Cal Poly Pomona transitions away from daily health screener

By Anais Hernandez, May 3, 2022

As of April 23, Cal Poly Pomona will no longer require students, faculty, staff or visitors to complete the online daily health screener for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus.

In the announcement last month, the campus reiterated that while it has transitioned from requiring an online health screener, campus community members should continue monitoring their overall health and symptoms. If individuals feel ill, have close contact with someone with a positive test or test positive for COVID-19, they must complete a self-reporting form.

Effective April 23, Cal Poly Pomona students were no longer required to complete the online health screener before arriving on campus.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requires universities to continue symptom screening. Despite an uptick in cases at the county level, Frances Teves, assistant vice president of Government and External Affairs and head of the Safer Return Task Force, said that it has not been linked with a significant rise in campus cases, though the Safer Return Task Force continues to monitor cases on a daily basis.

As the campus transitions away from the screener, administrators acknowledged that it did not have the desired effect from the beginning, which ultimately encouraged its removal.

“For the health screener compliance, the numbers really fluctuated every single day,” said Teves. “Sometimes we’d see about 1,000 people using the health screener … so we definitely are not seeing the large numbers of our campus community. Frankly, because we recognize that again, we were probably getting anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people completing the health screener every day.”

According to Teves, the health screener was not eliminated entirely, but it is no longer mandated.

“To be completely honest, I did do it (the health screener) last semester because I thought people would check,” said Victoria Flores, a political science student. “I thought (the online health screener) was a little useless because a lot of people just weren’t doing it. I didn’t fill it out every time I went on campus because if I just felt sick, I just simply wouldn’t show up to school. I didn’t see a point in filling out a survey that took time out of my day.”

The Safer Return Task Force has various mitigation strategies required by public health regulations at the local, state and federal levels. This includes training, education, vaccines, public health testing, free face masks, health distancing signage on campus and an exposure management plan.

The Safer Return Task Force encourages the campus community to continue to think about their health and well-being. Dean of Students Jonathan Grady informs students on the importance of vaccination as a primary tool to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

“We want to continue to promote our pop-up vaccination clinics on campus that are pretty much happening on a weekly basis. We encourage students to continue to monitor their own symptoms and their own exposure to risk,” said Grady. “So, if a student is gathering at a big event or even traveling, students should take advantage of our testing resources here on campus at no cost.”

Grady stated that 77.2% of students are in compliance and up to date with their vaccines, meaning that students eligible for their booster shot have gotten boosted, 9.3% of students have a medical or religious exemption, and 2.5% attested to not showing up to campus in person.

Additionally, 78.8% of faculty and staff are up to date with their vaccination, 6% have a religious or medical exemption and 0.7% of employees submitted a self-attestation. Grady also mentioned that 85.7% of faculty and staff complied with at least one vaccine, while 14% have not yet taken one of the required actions.

“We’re looking at 89% compliance rate, meaning students have taken one of four required actions,” stated Grady. “Frankly, we only have 11% of students who have not yet taken a required action.”

The 11% that is still not complying with CPP’s requirements have a registration hold on their student account. Still, the university continues to reach out to these students weekly through phone calls, emails and Billy Chat to provide them with options and inform them about the vaccination clinics.

CPP will continue to offer COVID-19 testing throughout the summer and through the academic year at no cost. Although the masking is no longer required indoors, it is strongly recommended.

Jonathan Lopez, Safer Return Task Force administrative analyst, stated that pop-up booster clinics would be available for incoming first-year students during student orientation.

The Safer Return Task Force is partnering up with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide students with free clinics on campus where they can receive their vaccines and booster shots. At the moment, only individuals that are 50 years old or immunocompromised are eligible for a second booster shot.

For more information on registering and checking for vaccine dates, visit the Safer Return vaccine pop-up website.

Featured image by Anais Hernandez

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