University boosts student compliance as vaccine deadline passes

By Lauren Chavez, Mar. 8, 2022

Following the Feb. 28 deadline for students, faculty and staff to comply with one of the four actions implemented by the California State University’s interim vaccination policy, students will be facing disciplinary actions for failure to comply starting April 4.

Beginning March 1, students who were eligible for the booster but failed to comply by the Feb. 28 deadline received communication to provide proof of the booster vaccine, submit a medical or religious exemption or submit a self-attestation. On April 4, noncompliant students will face a registration hold on their BroncoDirect accounts, preventing them from enrolling for the summer and fall terms.

Student receives a vaccine dose at Cal Poly Pomona’s pop-up clinic on Feb. 28. (Darren Loo | The Poly Post)

According to Frances Teves, assistant vice president of Government and External Affairs and head of the Safer Return Task Force, 60.4% of students are fully vaccinated — meaning they have submitted proof of the booster in addition to the primary series — 8.3% have submitted either a medical or religious exemption and 1.6% have self-attested.

The campus is boasting higher booster rates than the surrounding county. As of Feb. 27, 35% of Los Angeles County residents have received an additional dose to the primary series, 70% have completed the primary series, and 78% have received at least one dose, according to county public health data.

As for faculty members, 74% are fully vaccinated, 4% have submitted a medical or religious exemption and less than 1% have self-attested that they will not be coming to campus.

During the fall semester, 100% of faculty complied with one of the four campus actions, so no disciplinary actions were taken place.

“We did not have to do anything in the fall because everybody came into compliance, but faculty are being told that discipline will happen if they don’t come into compliance,” said Jill Hargis, interim associate vice president for Faculty Affairs.

According to Hargis, the discipline toward faculty will be progressive. Although it is not official, faculty can expect anywhere from receiving letters of reprimand to termination if they do not come into compliance.

“We’ll work with each faculty member since we didn’t have this problem in the fall.” said Hargis. “I don’t have an exact model, but it will be so few that we will be working with faculty members one at a time to determine what disciplinary measures are necessary.”

Nonrepresented employees already have a set of consequences and actions that will take place. However, union represented groups still must go through a meet-and-confer process to determine any kind of disciplinary actions, according to Teves.

Despite Los Angeles County lifting mask mandates in the last weeks, the campus’ indoor mask mandate will not be lifted on March 12, the date when the county’s mandate will be lifted for K-12 schools. An email from the Safer Return Task force on March 4 informed the campus community that Cal Poly Pomona has decided to keep the masking requirement in place and will announce a decision regarding any changes by March 25.

“We recognize that campus safety is critical so the orders for our campus, the rules for our campus, are not changing,” said Teves. “In the meantime, what we’re doing is evaluating those (orders and rules) and we’ll communicate that to the campus, but we’re not going to be lifting that (mask mandate) in the next week or so. We are still going to go through a process of further evaluation.”

With registration for the fall 2022 semester beginning April 11, students may find a registration hold on their BroncoDirect accounts and possibly lose access to Canvas in the fall if they do not comply this semester.

On Feb. 4, students who were still in noncompliance from the fall 2021 semester lost access to Canvas. As of March 3, 30 undergraduate and 11 graduate students currently have a Canvas restriction, according to Dean of Students Jonathan Grady.

“If a student right now for fall has a registration hold and has lost Canvas access as of this semester, they will be unable to register for summer and beyond,” said Grady. “Therefore, they will not be able to continue as a student at Cal Poly Pomona.”

According to Grady, there will not be any other disciplinary actions toward students during this semester.

“All the boosters and vaccines are FDA approved so I think it’s kind of fair for there to be a registration hold if you’re not willing to comply,” said environmental biology student Celina Rong. “I just don’t think it’s very hard to follow those things (one of the four actions) because it’s for the safety of everybody.”

For students graduating in May, a registration hold may be placed on their BroncoDirect accounts, but this will not prevent them from graduating. However, if a student wanted to attend Cal Poly Pomona as a graduate student, they must comply to remove the hold.

“We wouldn’t penalize a student and prevent a student from graduating,” said Grady. “Now, they just wouldn’t be able to register for a future term. If they wanted to continue their studies as a graduate student here, they wouldn’t be able to continue.”

Noncompliant students will continue to receive communication reminding them to comply with one of the four campus actions by April 4 before facing a registration hold. Students may visit Cal Poly Pomona’s Vaccine Information page for information and to begin the process for one of the four actions permitted by CPP.

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