By Lauren Chavez, Oct. 19, 2021

As the spring 2022 semester approaches and enrollment appointments begin, Cal Poly Pomona students who have not submitted proof of vaccination or complied with the mandate’s alternative actions face registration holds on their BroncoDirect accounts following the deadline last month.

The majority of students have uploaded vaccination proof, requested a religious exemption or attested they will not be physically coming to campus this semester. According to Associate Vice President of Student Health & Wellbeing Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, 23,673 students have uploaded proof of vaccination as of Oct. 18 for a student vaccination rate of 80.3%.

For the approximately 1,000 students who, as of Oct. 13, have not complied with the mandate, they currently face registration holds preventing them from reserving classes for next semester.

The holds were one of the multiple disciplinary actions discussed by campus administrators last month, a list that also included losing access to Canvas and disenrollment from the university.

“This semester we’ve focused on just the registration hold, recognizing that trying to do all of these different things was quite complicated that we just wanted to kind of focus on, to narrow and focus on one particular action,” said Dean of Students Jonathan Grady. “So, that has been the registration hold.”

According to Grady, registration holds would be the only disciplinary action pursued in the foreseeable future.

“We did not remove Canvas access for any student this semester, nor are there plans to do that for next semester either,” said Grady. “We’re kind of thinking about registration holds and other ways of, again, encouraging students to comply with one of the four actions.”

Administrators have evaluated the holds to be effective as the number of noncompliant students drops daily. Additionally, those students who failed to meet the deadline are receiving weekly email reminders to comply with the mandate. The university also organized a phone calling campaign for noncompliant students, posted reminders on social media ahead of the deadline and communicated through BillyChat.

“I think it’s good to have some form of punishment,” said Katherine Nieman, a business marketing student. “Because, obviously, COVID is such a big thing that this will encourage people to get the vaccine, to upload the records, just to make sure everyone here stays safe.”

Incoming spring 2022 students such as those joining in from high school, transfer students and those returning from a leave of absence have a Dec. 3 deadline to submit documentation.

Cal Poly Pomona’s staff and employees represented by the California Faculty Association, California State University Employees Union, Union of American Physicians and Dentists, and Academic Student Employees have an extended Oct. 27 deadline.

Nonrepresented employees such as Management Personnel Plan employees and confidential employees have achieved 100% compliance of the vaccination mandate, according to the Director of Employee/Labor Relations & Compliance Yasmin Iltchi.

Overall, 4,193 Cal Poly Pomona employees have been vaccinated as of Oct. 13.

Along with the vaccination mandate, the campus’ daily health screener has played an important role in preventing those coming to campus from putting others at risk. University administrators are hoping to incentivize the use of the screener with discounts offered at various campus dining locations every Friday in October with proof of completing the form.

“The health screener is another key tool in our multi-pronged campus health and safety plan, and so we’re just trying to encourage students, faculty and staff to continue to use that and that’s part of why we’re offering a couple of promotions here on campus,” said Assistant Vice President Frances Teves. “It really is just to increase the use of the health screener.”

For more information on how to complete one of the four actions, campus community members can visit Cal Poly Pomona’s Safer Return vaccine information page.

Photo courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski

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