Pomona To Require Weekly COVID-19 Testing, Masks Indoors, For Fall 2021

In an email sent to the student body earlier today, Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr released a set of further guidelines governing a student return to campus in the coming fall semester. Under these new guidelines, unvaccinated students will be tested twice weekly, and vaccinated students will be tested once per week. Masks will also be required in indoor public spaces.

According to Starr, “more than 90 percent of our students, faculty and staff members are fully vaccinated….More people upload their vaccination information each day, and our aim is to get as close to 100 percent as possible. Student Health Services will continue to offer vaccination clinics to serve those who still need them.” Earlier this year, Pomona issued guidelines requiring that all students be vaccinated except under select circumstances. 

Despite the high rates of vaccination, Starr warned students that “it is important to recognize that we will have cases of COVID-19 on campus and we have plans in place to help contain them. Testing for COVID-19 will be another important part of those plans. We will test the small number of unvaccinated students twice per week, and vaccinated students once per week.”

Faculty and staff will also undergo testing. Starr’s email confirmed that, “[f]or faculty and staff, the small number of unvaccinated individuals also will be tested twice weekly, and we will offer vaccinated faculty and staff the option of being routinely tested or tested upon request. (If warranted at some point by the public health situation, we will shift to implementing required weekly testing for this group as well.)”

Starr also stated that “[i]n response to the unfolding public health situation, additional information on student testing will be coming in the days ahead, as we assess new protocols and recommendations for testing when students arrive on campus. We will follow up with more information specifically for students and families later this week.”

In addition to mandatory testing, “[m]asks will be an additional line of defense. Under Los Angeles County’s public health rules, face masks must be worn in indoor public spaces, including in classrooms.” Claremont McKenna College, another member of the Claremont Consortium, recently announced its own mandatory mask policy. 

According to the email, “[q]uarantine living spaces have been set aside for students who must be isolated due to infection or exposure, and dining halls will be open for longer hours, with grab-and-go options available as well. We also have prepared eight outdoor classroom spaces, with priority for use going to classes where masks may pose instructional challenges.”

For interior spaces, the college has also “taken steps such as upgrading all air filters and replacing them more frequently. At the same time, we have revised system controls to maximize outside air to facilitate multiple air exchanges through the day.”

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