Updates and a request for students currently living/staying off-campus in light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Dear Off-Campus Students:

As the Omicron variant continues to spread across Los Angeles County, Occidental College students, faculty and staff are preparing for a full return to an in-person experience. Amid the surge in cases in LA, 45,076 on January 13 alone, we find ourselves reliant on each other to create a safe environment for our community. Aligning with our personal responsibilities and Oxy’s Culture of Care, we should remain cognizant of how our actions affect the spread of this extremely contagious virus. 

A high COVID-19 positivity rate amongst students could have significant consequences for Oxy. Undoubtedly, the impact would be felt across campus, greatly affecting student life, major events, and club/org activities. In turn, we want to maintain a healthy environment for our students, student athletes and Greeks living off-campus. That said, we must be vigilant and informed, strictly adhering to the following:

  • We are asking that all of you refrain from hosting any events and parties at your residence for the month of January, and limit the number of guests. We believe that hosting of events and parties could significantly lead to an increase of COVID-positive cases.

  • Booster Shot Requirement: Oxy has updated its vaccine policy to require all students who are eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots to do so by January 18. 

  • Vaccination & Testing Requirements: All students must be fully vaccinated in order to be on campus. The only exceptions are those granted on medical or religious grounds. Given recent developments with the Omicron variant, the College has expanded the scope of its testing protocols. All students returning for the Spring 2022 semester must get tested on the day of their arrival.

  • Masking Guidelines: Everyone must be masked while indoors on campus—current guidance.

  • Symptom Management & Guidance: It is important that anyone experiencing symptoms test for COVID-19 to either identify or rule out COVID-19 and minimize the chance of spread—symptom management.

  • Exposure Management: Review FAQs regarding positive cases and close contacts—exposure management.

Like the majority of students, we too—as faculty and staff—want to remain in-person. That said, particular attention is being paid to the choices that students make related to the pandemic—including how those choices are perceived by our neighbors. Specific guidance for students living in the surrounding communities can be found in the Student Code of Conduct as well as the COVID-19 Student Compact. These resources further clarify rules and potential policy violation ramifications as determined by the Office of Student Conduct.

As always, we are here to support and provide counsel to students living off campus. Please bookmark oxy.edu/back-oxy for the most up-to-date information. If you have any questions or need to connect in a one-on-one or group setting, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

In community,

Isaiah J. Thomas, Ed.D. Assistant Dean of Students and Director Residential Education, Housing Services and Student Conduct

Marcus A. Rodriguez Assistant Dean of Students and Director Student Leadership, Involvement, & Community Engagement (SLICE)