An update from the COVID Operations Group (COG) about the current safety guidelines for fall semester.

To the Occidental Community:

Since Oxy’s COVID Operations Group (COG) issued safety guidelines for the fall semester on Aug. 3, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that the average number of daily cases and hospitalizations in the county has declined. This raises the possibility that the current surge may have reached its peak locally last month.

With hundreds of students and faculty returning to campus from all over the world over the next 7 days, COG believes it is prudent to keep current campus guidelines in place for the next few weeks of the semester while carefully monitoring conditions on campus. If cases on campus remain low, and L.A. County remains at a medium COVID risk level as measured by CDC standards, we will revisit Oxy's masking guidelines and report back to the community in mid-September. Please keep in mind that regardless of which direction the pandemic takes over the coming weeks and months, faculty members have the right to determine whether or not masks are required in their classrooms.

Beginning today, Monday, August 22, COVID testing will be available on the second floor of the Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center (AGC) on Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Oxy's vaccination mandate remains unchanged: All Oxy students, faculty and staff must be up-to-date on COVID vaccinations–defined as having the initial vaccine series plus at least one booster dose. Find Oxy's latest COVID guidelines.

All of us are weary of the virus and would welcome the chance to ease up on the vigilance that the last two years of the pandemic have required. Still, we urge your continued cooperation as we welcome the Class of 2026 and the start of the new academic year. It is your flexibility and active participation that has been, and continues to be, critical to our collective effort to keep Oxy healthy.

Thank you,
COVID Operations Group (COG):

Harry J. Elam, Jr., President
Sharla Fett, Faculty Council President, Professor of American History
Rob Flot, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Amos Himmelstein, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Nora Kahn, General Counsel
Devon Sakamoto, Assistant Dean of Students for Emmons Wellness Center
Wendy Sternberg, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College
Jim Tranquada, Director of Communications
James Uhrich, Vice President for Information Technology Services & Chief Information Officer