- Author: Wendy Powers
I hope everyone is doing well, despite pollen counts and less than desirable social conditions. Things are heating up across California, as evidenced by Mark Bell's attempt to move to a cooler work spot. I've had to turn on the window AC unit, making it a bit noisier during Zoom meetings. Pressure to restart the economy has heated up as well. Once one state moved to open up a bit, many followed and it seems the flood gates opened. I heard last night that 28 states have reopened in some way. It will be interesting to see how this proceeds given recent increases in COVID-19 cases.
Much of the discussion underway across the UC system, including UC ANR, focuses on what a ‘restart' looks like. I read a story that sums up the challenges quite nicely. The piece also outlined some unanticipated benefits of the world's situation, including less pollution and greater collaboration due to improved attendance, presumably because people are traveling or commuting. No doubt these benefits pale in comparison to the number of deaths and the economic impacts of the pandemic.
The week has gotten away from me. I had some time on Monday to get some items checked off. Clearly, I picked the wrong items to work on because now things have changed and the completed items are irrelevant, having been replaced with different ‘to-do's'. Just as I was sitting down to write a blog on Tuesday afternoon, I looked out my window and saw more than the typical number of cows loose. Some were in the road. It was immediately apparent that someone had left a gate open. Moving cows made for a nice change of pace, but I failed to return to the blog until now.
The Academic Assembly Council met on Tuesday. My time with them was quite brief, yet hopefully productive. Concerns about the employee impact of the pandemic were raised. UC ANR is less impacted than campuses that have shut down dorms and dining halls and incurred medical center expenses. However, we are all part of a system that relies on state and federal funding, in addition to county support for UC ANR and tuition for the campuses. Unless we can predict the path of the pandemic, it is impossible to predict what's ahead, financially, for UC ANR. The sooner we are able to reopen the economy, and keep it open, the better. In the short term, we are in good shape. I suspect there is a way to reopen and stay safe. We can all contribute to this by making good decisions during our personal time and taking extra precautions.
So, as we wind down our work week and prepare for Mother's Day festivities, play safely in order that we can all move into our future normal as soon as possible. A guest speaker from UCSF said on a call this morning, "Pretend it's Switzerland and just follow the rules".