Update 3/10/2020: This article has been updated to include recent information from the UCI Student Health Center.
Chancellor Howard Gillman announced earlier today that final exams for winter quarter and spring quarter classes will be held remotely due to “the uncertainty of the impact of the Coronavirus disease,” according to an email sent on Tuesday, March 10.
According to Gillman, school departments and instructors will determine “the most appropriate” solutions for finishing classes and for distributing grades.
School departments and instructors will also inform students about accommodations for spring quarter classes that may require in-person meetings or an “alternative delivery mode,” such as lab courses, studio instructions and clinical experiences.
“Science shows that reducing the concentration of people in an area can lower the infection risk for everyone involved,” Gillman said. “The following actions are designed to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings.”
For spring quarter, Gillman recommended students to either stay in off-campus residences or at home because instruction will be given remotely. Willie L. Banks Jr., Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, will address concerns of students who wish to move off-campus for the remainder of the school year tomorrow.
However, the campus will remain open and operational, employees who need to work remotely must inform their supervisors. All non-essential university-travel, either domestic or international, will be restricted and will require permission from the UCI administration.
“You are encouraged to find alternate means of conducting business as we work to help limit the potential spread of infection to other areas,” Gillman said.
According to Gillman, graduate students will work remotely when possible and must consult with their respective departments regarding next steps.
All UCI Athletics events will remain closed during this time as “no spectators or fans” will be allowed to attend. All events with more than 100 attendees will be canceled.
“While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the UCI community at this time, those with symptoms, especially if they have visited high-risk areas, are encouraged to call their medical providers or the Student Health Center,” Gillman said.
Albert Chang, Medical Director for the Student Health Center, said in a recent email that a member of the UCI community suspected to have coronavirus tested negative. The Student Health Center will inform the campus if there are any other potential cases.
“We currently have several cases that we are following very closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency, and we will be sure to inform our community of any updates and changes,” Chang said. “We continue to encourage students to be healthy and to refrain from attending classes if they are unwell.”
UCI now joins other UC campuses to alter university operations this school year. UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside and UC Davis have all either switched to remote instruction for the next few weeks or for the entirety of this year’s spring quarter. UC Merced has not yet made any announcements about whether they are modifying university operations or not.
Oriana Gonzalez is the 2019-2020 Editor-In-Chief. She can be reached at email@example.com.