For Students

More information on Occidental’s planning for the 2021-22 academic year, organized by topic.

Updated 5/13/21

Fall 2021

We are currently planning to welcome all students back to campus this fall. All incoming and returning students are required to be vaccinated and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the beginning of the fall semester. While current guidance continues to evolve, we are working closely with L.A. County health officials, who have expressed optimism for a return to more normal campus activity in the fall, given the declining COVID positivity rates and the availability of vaccines.

Visit the Returning to Campus page for information and dedicated programming specific to both first-years and sophomores arriving on campus for the first time. On-campus housing will be provided to all first-year and rising sophomore students, with further details coming in early June. The U.S. State Department recently announced that international students may obtain a “National Interest Exception” to the international travel ban, which will make it possible for our international students to return to campus.

Read the latest updates on the reopening of athletic facilities. The Academic Commons is partially reopened to students, who can reserve socially-distanced study spaces in advance.

Health & Safety

A return to on-campus life does not by any measure mean abandoning the best-practice safety measures that we have come to rely on. We do expect our testing program, even for those who are fully vaccinated, to remain in place this fall. And we will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials as they apply to college campuses. In order to protect our campus community, those living or working on campus must abide by our health and safety requirements. This includes wearing face masks in public at all times, practicing physical distancing, and using a College-sponsored monitoring app for daily temperature and symptom checks. Additionally:

  • All incoming and returning students are required to be vaccinated and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the beginning of the fall semester.
  • Students, staff and faculty who are living and/or working on campus will be required to get tested for COVID-19 twice per week. 
  • Emmons has moved to a rapid, self-administered salivary test. Results will be delivered within 24 hours directly to the patient through text message or patient portal.
  • Daily health checks will be accessible through an app downloaded on your mobile device. The same app will also deliver testing reminders and health updates.
  • Off-campus students living in the area close to the College will be invited to take part in the testing protocol. By signing up for testing, off-campus students will gain access to campus facilities and programs as they become available.

Consistent with our current policy, all cases of COVID-19 as well as campus testing data will be shared with the community. The Office of Parent Engagement will notify parents of steps taken to ensure the community is protected, including contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols, and testing procedures.


Welcoming all students back to campus this fall means that courses will be taught primarily in person, although some virtual innovations introduced over the past year may continue to supplement and enhance the student experience. The return to in-person instruction includes all types of classes, including those we simply could not offer remotely over the past year. Ongoing consultation with faculty about course delivery will continue as we work out all the practical details of safely returning to in-person instruction across the range of academic disciplines.

Student Life and Housing

With proof of vaccination required of all students, residence hall occupancy and staffing will return to pre-pandemic levels in Fall 2021. In addition to planning an Orientation and support structures designed for new first-year students, we also recognize that our rising sophomore class has not been on campus and will require dedicated new student programming. As such, we are planning a Welcome Experience for the Class of 2024, as well as assistance with roommate matching. For juniors, the waiver allowing them to live off-campus without petitioning will remain in place for the 2021-22 year. We expect that the full range of student activities also will resume. And, as all students will be returning to campus this fall, we feel very optimistic that we will be participating in varsity athletics again.

Student Support

We are here to support you with a full range of services, support and programming. Nearly all of the co-curricular programs, services, and supports that students experience on campus are available virtually—no matter where you are, Oxy’s Culture of Care is here for you.

Mental Health Services: Emmons Wellness Center is committed to meeting the mental health needs of all of our students. This includes crisis counseling, virtual drop-in counseling and workshops. Emmons professionals will provide ongoing individual and group telecounseling to students residing in California. Out-of-state students will have access to ongoing telecounseling through a national therapy group practice. Emmons will also assist students in finding local therapy referrals for any student. All Oxy students anywhere in the United States continue to have access to the 24/7 confidential hotline at (323) 341-4141.

Dean of Students Office and Disability Services: We are committed to continuing to provide the full complement of student support services remotely and by telephone. These services include individual support and advocacy related to personal issues and crisis situations, academic flexibility notifications, academic support and academic coaching, and disability accommodations. Additionally, all Dean of Students staff members will continue to offer daily office hours where students can "drop-in" virtually to meet with a staff member for same-day support. As always, students can also schedule meetings with individual staff members or by reaching out to

Project SAFE: Project SAFE, which provides advocacy, resources and support services for survivors/victims of sexual and relationship violence—including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment—remains a resource for Oxy students both on and off campus. You can reach us at We acknowledge that these are uncertain and surreal times, and that social distancing, the need to return home, and a change in routine without a concrete end date can all exacerbate acute violence or the mental health impact of past trauma. Please know that you are not alone, we are here for you, and we want to help.

Student Compact

The College has developed a COVID-19 Student Compact that supplements the 2020-2021 Code of Student Conduct. The Compact provides guidance to students and community members of the expectations students are to follow as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Compact was developed in collaboration from several offices at the College: Office of Student Conduct, Emmons Wellness Center, Residential Education and Housing Services, Dean of Students Office, Athletics, and Campus Safety. Additionally, student representatives from the Resident Advisor program and Honor Board were involved in this process.