Neighbor reports Thousand Oaks gathering involving college students

Isabella Breda and Lindsey Potter

Ventura County Sheriff’s Officers responded to a home near the 1300 block of Calle Pimiento in Thousand Oaks where a gathering including California Lutheran University students was taking place on Feb. 11.

“So this is not the first time, but this is the first time the police came,” Ana Park, neighbor and Cal Lutheran alumna, said in a phone interview. “So I want to say either last week or the week before, I came home… there’s nowhere to park–there were a bunch of cars.”

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office call report, a neighbor called 911 to report “college students partying” around 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11. The neighbor stated that it is an “ongoing problem, partys [sic] have now moved to weekdays as well.”

According to the call report, two sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to address the incident.

Park said there were about four cars, in addition to the cars belonging to those living in the home, during the gathering. In previous weeks, she said there were about six additional cars parking in the street.

Many of these cars have had Cal Lutheran parking stickers on them, Park said.

Some Cal Lutheran students will be returning to in-person learning in outdoor classrooms and some indoor labs and studios beginning next Monday, Feb. 16.

The new “Off-Campus Expectations” addendum to the Cal Lutheran Compact states that students should “Avoid off-campus gatherings; if held, they should be done in accordance with county, state, and CDC guidelines… Students who host social gatherings off campus are responsible for ensuring safety and compliance of the Compact as well as county, state, and CDC guidelines.”

Students who have already resumed in-person activities include athletes, of which some returned to practice the week of Feb. 8 and were required to complete a full medical screening and COVID-19 saliva test prior to returning to practice.

I think we’ve focused on the importance of keeping our teammates healthy, and the importance of how serious this is, and it could make make a difference in somebody’s life so we have to make sure that we’re making, you know, smart decisions at all times.

— Head Regals Soccer Coach Frank Marino

Saliva, or sputum, testing is considered to be as efficacious as nose swabs, according to an article published in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association in Oct. 2020.

Head Athletic Trainer Kecia Davis told The Echo in a Feb. 5 press conference that the athletics department is being guided by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Higher Education and NCAA guidance for COVID-19.

According to the NCAA Sport Science Institute’s “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition” report, “all student-athletes and athletics personnel should understand that COVID-19 risk mitigation practices should be observed at ALL times, including non-athletic related activities.”

Cal Lutheran coaches also have a role in instilling the importance of maintaining COVID-19 safe practices at all times.

Regals Soccer Head Coach Frank Marino said in a phone interview that he’s told his players their actions off the field could impact not only their season but other people’s lives.

“We’re privileged to have this opportunity to be able to practice and play some games this spring so we have to make the correct choices off the field by not putting ourselves in situations that could impact that,” Marino said. “I think we’ve focused on the importance of keeping our teammates healthy, and the importance of how serious this is, and it could make make a difference in somebody’s life so we have to make sure that we’re making, you know, smart decisions at all times.”

According to the (CDPH) tiered reopening guidelines, the only gatherings currently permitted are outdoors with a maximum of three households.

Dan Kuntz, director of athletics, said in the press conference that it was his recommendation to ensure all athletes were tested prior to returning to practice. “We have to have some things in place to get there, right.”

“I’m much more concerned about the fact that we have a pandemic going on, and these kids are just ignoring the fact that they could be spreading a deadly virus for themselves and then when the other kids leave who don’t live with them, they’re going to take it back to campus, and they’re going to spread it to all the other students, then the [professors] and all their family and they can get [other] people sick, because they want to have a party,” Park said. “And I think that’s not cool.”

Members of The Echo editorial staff were acquainted with sources interviewed for this article. Measures to minimize conflict of interest were taken, including ensuring those with no relationship to sources conducted interviews.

This article was updated  Feb. 13 at 10:48 a.m. to include an interview with Head Regals Soccer Coach Frank Marino.