Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear members of the chemistry department community,

We continue to adjust to the rapidly changing situation before us right
along with all of you. The most recent developments came yesterday in
the form of tighter restrictions for Orange County (attached) and a
directive from UCI's Vice Chancellor for Research to ramp down
non-critical research until May. We take these directives very seriously
and are working to implement them expeditiously. We are hopeful that our
community can continue to find ways to be productive and engaged in
teaching and research even in light of the new restrictions that we must
adhere to.

There are a variety of ways we can continue to participate in productive
research activities. A few that come immediately to mind are: beginning
graduate students can pursue online training - perhaps in online
consultation with more senior graduate students in their respective
groups - in the techniques they will employ in their research; they can
also do extensive literature surveys and perhaps work on writing a
review article; more advanced students can work on materials in
preparation for advancement to candidacy exams, finish writing
manuscripts if sufficient data is in hand or begin writing manuscripts
to be completed when things get back to normal, or begin/continue
writing their theses even though they might need more data to finish up.
I'm sure that there are many more possibilities. All of us are used to
being creative. Let's continue to be creative to adapt and make the best
of the challenges (and opportunities) that we will confront (enjoy?) in
the coming weeks/months.

The highest priority right now is our personal safety and the safety
of our families and co-workers. This is the time to think of the broader
collective good for our community with every action we take as we
navigate through this crisis.

Please be assured that the Department remains open for business, albeit
in a virtual setting. We will do our best to ensure that our research
and educational activities proceed to the greatest extent possible
during these extraordinarily difficult times.

I thank the department staff for continuing their extraordinary
efforts to keep the department open for business, despite the numerous
challenges associated with the transition to working at home. Their
thankless work behind the scenes to keep the department running are
immensely appreciated.

Be safe and take care.

On behalf of the department,

Doug Tobias
Professor and Chair