The last few weeks have been difficult as we have learned of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to locations across the globe, in various cities in the United states, and in our local community.
I want to acknowledge the profound concern, anxiety, and worry that this virus and its consequences have created for so many of us, and our hearts go out to those who have fallen ill in this epidemic. We will get through this together as a community by relying on and supporting each other.
While there are no confirmed cases of the virus here on our campus, we know that there are confirmed cases in neighboring areas, and it could very well happen on the Berkeley campus at any time. Consequently, we want to be as prepared and ready as possible so that we can move quickly should we need to.
You may have seen the memo to instructors advising that they begin planning more ways to offer their course content and lectures outside of the classroom, predominantly online. We have also encouraged supervisors and managers to, where possible, allow employees to work from home. These are baseline measures that we would ramp up quickly, and perhaps broadly across campus, if circumstances warrant such actions. Today we are calling on all members of our community to take steps now to prepare for the possibility that in the near future we will need to shift to working, teaching, and learning remotely and virtually as much as possible.
Campus events and activities are proceeding as planned right now, and in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has been no local guidance to limit events, but we stand prepared to take such action if and when needed.
Any campus decision to take broad actions, such as ending all classroom instruction or eliminating large events on campus, would be made in consultation with local public health authorities and the University of California Office of the President.
While some other universities in California and elsewhere may have taken more far-reaching actions, such as ending all classroom instruction and turning solely to remote learning, they take such actions in consultation with their local health officials, informed by the number of cases and community spread in their local area.
This situation is very fluid, and it could change very quickly in the Berkeley area, requiring, again, that we change course at a moment’s notice. We encourage you to stay up to date with the latest information on the virus itself and other health information posted on the UHS web site. For the latest information about campus actions and campus operations visit our coronavirus information platform that launched today.
Although anyone could suffer from coronavirus exposure, we also recognize that some are especially vulnerable, including older persons, and those who have compromised immunity and respiratory challenges.
Please continue to look out for each other and to show kindness and support to all members of our campus community. Students, please share this message with your family and any other concerned parties.