Last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced guidance for institutes of higher education, which expects the implementation of several testing practices to maintain the health and safety of university campuses. Pepperdine continues to prioritize the well-being of the University community, and, consistent with this guidance, will require COVID-19 testing beginning this fall for all students, faculty, and staff. As you prepare for the new academic year, please review the following information carefully for the types of required COVID-19 testing that will impact you.
Entry Screening Testing
As a precautionary measure and screening tool for the start of the semester in compliance with LACDPH guidance, Pepperdine requires students at all five schools accessing a Pepperdine campus or facility, regardless of vaccination status, to obtain a diagnostic test for COVID-19 no earlier than 72 hours before arrival at one of Pepperdine’s campuses or facilities. This is a one-time test required prior to arrival on campus.
|REQUIRED FOR:||All students accessing a Pepperdine campus or facility, regardless of vaccination status, including students arriving from international locations|
|COVID-19 TEST TYPE:||Either a rapid/antigen test or a PCR test|
|TESTING TIMELINE:||No earlier than 72 hours before arrival on campus; results received and submitted to the Student Health Center|
Before coming to campus, all students referenced above must do the following:
- Take a COVID-19 test (either a rapid/antigen test or a PCR test) no earlier than 72 hours before arriving on campus. If you are unsure of how to get a COVID-19 test, visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing or contact your healthcare provider.
- Upload the test results (positive or negative) to the Student Health Center patient portal before arriving on campus:
- Login to the Student Health Center Patient Portal using Pepperdine credentials (CAS).
- Select “Upload” in the gray navigation bar/menu at the top of the webpage.
- Select “COVID-19 Test” and upload the test results.
Routine Screening Testing
Screening testing refers to the periodic testing of individuals, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. Because people with COVID-19 can show no symptoms at all (asymptomatic), screening testing helps proactively identify COVID-19 cases and reduce further transmission in the community. Screening testing will be provided at no cost to the community.
|REQUIRED FOR:||All students, faculty, and staff accessing a Pepperdine campus or facility, regardless of vaccination status|
|COVID-19 TEST TYPE:||PCR test – saliva or mid-nasal swab|
|TESTING TIMELINE:||Weekly (subject to change based on conditions)|
Screening testing at the University is simple and quick, and community members do not need to quarantine while they wait for test results. Community members will do the following:
- Use a web-based software platform to schedule testing
- Once a week, go to an on-campus testing site
- Use a nasal swab or saliva tube to submit a sample
- See their test results in the web-based software within one business day
An email invitation will be sent to all students, faculty, and staff required to participate in routine screening testing, including details on how to register for the web-based testing software, how to schedule a weekly test, and the on-campus locations and times for the available testing sites.
Prioritizing Health and Safety
For each type of COVID-19 test, the University has also outlined important steps community members should take when receiving either a positive or negative result. Community members should familiarize themselves with these steps, which can be found on the Pepperdine Restoration Plan Testing webpage.
The University has given deliberate attention and invested considerable resources to ensure its testing program is effective, simple, and adaptable to changing conditions. The frequency of and types of testing required will be determined by an ongoing analysis considering many factors, including following public health orders and guidance, the number of people on campus, the presence of COVID-19 cases on a campus, the level of COVID-19 transmission in the local community, and the percentage of Pepperdine community members who are vaccinated. The University continues to review its testing protocols with its medical professionals and infectious disease specialists and will make adjustments as necessary.
The University is confident community members will comply with these important health and safety provisions. In the unlikely event of non-compliance, these matters will be directed to the Office of Community Standards for students, the Office of the Provost for faculty, and Human Resources for staff. Consequences will be aligned with other failures to comply with University policy.
If you have any questions about testing, please contact the University’s COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at email@example.com. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as the University works to keep the community safe.
In response to increased community transmission of COVID-19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued a new health order effective Sunday, July 18, 2021, which amends the face covering mandate and requires the use of face coverings in indoor public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status. This is a change from the previous order, which generally did not require vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings indoors.
Therefore, Pepperdine will update its face covering protocol to reflect this new health order. Beginning Sunday, July 18, 2021, Pepperdine’s face covering policy will require the following:
- Outdoors. Face coverings are not required.
- Indoors. All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces.
- Residence Halls. Individuals sharing suites or apartments may be considered a household and are not required to wear face coverings while in their “home” area, but should wear face coverings when exiting their suite/apartment in public areas of the resident halls.
- Classes. Face coverings are required for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
- Workplaces. Face coverings are required for all individuals regardless of vaccination status, unless alone in an office.
- On Campus Shuttles. Face coverings are required for all individuals riding a University shuttle, regardless of vaccination status.
- In Healthcare Settings (including the Student Health Center). Face coverings are required for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
The University will continue to monitor health orders and guidance and will communicate any additional changes to University COVID-19 protocols. Please direct any questions to the COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Management Committee (UMC) gathered community feedback on a draft COVID-19 vaccination policy, evaluated Pepperdine vaccination data, consulted with leading medical experts, and benchmarked other universities. Following this work, UMC is issuing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy requiring all faculty, staff, and students who do not claim an exemption described below to be vaccinated in advance of return to campus for the fall semester.
This policy acknowledges the University’s high degree of confidence in COVID-19 vaccinations, with authorized vaccines proving effective in preventing illness and death, including from known variants. The policy also recognizes there are those in our community who, after carefully and prayerfully considering how best to balance their medical health and religious or philosophical convictions with their desire to care for their neighbors and our community, have determined they are unable to be vaccinated at this time. Therefore, the policy entitles community members to claim a medical, religious, or philosophical exemption in good faith. These exemption categories mirror the University’s long-standing mandatory vaccination practices. Community members who need to claim an exemption (which could include one based on emergency authorization of the vaccine) must complete the vaccination exemption form, the instructions for which can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Information website.
While we do not know precisely which infection control measures will be required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) in the fall, we expect LACDPH may mandate face coverings indoors for those not vaccinated, and for all community members when riding campus shuttles and in the health center. Regardless of health orders or vaccination status, all community members should feel comfortable wearing face coverings at any time. We foresee some fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students will continue to wear face coverings in certain circumstances for a period of time as a personal choice. We also understand LACDPH will continue to require a ten-day solitary quarantine for any unvaccinated person identified as a close contact with a positive case. In contrast, fully vaccinated persons identified as close contacts will not have to quarantine. The University will comply with applicable public health orders.
As a reminder, all faculty, staff, and students are required to notify the University of their current vaccination status by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Notification Form. The deadline has been extended to July 16, 2021. If your vaccination status changes after you have completed the form, please resubmit the form with your updated response. With roughly half of the community already responding, we are encouraged the results currently indicate more than 86% have either been fully vaccinated (80%) or are in the process of getting fully vaccinated (6%).
Consistent with our standard practices regarding mandatory vaccines, students will be directed to submit verification of vaccination. Instructions will be shared next week, and the documentation must be submitted by July 31, 2021. Documentation, including exemption forms and medical records, will be kept confidential. Vaccination status will be shared with University officials who have a legitimate need to know this information. This could include faculty or staff in academic or administrative settings, or for contact tracing purposes, etc.
If you have questions regarding any COVID-related issue or concern, please contact the COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you back on campus soon.
With the Delta variant of the coronavirus continuing to spread, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) issued a recommendation yesterday that all residents resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19. While public health officials have said the available vaccines continue to offer strong protection against variants, there is significant concern that those who are unvaccinated or have yet to receive all their required shots, remain vulnerable to the Delta variant, which may be twice as transmissible as conventional coronavirus strains.
The University expects LACDPH to publish updated guidance for colleges and universities any day. With that in mind, the University is not updating its face covering policy at this time. However, this will be reconsidered once the new guidance is released. In the meantime, all members of the University community, including those who are fully vaccinated, should feel comfortable wearing masks indoors and otherwise around campuses.