Ask the Administration Leadership Team
As UCLA strives to follow the safer at home orders issued by the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, staff, faculty and students are doing all they can to ensure the continuity of UCLA’s mission of education, research and service. Despite the uncertainty of this unprecedented time, many Bruins are looking forward with optimism and have reached out to ask,
When do you anticipate that staff will be able to return to campus?
Our world and routines have been turned upside down with the onset and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of California, Los Angeles County and City of Los Angeles were quick to heed the advice of health experts to implement safer at home and physical distancing requirements to lessen the potentially devasting impacts of COVID-19. UCLA responded immediately to these directives and the vast majority of UCLA employees and students have transitioned to working and learning remotely. As a result, California has been a national model as to how to effectively manage the crisis and successfully “flatten the curve,” reducing the influx of COVID-19 patients and strain on healthcare workers and hospitals, including UCLA's employees and facilities in Westwood and in Santa Monica.
The question as to when it might be possible for everyone to return to campus is complicated. The safer at home directives, including physical distancing, are helping to flatten the growth curve of new cases, but the economic implications of this preventative measure are immense—not to mention the social implications of being separated from work colleagues and extended family. It is expected that the County will relax some of the safer at home restrictions when the current order expires on May 15; however, it is unlikely that this will mean we can all return to working on campus the following Monday.
Health experts point to the need to gradually return to our normal routines and interactions to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19. Once the County issues its revised health directive, campus leadership will send a message providing more instructions on what it means for UCLA. Based on the information we know at this time, employees should anticipate the continuation of remote working beyond May 15. Although some employees may be allowed to return, we will need to continue social distancing so it expected that many employees will either remain working remotely or will alternate working on the campus and remotely.
I consulted with Dean Ronald Brookmeyer of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health regarding this question and he indicated that lifting the physical distancing measures will likely need to occur gradually. Correspondingly, UCLA will gradually return to on-campus work and activities. We will need to closely watch whether COVID-19 can be kept under control as we ease restrictions. The goal is to avoid a “second wave” of the virus.
To help understand what campus operations will look like in the summer and fall, we recently established a Future Planning Task Force to explore and analyze the options for returning to on-campus work and other activities. I am pleased that Dean Brookmeyer has agreed to chair the task force and I look forward to its recommendations.
Hang in there! We will get you back to the campus as soon as it is safe to do so.
Thank you for your cooperation and dedication to serving the campus community. Your sacrifices and contributions during this challenging time are helping to save lives.
Administrative Vice Chancellor