COVID-19 spring break update from the Coordinating Task Force

Reminders on precautions to take while traveling as well as an update on the College’s continuing response to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation and the status in Los Angeles more broadly.

Oxy Community:

As we begin spring break, we wanted to offer some reminders on precautions to take while traveling and to provide an update on the College’s continuing response to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. We encourage you to visit the webpage we have set up where you can find all past communication on the virus as well as updated FAQs and links to helpful external resources.

Given the fluidity of this situation, all community members should err on the side of caution when travelling during spring break. Federal travel restrictions based on where the virus has emerged can impact one’s ability to leave that country, return to the United States, and/or be subject to remote quarantine upon return to the U.S. If you are traveling overseas, use the U.S. Dept. of State country information site and the Center for Disease Control Coronavirus page to find the latest information about the risk status of your destination. Occidental cannot predict if this will change during spring break. Anyone concerned about getting “stuck” in another country over break should consider a different destination.

Any travel through airports, particularly international terminals, poses the risk of contact with individuals carrying communicable diseases. When travelling, remember to wash your hands often, carry hand sanitizer, use a towel to open bathroom doors, bag dirty laundry away from clean clothes, and request freshly washed towels daily. Upon return to Oxy, seek medical support from Emmons, a primary care doctor, or urgent care if you begin to experience symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.

There continue to be no identified cases in the Occidental community. Next week’s Oxy athletic events will continue as scheduled, as will other routine campus activity, barring new developments. Our priority at Occidental has always been the health and safety of our community. To that end, Cleaning Services staff has increased the frequency with which restrooms, classrooms, offices, and all facilities in general get disinfected. This includes wiping down all high-traffic areas on a daily basis and using our Electrostatic disinfectant machine Emist in multiple areas around campus. The process of disinfecting campus will continue through spring break. Facilities is also in the process of installing additional hand sanitizers in key areas and refilling existing sanitizers as needed. 

The COVID-19 Coordinating Task Force met today and will continue to meet during spring break to continue to update existing response plans and to monitor the latest developments.

L.A. County confirmed two new cases of the new coronavirus Friday, bringing the total number to 13. One individual is part of a group of travelers who went to northern Italy. The second is another screener at LAX. (Three UCLA students are now being tested for the virus, the university announced this morning, but the results have not yet been made public.) The new confirmed cases still don’t point to community spread in Los Angeles County. “We are not currently recommending the suspension of any large public events, including the L.A. Marathon [on Sunday],” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, said Thursday. 

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Health officials continue to stress that the best preventative measures individuals can take are simple ones: Stay home if you are sick; wash your hands frequently; cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or your arm. You can view a complete list of tips on our webpage.

Jim Tranquada
Director of Communications