June 30, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees:

It is difficult to express how very glad I am to be sending you news today about our campus repopulation plan. While some of its elements are still in development, as you will read below, we are getting clearer information and drawing closer by the week to reconvening as an in-person community – focused as always on our students, on our professional contributions, and on the institutional mission and values that bring us together. It feels good to say it loud and proud – that our campus will soon be physically and fully open for teaching, learning, research, creative expression, service, student access and success initiatives, and the myriad of other things that give meaning to who we are and what we are working together to build. Our reintegration process as a professional learning community seems an appropriate theme to focus on as we head into our 20th anniversary year, on the heels of nothing less than a global pandemic.

While my own eagerness to be back and in-person is clear, I recognize the genuine concerns that exist about repopulating the campus. For myself and my loved ones, I draw comfort in knowing that vaccinations are proving extremely effective as protection against COVID-19 and its variants – including Delta, the most recent and most highly contagious strain known to date – and in knowing that throughout the pandemic, we have done very well as a campus in keeping our people safe. I also know that many members of our campus community are also working to protect loved ones at home who may not be vaccinated, who may be immunocompromised, or who are otherwise susceptible to the coronavirus.

What is important to note, here, is that we can do concrete things on our campus to keep our incidence rate as low or lower than surrounding communities – and we can encourage our vaccination rates to be at least as high or higher than that of Ventura County. These are critical variables to track. Please know, my continued commitment to clear, direct, and honest communication about our repopulation plans and progress is my pledge. Following is the best information available to me at this time regarding the most recent guidelines for public health and safety and the logistical processes they address.

As many of you know, in early June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated guidance for institutions of higher education, and more recently, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) released their updated COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). We are still waiting for the CSU Vaccination Policy to be finalized, but in the meantime, I wanted to provide specific information on how these updated standards will inform our campus repopulation.

Cal/OSHA ETS: A brief summary of highlights
Please review the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards FAQs for details. In brief, these revised standards: (1) remove almost all requirements for barriers and physical distancing; (2) eliminate reduced capacity limits; (3) for fully vaccinated employees who comply with Cal/OSHA’s requirement to verify vaccination status, mask-wearing is optional; and (4) employees who are not vaccinated or do not have an attestation on file will be required to wear a mask.

As such, all CSUCI employees who attest to being fully vaccinated will not be required to wear a face covering/mask anywhere on campus, though of course they will be free to do so if they choose. A process for attesting to vaccination status will be communicated in the coming days. This self-attestation process will be immediately available to non-represented employees and to represented employees whose bargaining units have reached agreement through their meet-and-confer process with the Chancellor’s Office.

Employees who do not have an attestation on file will be considered unvaccinated and will be required to wear a mask indoors, unless in a room or vehicle alone, and except when eating or drinking. In addition, it is recommended that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear a mask outdoors, especially in circumstances when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Employees who would like to request a face covering/mask may obtain one from Public Safety or the Facilities Work Center. If an employee requires an accommodation or exemption for the mask requirement, please contact Human Resources. While the mask requirement noted above applies only to employees who do not have an attestation on file, I want to emphasize the importance of not making assumptions about others based on whether they are wearing a mask or not. Coming back from the pandemic as a community requires all of us to recognize and respect the reality that there are a variety reasons for wearing one.

“Restricted Access” to Campus is Now Lifted
While the campus is no longer restricting access to only authorized personnel, access to buildings by employees and the general public is based on a business need. What this means is that individuals with a need to be on campus can be there without securing a supervisor’s permission and must adhere to the mask guidelines outlined above. However, please keep in mind that the formal repopulation of campus will occur in phases. As such, certain facilities and services may not be fully open or available until adequate resources are in place. More specific information about our timeline for fully opening facilities and campus services will be provided in future updates.

Testing
While Cal/OSHA’s revised Emergency Temporary Standards do not require ongoing testing for unvaccinated individuals, updated CDC Guidelines for Institutions of Higher Education recommend baseline screening for unvaccinated individuals. Information on the testing protocol for CSUCI will be provided in future updates.

Meetings, Events, and Campus Visitors
Regarding meetings, events, and campus visitors, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has revised its guidance to state:

  • Internal meetings and campus-sponsored events no longer have a capacity limit unless they meet the State requirement for a mega event (greater than 5,000 indoors and 10,000 outdoors). Specific guidelines for campus-sponsored events, as well as hosting of external events will be forthcoming.
  • Daily visitors such as vendors/contractors, future students/parents, guest speakers, CSUCI Park visitors, and other members of the public who may visit our campus or affiliated locations and who are not vaccinated, should wear a face covering indoors, outdoors and in groups.

Upcoming Communication
As noted above, a process for attesting to vaccination status will be communicated in the coming days. In addition, more specific information from managers and/or divisional leadership regarding our campus repopulation and reintegration processes will be provided directly to employees very soon. We are currently coordinating additional vaccination clinics on the campus in the coming months, and we’ll share those dates as soon as they are confirmed.

Town Hall meetings have been scheduled so we can provide timely and relevant updates and answer questions directly from our campus community. Please feel welcome to register for one or all of them. We are also scheduling separate Town Halls for our students and their supporters.

  • Tuesday, July 20 at 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday, July 21 at 9 a.m.
  • Thursday, July 22 at 11:30 a.m.

As always, if you have additional questions, please contact your supervisor, or you can email csuci.news@csuci.edu and your questions willbe directed to the appropriate area for a response.

Thank youin advancefor your cooperation in complying with these new guidelines and helping to share information with others.

Sincerely,

Richard Yao, Ph.D.
Interim President

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