By Lauren Chavez and Anais Hernandez, May 17, 2022
After the indoor mask mandate lifting and transitioning away from completing the online daily health screener, Cal Poly Pomona announced via email on May 4 that positive COVID-19 cases are rising within Southern California and on campus.
Even with increasing positive COVID-19 cases on campus, CPP still continues to align with the guidelines implemented by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, including abstaining from the indoor face mask mandate.
As of May 12, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has reported a positivity rate of 2.1%, while CPP reported having a 2.2% rate on May 11. Frances Teves, assistant vice president of Government and External Affairs and head of the Safer Return Task Force, encourages students to stay vigilant and monitor their symptoms during these uncertain times.
“If (students) are feeling sick, do not come to campus,” said Teves. “It’s really encouraged for individuals to wear masks if they feel that they’ve been exposed or at an increased risk and really remind everyone the importance of testing — especially utilizing our testing resources here on campus.”
For Los Angeles County, 79% of residents have received at least one dose of the primary series, 72% of residents received both initial doses, and 38% of residents have received at least one additional dose.
Teves emphasized that vaccination rates continue to rise as individuals become eligible for the booster throughout Cal Poly Pomona. As of May 10, 77.1% of students, 77.3% of faculty and 77.8% of staff are fully vaccinated with both initial doses and a single booster dose, or are not yet eligible to receive their booster but are up to date with their vaccines.
By completing one of the four actions set by the California State University system’s newly revised interim COVID-19 policy, those individuals are considered to be in compliance. As of May 10, 88.9% of students, 82.6% of faculty and 88% of staff are in compliance by being up to date with their vaccines, submitting a medical or religious exemption or self-attesting that they will not be physically on campus.
In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Cal Poly Pomona initiated a multi-layered plan, Phases of Safer Return, in March 2020 that help keep the campus as safe as possible. Higher grade masks continue to be offered on campus at no cost, as is free COVID-19 testing and pop-up vaccination clinics.
“I am fully vaccinated,” said second-year political science student Genesis Pompa. “I have my booster shot, and I just choose not to wear it (a mask); it almost feels as if COVID doesn’t exist on campus. I feel like I see less and less people wearing masks, including myself.”
In the spring semester alone, there have been 11 pop-up vaccination clinics on campus and CPP will continue to offer this opportunity to members of the campus community.
According to Safer Return Task Force Administrative Analyst Jonathan Lopez, vaccination clinics will be held during each new student orientation from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. where incoming students may receive their vaccinations or inquire about what needs to be done to come into compliance before the new semester.
As new testing tools become available, Cal Poly Pomona is looking to be able to provide tests that will be able to detect both COVID-19 and influenza in the fall, said Teves.
Dean of Students Jonathan Grady mentioned that students who are still not in compliance with the campus requirements continue to be contacted weekly with updates and instructions on what to do to fulfill one of the four actions.
Additionally, Grady mentioned CPP continues to focus on the education aspects to ensure members of the campus community prioritizes their well-being and feels supported by the university. Currently, only informative holds are presented to those not in compliance. The informative hold does not prevent students from registering for classes; no registration holds will be placed.
If students fall ill and experience difficulty with faculty due to COVID-19, Grady emphasized that students can reach out to the Dean of Students office, where they will mediate the situation.
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