By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – An article in the San Diego Union Tribune seemed to suggest that the University of California would be starting the winter in remote learning due to Omicron. However, President Michael Drake in a tweet pulled back and said there was not systemwide shift to remote instruction and that campuses will have discretion.
Seven of the UC Campuses have now opted to do some form of remote learning, including UC Davis.
Chancellor Gary May in a statement Tuesday afternoon, noted, “Due to your hard work and your inspiring dedication, UC Davis remained open throughout fall quarter while maintaining an extremely low COVID-19 infection rate.”
He added, “Whether on-campus or off-campus, Davis could boast, without exaggeration, of being one of the healthiest places in the nation during this pandemic.”
That remains the case despite the new threat from the Omicron variant.
“We understand that recent media coverage has caused a great deal of anxiety. That said, emerging data suggest that people who are fully vaccinated and boosted are very unlikely to become seriously ill, even if they do contract COVID-19 caused by any of the currently recognized variants,” the Chancellor said.
The Chancellor announced that they will open winter quarter remotely from January 3 to January 7, “allowing enough time for members of our community to secure a negative COVID-19 test before attending classes or coming to work in person on January 10.”
UC Davis had “had planned to discontinue the testing mandate for vaccinated people in mid-January, (but) we are now going to maintain our fall-quarter requirement: testing every two weeks for those people who are fully vaccinated and testing every four days for those people who are not vaccinated.”
Further, the Chancellor added that “we will enforce a systemwide mandate for a booster vaccine for all faculty, staff, and students who do not have a vaccine exemption currently in place.”
Meanwhile, Interim DJUSD Superintendent Matt Best told the Vanguard, “We have no plans to return to distance learning unless directed to do so by the Governor, the state or the Yolo County Health Department.”
Best added that “throughout the pandemic, the District has taken significant precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including weekly testing of approximately 6,000 students and staff, indoor and outdoor masking requirements, elementary lunchtime seating charts, air purifiers in all classrooms and offices, numerous vaccine clinics and adding health and safety staff. As a result, the number of positive cases and quarantines in DJUSD remains very low compared to the state and our region.”
He said, “We intend to continue these safety measures upon our return from winter break on January 3. We will be encouraging our families to test prior to returning at an HDT testing site, and stay home if they are symptomatic.”