UCLA holds information session to address concerns regarding COVID-19
Brian MacDonald, Director of residential education at UCLA Residential Life, speaks at an information session on COVID-19 on Monday. The event was also livestreamed, as students were encouraged to not attend in person. (Naveed Pour/Daily Bruin)
UCLA does not plan to move all classes online yet in response to COVID-19, campus representatives said at an information session Monday.
The event, which was livestreamed and viewed by nearly 2,000 people, took place in De Neve Auditorium. However, students were encouraged to not attend in person, so about 15 were physically present. The audience asked UCLA experts and campus representatives questions via livestream and in person.
Three students were tested for the coronavirus as of Friday, but all three tests came back negative, according to an emailed statement from Chancellor Gene Block.
Addressing COVID-19 has been complex because the disease and its effects keep evolving, said Sam Elias, associate medical director of the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center.
“This condition didn’t exist three months ago, and now it’s everywhere,” Elias said.
As of Monday, there were 16 cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. Two cases were reported Monday. One patient had been to Japan while the second has an unidentified source of exposure, according to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health statement.
As a result, the LACDPH has ruled it to be the first possible case of community transmission in LA County, according to the statement.
UC Berkeley, USC and Stanford University have all moved classes online.
Health and Prevention:
- Students are encouraged to virtually reach out to the Ashe Center if they experience any symptoms, Elias said.
- The center is available for all students, whether they have the UC Student Health Insurance Plan or not, Elias said.
- The Ashe Center has a security guard at its entrance to monitor the symptoms of any individuals visiting the center, Elias said. If anyone appears to have COVID-19 symptoms, they will enter through a separate entryway, he added.
- Nurses and frontline workers are equipped with protective gear, such as gowns, goggles and masks, should they be needed, Elias said.
- Isolation and quarantine are the two principal methods public health officials employ when it comes to highly communicable diseases like COVID-19, Elias said. Isolation is for patients with the disease and quarantine is for individuals who are healthy but have been exposed to those with the disease.
- Peter Angelis, assistant vice chancellor for UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services, said UCLA Housing has additional space for isolation and is prepared to accommodate up to 500 people if necessary.
- Elias also said the term “person under investigation” refers to someone who exhibits risks and symptoms but has not been tested and therefore cannot be known to have the disease.
- People with a travel history are more likely to contract the disease, Elias said.
- Elias said the UCLA medical center is working on developing test kits for the coronavirus.
Academics and Student Life:
- UCLA is evaluating all large-scale events, including graduation, to see if they will carry on as planned despite the spread of the coronavirus, Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi said.
- Jaime Balboa, assistant vice provost for summer sessions and study abroad and assistant dean for Undergraduate Education at UCLA, said summer UC Education Abroad Program classes in China have been canceled. The status of other programs is contingent on how the COVID-19 situation evolves, he added.
- Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Development Suzanne Seplow said other campuses that have switched to online classes have not shut down their campuses.
- Angelis said if classes are proceeding as planned, then custodial services, residential operations and dining operations will operate normally as well.
- Blandizzi said students experiencing anxiety because of the circumstances can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services. She also said students who have experienced bias because of their nationality can submit a report on the Office of the Dean of Students’ website.
- Blandizzi also said students who are registered with the Center for Accessible for Education and think COVID-19 might impact an existing condition can reach out to the center with any concerns.
- The Ashe Center will be open during spring break and has masks available for students who are sick. However, sick students are advised to stay at home. Those who do not have symptoms do not need to wear masks to class, Elias said.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines on travel which students can adhere to before and during spring break, Seplow said.