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. 6 - 2021 in review, international travel update

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Students queue up for time with Go Team Therapy dogs that visited the Student Center

Whoseagoodboy: Students queue up for time with Go Team Therapy dogs that visited the Student Center on Thursday to help ease stress from finals. Photo by Steve Zylius/UCI

Ask the Expert

In this continuing series, UCI experts answer questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.

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

If I travel overseas during the holidays, will I need to get tested for COVID-19 before flying back to the U.S.?

Yes. Effective today (Dec. 6), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed testing requirements for international travelers returning by air to the United States. Now, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel to the U.S.  

The CDC also recommends that upon arrival all international travelers get tested three to five days after travel and self-monitor for symptoms. And if you are not fully vaccinated, stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel even if you test negative at three to five days.   

Note: Here is the updated CDC guidance. Also, see UC News and General News below for details on free test kits available from John Wayne Airport and rapid tests available for a fee at Los Angeles International Airport.


2021 Year in review features 2021 commencement

Photo by Steve Zylius/UCI

2021: a year of renewal and growth

One thing all can agree on about 2021: It sure was better than 2020. That’s especially true at UCI, which renewed its bustling self by welcoming all students, faculty, staff and visitors back to campus in September. The university also marked this transition year with one of its most ambitious growth plans in its history. Relive a year of noteworthy achievements and our coming together again to learn, to teach, to research and to create in our special online report, 2021 Year in Review.

UCI health sciences students administer nearly 400 flu vaccines at pop-up clinic

Photo by David Souleles

Health sciences students administer nearly 400 flu vaccines at pop-up clinic

At an interprofessional student-led event, volunteers from the UCI Program in Public Health, the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Student Health Center provided flu shots to nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate students during a three-day, pop-up clinic at Anteater Plaza. The idea for a pop-up clinic to conveniently administer flu shots to students who hadn’t found the time to visit their healthcare provider or the Student Health Center came after the UC mandated in October that all students, faculty and staff receive a flu vaccine this season to stave off a flu outbreak amid the ongoing pandemic.


Understanding omicron, the new COVID-19 variant

As countries around the world make preparations against omicron, whose presence in California was confirmed by the CDC on Wednesday, Shangxin Yang, a pathologist at UCLA Health, talks about the new variant and what everyone needs to know.

Upcoming UC Travel sessions on budget airfare and international travel

Because traditional travel planning is in flux due to the pandemic, UC Travel is facilitating these informational sessions:

  • Q&A on Budget Airfare, Wednesday, 11 a.m.: United Airlines clarifies how to identify fare types, why budget fares are attractive and what to look out for when choosing them. 
  • Getting Back to International Travel, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.: UC Risk Services explains insurance coverage for business travel, what travelers should be doing to prepare and how to navigate the oftentimes confusing arena of country border restrictions.

Send suggestions for future travel topics or repeated programs to uctravel@ucop.edu.

Free COVID-19 test kits coming for John Wayne Airport travelers

To lessen the spread of the coronavirus during the holiday travel season, the Orange County Health Care Agency and John Wayne Airport will distribute no-cost, self-collection testing kits to travelers starting Wednesday. You can also order kits by calling 800-463-3339 or visiting ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.

Same-day test results available at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport offers rapid testing at the primary lab across from Terminal 6 and satellite locations in Terminal 2 and Tom Bradley International Terminal. You can get a standard PCR test (nasal swab) for $125 with results returned in three to five hours or within 24 hours. Rapid PCR tests with results in one hour are available for $199 on level 3, Aisle C of the Bradley terminal. Antigen tests are offered for $80 at the Bradley terminal daily with results available in one hour. Antigen or PCR results are acceptable under the CDC’s latest testing requirements for international travelers.

Fauci says early reports encouraging about omicron variant

While the omicron variant is rapidly spreading throughout the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. “Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said of omicron on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about the variant’s severity.


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

ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan - holiday promotion webinar
Wednesday, 1 p.m. (sponsored by HR Wellness)

Landed home down payment program info session
Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. (sponsored by HR Wellness)

National Registry of Exonerations Event
Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. (sponsored by Newkirk Center for Science & Society)

A devised theater production: “Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale”
Wednesday, 8 p.m. (sponsored by the School of the Arts)

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.

Climate Change Data Deluge has Scientists Scrambling for Solutions

The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 5
Cited: Michael Pritchard, associate professor of Earth system science and principal investigator at the computational clouds and climate laboratory

A Timeline of How Long Vaccine Boosters Take to Build Immunity, According to Experts

Good Housekeeping, Dec. 4
Cited: Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention, UCI Health

Better research into Instagram, WhatsApp effects on young users needed, academics say

USA Today, Dec. 5
Cited: Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science


13 new campus cases

Two employees and 11 students tested positive for COVID-19 from Friday through Sunday. 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.