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Friday, April 9, 2021

Inside this issue

Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard

UHS tests

8,619

+172

UC Berkeley positive cases

8

-14

Source: UC Berkeley Coronavirus Dashboard. Date range: April 2-8, 2021.

Alameda Co. adjusted cases per day per 100,000

3.5

+0.9

Alameda County positivity rate

2.1%

+1%

Source: Alameda County Public Health.

Message from leadership

We all have endured more than a year in a pandemic, and experienced the wide range of response and recovery (reference intended!) necessary to come through towards the “next normal.” I'm incredibly proud of our campus community as we kept our positivity rates and transmission very low, we innovated, and we adapted in ways that not only met the current needs but also in ways that set up success in the future. That isn't to say it wasn't hard, and in some cases, tragic. Nor is it to say that it is over — we definitely still have work to do.

Part of the next stage is shifting our public health paradigm from looking at case rates and transmission risk to a vaccination paradigm, where population immunity will drive more and more decision-making. We got a preview of what that will look like this week when the governor announced plans to lift most restrictions once there is widespread vaccination.

Our decisions have been driven by evidence, expert opinion, our own data, and experience.  The next shift to default to in-person activities on campus is no different, with a healthy dose of flexibility needed as there is still uncertainty about variants, vaccine availability, and so forth.  This shift is also predicated upon reaching high vaccination rates, so I’m continuing to strongly recommend that you get vaccinated as soon as you’re able.

— Dr. Guy Nicolette, associate vice chancellor, University Health Services

Recovery updates

State announces plans to fully reopen June 15

This week, the state of California announced that on June 15, “all industries across the state can return to usual operations with common-sense risk reduction measures such as masking and vaccinations.”

The Recovery Management Team is actively considering what this will mean for UC Berkeley and will task 13 committees with developing recommendations. The committees will look at topics ranging from instruction and research to workforce and events. Even if more of the campus is able to open on June 15, those who are able to work from home may continue to plan to do so through at least June 30, as previously announced.

It’s important to note that the state plan is contingent upon continued diligence between now and June 15. The next 67 days will be critical to ensuring the reopening can move forward. You’re urged to continue adhering to all public health guidelines and to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able.

Updates on campus plans will be shared in this newsletter as they become available.

CDC eases travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people

The CDC has updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people. As of April 2:

  • Fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.

  • Fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before leaving the United States (unless required by the destination) or self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.

For information about UC Berkeley-related travel directives, see the travel page on the campus coronavirus site.

CDC deemphasizes cleaning in updated guidance

It’s now known that the principal mode by which people are infected with the coronavirus is through exposure to respiratory droplets. According to updated guidance from the CDC, in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. That’s why they’re now saying that once-daily cleaning is usually enough when no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space.

Video: Herd immunity, explained

Watch the following one-minute video to learn what it means to achieve herd immunity, and why it’s so important.

Herd immunity is achieved when so many people are vaccinated that the virus can’t find a susceptible host before it dies.

Take the student pulse survey

The last student pulse survey of the academic year is now open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Let campus leadership know about your plans and concerns for Fall 2021, your thoughts on COVID-19 vaccination, and how you are doing at this point in the semester. The survey is open until Monday, April 19.

Additional emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19

In recognition of the many challenges that UC employees continue to face, UCOP has decided to offer all its employees, including represented employees, an additional 2021 allotment of Emergency Paid Sick Leave — available for use immediately.

Backup dependent care program ends June 30

There are just three months left for you to take advantage of the expanded Back-Up Dependent Care Program for staff before it expires June 30.

Take employee morale survey #7

The latest employee morale survey is now available. In addition to the standard questions, and as part of a larger research study involving several organizations, this survey includes questions focused on Zoom fatigue. It will take less than a minute of your time to complete. You can find the results of prior surveys, and actions taken in response, on the Morale Survey Webpage.

Tip of the Week: Focus your efforts where they count

Often it can feel like you are juggling a million responsibilities all at once, especially working from home. Although there are many things you could spend time doing each day, it is important to recognize that not all work is created equal. As such, it might pay to focus your efforts on the tasks that maximize your contribution.

Spending time on small day-to-day tasks is a function of most jobs, but fulfilling these obligations alone will not make your career. Plan for and prioritize work that will make the biggest impact and minimize efforts paid to those small day-to-day tasks. 

How can you do this? First, take time before each day to reflect on your unique contribution. What work defines your impact, your contributions, and your career? Then, organize your day around finishing at most, 1-3 attainable "most important tasks" (MITs), which will allow you to realize this unique contribution. Make sure to avoid procrastinating on MITs, and de-prioritize those day-to-day ‘least important tasks’ (LITs) — save those for later or minimize your time doing them. Revolving your schedule and daily agenda around MITs, not LITs, will help maximize your impact on your organization and may just benefit your career in the long run.


Tip of the Week offers advice from the Becoming Superhuman Lab for coping with the challenges of working and studying from home. Look for additional tips in future Response and Recovery newsletters.

In case you missed it

Feedback and questions

Campus leadership welcomes your recovery-related ideas and suggestions.  

Coronavirus information

Visit the campus coronavirus site for COVID-19 resources and support.

Copyright © 2021 UC Berkeley, All rights reserved.


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