By Charlize Althea Garcia, April 11, 2023
COVID-19 restrictions receded at Cal Poly Pomona as Los Angeles County ended the declaration of local public emergency order.
March 31 marked the end of COVID-19 emergency declarations in Los Angeles County with a release of new guidelines adhering to the low-transmission state of the county. Alongside various workplaces and facilities, CPP will continue to follow regulations from the Los Angeles County Department of Health.
As stated in the most recent Safer Return newsletter, face coverings are now based on individual preference, and individuals who have tested positive will only have to isolate for five days with a recommendation of 10 days.
Vaccines will continue to be mandated for students and employees. Currently, pop-up vaccination clinics are made available to everyone, including non-CPP students/employees on select dates and at no cost. Students, faculty and employees who have not met the vaccine requirements will still be required to test weekly.
PCR tests will only be accessible through vending machines located in the Bronco Student Center and Secoya Residence Hall until May 26. COVID-19 signage will also be removed throughout the semester.
Cal Poly Pomona resides in one of the nation’s most populous counties that once acted as an epicenter of the virus while simultaneously being one of the strictest in following public health protocols. Currently, LA County continues to remain in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Low COVID-19 Community Level with a seven-day case rate of 34 new cases per 100,000 people.
LA County will proceed to offer free vaccinations, testing and therapeutics for all county residents.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles Public Health Department, believes with no new strains growing coupled with low-transmission levels, the community will be heading into a relatively “stable spring.”
The decline of restrictions does not equate to a de-emphasis of the virus. The impact remains the same. However, tools, as Ferrer mentioned, also remain accessible, such as well-fitting respirator masks, vaccines and testing, which all contribute to layers of protection.
“So, I think even though some of the global rules have been relaxed, there’s no need for us to relax what we do to take care of each other and to take care of ourselves,” said Ferrer.
It’s been more than three years since Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the state of emergency on March 4, 2020. The world shut down for many Californians with schools, worksites, stores and places of leisure becoming completely closed off to the public in the first two years of the pandemic. It was only last year restrictions began to soften due to a decrease in number of cases leading to the end of the state of emergency Feb. 28.
Frances Teves, CPP coordinator of Safer Return efforts and interim vice president of university advancement explained the reaction of health strategies to state of emergency declarations ending.
“There’s this recognition that we are now in the third year of the pandemic and that conditions have significantly changed and now it’s really about individuals living and working with COVID,” said Teves.
Hospitality student Benjamin Villa was a restaurant worker at the start of the pandemic. Villa was laid off and had to endure with only unemployment checks. Being a student that revolves around hands-on involvement and in-person contact, Villa found himself alone both in a professional standing as well as personal.
“It’s almost like you take it for granted sometimes how much freedom you’re actually given until you realize you’d lose it,” said Villa.
Villa reflected on the memories that could’ve been and now applies a go-getter perspective when approached with social opportunities.
The CPP community has endured the fluctuations of the virus affecting the campus morale and the mediums of education. After three years, the university can now see an integration of “normality” into college life.
“I applaud all of our institutes of higher education because they’ve been great partners and they’ve done their part trying to limit transmission on their campuses knowing how disruptive it can be to have dozens and dozens of students and faculty sidelined by COVID,” said Ferrer.
Feature image by Andre Davancens
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