March 7, 2020
Dear Members of Our Campus Community,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of our colleagues across campus and throughout the UC who are working collaboratively and continuously to help us respond as a community to the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus.
As of March 7, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus or anywhere in Santa Barbara County, and there are no recommendations by any public health agencies to suspend campus operations or modify any class schedules. However, with the increased availability of testing, we can expect that more people will be tested when displaying certain symptoms, and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are expected to continue to grow in California, and possibly in our region and/or university community. We are closely monitoring this fluid situation in our local community in collaboration with public health agencies, and we will work together to meet any challenges that may present themselves.
The well-being of our community is our highest priority. We are vigilantly working with every area of our campus to monitor and respond to the situation as it continues to evolve. We are following the guidance of our local public health agencies and the CDC. We are working to adapt our robust response and continuity plans to this current threat, and to maintain a healthy and safe living, learning, and working environment for all of us.
Many campus offices, including Instructional Development, COLLABORATE, the Center for Innovative, Teaching, Research and Learning (CITRAL), and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, have been working to enhance instructional technology and create an infrastructure that would maintain continuity of instruction and support both students and faculty who might be unable to participate face-to-face in classes or exams, should COVID-19 emerge locally and potentially disrupt academic operations. As we did during the Thomas Fire and road closures, a variety of strategies would be deployed should public health officials advise that the campus take additional steps, including on-line lectures and/or assignments, take-home finals, remotely proctored exams, and other alternative arrangements that would ensure that students could complete their coursework. We encourage instructors to ensure that GauchoSpace sites are active for each of their courses so they could communicate easily and efficiently with their students.
We continue to follow the guidelines provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), as well as the guidance of UC Office of the President. We have created a COVID-19 website, where you will find the most up-to-date information the campus has available as well as links to other important sites, including:
• UC Santa Barbara Student Health
• University of California Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
• UCOP Travel Restriction Guidance
• UCEAP Program Suspensions and Updates
• California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
• US Department of State Travel Advisories
We can all help to keep our community healthy and safe by using everyday preventive care, including the following:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects at home, work, and school.
If you experience flu-like symptoms:
• Stay home.
• Students should contact Student Health Services at (805) 893-7129 to receive guidance from an advice nurse.
• Faculty and staff members should contact their primary health care provider.
For members of our staff, in situations involving self-quarantine or other circumstances that may warrant an employee's absence from work, we encourage managers to work with Human Resources & Labor Relations to make every effort possible to help in identifying available options. UC Santa Barbara employees have access to Academic & Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) services, which offers free counseling and referral assistance for employees and eligible family members and can help individuals coping with anxiety, stress, loss, and more. More information about ASAP services is available at https://www.hr.ucsb.edu/asap.
To enhance campus coordination and augment the efforts of our existing campus pandemic response team that have been underway since the initial reports of COVID-19, we have established a COVID-19 Response Working Group, coordinated out of the Office of the Chancellor. The Working Group, listed below, includes all of our vice chancellors, Academic Senate leadership, and individuals who have been involved in our campus-wide preparation efforts over the past two months, as well as faculty expertise in the area of virus-host interactions, health, and microbiology. The Working Group will meet daily in order to advise on policy decisions and implementation related to our ongoing COVID-19 response. We will also be consulting closely with our students and members of our staff to help inform our actions.
We know that many in our community are understandably anxious about COVID-19 and the unknowns that it poses, but we have always been a strong community and pulled through whatever challenges have come our way. We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our shared commitment to treating all members of our community with respect, and to upholding our Principles of Community. It is unacceptable to discriminate against or profile any members of our community.
I am deeply grateful to our community members for all of the efforts that have been and will be taken to keep our campus safe.
Henry T. Yang
COVID-19 Response Working Group
(Coordinated by the Office of the Chancellor)
Carolina Arias, Assistant Professor, Director of the Arias Lab (for understanding virus-host interactions)
Henning Bohn, Chair of the UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate
Willie Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor for Housing, Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises
Jim Caesar, Campus Emergency Manager
Chuck Haines, Associate Chancellor for Finance and Resource Management
Matt Hall, Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Nancy Hamill, Chief Campus Counsel
Joseph Incandela, Vice Chancellor for Research
Ali Javanbakht, M.D., Medical Director for Student Health
Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Kenneth Kosik, M.D., Harriman Professor of Neuroscience
John Longbrake, Associate Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Garry Mac Pherson, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services
David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor
Charles Samuel, Research Professor, C.A. Storke II Professor and Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
Cynthia Señeriz, Director for Human Resources
Jeffrey Stopple, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education