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Updated: Message from Dean Deas to the UCR SOM Community

New Information on Winter Quarter & COVID-19 Guidelines

I am pleased to welcome everyone back from the winter break and into the New Year. I write to follow up on my message sent on Dec. 22 (see below), and to highlight some updates from the Chancellor’s email of Dec. 31 regarding the precautions UCR is taking in light of the Omicron variant and gatherings that took place over the holidays.

Winter quarter began Monday with remote instruction, and students are expected to return to in-classroom instruction on January 18th. Campus is open as planned and will not be closing. The School of Medicine will continue other operations such as research, patient care and administration according to the plans and schedules that are currently in place.

Vaccine Mandate and Boosters

Consistent with the UC vaccine mandate, all students and employees are required to be fully vaccinated, including receiving boosters, unless they have an approved exemption. All employees of the School of Medicine/UCR Health, regardless of role, must obtain the booster shot before January 31st or as soon as eligible to remain in compliance. Please note that this is a change from the previous announcement.

To review eligibility requirements and to learn where to schedule COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster appointments, students and campus employees should refer to UCR’s vaccines page. Further information on how to upload proof of booster vaccination will be forthcoming.

Testing

Testing, along with boosters, is a key tool to limiting the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Prior to returning to campus in January, all eligible SOM students, faculty, and staff should test for COVID-19 and report the result through the Daily Wellness Survey. Either PCR or antigen tests are acceptable for vaccinated individuals. If you are unable to get tested before coming to campus, please make an appointment to test at our Pentland Hills Bear Cave location. Visit our testing page for hours and to schedule an appointment.

  • Medical students and graduate students are required to take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus, or immediately upon arrival, then sequester and test again five days after arriving on campus. If you test positive before returning to campus, do not come to campus until you have completed your home isolation period and your symptoms have improved.
  • Faculty and staff who return to work at any UCR location are also advised to get a COVID test before Jan. 3 at any off-campus location, and report the result through the daily wellness survey. If you are symptom free, and fully vaccinated, you do not need to wait for results before returning to campus. If you were unable to test before returning, make an appointment to test at our employee testing site at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave Meeting Room.

Remote instruction: All teaching sessions for graduate and medical students will be remote for the first two weeks of the quarter. Medical student clinical rotations will continue in person, and students should follow the testing and vaccination protocols in place at their clinical location. Further details for faculty and students are available from Dr. Willis, Dr. Simmons and Dr. Carson.

The campus has prohibited any large in-person indoor events on campus for the first two weeks of the winter quarter. I encourage all to avoid any mass gatherings during the coming weeks as we monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Please contact your unit head if you have questions about the appropriateness of any indoor gathering.

Please continue to monitor the campus return page for new information and updated FAQs to address specific questions you may have. Thank you for continuing to work together to protect ourselves and our community.

Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.


Original Message Sent Dec. 22, 2021

As we enter this holiday season, I would like to encourage everyone to be mindful and to adhere to important health and safety guidelines in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. We’re in a much better place than last year due to all of your efforts and those of scientists and health care professionals across our country, and the world at large. However, as the Omicron variant increases its spread across our state and the nation, it’s imperative that we take the necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of transmission.

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Chancellor Wilcox shared several important updates on the beginning of the winter quarter. The quarter will begin on January 3 as initially planned; however, we will begin with remote instruction, and students are expected to return to in classroom instruction on January 17th. The campus will be open as planned on January 3, 2022 and will not be closing. The School of Medicine will continue other operations such as research, patient care and administration according to the plans and schedules that are currently in place.

UCR Campus is also implementing a more robust approach to testing. Testing, along with boosters, is a key tool to limiting the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Prior to returning to campus in January, all eligible SOM students, faculty, and staff are advised to get a vaccine booster and test for COVID-19:

  • For UCR Health/SOM healthcare workers and medical students, the booster is required no later than January 31.
  • Further information on how to upload proof of booster vaccination will be forthcoming.

To further clarify expectations around vaccine boosters, testing, and remote instruction please review the following:


Remote instruction

All teaching sessions for graduate and medical students will be remote for the first two weeks of the quarter. Medical student clinical rotations will continue in person. Further details for faculty and students will be forthcoming from Dr. Willis, Dr. Simmons and Dr. Carson.

Medical students

UCR medical students are required to receive a booster shot no later than January 31 in line with the requirement for healthcare workers. All medical students, regardless of vaccination status, must take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus, or immediately upon their arrival, then sequester and test again five days after arriving on campus. If you test positive before returning to campus, do not come to campus until you have completed your home isolation period and your symptoms have improved.

Graduate students

UCR graduate students are advised to receive a booster before returning to campus in line with existing campus policy. All graduate students, regardless of vaccination status, must take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus, or immediately upon their arrival, then sequester and test again five days after arriving on campus. If you test positive before returning to campus, do not come to campus until you have completed your home isolation period and your symptoms have improved.

Faculty/Staff

SOM faculty and staff (not designated as health care workers) are advised to receive vaccine boosters in line with existing campus policy.

All employees who return to work at any UCR location, regardless of vaccination status, are also advised to get a COVID test before Jan. 3 at any off-campus location or at our employee testing site at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave Meeting Room starting on Jan. 2.

UCR Health/SOM healthcare workers (Faculty/Staff)

UCOP set January 31, 2022 as the deadline for UC health care workers to receive vaccine boosters, under UC's existing COVID-19 vaccination policy, which already covers receipt of boosters, subject to the same exceptions and deferrals. All employees who return to work at any UCR location, regardless of vaccination status, are also advised to get a COVID test before Jan. 3 at any off-campus location or at our employee testing site at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave Meeting Room starting on Jan. 2.


The campus has prohibited any large in-person indoor events on campus for the first two weeks of the winter quarter. I encourage all to avoid any mass gatherings during the coming weeks as we monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

We will continue to monitor the news and share any UCR-specific updates as developments unfold. In the meantime, please continue to monitor both the UCR Campus Return page and the CDC’s COVID-19 page for the latest information on vaccine boosters, travel guidance, and testing.

We’ve done a great job working together to stem the spread of COVID-19 across campus and within the School of Medicine. Consistent with our practices since the beginning of this pandemic, I have full confidence that we will continue to work effectively together to protect ourselves and our local communities.

I wish you all good health,

Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.

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