Campus update: Vaccinated community priority No. 1, congrats to staff honorees, fitness complex open again

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

August is always full of anticipation and this year is no different. There’s more activity on campus with each passing day and while the fall will look different than any we have had before, I know our community will continue to show the support and patience they’ve shared with one another over the past year and a half.

Preparation remains the key to opening as planned and we continue to follow all COVID developments closely, particularly those involving the highly contagious Delta variant.

The best way to support our return is to get vaccinated and provide your proof of vaccination to campus. As you know, the University of California has made compliance with its COVID-19 vaccination program mandatory for all faculty, staff, academic appointees, and students as a condition for accessing any UC facility this fall. The fact that the Delta variant has struck the unvaccinated especially hard demonstrates the reasoning behind that decision.

The Office of the President considers a fully vaccinated campus one where at least 90 percent of students, faculty and staff are fully vaccinated. It is imperative we reach that threshold by Sept. 9, which is the deadline for employees and students to submit their proof of vaccination or to initiate a request for exception.

If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and have yet to upload your vaccine information, please do so now. Instructions for employees to submit proof of vaccination are online. Students should log in to the campus health portal , go to Medical Clearances, then COVID-19 to add their information. If you received your vaccine from our on-campus clinic, we already have a record of your vaccination and no other action is required on your part for verification. If you are planning to be vaccinated and have yet to schedule your shots, do not delay further. Many options are available to you.

The highlights

  • Michael Luttrell, redeployed from conference services, earns Outstanding Staff Award.
  • Back-up care program coming for students, employees.
  • Campus adopts indoor face-coverings requirement.
  • University of California releases the Community Safety Plan.
  • Parking fees reduced for the upcoming academic year.

Michael Luttrell honored with Outstanding Staff Award

Congratulations to Michael Luttrell, winner of the 2021 Outstanding Staff Award. The award, now in its 26th year, was established to honor staff members who go above and beyond to provide distinguished service to students, staff and colleagues. Michael did that and more, redeploying from operations manager of UCSC Conference Services and taking over as operations and logistics manager for COVID-19 testing on campus. He did so even in the face of huge personal challenges, as he was forced to relocate to temporary housing for 39 days last summer with his wife and infant daughter when the CZU Lightning Complex fires threatened his Boulder Creek home. Thank you, Michael, for your commitment to our campus community.

The UCSC Alumni Association partners with the Staff Advisory Board to solicit nominations, select, and honor both the nominees and the annual award winner. This past year brought such a flood of deserving nominees, four additional staffers were recognized with honorable mention awards. Not surprisingly, all of them work on the front lines of COVID. They are Rocio De La Cruz, a custodial supervisor who managed constantly changing COVID-19 rules and procedures; Frank Dang, who was instrumental in developing the IT systems needed for the health center to continue to provide student care during the pandemic; Christina Lombardo, who coordinated Environmental Health and Safety’s operational response to COVID-19; and Michael Tassio, Academic Affairs chief of staff and director of online education, who has been central to the planning of remote and online learning.

Congrats to all who were nominated and honored. I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary spirit and talent displayed regularly by our dedicated staff. Thank you for all of your efforts.

Back-up care program coming this fall

I am pleased to announce that starting this fall, UC Santa Cruz will provide subsidized back-up care — both child care and elder care — for employees and students. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having this support structure in place. Our program will include both in-home care and care provided through a network of child-care facilities.

Eligible employees and students who register for the program will be allotted 15 uses per year. Employees and students will be responsible for a copay per use, with campus covering the remainder of the cost. The copay for employees for center-based back-up care will be $10 per child, $4 per hour for in-home care. The copay for students for center-based care will be $5 per child, $2 per hour for in-home care. Additional information on the program can be found in the campus message announcing its creation.

More information on how to register for the program will be provided soon. Our goal is to have the program up and running by the first day of fall quarter.

Face coverings required in indoor settings

As pandemic conditions continue to change across our state and region, we now require that individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings when they are in indoor settings at campus locations. A campus message sent earlier this month details when it is appropriate to remove face coverings while indoors, and when exactly you should reach for one. Please read the message if you have not done so already. The COVID situation continues to be fluid. We will keep you informed of any new or changing public-health protocols on campus as we approach the Sept. 18 start of fall quarter.

Additional support for graduate students

Campus leaders over the past year have worked hard to provide additional support to graduate students, creating new programs focused on housing, student success, and family support, and enhancing existing ones. The support is designed to be responsive to some of the concerns our graduate students have raised about the challenges they face living and learning in our high-cost-of-living area.

The support ranges from up to $1,500 in funding to support incoming Ph.D and MFA graduate students who are transitioning to Santa Cruz to enhancements made to existing Slug Support programs to address graduate-student needs. The new and enhanced support programs are detailed on the Division of Graduate Studies webpage.

President Drake releases systemwide Community Safety Plan

The UC Office of the President earlier this week released the final version of its 2021 UC Community Safety Plan. The plan, more than a year in the making, was crafted with the goal of transforming UC’s culture, policies, and practices to create campus communities where all feel welcomed, respected, and protected. It was born out of the national debate on policing that followed the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black Americans and people of color.

President Drake’s Community Safety Plan for the system does not supplant the ongoing work to create lasting change on our campus. The UCSC Campus Safety Community Advisory Board earlier this summer sent me its recommendations. With President Drake’s plan now in hand, we plan to develop a clearer understanding of how these efforts can work in concert. I will communicate broadly on this topic this fall.

Parking fees reduced

As part of our ongoing push to support employees and students, campus parking fees will be subsidized centrally this academic year. Individuals who purchase quarterly, annual, or multi-year A, B, C, or R parking permits will see a 15 percent drop in cost, effective Sept. 1. Other parking fees will remain the same.

More information on the various permits available to campus community members and the reduced fees is available on the TAPS website. You’ll also find details on how those who prepaid for 2021-22 permits can receive refunds and how the reduced fees will impact those who pay for permits through payroll deductions.

Athletics & Recreation Complex now open

Our campus Athletics & Recreation Complex — our pool, tennis, courts and Fitness Center — is now reopened to all Slug Recreation members. That means our undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, emeriti, staff, alumni, retirees, affiliates, and community members all have access once again. For hours of operation and more details on facility access and COVID mitigation policies, please read the post by Recreation staff.

With only 35 more days until the start of classes, I hope that you enjoy these beautiful days of summer.