COVID-19 Planning and Response Group Update (8/25/22)

Dear Pomona College Community,

With classes beginning next week, we are writing to you as the College’s COVID-19 Planning & Response (CPR) Group to offer an update on masking policies.

As an overarching principle, the College aims to align with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidance. Current county guidance strongly recommends, but does not require, indoor masking. That will remain our policy at this time as well. More specifically: 

  • All members of our community who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines are encouraged but not required, to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
  • Members of our community who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines must wear a mask at all times in indoor public spaces.   
  • As always, members of the Pomona College community can choose to wear masks at any time.

Please note that for classrooms and laboratories, masks are once again strongly recommended. Additionally, masks may be required in those spaces if designated by the instructor under the policy recommended by the Claremont College Academic Deans Committee.

Guidance regarding masks for anyone showing symptoms or who is within 10 days after symptoms/a positive test result remains in place. (Examples: you have a cough and are awaiting test results, or you tested negative at eight days after symptoms appeared and still have two more days of required mask use to reach 10 days.)

While Pomona seeks to align with county guidance, there may be times in the year ahead when the college is advised to take temporary measures that exceed county-level requirements in order to bring cases down or due to our needs as a college residential community, as noted in the July message outlining COVID-19 policymaking.

As we start the semester, students are required to test weekly, and faculty and staff must do so as well. We expect that testing will become optional for all groups after the second week of classes if positivity rates remain low.

Even when the weekly testing requirement ends, students will be required to test within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. If positive, students will go into isolation. State and county guidance calls for a 10-day isolation period after symptoms appear or a positive test result. However, students may test out of isolation on the sixth day with a negative test result. If they are still positive on day 6, they may test again at least 48 hours later. If still positive, they will stay in isolation until the 10 days is complete. Antigen tests for the purpose of early release from isolation must be supervised by medical staff at Student Health Services.

As we start the semester, we expect that events on our campus will move forward to support a vital academic and community life. However, everyone must recognize we may need to pivot away from some types of gathering if the college faces significant spikes in cases or other public health circumstances.

The CPR group will assess and monitor testing data and positivity rates in the weeks ahead and will update the community. We look forward to working together with you as a community in the year ahead.

To provide more information on medical and public health aspects of COVID-19 and monkeypox, a staff and faculty Zoom town hall will be held with Dr. Rekha Murthy, professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Cedars-Sinai, at 10 am on September 1. Details will be sent out shortly.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

The COVID-19 Planning and Response Group (CPR)
G. Gabrielle Starr, president
Melanie Wu, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty
Fernando Lozano, professor of economics and chair of the faculty executive committee
Hans Rindisbacher, professor of German & Russian
Nicholas Ball, associate professor of chemistry
Bill Swartz, professor of physical education
Avis Hinkson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Christina Ciambriello, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees
Robert Robinson, assistant vice president for facilities and campus services
Alexis Reyes, director of sustainability and chair of  staff council
Natalie Hughes, academic coordinator, physics and astronomy
Emily Pereznegron '24
Anna Choi '23