March 10, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
With the health and safety of our community as our highest priority during global concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus), UC Merced leadership, following University of California guidance, will begin moving toward remote learning.
The campus is not closing, and classes are not being canceled. Instructors are encouraged to begin using digital tools like CatCourses and Zoom to offer courses remotely, when feasible.
Resources are available for instructors who do not have extensive experience delivering course material remotely. The Office of Information Technology has established a website to guide instructors in the appropriate use of these technologies; the provost’s office will facilitate peer training by instructors with more experience teaching remotely; and the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning will be available for consultation as well. Given that we do not have extensive central support for making this transition, we will initially prioritize live support for instructors of the largest classes. Please be patient in asking for help and recognize that any way of delivering lectures—even by voice recording alone—is better than complete disruption of instruction.
The purpose of this shift to remote learning is to reduce interpersonal contact. This is a form of “social distancing” designed to help lessen the spread of the virus should it become present on our campus. Labs, performance-based courses, and those involving field work do not need to be modified at this time, though steps towards reducing the number and length of in-person meetings are still encouraged when appropriate. Instructors will manage their own courses and communicate to students as needed.
While we know that the average-aged college student is not at high risk for serious COVID-19 illness , even those who are very mildly ill carry the virus and potentially put others at risk. We encourage everyone in our community to take normal precautions and be considerate of others, on and off campus, particularly those in higher risk categories.
Campus leadership will continue to monitor developments and inform the campus community about any changes to the schedule or course delivery methodology. As always, please visit our website for the most current and credible information on COVID-19.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Academic Senate Chair