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Weekly Briefing from the Chancellor

May 15, 2020
Re: Weekly Briefing from the Chancellor
To: Faculty, staff, students and parents
May 15, 2020
Dear UC Merced community,
UC Merced’s mission remains teaching, research and public service, but mitigating risk will be our priority.
We fervently wish to open campus and return to in-person coursework and research during the 2020-2021 academic year. However, there are many variables that need to be considered as we determine the best course of action for our undergraduate and graduate students, our faculty and our staff.
Teams of faculty and staff continue their intense planning for a spectrum of scenarios — from in-person instruction to hybrid course delivery to a continuation of our current remote learning regime. We are rigorously examining what responsible use will look like for classrooms, labs and residence halls, based on forecasts from state, federal and University of California experts.
And of course, we must take into account conditions in the city and county of Merced, where so many from our community live, shop and socialize — conditions such as the opening of local schools and child-care centers, without which so many staff and faculty would be hard-pressed to return.
Campus may, of course, look and feel somewhat different. To reopen we must be prepared for testing, tracing and treatment at scale, and for isolation if necessary. Our colleagues and classmates may be wearing masks, our labs and classrooms more sparsely populated, our residence halls less full, our dining facilities serving meals in shifts. Physical distancing and use of proper personal protective equipment will have to be enforced on campus to mitigate the spread of the disease.
We have a duty not just to our own campus but to those around us — our neighbors, our families and our friends — to commit to all the best practices for preventing the spread of coronavirus.
But we also know students and families want a safe return to a more active, in-person college experience, and we share that heartfelt desire.
We are best as an engaged, supportive community of scholars, living and learning among peers, mentors, friends and fellow travelers on the path toward wisdom. We are working hard to ensure that path leads back to UC Merced in the shortest time possible, so we can continue, together, our great work of building the future here in the heart of California.
That great work has historically owed so much to UC Merced’s staunch community partners, which is why I am so pleased to be able to announce that we are awarding the 2020 Chancellor’s Medals to Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy and Merced Mayor Michael Murphy . They are longtime campus champions whose efforts have helped to make us the growing, thriving university we are today. While we cannot come together for a proper ceremony honoring these extraordinary gentlemen immediately, UC Merced will find an appropriate time in the near future to present the medals in person.
And of course, our faculty continue to build the future, and to share their research and analysis with California, the nation and the world:
Some final notes:
As we celebrate Staff Apprecia tion Week next week, I urge you to join our unique approach to this year’s Celebrating Service Award ceremonies . Employees who have achieved milestone anniversaries in the UC system will be honored during events carried on Zoom and hosted by the employees’ division or office.
There are seven events, scheduled Monday through Thursday, May 18-21. Everyone is invited. Go here for Zoom details and a full list of honorees.
And we say our first goodbyes tomorrow, May 16, to more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who have worked so hard for so many years to earn their degrees. Please join the UC Merced community online beginning at 10 a.m. for our amazing virtual commencement — the first in the history of the University of California.
Be assured there will be a time when we gather these amazing young people in person to honor them suitably for this achievement, but for now, we do so virtually — and proudly. Because always, we are #BobcatProud.
Please keep yourselves and your loved ones safe,
Nathan Brostrom,
Interim Chancellor
This is an important message from UC Merced. Please share with colleagues who may not have ready access to email. If you require a Spanish translation, please email .