Irvine

COVID-19 Community Update – May 10

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently updated their Higher Education quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing rules, which Pepperdine is required to follow. The updates signify a shift from broad community mandates to individual personal responsibility, reflecting public health’s evolving pandemic response. 

Accordingly, the University is implementing the following changes, effective Tuesday, May 10, 2022:

Close Contacts and Quarantine 

The definition of a close contact has been generally broadened to those who “shared the same indoor airspace” with a COVID-19 positive case for 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period. Under this definition in a college campus setting, “indoor airspace” includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, offices, and other similarly sized spaces. In large indoor spaces, close contacts are only those within six feet of a COVID-19-positive individual for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. At Pepperdine, this includes spaces such as the cafeteria, the libraries, and large lecture halls. 

Close contacts, regardless of vaccination status, are not required to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. However, all close contacts are required to wear a mask for 10 days from their exposure while around others indoors unless actively eating or drinking. Close contacts are also required to test three to five days after their exposure. 

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing notifications will change to reflect the updated close contact definition. Close contacts identified through the new “shared indoor airspace” definition will be emailed regarding their exposure by contact tracers. Close contacts, defined as being within six feet of the COVID-19 positive individual for 15 minutes or more, will be called by contact tracers.  

The University will continue to move through the pandemic together and, with your cooperation in following these protocols, help protect the health of the University community. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the University’s COVID-19 information line at 310.506.8111 or covid19info@pepperdine.edu.

End of Spring 2022 Term COVID-19 Considerations

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As the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s response to COVID-19 evolves, the University continues its commitment to providing our community with relevant information. Recent Los Angeles County Public Health guideline updates are shifting away from mandates and replacing them with recommendations and guidance designed to assist individuals in making informed decisions best suited for their personal risk tolerance and response to the pandemic. 

Over the course of the past two weeks, Los Angeles County has experienced an increase in the average number of daily positive cases, and Pepperdine has likewise seen cases increase over the same period. A number of large events and gatherings will occur over the next several days and weeks, many related to commencement ceremonies and the end of the spring term. As you contemplate participation in these events, we want to ensure you are aware of the following resources:

  • Pepperdine continues to offer optional free PCR testing and masks to all community members at the campus testing sites. 
  • Rapid antigen tests will also be available to Pepperdine community members during the next few weeks. 
  • Although masks are not required (other than in situations following COVID-19 positive cases and related exposures), you may consider wearing a mask around others, especially in crowded indoor locations.

The University has weathered this pandemic together. As Pepperdine approaches its numerous commencements, celebrating the accomplishments of graduates with their families, our collective effort to remain mindful of current circumstances, considerate of the well-being of our entire community, and informed regarding individual personal health decisions, will serve us well.

COVID-19 Weekly Testing Update

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The University has closely monitored conditions within the community this semester, including since masking indoors became optional and following returns from spring breaks. There has not been an increase in cases or positivity rates. In fact, Pepperdine’s positivity rate has remained at 0.17% over the past two weeks, and cases within the University community continue to decline. 

Following a careful assessment process, which included reviewing current public health guidance, examining Pepperdine’s COVID-19 data, evaluating community feedback, benchmarking with other universities, and consulting with medical and public health experts, Pepperdine has determined the University will shift from required to optional weekly COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, March 21, 2022. Optional testing will remain available for all members of the University community until further notice. Certain groups within the University community will continue weekly testing (e.g., athletics, fine arts, student teachers, etc.) in accordance with guidance from outside agencies, and further details will be communicated to these groups directly. 

Those who need or desire to continue testing on a weekly basis are encouraged to do so by walking up to any of the test sites below. Test site locations and hours will be adjusted as follows, and the appointment system will be retired, beginning on Monday, March 21, 2022. 

Malibu Campus

  • Firestone Fieldhouse Lot – Monday–Friday: 7 AM–Noon 
  • Mullin Town Square – Monday–Friday: Noon–6 PM

Graduate Campuses

  • West Los Angeles – Monday–Thursday: Noon–7 PM and Saturday: 10 AM–2 PM
  • Calabasas – Monday–Thursday: Noon–6 PM and Saturday: 10 AM–2 PM
  • Encino – Monday–Thursday: Noon–7 PM and Saturday: 10 AM–2 PM
  • Irvine – Monday–Thursday: Noon–7 PM and Saturday: 10 AM–2 PM

Additionally, consistent with updates to public health protocols, the University has also removed the mask mandate on University on-campus shuttles, though masking remains required on vanpools and other forms of group transport off campus, in healthcare settings, and through the end of any isolation or quarantine period.

Pandemic conditions continue to improve in Southern California, and the University’s pandemic response plan continues to evolve. The University’s planning also contemplates reinstating or introducing new protection measures, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of our community, should these become prudent. 

If you have any questions, please contact the University’s COVID-19 information line at 310.506.8111 or covid19info@pepperdine.edu

COVID-19 Masking Update

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COVID-19 conditions in the United States, California, and Los Angeles continue to dramatically improve, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the consistent decline of important COVID-19 metrics allows for a “significant revision of required community-level infection strategies.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have all issued updated public health guidance relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and no longer require indoor masking. 

At Pepperdine, new weekly cases have consistently fallen, and our positivity rate has remained substantially lower than Los Angeles County’s rate throughout 2022. The University has thoughtfully evaluated this changing public health guidance, reviewed University COVID-19 conditions, consulted medical and public health experts, weighed feedback from the Pepperdine community, and benchmarked with other universities. Based on this analysis, and in line with updated health guidance from the CDC, the California Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, beginning Monday, March 7, 2022, masks will be optional indoors for all members of the Pepperdine University community at Southern California campuses, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are still required while on University shuttles, in healthcare settings, and through day 10 of isolation or quarantine, and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health strongly encourages wearing masks while indoors.

Pepperdine respects individual choice based on personal preference or need and seeks to honor those who are ready to remove their masks, those who cannot remove their masks, and those who are not yet prepared to do so. The University encourages all who wish to continue wearing masks to do so, and will continue to provide medical-grade masks for free. 

At this time, all other University COVID-19 infection control measures remain in place, including weekly testing, daily wellness checks, case and exposure notifications through the START Form, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, enhanced ventilation measures, and vaccination clinics. The University will continue its evaluation of COVID-19 conditions, evolving public health guidance, and its own infection control measures and policies developed in support of COVID-19 impacted members of the community. Pending further evaluation, any changes to weekly testing would be implemented no earlier than Monday, March 21. If testing requirements for the University community are lifted, optional testing will remain available.

If you have any questions, please contact the University’s COVID-19 information line at 310.506.8111 or covid19info@pepperdine.edu.