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. 20 - Managing travel stress, robotics podcast

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Mild ride: Just another pleasant morning on Los Trancos Drive. Photo by Steve Zylius/UCI

Mild ride: Just another pleasant morning on Los Trancos Drive. Photo by Steve Zylius/UCI

Ask the Expert

n 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 UCI psychologist Jessica Borelli, who has offered various tips on coping with stress, grief and COVID-19 issues during the holidays: 

As a student going back to my family’s home for the holidays, why does it feel like I now have two homes? How do I manage travel stress and getting everything done AND being safe for the holidays?

You’ve settled into a new normal on campus – developed new routines, gotten comfortable being around larger groups of people, gotten used to living with roommates. As long as you abide by the campus rules for COVID-19 safety, you’re good – you get to be in charge of your behavior. You don’t have to play by anyone else’s rules. But now you are going to disrupt this rhythm to go home to see your family, where someone else sets the rules and you have to abide by them.

Unsurprisingly, this may introduce some anxiety for your family and maybe for you. On their part, the anxiety and uncertainty stem from having you return home from a less-controlled environment and introduce more risk into their lives. On your part, anxiety and uncertainty arise because you are about to lose some of the freedom and control you have come to value. It’s easy to take their feelings personally, to experience it as a rejection of you or a lack of desire to be around you, when really it’s about their desire to stay safe and healthy so they can be around you for a long time. How can you manage these difficulties?

  • Have conversations with family members ahead of time to ask what would make them feel comfortable as you transition back home for the holidays.

  • Express the desire to spend as much time with them as possible, as well as a desire to make them feel comfortable with their level of exposure.

  • Provide them with information regarding your daily life and your COVID risk.

  • Offer additional safety precautions, such as taking COVID tests before the trip home and after arriving.

  • Ask their expectations for your behavior when you are living at home. State what you want or expect in terms of your behavior when you are living at home. Share information about the level of freedom you’ve become accustomed to in college (and how you’ve grown with that freedom).


UCI Podcast: Magnus Egerstedt extols the virtues of slowness in robotics

Magnus Egerstedt, dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, has been leading research in recent years into a less-frenetic approach to robotics. On the UCI Podcast, he discusses his new book about his researchRobot Ecology: Constraint-Based Design for Long-Duration Autonomy.

Diabetes Prevention Program starts in January

The DPP provides UCI and UCI Health employees with pre-diabetes or who are at risk for developing diabetes the tools necessary to help reach healthy lifestyle goals through education, encouragement and practical tips for success. Participants meet in a virtual group setting with a trained lifestyle coach to discuss the CDC-approved curriculum, which includes basic information on nutrition, ways to increase physical activity, stress management techniques and ideas to stay motivated. The program is FREE to all qualified UCI and UCI Health employees. Learn more and submit an interest form.


OCHCA reports first omicron case in the county

An adult male resident is the first in Orange County to test positive for infection by the omicron variant, the OC Health Care Agency announced Friday. He is fully vaccinated, experienced mild illness and became infected following domestic travel outside California, says the OCHCA, which is following up on any close contacts.

COVID-19 surge puts many Americans on edge about travel

Just days away from a holiday weekend, Americans are grappling with whether to change their travel or gathering plans as COVID cases surge and the omicron variant spreads across the country. On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said it’s OK to travel and gather, but he strongly urged the unvaccinated to get their shots and those who have received only two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines to get booster doses.

California COVID hospitalizations rise, new L.A. County cases double

Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise in California as the omicron variant spreads, combining with a holiday wave of the delta strain to spark concerns of yet another surge that could strain the state’s health-care system. Over a week that ended last Friday, hospitalizations had risen by nearly 31% in L.A. County and roughly 26% in Riverside County.

Moderna booster should provide 'good level of protection' against omicron, vaccine-maker says

Vaccine manufacturer Moderna said today that a booster dose of its coronavirus vaccine significantly raised antibody levels against the omicron variant, amid growing concerns about its rapid spread in the United States.


Blood drive (by appointment)
Wednesday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Health)

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.

Why Los Angeles Delayed Enforcing Its Student Vaccine Mandate

The New York Times, Dec. 18
Cited: Suellen Hopfer, assistant professor of health, society and behavior

Record low turnout hits Hong Kong's first 'patriots-only' election

NBC News, Dec. 19
Cited: Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor's Professor of history

NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay

The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19
Cited: Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean, Program in Public Health


29 new campus cases

Four employees and 25 students tested positive for COVID-19 from Friday through Sunday. 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.