School COVID-19 Updates

COVID and the School of Physical Sciences

Updated:  June 24, 2021

Message from Provost and EVC Stern Concerning June 17, 2021 Revision of Cal OSHA Regulations Regarding a Return to the Workplace:

A succinct summary of new COVID requirements for persons on the UCI Campus is the following:

Physical distancing

  • No physical distancing or barriers between workers are required, regardless of employees’ vaccination status, unless there is an outbreak (see below).
  • Unvaccinated employees eating or drinking indoors must be at least 6 feet apart from others.

Face coverings

  • Fully vaccinated employees may work indoors without face coverings, even if unvaccinated co-workers are present.
  • Unvaccinated employees must continue to wear masks indoors, unless alone in a room or a vehicle. Upon request, UCI will provide voluntary-use respirators to unvaccinated or vaccinated employees.
  • No face coverings are required for anyone outdoors, unless there is an outbreak of COVID-19 cases (see below).

Outbreaks and Quarantines

  • If an outbreak of three or more cases occurs in an exposed employee group, UCI must evaluate whether physical distancing or barriers are necessary to control transmission of the virus. If an outbreak of at least 20 cases happens, masks must be worn by all workers indoors and outdoors where 6-foot distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Fully vaccinated workers with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested or quarantined if they are exposed to the virus.

More information is available here:

Phase 4 Research:

  • Phase 4 Research commenced on Tuesday, June 22.   Phase 4 is the final phase in the reopening of the UCI research enterprise.  It provides an opportunity for every scientist, graduate student, and research staff member, to return to the campus and resume their research activities.  Guests and visitors are also accommodated.  More information is available here:

Current Infection status:

  • Orange County:  Orange County remains in the yellow tier (Tier 4 – the most permissive tier).

This reflects further improvements in all metrics relating to COVID in Orange County:

UC-wide Guidance on the Vaccine Mandate:

Based upon a policy announcement on April 22, 2021, the University of California has announced that, effective at the beginning of Fall Quarter 2021, fall term, “all personnel, trainees and students accessing university facilities and programs in person would be required to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”  For more information, see the following Draft of this policy (still in revision).

UCI Employees are asked to upload COVID-19 vaccinations

This week, the campus made available a website where proof of vaccination can be uploaded for all UCI employees.  Upload proof of vaccination here.

Students who are vaccinated no longer required to do asymptomatic testing

For on-campus students who are fully vaccinated, and have uploaded your vaccination to the Student Health Portal, it’s no longer necessary to continue with our asymptomatic testing program given the efficacy of the vaccine. However, we are asked to continue to complete a Daily Symptom Check.

COVID case scenarios: What to do…

  • If you have COVID symptoms:  Report here:  Monitor symptoms and go to Student Health (if you are a student), or Gottschaulk, (if you are a faculty member or visitor) in case of difficulty breathing or a persistent elevated temperature that is unresponsive to NSAIDs.  Call ahead in all cases. 
  • If someone in your research group has symptoms on campusFor students, postdocs, undergraduates, or visitors working in shared office or laboratory spaces, the procedures depicted in this graphic should be followed: 

The key directives are the following:

  1. If a student working with others in a laboratory or a shared office space become symptomatic, everyone working in that space goes home until the symptomatic person is tested. 
  2. A negative test (green track) means that everyone can resume activity in the lab or office.  The symptomatic person is not permitted to return until they are days beyond the day (Day C) they are clear of all symptoms.
  3. A positive test means that everyone quarantines for 14 days.  Please be advised that this has remained the preferred protocol of CDC.  CDC has also suggested shorter quarantines associated with higher risk when 14 days is impossible or impractical.  See: