Dear Campus Community,
Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered Californians to stay at home indefinitely as health care providers and public officials work to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Educational institutions like UC Merced are subject to this order, but it is important to note that our campus remains operational. Many functions will be performed remotely, including instruction, which is being delivered as our students continue to make progress toward their degrees. For the few students who remain on campus, we will continue to provide essential services.
We understand that each new announcement from university leadership about the coronavirus creates challenges and anxieties. And now our community is called upon to comply with new guidance, the implications of which we are still exploring with state officials. We appreciate your patience as we navigate these unfamiliar waters together.
We have notified you that two students who reported symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results while under self-quarantine, one on campus and one in a private home. We have no new information on either case at this time, but we will share any updates as we receive them.
We also want to call attention to the unparalleled cooperation and coordination of local, state and federal officials. Congressman Jim Costa has kept us updated on the latest federal thinking and plans. We are grateful to Assembly Member Adam Gray, Merced County and City of Merced officials, and the Merced County Department of Public Health in particular for their advice and assistance.
During this time, campus will operate similar to winter break — only a few core services will be operating, and very few students will be in residence.
Below is a summary of operations we have determined to be essential:
- Academic instruction (now offered remotely).
- Student housing and dining services, which will continue for a small number of students who remain on campus.
- Student health services.
- Building systems and custodial services, although at reduced levels.
- Approved research activities.
- Emergency response, such as police and environmental health and safety.
- IT services associated with onsite support of campus IT infrastructure and remote learning.
- Human resources, finance and the Employee Assistance Program for employees.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for students, via telehealth. Students can contact CAPS 24/7 at (209) 228-4266 for assistance.
This is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding the status of essential services and employees designated to be on campus will be distributed by supervisors.
In an effort to help guide you through the weeks and possibly months ahead, here is a running list of communications to faculty, students and staff. All of these, as well as FAQs updated daily and critical resources, are available at emergency.ucmerced.edu/coronavirus.
Some important points to remember:
- Essential activity, including traveling to return to your permanent place of residence, is permitted by the governor’s order. Travel abroad is prohibited.
- Students may remain in housing only if necessary.
- Do not come to work if you are on approved administrative or other approved leave or have been asked to work remotely. Employees with questions and concerns can always contact your supervisor, Human Resources, or the University Ombuds Office.
- Do not come to campus to conduct research unless specifically approved.
- Events, including commencement, have been cancelled or postponed, and meetings should be limited or conducted in a safe manner.
We are proud of the way everyone at UC Merced — students, faculty and staff — has stepped up during our response to this global crisis: with safety and wellness at the fore, with energy and passion, with thoughtfulness and deliberation. Thank you for all you have done and all you do to prove yet again that this university truly is the great institution, and great community, we have always aspired to be.
We want to assure every member of our community that we remain fully committed to all of you and your well-being. Additional updates will be communicated in future messages, and we are posting updates regularly on our COVID-19 information page.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost