Updated masking and other COVID guidelines


Los Angeles County lifted its universal mask requirement earlier this month. Even so, masking remains an important strategy to reduce transmission and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Dear Oxy Community:

As you may know from our previous communication, Los Angeles County lifted its universal mask requirement earlier this month in light of the consistent declines in the number of COVID cases, test positivity and hospitalizations after the winter surge fueled by the Omicron variant. Even so, masking remains an important strategy to reduce transmission and protect the most vulnerable among us. As such, the county still requires masking in settings such as public transportation and healthcare facilities and “strongly recommends” masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

In light of the updated county guidelines, Oxy’s decline in cases and our high vaccination rate, we are adjusting our masking guidance as follows for staff, faculty, students and visitors to campus effective Thursday March 24.

  • Masking will be strongly recommended indoors, but not universally required. 

  • Masking will continue to be required in the following settings:

    • Indoor classes and other indoor teaching spaces

    • Residence hall common areas

    • Emmons and the AGC testing center

    • Large indoor events, with 100 people or more (e.g. in Thorne or Choi)

    • Group transportation provided or sponsored by Oxy (e.g. Bengal Bus, athletics travel, field trips) 

  • Masking will continue to be required for those who have not received a complete vaccine series, plus a booster if eligible. (Oxy’s vaccination policy)

With this change in policy, we recognize that for the first time since we have been together on campus this academic year, there will be spaces and occasions where not everyone is masked indoors. We call on our shared values as a community to exercise consideration and mutual respect for one another during this time of transition. Also, note that the College will continue to make N95/KN95 and medical masks available to students, faculty and staff.

In addition to the masking updates, we are updating the following measures:

  • Testing

    • We no longer will require weekly surveillance testing. Any community member may continue to test weekly through the end of the semester.

    • Weekly testing is required for those who have not received a complete vaccine series, plus a booster if eligible. (Oxy’s vaccination policy)

    • Weekly testing is also required for certain cohorts, particularly those who participate in activities with increased exertion or voice projection such as athletics and theater.

  • Indoor catered events are now permitted.

As COG has done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor conditions on campus and guidance from public health officials and will adjust policies as necessary.

Thank you,

Devon Sakamoto, Assistant Dean of Students for Emmons Wellness Center

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

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