Checking In With Chancellor May: Vaccine for Ages 12 and Up

In Thursday Thoughts, above, Chancellor May and LeShelle answer the question, “Is it weird to be famous?” No, but it’s definitely humbling. And when they’re on vacation, the chancellor adds, it’s LeShelle who people think is a celebrity. The chancellor also responds to a questioner who is reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.


To the UC Davis Community:

By now you have probably heard the good news that the federal government and the California Department of Public Health have authorized the administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to ages 12 to 15. The Davis campus vaccine clinic administered its first two doses in this new age group at 8 a.m. yesterday — and appointments for next week are available on the state’s My Turn website.

The same goes for UC Davis Health, which reports it has a plentiful supply of the vaccine (after having given more than 120,000 doses already), and Healthy Davis Together clinics in Woodland and West Sacramento.

Vaccination is our best way out of the pandemic. If you have not received your one-dose or two-dose vaccination, please consider doing so as soon as possible, for your sake and for your community’s sake.

Yolo County will administer vaccines at two clinics this weekend, with or without an appointment;

Appointments can be arranged online or by phone, 833-422-4255.

While all this is going on, UC Davis Health has expanded its participation in the Novovax COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, to include ages 12 to 17. Starting late last year, the health system enrolled nearly 240 people in the Novovax Phase III trial for ages 18 and up. The pediatric portion will enroll some 3,000 adolescents overall, including 100 at UC Davis Health.

Protecting our health

You also probably know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday relaxed its guidance on face coverings for fully vaccinated people — which might have you asking, “What about UC Davis?”

First, the CDC guidance is just that — guidance. Further, the recommendations do not apply in all situations, for example, the health care setting — thus, nothing has changed for the time being at UC Davis Health. Everyone still must wear the appropriate mask, even when fully vaccinated.

Second, the guidance does not supersede other regulations, such as CalOSHA’s mandate for face coverings in workplaces. For now, on the Davis campus, our policy remains in place: “Face coverings must be worn by students, academics, staff and visitors at all UC Davis locations. For indoor locations, the only exceptions are while eating or drinking or in private spaces such as dorm rooms, single-occupancy offices, showers and the like. For outdoor spaces, face coverings should be worn when maintaining 6 feet of distance from others is not feasible.”

Rest assured, we are closely following all public health guidance and discussing how we might adjust our policy when we are convinced the changes will not compromise the health of our community.

Workplace Reimagined

There is lots of interest in next week’s webinar on resources and guidance for fall planning — with more than 1,300 sign-ups as of yesterday. The webinar will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20; please register in advance. Topics will include:

  • Why we’re excited about flexible work opportunities
  • Planning for on- and off-site work considerations, beginning September 1
  • Future of public health measures — asymptomatic testing, Daily Symptom Survey and more

Student housing

We are anxious for our return to in-person instruction in the fall, and, along with that, we hope you have arranged for your housing. Now is the time to get this done if you have not already. First-year freshmen had until May 4 to sign up for guaranteed campus housing (we have a waitlist now for freshmen), and first-year transfer students have until June 4 to sign up for guaranteed campus housing.

Transfer students, by the way, will live at The Green, where the first apartments became available last fall and where more apartments have since been completed and where a fitness center is under construction.

Travel guidance

Global Affairs advises international travelers to be aware of the approved types of COVID-19 testing and verification requirements for entry into the United States and other countries to which they will be seeking entry. The Davis campus testing program uses an RT-qPCR test to detect the virus in asymptomatic people. “As not all countries and airlines accept the RT-qPCR, travelers are urged to confirm approval of RT-qPCR test, by relevant institutions, prior to travel,” states a May 12 update to Global Affairs’ COVID-19 Travel Announcement.

Aggie Square advances

The UC Board of Regents yesterday ratified decisions made the day before by the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee, approving the business terms related to Aggie Square’s mixed-use residential building and the Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education, and the California Environmental Quality Act terms and designs for both the projects. What all this means is, this project is moving forward! We are extremely excited for the opportunities that lie ahead, not only in education and research, but in benefits for the community around Aggie Square.

Commencement season

We are pleased this year to have a mix of in-person (limited scale) and virtual graduation ceremonies. Undergraduates who indicated they want to participate in an in-person graduation event should have received their confirmations. Graduate Studies sent a registration message by email this week to all students eligible to graduate, including those enrolled in the School of Education and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, who are invited to participate in Graduate Studies’ limited-scale, in-person graduation ceremony June 10. (Graduate Studies and the education and nursing schools also will hold individual virtual celebrations.)

The law school, which operates on the semester system, is the first to hold commencement. The graduates were coming in today for photos and will have a virtual ceremony tomorrow. Congratulations!

We will miss professor emeritus and former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso at the law school ceremony. A towering figure in civil rights all across this nation, he died last week at the age of 90. We were blessed to have him on our faculty. His counsel and kindness will forever be remembered.

Checking in elsewhere

  • Chancellor’s Colloquium — I hope you will tune in for my conversation with Rosie Rios, who, as U.S. treasurer, 2009-16, launched an initiative to put a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in more than a century. This virtual program will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 19. Register here.
  • UC Davis Sustainability Summit — Highlighting and honoring sustainability initiatives and champions. Hosted by the Office of Sustainability, the summit celebrates accomplishments across the university and the students, academics and staff who go above and beyond to promote a sustainable campus. The summit will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, May 21. Register here.
  • Bike Month — Speaking of sustainability, I two-wheeled my way to the Bike Barn earlier this week for a tour with the manager, Oscar McBain, and two of his student-employees, environmental engineering major Meg Davis and biomedical engineering major Clara Ginnell, What a great facility to have on our campus, and certainly one of the reasons the League of American Bicyclists declared us a Platinum Bicycle Friendly University.

Thank goodness, indeed

Normally around this time we would be having our Thank Goodness for Staff celebrations on the Davis and Sacramento campuses, in person. This year, we’re doing the next best thing: virtual activities, Monday through Friday, May 17-21, connecting staff in a variety of ways, from professional development and networking opportunities, to family-friendly, creative and fun events.

I hope you will join me for the TGFS Kickoff, 4-5 p.m. Monday, featuring Shola Richards’ keynote on “Unstoppable Resilience: The Keys to Staying Strong During Any Crisis.”

The schedule also includes a Talent Show, Scavenger Hunt, Petting Zoo(m)! and Drawing Class With the Art Club. Each campus’s Staff Assembly has prepared its own schedule: Davis and Sacramento, with all virtual events open to staff from both campuses. I hope to “see” you there.

And, once again, Thank Goodness for Staff. I appreciate all you do.

Sincerely,

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Gary S. May
Chancellor


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