January 29, 2021 - Urgent - Help Your Fellow Bears Flatten the Curve

Dr. Sunny Lee, Dean of Students, and Anna Harte, MD, Medical Director, sent the following message to all undergraduate and graduate students on 1/29/21

 

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students,

We hope your spring semester is going well. We are reaching out to you today to ask for your help. We became aware of 55 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among undergraduate students and two graduate student cases in Berkeley this week. This is a concerning uptick in infections from previous weeks, and one that may not be entirely related to winter break travel. 

The current pandemic is in a pivotal moment - while there are vaccines on the horizon that will be available (though full implementation is still a ways off), we are currently seeing both an increase in cases and, nationwide and within California, the emergence of new strains of the virus that are more infectious. It is of the utmost importance now to stem the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to public health advice.

 

PRIORITY - Never gather inside with people outside your household/bubble

  • Do not attend any gatherings or events. We cannot stress this enough - right now it is critical that you avoid gatherings - large or small - with people outside your immediate “bubble” or household (i.e., people who you do not immediately live with), especially inside.
  • Even if you think it’s safe, it’s probably not! We’ve heard from many students that they try to self-determine if a gathering is safe based on if the attendees are friends, have tested negative, or have no symptoms. It’s vital to remember that just because someone has recently tested negative or otherwise doesn’t “look sick,” COVID-19 has a long incubation period and/or can be asymptomatic in some - all of which can be deceiving. All it takes is one instance of letting your guard down to either expose others or be exposed yourself. Don’t take the risk! Avoid gatherings with those you do not live with
  • Even if you think you’re not at risk for becoming seriously ill (because of age or health), you could cause others to get seriously ill through one instance of not following the guidelines. This has already happened within our community.  Let’s take care of our fellow Bears and the people in our community including folks who live in your neighborhood.

 

Participate in surveillance testing: 

  • Get free testing regularly: University Health Services (UHS) has useful testing information for our many communities. Schedule your test now
  • If you live off-campus, in Berkeley and/or the Bay Area (including CalGreeks houses or co-ops): If you live in fraternity/sorority housing or a co-op, please pay attention to your building messages and instructions. Students living in the vicinity of the campus, especially students living in congregate housing situations such as in fraternity or sorority houses and co-ops, are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week 
  • If you live in our campus housing (ex. residential halls, apartments and suites): Refer to your Residential Life communications with details about your required twice-per-week testing. 
  • If you live in family housing/University Village Albany (UVA): Please refer back to recent emails that have been shared with your community. All registered students living at UVA are now required to participate in COVID-19 surveillance test once per week. Contact the Village Office with any questions.
  • If you have tested positive through another medical provider or testing location, please call the University Health Services CONFIDENTIAL line at 510-643-8227 to inform our clinical teams and we can support you. Remember, this line is confidential. Information gathered during contact tracing will not be used in disciplinary action against individual students or organizations (you may learn more about our conduct processes).

 

Keep following best practices:

  • As always, please continue to follow protocols such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings. 
  • Bears Protect Bears! Learn more about how you protect yourself and others.
  • Any student experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (or any students with concerns), please call the University Health Services Advice Line 24/7 at 510-643-7197 for consultation. 

 

We truly hope you will partner with us during this crucial moment in the pandemic to reduce virus transmission. Only with your help will we be able to turn a corner and return to the in-person student activities we all miss. Please reach out to UHS with any questions you may have.
 

Sincerely,
 

Dr. Sunny Lee

Dean of Students
 

Dr. Anna Harte

Medical Director

University Health Services

 

This message was sent to all undergraduate and graduate students.