March 11, 2020
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. Your faculty will reach out to you to share course specific plans. It will be important for you to stay in communication with your instructors and continue a high level of engagement in your coursework.
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.
UC Merced is following the guidance of UC Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . We have decided to implement these procedures prior to learning of any cases in Merced County. That is to say, we are putting the safety of students, faculty, and staff first, and are doing our part to help control the spread of the disease proactively.
While we are moving course instruction online, the residence halls and the Pavilion will remain open. We have modified service in the Pavilion, to eliminate self-service, increase opportunities for to-go meals, and arrange for proxy meal pick up for students who are ill. The campus has increased cleaning, particularly of commonly used surfaces and in high traffic areas, such as the Pavilion and the Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. We will be installing more hand sanitation dispensers around campus in an effort to promote healthy preventative behaviors across campus.
While we know that the average-aged college student is not at high risk for serious COVID-19 illness , even those who are so mildly ill as to be asymptomatic 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.
Additionally, I know these changes may cause some stress and uncertainty. Please bear with us while we manage this complicated transition. Counseling services are available for students through Counseling and Psychological Services , as well as online through Live Health , a service through Student Health .
Please visit our website for the most current and credible information on COVID-19.
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs