Remote instruction planned for Spring Quarter, Picnic Day canceled

Remote instruction planned for Spring Quarter, Picnic Day canceled

Photo Credits: SHEREEN LEE / AGGIE FILE

Instruction to be done remotely for most, if not all, of spring

Classes will be given remotely for all of Spring Quarter 2020 at UC Davis, according to an announcement made today by the UC Davis administration.

“As the spring quarter progresses, we will continue to monitor the coronavirus crisis and may reassess our directives,” according to the announcement. “Nonetheless, the decision to allow for remote instruction will continue throughout spring quarter. Should the situation improve, instructors may be given the option to resume in-person classes but would not be required to do so. Students, however, would still be allowed to finish their spring courses remotely.”

The decision was made in order to safeguard the health and safety of students and instructors in the wake of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. 

In-person classes may resume at some point during Spring Quarter if threats are mitigated.

UC Davis is the last undergraduate UC campus to transition its instruction from in-person to remote. In the last few days, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside have issued statements about the transition. Other universities and schools throughout the nation have also either switched to online instruction or closed entirely.

“We will have what we’re calling ‘remote instruction,’ not ‘online instruction,’ available for the spring — likely for the entire spring, but we will have a checkpoint in the middle to decide whether we will continue or whether that will be more or less restrictive,” said Chancellor Gary May in an interview with The California Aggie. 

There is no plan to close the campus — it will remain open, and students living in Student Housing-run facilities will be allowed to stay.

“The campus is still open and we want to allow for that to continue,” said Emily Galindo, the interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “The situation is fluid, though, so you also have to appreciate that as well. We’re planning to message the students living in residence halls as well. We don’t close during spring break anyways. We intend to remain open and the services will remain as well.”

This move to remote instruction will include classes given through an online medium, such as Zoom or lecture capture. 

Picnic Day and Commencement

Picnic Day has been canceled. There are currently no plans to cancel the spring commencement exercises, but a decision to cancel them could happen later.

How decisions have been made

Up until now, the university has been making decisions based on a “rolling framework,” according to Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff in an interview with The California Aggie. This newest decision will allow the situation to remain fluid — it “emphasize[s] options” and allows for “maximum choice” by students and faculty, according to Psychology Professor Kristin Lagattuta, the chair of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, in the same interview.

Members of the campus administration have been in at least weekly communication with their counterparts across the UC system — Ratliff, for example, has moved bi-weekly phone calls with her systemwide equivalents to weekly meetings. 

Beyond speaking with other administrators, May proactively communicated and met with student leaders on campus. He convened extra meetings of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Graduate Advisory Board to hear student concerns and opinions. May continues to consult his two student advisors to the chancellor, who were involved in meetings regarding the move to remote instruction.

While UC Davis has autonomy over many decisions, some mandates have come down from the UC Office of the President and UC President Janet Napolitano, a former Secretary of Homeland Security. These decisions include those surrounding employment and travel. Travel to areas of the world most affected by the virus — China, South Korea, most of Europe and Iran — continue to be prohibited, and those returning from these countries must self-isolate for 14 days, per UC guidance. More updates from UC Davis will be posted here every Friday beginning next week.

Travel

Nonessential travel to any international destination must be avoided, under guidance from UC Davis Global Affairs. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged under the same guidance.

Additional information from campus administrators about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect students, course instruction and the campus will be released by The California Aggie shortly.

Written by: Kenton Goldsby — campus@theaggie.org