VSPA COVID-19 Information

As you may already be aware, UC Berkeley (UCB) is taking ongoing proactive measures to limit the potential spread of novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) on our campus

In accordance with Chancellor Christ’s message regarding the shelter-in-place order by Alameda County effective Tuesday, March 17 at 12:01 am through April 7, please make arrangements to work remotely.

 

The University Health Services (UHS) website details the most recent COVID-19 Health Advisories, including recommendations on how to protect yourself from transmission. We ask that you continue to monitor the UC Berkeley Coronavirus Information website for the most current information. 

The following is information specific to the postdoctoral scholars (postdocs), visiting scholars, visiting student researchers communities at UC Berkeley.

Appointments

If you have questions about your appointment such as delaying your arrival date, please contact your UCB Department and your designated Berkeley Regional Services HR Business Partner.

Consult the Berkeley International Office (BIO) website for visa questions and notify them to defer an international visiting scholar/visiting student researcher appointment. 

 

Remote Work

Principal Investigators (PIs) and research managers should work with each of their postdocs to develop a personalized plan that allows each person to conduct research remotely to the fullest extent possible, e.g., performing data analysis, literature review, modeling and computation, writing manuscripts and applications, and planning.

 

UCB visiting scholars and visiting student researchers currently on campus must follow all UCB campus guidance to employees, regarding social distancing and working remotely. Temporary remote work allowance has been approved for this cohort as they wait for their visa processing. The intention is that the scholar will still be coming to Berkeley.

 

Travel

Please visit the Berkeley International Office website for the latest notices, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and government orders on immigration policies here.

 

UPDATED March 19, 2020,12:24 PMGlobal travel conditions are highly impacted (external link) and the Department of State is suspending routine U.S. visa services in most countries worldwide (external link). Embassies and consulates in these countries will cancel all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020. Check your local U.S. embassy or consulate website (external link) to confirm operating status. Mail delivery in many parts of the world is also impacted and may result in delays in the delivery of immigration documents. Be aware that travelers returning from CDC Risk Level 3 (external link) countries are required to follow UC Berkeley campus guidance following travel and re-entry. More information is available on the UC Berkeley COVID-19 campus website. Should you have urgent, emergency travel needs to or from impacted regions, please contact BIO for advising.

 

Review current campus travel guidelines and enforce self-isolation as necessary. Refer to the most-up-to-date guidance on the campus COVID-19 website.

 

Due to the changing nature of US immigration policy, the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts on global travel, BIO does not recommend international travel. Please refer to the guidance provided by BIO for important information on US immigration policy, Executive Orders and travel advisories. 

 

We strongly urge that you cancel travel and attendance at scientific conferences, and attend meetings via phone or video conference. Many scientific conferences and other research community meetings are being cancelled or are permitting remote participation.

 

Review current campus travel guidelines and enforce self-isolation as necessary. Refer to the most-up-to-date guidance on the campus COVID-19 website.

Pay/Stipend and Health Benefits

For questions regarding pay or stipends you should work directly with your BRS HR Business Partner or departmental HR contact. You may also email us at vspa@berkeley.edu for additional information. Please note that stipends will only be approved for those visiting scholars and visiting student researchers who are physically in the Bay Area.

For questions regarding health benefits, please contact:

Gallagher Benefit Services or GBS (formally known as Garnett Powers) for postdocs: Antonio Kontokanis at Antonio_Kontokanis@ajg.com. (alternatively 1-949-583-2925 ext 1408 or via e-mail at UniversityServices@GBS.psbp@ajg.com)

Gallagher Benefit Services or GBS (formally known as Garnett Powers) for visiting scholars and visiting student researchers: Diane Sims at Diane_Sims@ajg.com or 888-441-3719.

UPDATED June 15, 2020: Effective immediately, IMG (insurance carrier) has agreed to include coverage for COVID-19 on all of their plans for currently enrolled and future enrolled Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers. Please note, for any scholars who switch plans, experience a gap in coverage or are newly enrolled pre-existing condition coverage waiting period will apply. Scholars who are currently erolled, coverage for the COVID virus will be treated as any other illness. For more information, please contact Diane Sims at Diane_Sims@ajg.com or 888-441-3719.

UC Berkeley Health Care Facilitator, Sharon Johnson: 510-664-4126 or sdjohnson@berkeley.edu.

Please also visit the IMG Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here.

VSPA Events

We urge that VSPA Affiliated Programs conduct meetings and events virtually. VPSA events will be conducted virtually or have been postponed until further notice.  

The New Affiliate Orientation registration can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding VSPA events, please contact the VSPA Events Coordinator.  

Wellness

This situation is rapidly evolving and we understand that this may be a stressful time. We encourage you to contact VSPA for additional information and support, as well as the following resources:

Staying Healthy: Hygiene, Mental Health Resources

Manage Anxiety and Stress

COVID-19 Campus Resources

UCB Covid 19 website 

Berkeley International Office (BIO)

Vice Chancellor for Research Office (VCRO)

University Health Services (UHS)

UC Berkeley Library

Basic Needs Center