Los Angeles County experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases in mid-July driven by the BA.5 variant. While case rates and hospitalizations peaked at the end of July, data indicates that positive cases are showing signs of slowing and hospitalizations appear to have plateaued. As University leadership continues to monitor conditions, community members are reminded of the following:
- Pepperdine will require entry testing for all students 72 hours prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester in order to reduce the risk of transmission within the community. Students are required to complete the Entry Test Reporting Form and should take their entry test prior to arrival on campus, not at a COVID-19 testing site on any Pepperdine campus. Returning faculty and staff members are not required to test before arriving on campus for the fall semester.
- The University’s COVID-19 vaccination policy remains in effect. All new students accessing any University campus or facility must upload proof of compliance by August 15, 2022, to indicate that they have been vaccinated or to claim an exemption for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. All new faculty and staff must also notify the University of their current vaccination status by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Notification Form.
- PCR COVID-19 testing sites remain open and free of charge on Pepperdine’s campuses. Testing remains optional for all community members. Face coverings are optional but encouraged for anyone who wishes to wear them indoors. All campus testing sites will continue to provide face coverings free of charge.
- Faculty, staff, and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 must continue to report positive test results using the START Form. Test results received from the on-campus PCR testing sites are automatically uploaded to the Start form.
Further details on each of the items above are available at pepperdine.edu/coronavirus or by contacting the University’s COVID-19 information line at 310.506.8110 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the community prepares for the 2022–2023 academic year, Pepperdine continues to prioritize the health and safety of our community. For your awareness and planning, the University is sharing the following overview of COVID-19 protocols currently in effect and expected for fall 2022:
- Face Coverings: Masks are currently optional indoors, though L.A. County Public Health officials have indicated they will reinstate an indoor mask mandate if COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers move the county into the CDC’s “High” Community Level for two consecutive weeks. Based on current projections, an indoor mask mandate could be in place by the end of July 2022. Once initiated, public health officials have noted the mask mandate will remain in place until Los Angeles County returns to the CDC’s “Medium” COVID-19 Community Level and remains in that level for two weeks.
- COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: With the objective of prioritizing the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students, while ensuring the highest standards of academic excellence and a transformative student experience, the University requires that all faculty, staff, and students accessing any University campus or facility who do not claim an exemption be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine per the University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. If you have not already done so, you must submit your information by August 15, 2022 by using one of the links below:
- Entry Testing: As a precautionary measure and screening tool for the start of the fall 2022 term, all students are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arriving on campus and log the result on the Entry Test Reporting Form. If you test positive, do not come to campus, isolate, and complete the START Form. If you test negative, you may proceed to campus.
- Optional On-Campus PCR Testing: Screening tests will continue to be available on campus free of charge to Pepperdine community members at campus testing sites.
- START Form: The University will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases. All community members are required to complete the START Form to report a positive COVID-19 test result. Additionally, the form should be used to notify the University of a close contact exposure that has resulted in symptoms. (You do NOT need to complete the START Form if you received your positive test result through Pepperdine’s screening testing program as those results are automatically shared with University officials and processed accordingly.)
- Contact Tracing: The University will continue to conduct contact tracing of positive cases and the associated close contacts. While many other institutions of higher education have scaled back contact tracing efforts, Pepperdine continues to invest in supporting this important tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the Pepperdine community.
- Isolation: Community members with COVID-19 are required to isolate themselves from the University community for the duration of their isolation period. The University will assign residential students to University isolation housing upon testing positive for COVID-19. Commuter students and employees should be prepared with a plan to isolate.
- Quarantine: Quarantine is no longer required for close contacts, regardless of vaccination status, unless symptoms arise. Instead, exposed contacts are required to wear a mask when around others for 10 days from their exposure to a positive case and to test three to five days after their last exposure.
As the pandemic progresses, while some mandates will occur (like the anticipated mask mandate listed above), L.A. County Public Health is largely moving away from detailed, prescriptive protocols and toward recommendations that guide individual decision-making based on personal risk tolerances. With the University community’s cooperation, Pepperdine will be ready for another successful academic year. Further details on each of the items above are available at pepperdine.edu/coronavirus or by contacting the University’s COVID-19 information line at 310.506.8110 or via email at email@example.com.
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.
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.
- Firestone Fieldhouse Lot – Monday–Friday: 7 AM–Noon
- Mullin Town Square – Monday–Friday: Noon–6 PM
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.