Navigating COVID-19 guidelines on campus with everyone back in person


Photo by Youssef Aldossary- Reporter

Outdoor classrooms have been used as in-person instruction continues on campus.

Youssef Aldossary, Reporter

California Lutheran University has continued to follow all public health guidelines in regard to COVID- 19 as students are back on campus for the Fall Semester.

David Hilke, director of Campus Safety, in an email interview said that he has been monitoring all the necessary safety measures required to maintain a safe campus environment and the university is making sure that everyone should stay safe on-campus amid the pandemic.

“This has included purchasing hundreds of masks and placing the academic buildings on card only mode to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to the buildings,” Hilke said.

Hilke said that the infrastructure of the campus is designed to accommodate a large number of people, hence the impact of infrastructure has been minimal with everyone back on campus.

“We are performing patrols of the campus buildings, looking for safety deficiencies, to include mask compliance, plexiglass in offices, and proper signage,” Hilke said.

Associate Vice President of Operations and Planning Ryan Van Ommeren said in an email interview said that the campus restrictions should be strictly followed by everyone on campus and in-person for their classes.

“Windows are kept open in the classrooms and a separate air purification unit has been placed in both the library and music studio that don’t have windows that can open up. Lots of outdoor spaces have been set up both for informal and formal meetings,” Ommeren said.

Ommeren said 95% of students on campus are vaccinated. The university does provide a weekly update about any cases on campus on Cal Lutheran’s KNOW webpage, and anybody unvaccinated has to be tested weekly in Ullman 103.

“Since August 26, there were 15 cases in Thousand Oaks campus but the university is compliant with their restrictions,” Ommeren said.

Ommeren said that there is also a pandemic planning group, which includes President Lori Varlotta, all the vice presidents and three faculty members.

“It includes departments like human resources, [and] information technology. That group has weekly meetings on Zoom and they go through the cases or any policy changes,” Ommeren said.

Leanne Neilson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, highlights the protocols that students must follow while visiting the university.

According to Neilson’s interview, the students, faculty and staff are to be vaccinated and they have to fill out a daily health check and everyone has to wear masks indoors. If a student refuses to take the vaccine, then they have to leave Cal Lutheran unless they get an exemption.

“The rate of vaccination is pretty high right now. They are well over 90%. There are just a handful of people who have received an exemption,” Neilson said.

Neilson said that if a student on a sports team is not vaccinated then they have to get tested 72 hours before any competition.

Fast contact tracing is also an essential part to control the spread of COVID-19.

“If anybody contracts COVID-19, then the university immediately moves into contacting anyone who has been in the vicinity of the infected individual so that they get tested quickly and it does not spread further,” Neilson said.

Ommeren said that if someone tests positive then they need to contact at the email address [email protected] and have to be isolated for 10 days. Their health services staff will work with them on the information with contact tracing.

“We have kept the campus very safe so far. People are really doing a good job.If we all are really careful, we will be able to keep it the same,” Neilson said.