IT Community Message - 7/1/2020

As we head toward our July 4 break, I hope you and your families are doing well and staying safe. While I see a strong commitment to bring as much back onsite as we can, the recent trends we see in the numbers are generating concern up and down the state and at all levels of government. Here in Orange County, while our campus has been hit quite lightly, our medical center is seeing activities ramp up toward max capacity. We have planned for this, but it will still require a lot of work and strong active management in the days and weeks ahead.

Much like when we went into shelter-in-place, it has been amazing to see the amount of planning that has been accomplished in preparation for researchers, staff and students to return to campus. However, even with those plans, I think it is important to reinforce the individual accountability & vigilance that will be required from every one of us. As a society (and community), we are and will be asked to do things that may feel foreign. Some may feel like big things; others quite small. But know that the things we ask of you are 1) based on science & analysis; 2) come as recommendations from our own deep subject matter experts, and 3) put the health & safety of our community first.

My thoughts on what this means and how to manage through the murky water:

  • Stay flexible: We are figuring things out, testing, piloting as we can. Just as we figured out what was need as we all went home, I expect the "ramping back up" will have its own set of fits-&-starts. Que sera, sera. You can help us by rolling with it.
  • Stay resilient: Resilience is the capacity of any entity -- an individual, a community, an organization, or a natural system -- to prepare for disruptions, to recover from shocks and stresses, and then to adapt and grow from a disruptive experience. I think that fits perfectly.
  • Stay vigilant: We've all developing new skills: awareness of viruses, how to reduce the risk of exposure & transmission, etc. Those skills will come in handy as we come back, venture out, reengage and also deal with summer allergies, colds and the like. I had a cold last week. I isolated and went and got tested. These are all part of life now, but we also should recognize that you'll look at me a little differently when I sneeze.
  • Recognize our community responsibilities: You may be asked to do things upon returning to campus; things you haven't had to do before. In many cases it may not be mandatory, maybe even a little off-putting to you in some way. But before you decide, please think about this: Who are we here for? Our students, our patients, and each other. If you don't want to do it for you; do it for the others in our community. It's the best way to demonstrate that we’re all in this together.
  • Continue to practice tolerance: Tolerance, respect and appreciation for diversity have long been values we've upheld at our institution. We've always preached them as part of being a community that values diversity and inclusion. We might find this situation will test these values and our reactions in situations in ways we've never considered before. The last month has been a proof point for this.

In the end, we all need to help each other find our way in this time. Our campus leaders are working together in such a powerful way that it inspires me to try to bring a sense of that to how we as an IT community are also trying to model this community, collaborative behavior. We've done a great job so far stepping up to the challenge.

With that, I'll wish you a well-deserved, restful and hopefully healthy break. Keep your loved ones safe, and we'll be back in touch after the holiday


P.S. Check out my new blog if you get a chance