July 2, 2020

Renewing our commitment to public health

To the Anteater community:

As we head into the 4th of July holiday weekend, when traditionally we gather to celebrate our nation’s founding and enjoy the companionship of family and friends, I write to implore everyone in our UCI community to double down on your personal commitment to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Over the past month, the virus has dramatically increased its spread across the region. Now we are entering an acute phase. At UCI Health, we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations – more than 180 COVID-19-positive patients were admitted last month alone – and clinic visits related to the coronavirus. And in just the past three days, Southern California hospitals have reported a 17.6 percent increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Yesterday Orange County was included in the list of counties ordered to shut down certain businesses in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

We all want to avoid another complete lockdown, with its awful economic and social consequences. Wearing a cloth face covering and other important measures like hand-washing and physical distancing are the best tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. If all of us consistently follow these simple practices, we will not only avoid another lockdown, but go a long way toward easing the pandemic.

We are all eager to move beyond having to shelter in place, and it is possible to move forward in a careful and safe way if we follow appropriate public health guidance and wear face coverings, wash our hands frequently, and practice physical distancing at all times. I urge this not only for your sake, but for the sake of all those you love and all those you come in contact with.

Here on campus, we are exploring ways to bring faculty, staff and students back to campus in an appropriate way and at the appropriate time. All of our plans are and will remain consistent with the best public health guidance and will be adjusted in light of new information or circumstances. Moreover, we are prepared to pause or reverse our plans if it becomes necessary. Your safety and that of everyone who lives, works or studies at UCI is paramount.

These are trying times for all of us, and it is important that we take care of ourselves both physically and emotionally. If you feel you are not coping as well as you might, please click here to see the resources available to you.

Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing. Stay safe. Be well.

Fiat lux.

Chancellor Howard Gillman