Your destination for planning information related to Summer and Fall 2021 as we welcome our students and employees back to campus for an in-person Oxy experience.
New Randomized Testing Protocols
Starting Monday October 4, we will begin randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing of Oxy community members who are not already being tested regularly through required testing, opt-in testing and/or cohort-based testing. Every Monday, several hundred randomly selected students, faculty and staff will receive an email from Emmons letting them know they need to test that week. More info
Symptom Management & Guidance
Being fully in-person this semester, in combination with the change of seasons, means that we fully expect to see an increase in cold and flu symptoms—symptoms that can also be consistent with COVID. It is important that anyone experiencing symptoms test for COVID-19 to either identify or rule out COVID to minimize the chance of community spread. More info
New Outdoor Masking Guidelines
Now is the time to be proactive to keep our community safe and preserve the in-person experience that is the heart of the Oxy experience. Our results so far this fall are good, but we want to reduce risk even further to keep case numbers as low as possible. With that in mind, in addition to our current guidance, we are announcing the following masking updates:
- We strongly recommend wearing a mask outdoors at all times when social distancing is not possible.
- All outdoor gatherings of 50 people or more will require masking (all indoor events already require masks).
Exposure Management: FAQs regarding positive cases and close contacts
The most common questions we are hearing this semester fall under the theme of exposure management. These include “How is Oxy managing cases?" and “What should I do if I have symptoms, or if my friend, classmate or colleague tested positive?" We’ve updated the site with new content and answers to many FAQs in this area that we hope will provide more clarity for students, faculty, and staff. These important guidelines and policies have been developed by the COVID Operations Group, with consultation from our special adviser, Dr. Kim Shriner '80 and Emmons medical staff. There are many resources and FAQs in our new Exposure Management section.
Q&A with Dr. Kim Shriner
Dr. Kim Shriner ’80, medical director of infection prevention and control at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, is Oxy’s special adviser on COVID-19 issues. In the first of what will be a regular feature for the Oxy community, we sat down with Dr. Shriner to address some recent questions about COVID asked by community members.
Vaccination & Testing Requirements
On May 25, President Elam sent an email regarding Oxy’s new COVID-19 vaccination requirements, which mandates that all students, faculty and staff must be vaccinated. With the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Oxy will only allow exemptions for medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs. Those who previously declined for personal reasons will need to submit proof of being fully vaccinated by October 4. Unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption will be subject to twice-weekly testing, as well as other preventative measures (including but not limited to masking, daily health checks, social distancing, etc.) to protect the health and well-being of the Oxy community. More info on vaccine reporting and exemptions
All unvaccinated individuals living, studying and working on campus will be required to test twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. In addition, all students are required to be tested no later than five days after their arrival on campus. As of June 1 our testing policy has not required weekly surveillance testing for vaccinated individuals once they have submitted documentation and received clearance from Emmons. However, given the recent developments with the Delta variant, in keeping with our ongoing effort to minimize COVID transmission on our campus, the College is planning to expand the scope of our testing protocols as follows:
- Any student, staff or faculty member exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
- Any student, staff or faculty member concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19
- Any student, staff or faculty member who wishes to opt in to weekly testing (more information about opt-in testing)
- Select student cohorts (to be determined) participating in programs where masking will not always be possible
- Random sampling of vaccinated individuals to monitor spread
Event Resources: Checking proof of vaccination for non-Oxy attendees
Last week we announced updated event guidance, which included the requirement of proof of vaccination for non-Oxy attendees of indoor events. To support event organizers on campus, we’ve updated the website to include specific resources regarding event management and guidance for checking proof of vaccination. Anyone organizing events should read this information carefully.
The campus grounds are currently open to all community members. Visitors will be asked to follow the current guidance that applies to students, staff and faculty and to mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Community members who host visitors are responsible for informing visitors of the applicable rules.
Independent contractors and volunteers who are hired by or invited to Oxy must show proof of vaccination. Volunteers and contractors should follow all other relevant health and safety policies, including wearing masks indoors.
For prospective students and families: we have resumed our in-person campus tours!