Dean Lairmore

Dean Lairmore's COVID-19 Update - January 12, 2021

Veterinary Medicine Community:

I am delighted that veterinary professionals were included last week in the vaccine rollout. Thanks to everyone at the school who secured vaccination partners and facilitated the launch of the rollout on the same day of the California Department of Public Health announcement. We had personnel who received their first vaccinations at UC Davis Health the evening of the announcement, and I know many have been able to receive their first dose since then.

Vaccinations suspended for veterinary personnel

You may have seen in the news that vaccination centers have received guidance to shift distribution. More than 11,000 UC Davis employees have been vaccinated to date. COVID vaccine self-scheduling for UC Davis Health employees who have not already scheduled or received their 1st dose is currently on hold. This change is being made because of the current vaccine supply limits for additional first doses. UC Davis Health has now suspended vaccinations for the time being for some personnel, including those from our school. If there are changes in this situation, we will communicate it to you as soon as possible. We will also keep our FAQ updated.

We know that the prevalence of COVID infections is at record levels, so it’s essential to maintain safety practices whether you are vaccinated or not.

School-sponsored Covid-19 Town Hall

On Wednesday, January 20, I’ll host a town hall at noon on where we are with campus COVID-19 testing and management. Our guests include Dr. Richard Michelmore, Director of the Genome Center and Eric Kvigne, Associate Vice Chancellor of Safety Services. The Genome Center has led the campus effort to develop and administer the saliva test, and Safety Services has led the campus’s overall COVID-19 response management. An official announcement went out yesterday. You can direct questions in advance to svmcommunications@ucdavis.edu.

Budget

The chancellor and provost conveyed good news about budget planning yesterday. Due to an improved budget outlook, the campus will not take additional budget actions at this time in response to the November 23, 2020 guidance from President Michael Drake or the subsequent request to the campus for input about budget options.

Although this is heartening, the chancellor and provost reminded us that the decision should not trigger a sigh of relief. They noted that budget challenges remain, and the campus continues to face difficult decisions at all leadership levels. I am sure they speak for all of us when they say that they prefer the most strategic approach and believe our collective efforts are best focused on the multi-year planning framework. They and I both recognize and are appreciative of the many sacrifices that have already been made by all members of the UC Davis community, including the Veterinary Medicine community.

Instruction

Spring semester began last week and I’d like to thank our faculty and students for continuing to make adjustments to make our instruction successful while maintaining safety. This includes adhering and adapting to the quarantine requirements in place that are essential to protecting the community.

Yesterday, the Office of the President announced that it anticipates in-person instruction to resume in the fall at all campuses. My expectation is that we will have become even stronger in our overall approach to education from this experience when we do return to in-person instruction, but in the meantime, we need to continue to adjust and innovate.

One helpful adjustment is that we will be raising the tents again to provide more options for classroom instruction and other activities. We’ve requested a large tent be placed on the Scrubs/Event Lawn, a large tent on the Quad lawn and a smaller tent at VM3B and are awaiting confirmation regarding when they will be raised.

Taking care of yourself

I’d like to close by acknowledging that the New Year has already been eventful, in ways positive and negative. Like all of you, I’m disturbed by the attack that occurred at the nation’s capital.  There is no excuse for violence and disinformation as a means to disrupt our democracy and reward those who fail to differentiate free speech from sedition. I’m in agreement with Chancellor May’s statement on what occurred and what we need to focus on as we move ahead together.

Individually, this pandemic is wearing on us in many ways. Please remember to take care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to use the resources provided by the school for students, the university for faculty and staff, or through your own insurance or support network. These are stressful times, but we can see progress to know that things will get better.

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