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Recovery and Response Update

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Friday, June 5, 2020

Recovery updates

Fall semester decisions anticipated mid-June

No decisions have been made about the fall semester. Nine committees are continuing their work of planning for the return to campus. Major decisions will be announced in mid-June.

Watch this newsletter for updates as decisions are made.

Berkeley COVID-19 study underway

The Berkeley COVID-19 Safe Campus Initiative has started enrollment for undergraduate students. Faculty and staff will be invited to participate in additional studies at a later date.

These studies will evaluate protocols for students, faculty and staff safely returning to campus. Visit the study website for more information.

Research recovery

Preparations are underway for a new, second phase of research recovery. This second phase will allow additional researchers to return to the campus to conduct research activities that cannot be performed off campus. It will proceed with a carefully considered building-by-building approach. Initially, the focus will be on buildings that provide a home to experimental laboratory research, though planning for additional types of research is underway.

Acting on the recommendations of the Research Recovery Committee, the vice chancellor for research is working with cognizant deans to establish building oversight committees that will implement new campus protocols for reduced building occupancy and develop guidelines for balancing the needs of all building occupants.

Please note: At this time, all research work that can be done remotely will continue to be done remotely. Only researchers who have previously obtained exceptional approval from the vice chancellor for research for critical research needs are allowed to be on campus.

Benefits program changes for relief during the pandemic

To provide relief for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the following changes are now allowed for eligible employees:

  • Enroll, change or cancel medical plan coverage.

  • Enroll, change or cancel your 2020 participation in Health and Dependent Flexible Spending Accounts.

  • More time to file claims, file appeals and apply or pay for COBRA.

Learn more about the changes to UC benefits programs for relief during the pandemic.

Loans and withdrawals from retirement plans

If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible to access loans and withdrawals from your UC-sponsored retirement savings plan.

Parking permits required, cancelation deadline Monday

Parking permits or fees are now required to park on campus. As most employees are still working from home, permit holders will not be charged via payroll deduction for the month of June. If you would like to use your annual permit for the month of June, please let Parking and Transportation know by Monday, June 8 so they can reinstate payroll deduction. Otherwise, if you need to park on campus there are a number of payment options.

Parking permits and AC Transit EasyPasses for next fiscal year (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021) will automatically renew:

  • If you wish to renew payroll deductions for your parking permit or transit pass, you do not need to take any action.

  • If you do not wish to renew your parking permit or transit pass, the deadline to cancel your permit or transit pass is Monday, June 8.

For more information, visit the COVID-19 parking updates page.

Emergency food assistance

A limited number of $75 grocery gift cards are available to UC Berkeley staff members who are unable to afford groceries. If you are an eligible staffer, complete the online grocery card form.

Students: There will be a grocery bag pick up on Tuesday, June 9 at three locations. The deadline to sign up is Monday, June 8 at 8 a.m.

Staff, postdocs and visiting scholars: There will be a grocery bag pick up on Tuesday, June 9 at Crossroads Dining Hall. There is no need to register in advance, just bring your UC ID, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

University Village residents and student parents: The UVA Pop-up Bear Pantry is open every Monday from 9-11 a.m. Complete the application to participate.

For more information about emergency food assistance, see the Basic Needs Center Guide to COVID-19.

Remote instruction training program for graduate students

Graduate students may apply to participate in a Graduate Remote Instruction Innovation Fellows Program. The 8-week summer program runs from June 22 to Aug. 14. Participants will receive a summer stipend of $5,000.

The program is intended for graduate students teaching discussion sections or stand-alone courses (e.g., Reading & Composition, studios, or foreign languages), and those GSIs who are assisting a faculty member in revising a course to be taught remotely in the fall.

Application review will begin on a rolling basis on June 8, with the initial cohort of fellows selected by June 15, 2020. UC Berkeley plans to fund up to 200 GRI Innovation Fellows campuswide this summer.

Interested graduate students should apply online.

Feedback and questions

Campus leadership welcomes your recovery-related ideas and suggestions.

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