Jan. 21, 2022

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees:

With the start of the Spring 2022 semester upon us, I wanted to provide the following updates for our campus community. While the bulk of this message is all about logistical details, I hope the theme that you will clearly see running through each paragraph is that we are ready to welcome students, faculty, and staff to Spring 2022 at CSUCI.

Classes begin Monday, Jan. 24. While most of our courses will be virtual through Feb. 6, we do have a number of courses that will be held in-person starting this Monday, as well as various support services and co-curricular programming. As such, we want to assure all of you, especially those returning to campus on Monday, that we have operational teams across campus who are continuing to address the various logistics associated with the implementation of our protective protocols as we embark on the start of a new semester.

As you know, conditions are fluid and rapidly changing. We continue to consult with Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) and the Chancellor’s Office to assess our protocols and ensure we are operating and making decisions with the most currently available data, compliance requirements, and best practices in mind – all while concurrently balancing the need for a rich and engaging learning environment for our students.

Visit our Spring 2022 webpages for more details on the information provided below. Student messaging was sent on Jan. 19, 2022, and Town Halls for students are scheduled for Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. and Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

Town Halls
We are also hosting virtual Town Halls for faculty, staff, and student employees the week of Jan. 31 to share updates on the logistical details noted below and to provide opportunities for direct communication and discussion. Please RSVP to attend:

  • Jan. 31, 10 to 11 a.m
  • Feb. 1, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m

Virtual Delivery for Most Courses Jan. 22 – Feb. 6
To reduce on-campus population density during the projected Omicron peak, classes begin on Jan. 24, but most courses will be delivered virtually for the first two weeks of the semester. A list of courses that will be offered in-person beginning on Monday, Jan. 24, is available on the Spring 2022 website.

The campus is open; however, some offices may be operating virtually during this time. Visit the Campus Services & Resources webpages for details. If you have operational questions related to your particular unit or program (including any technology or supply needs), please be sure to communicate directly with your manager.

Not Permitted on Campus Process
Please note that the following groups of students are not permitted on campus:

  • Students with qualified vaccination exemptions who have not completed weekly COVID-19 testing as required are not permitted on campus. These students must test prior to attending their first in-person class or activity. On-campus testing clinics open at 8 a.m. every day the week of Jan. 25 to support students who need or want testing.
  • Students who have not certified a vaccination status are not permitted on campus until their certification is submitted and cleared.

The student group in PeopleSoft which feeds the not permitted on campus (NPOC) faculty dashboard will be populated for the first time for Spring 2022 by Sunday, Jan. 23. In preparation for increased in-person course delivery beginning Feb. 7, the NPOC list will be updated by the evening of Sunday, Feb. 6. Enforcement of NPOC during the first two weeks is limited to those enrolled in classes that are meeting in person, coming to the campus for programs or services, and students living on campus. Staff who do not have access to this student group and need it for in-person meetings, please contact the Dean of Students office.

In addition, when students must miss class due to being ill with COVID-19, or being directed to isolate or quarantine, faculty will receive a direct email; this is not being accounted for in the NPOC dashboard.

Booster Vaccinations, Exemptions and Testing

  • Booster vaccinations are due by 12 noon on Feb. 6 for eligible students, administrators, and confidential employees.
    • Booster eligibility dates will be tracked for all members of the campus community (i.e., length of time since completing initial vaccination protocol), and notification of booster due dates will be sent.
    • Instructions for updating COVID-19 vaccination certification to include a booster dose are now available for employees on the Spring 2022 website.
    • Instructions for students will be emailed and updated to the website next week.
      • Student Assistants will need to upload their verification in two different systems – one as a student (link to be sent next week) and one as a student employee (same instructions as all employees)
    • Represented employees can volunteer to upload via myCI their COVID-19 vaccination certification upon receiving their booster dose, but this will not be required until CSU negotiations with the unions are resolved.
    • On-campus booster vaccination clinics for both the Moderna and Pfizer doses will be offered at El Dorado Hall. We will notify the campus community as more clinics are scheduled.
  • Previously submitted qualified medical and religious exemptions remain in effect.
  • Free COVID-19 testing will continue to be held on campus for everyone as they are returning to campus. All are strongly encouraged to test upon entry, including vaccinated individuals.
  • A negative COVID-19 test is required:
    • upon entry for all residential students
    • weekly for all employees with qualified exemptions
    • for all students with qualified exemptions prior to attending their first in-person class or activity, and weekly thereafter
  • Free in-home test kits (4 per residential address) can be ordered from the federal government.

Updated Campus Mask Protocols
For greater protection against COVID-19 and in alignment with the recommendation of California Department of Public Health guidelines, CSUCI is now requiring those on campus to wear high-quality masks when indoors (i.e., medical/surgical masks, KN95 or N95 respirators). Wearers must ensure their mask has a good fit with no gaps around the sides of the face or nose and has no ventilation valves.

  • CSUCI will continue to provide medical/surgical masks for students and employees in classrooms and other locations across campus. A list of campus locations where medical/surgical masks are available beginning Monday, Jan. 24 is on the Spring 2022 website.
  • Additionally, for employees who will be on the campus beginning Monday, Jan. 24, KN95 masks will be available next week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 24 through Jan. 28, at the Placer Hall lobby and the Office of the President lobby in University Hall.
  • In planning for the entirety of the semester, employees can request either KN95 or N95 masks through their PPE coordinator keeping in mind that N95s require training per OSHA regulations.

Employees requiring an accommodation regarding mask-wearing should contact Human Resources for assistance.

Updated Guidelines for Quarantine and Isolation
California Department of Public Health has made changes to quarantine and isolation protocols. CSUCI’s Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) has provided an explanatory document and is working with Human Resources to sponsor Q&A sessions for managers. Please note that these updated guidelines are in effect for all students and employees.

While these updates include modifications with regards to timelines and booster status, one of the main takeaways is that for exposed individuals who are fully vaccinated, boostered (if eligible), asymptomatic, and test negative, they are no longer required to quarantine and are able to return to work and/or class immediately. Please be sure to review the explanatory document carefully.

Event Guidelines
In consultation with VCPH, no changes have been made to our Internal Event Guidelines.Employees must work with their divisional leadership to determine whether planned in-person events, especially during the first two weeks of the semester, should be held.

Safety Protocols to Protective Protocols
You may have noticed a shift in language in the second paragraph, with “protective protocols” replacing prior language of “safety protocols.” While promoting campus safety remains our very highest priority, the evidence before us is that we are likely to be living with COVID-19 for the long term. Much as the University would like to ensure safety from this virus for every member of our campus community and family members we all hold dear, what we can actually do is to require protective measures to keep us as safe as it is possible to be in this new reality.

Variants will most likely continue to evolve, scientists will work to keep pace, and we will all learn to live with what will eventually become another endemic disease that we are all at risk of contracting. And at CSUCI, we are in the best of possible conditions to do so. Though 72.9% of eligible residents in Ventura County are vaccinated, we achieved impressive vaccination rates for our campus by the end of Fall 2021 with employees at 99% and students at 89%.

The importance of this accomplishment is significant, as we have maintained low positive cases on campus despite everyone from our campus community going about their everyday lives - visiting family, friends, grocery shopping, and doing other everyday tasks away from the campus. While the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike are currently contracting COVID-19, the fully vaccinated remain overwhelmingly more protected from hospitalization and death.

As such, I have shifted my mindset towards our focus on protection, as we acknowledge the reality of where we are. In doing so, the University will do the following continuously: (1) assess and mitigate risk; (2) manage cases; (3) manage associated disruptions to learning and working at CSUCI; and (4) work closely with Ventura County Public Health and other authorities to proactively plan for what the pandemic/endemic will look like for our campus long-term and to understand and provide the associated resources that will be necessary.

Thank you for your continued work and dedication to our students and each other. We will continue to provide relevant updates as conditions evolve and encourage you to attend our upcoming Town Halls. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, please email csuci.news@csuci.edu and your message will be directed to the appropriate area for a response.

Sincerely,

Richard Yao, Ph.D.

Interim President

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