COVID Operations: Campus Updates

An update on a variety of subjects just before the start of Spring 2022 semester classes.

Oxy Community:

With the first day of spring classes beginning remotely on Monday, we write to share a number of updates from the COVID Operations Group. Our guiding principle is to support in-person instruction this semester, and a safe and healthy environment for students, staff and faculty, as we contend with the current surge driven by the Omicron variant. There are no significant changes to our operational assumptions in our prior communication. We continue to plan for in-person instruction to begin in part during the week of 1/31 and in full by the week of 2/7. Even though Omicron appears to be beginning its decline in Los Angeles County, we must continue to be vigilant to reduce transmission in our community.

Items covered in this update:

  • New mask policies and availability
  • Employee guidance for in-person and remote work
  • Weekly testing protocols & related updates
  • Spaces for students to take remote classes next week
  • Updated isolation protocols
  • Event guidance


  • Masking, together with vaccines, are essential to reduce transmission on campus. Cloth masks are no longer considered acceptable. Surgical grade medical masks are the minimum standard, with N95s providing the strongest protection. More information, including guidance for proper fit, can be found here. Regarding mask distribution: 

    • For faculty, an allocation of N95 and surgical masks will be available on Monday for pickup by department coordinators from the Dean’s office. Dean Sternberg will provide additional details.
    • For staff, each vice president will receive an allocation of N95 and surgical masks, and distribution to individual employees will be managed at the department level. 
    • For students, N95 and surgical masks are available at the Student Activities Center in JSC, as well as the AGC testing center. (2 masks per student per week)


  • We are updating our prior guidance, which recommended that all employees who do not need to be on campus work remotely for this week and next week. Consistent with our plan for in-person classes to resume on 1/31, we expect all offices that work with students to be back in person by 1/31. Given students have already started to return, some offices have been back in person already or will resume in-person on Monday. Vice presidents will provide department-specific guidance.


  • Students have been sent details on return to campus testing and must follow those protocols.
  • Information on weekly surveillance testing for students, faculty and staff can be found here. Students will be tested on a designated day of the week based on the first letter of their last name. Faculty and staff can choose their testing day. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID is exempt from surveillance testing for 90 days.


  • For the week of 1/24, some students who are back on campus may need to find spaces other than their room to take their classes remotely. Students may utilize their designated classroom to attend a class remotely. All students present in a classroom must follow masking requirements. 
  • Faculty who intend to use their classroom to stream class sessions or record lectures should notify their students if classrooms will not be available.   


  • In-person programming and events are permitted beginning 1/31 following existing event guidance and masking protocols. In addition, we are not permitting events catered by Campus Dining until further notice, to most effectively utilize dining resources. Additionally, we advise any event organizer to use discretion when planning events for February and consider alternatives that could minimize the likelihood of transmission. 

    • Can the event be later in the semester (given the expected decline of Omicron)?
    • Can you limit the number of attendees?
    • Can parts of your program be virtual?


  • Oxy’s exposure management protocols and isolation/quarantine policies have been updated.
  • Get boosted as soon as you are eligible, and upload the record of your booster vaccine. Details here
  • As you may have heard, the federal government is now offering free rapid antigen tests by mail. Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of four free at-home tests, without shipping fees, on Up to eight at-home COVID tests per month may be covered and reimbursed by insurance. Check your insurer’s website for details. 

Community members are encouraged to submit any comments or questions about COVID related issues to, an inbox staffed by the Marketing & Communications team. We thank you in advance for your attention to these important health and safety updates.

Marty & James (on behalf of COG)

COVID Operations Group

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
Marty Sharkey, Vice President of Communications & Institutional Initiatives
Wendy Sternberg, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College
James Uhrich, Vice President for Information Technology Services & Chief Information Officer