COVID-19 Update | Message from the Dean to Students

A Message from the Dean

March 12, 2020

Dear Claire Trevor School of the Arts students:

I’m writing to let you know where CTSA and UCI are in a time of potentially heightened anxiety. First and most importantly, please understand our two central goals:

  • all actions we’re taking are aimed at protecting your health and safety.
  • in the midst of rapidly-changing circumstances, we will continue to provide you with the world-class education you expect from UCI and CTSA.

You may have received confusing or conflicting messages about the current circumstance at UCI, so let me try to clear them up. Keep in mind that the following information is current as of Thursday, 12 March; you should stay close to email and our website for updates. Here is the current state of things:

  • Final exam week: all exams that can be remote will be. I have asked faculty to offer you the choice of opting not to take the final but to take the grade you have in a course before the final. I have not required this, so be sure you have the accurate information for each of your courses.
  • Spring term: the campus is not closed at this moment (Thursday morning), and there is no plan to close the campus during the spring term. You are not being told to “go home.” It’s not as simple as that. Our current plan is to have a real spring term: campus instruction is moving to a “virtual” model of remote instruction wherever possible and appropriate. We are trying to “flatten the curve” of potential cases of COVID–19 by reducing the density of people on campus. So—if you have an appropriate off-campus residence (for example, your family home), please go to it. But housing and food services remain open to those who have either no alternative or a valid reason to continue to be on campus.
  • Required courses in CTSA are being taught in spring term. All courses that can be converted to virtual form will be taught virtually. Obviously, many of the courses in an Arts school require face-to-face work on technique, etc. This is true in all four CTSA departments. The department faculty are currently working to clarify which spring courses will continue to require on-campus presence. Again, stay close to the CTSA website and email.
  • Performance events in CTSA are perhaps our most difficult area; they are part of our pedagogy, but because of the concentrations of people involved, present a special challenge. Each of our departments will be making hard decisions about whether a given event will be canceled or done without audience (the UCI Athletics strategy).
  • Student Affairs will offer advising via phone at (949) 824-6646, or via a virtual platform. Review updates on their website at More information on advising will follow.

The School of the Arts is a community we share–I know how disruptive all of this is.  Take a deep breath. We will continue to work toward creative solutions to the many challenges in front us currently, keeping in mind that we will come out of this having found new ways to engage in life and in the arts.

All campus and health-related news about COVID–19 is at UCI has established the UCI Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Center for students, staff, faculty, parents, and community partners. It’s at (949) 824-9918, email

We’ll be keeping in close touch with you as things develop. Thank you for your patience in this complicated time.

Stephen Barker