Barclay Theatre: Gabriela Montero, piano
Sunday, 3 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Illuminations)

SOARing Through Finals
Monday, 9 a.m., through Friday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m. (sponsored by Student Outreach and Retention)

Law as Reproduction and Revolution: An Interconnected History book launch
Monday, 10 a.m. (sponsored by Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession)

De-Stress Fest
Tuesday, 11 a.m. (sponsored by Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion)

COVID, Racism and Critical Race Theory
Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. (sponsored by School of Social Sciences)

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.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.

Conflict into poetry, disorientation into art: ‘Revolution Everywhere’ and ‘The Messiah Triangle’ at UCI

LA Weekly, Dec. 3
Cited: Juli Carson, professor of art, curator and UCI galleries director

‘I’m an Epidemiologist, and This Is What We Know About Omicron So Far’

Well+Good, Dec. 2
Cited: Karen Edwards, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics

Overturning Roe v. Wade Could Be a Death Sentence

Teen Vogue, Dec. 2
Cited: Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of law and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy


Alltruism - You are capable of more than you know

You are capable of more than you know.

Alltruism (“all true”) is a project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts. The initiative was part of The Alltruism Project, and more letters can be found on Instagram.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


Nine new campus cases

Nine students tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Remember to upload your vaccine record

Student Record Upload

Employee Record Upload

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.