Chancellor's Update -- August 2021

August 25, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
August 25, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

This week marks just one month from the beginning of fall quarter and the move to expanded in-person teaching, research, and residential services. 

We are committed to delivering in-person instruction, research opportunities, and student support services wherever possible. As a nationally ranked, residential public research university, an on-campus presence is essential to successfully advance our mission of instruction, research, and public service. 

As we prepare for the start of the quarter, there is great excitement for some about returning to some of the activities we have missed. At the same time, we acknowledge that many have concerns about the Delta variant and frequently-changing conditions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have followed public health guidance, even when it required us to change course. We have taken, and will continue to take, a cautious approach that prioritizes the health and safety of our community. 

This week, the Campus Leadership team, which consists of the chancellor, provost, deans, vice chancellors, Academic Senate leadership, and other campus leaders, collectively decided to cancel in-person Convocation and postpone the Chancellor’s Faculty and Staff Picnic. Soon we will announce a limitation of large gatherings not directly related to our instructional mission. Updates will be available at

These decisions follow implementation of a strong vaccine mandate that requires that all people coming to campus must be either vaccinated or have an approved exemption. Other health and safety measures include universal face coverings indoors, improvements in ventilation, adherence to wellness checks, and robust COVID-19 testing. 

In the coming weeks, we will share the details about mandatory and recommended COVID-19 testing for students and employees. An expanded Instructional Continuity Working Group, which includes all the deans, all the faculty executive committee chairs, plus the chairs of CEP, Grad Council, and the division, plus staff and students, has been working to provide additional guidance for instructors, which should be available in the next week at

Many additional specifics on how our return to campus plans are implemented will be determined at the organizational level.
As evidenced in all our preparations, we are utilizing the same incremental decision-making we used in earlier phases of the pandemic to take careful steps forward. We are mindful that many members of our community cannot be vaccinated or live with someone who cannot be vaccinated, so our mitigation strategy is intended to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Our decisions and health and safety measures recognize our responsibility to both our campus community and our broader community. 

Living with changing rules is certainly frustrating. We are all living with some uncertainty, knowing we may need to shift with changing conditions during this stage of the pandemic. is the lead source of COVID-related information on campus. Please bookmark and frequently visit the site for updates as the site is being updated frequently.

For most faculty and staff, September represents a return to campus, which is only possible because of the many employees who have been on campus since March 2020. Thank you to all who have been keeping our campus operating since the beginning of the pandemic. Thank you for your commitment, which allows all of us the chance to return and resume our work on campus.

To everyone, thank you for all you have done or are doing to create a great fall experience for our students, faculty, and staff. As the summer nears an end, please rest up and stay healthy.