What the new mask mandate means for Cal Lutheran students, faculty and staff

Jessica Brouse, Reporter

With the new updated mask mandate in place set by the school, as of March 12, 2022, students are no longer required to wear masks in any indoor settings but excludes classroom, laboratories, and health service. Students are still required to wear well-fitted masks in dedicated indoor learning spaces. 

California Lutheran University is upgrading the COVID-19 procedure in light of various changes to federal, state, and local COVID-19 recommendations, as well as modifications to California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) COVID-19 guidance.

The following are the primary sources of guidance in shaping these transformations:

CDC COVID-19, Community-Based Infection Control and Prevention which is continuously updated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s use and care of masks, February 25, 2022 guidance for the use of facemasks issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on February 28, 2022 and the Cal-OSHA’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standards, which went into effect on March 2, 2022.

In the email sent by Associate Vice President, Operations and Planning Director and Emergency Operations Center Ryan Van Ommeren, only unvaccinated National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes and coaches will be subject to weekly testing according to NCAA protocols. 

The individual symptomatic testing’s current policy says that unvaccinated individuals with COVID-19 symptoms must be tested immediately and cannot attend classes. If a student has symptoms but has not had a fever in the last 24 hours, they can return to class, but contact tracing is no longer available for individuals.

It will no longer be possible to obtain individual COVID -19 contact tracing from university administrators. However, individuals who have tested positive for COVID- 19 after being on campus, are still obligated to report any potential exposures to COVID-19 on the university KNOW site.

“We have followed CDC, State Public Health, and County Public Health guidance throughout the pandemic, and those agencies no longer require contact tracing,” Van Ommeren said.

There will be an exposure notification for employees at Cal Lutheran, but the system will not be provided for students. 

“In general, for individual student exposures Cal Lutheran will no longer provide notification to students but will request that students contact their known contacts. In the event of a major issue, Health Services will be involved, however,” Van Ommeren said.

With larger gatherings, individuals are required to mask up but that is to be determined.  

“Large indoor gatherings are being evaluated on a case by case basis,” Van Ommeren said.

Van Ommeren said that the new mask policy does not affect clubs, but requests that individuals wear masks out of courtesy for subsequent classes. 

“After quite a bit of discussion it was decided to retain the mask guidance as many classrooms are filled to capacity and individuals do not have a choice regarding attendance,” Van Ommeren said.

Assistant Dean of Students, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct Chris Paul said the only mask requirements are for classrooms. No masking is required in resident halls at this time.

Free testing for those that are interested are still available outside of health services, state testing sites, or those that wish to test free at home by the government. 

All members of Cal Lutheran must still complete the daily health checks to get access to academic and residential buildings. 

Other COVID-19 protocols are still in effect here at Cal Lutheran such as: the booster/vaccine policies. Windows in classrooms will continue to be opened to circulate air. Disposable masks will still be offered around campus for those who don’t have a mask along N-95s that are available at Campus Safety for all  employees. 

Following COVID-19 rules over the last two years, Cal Lutheran has been keeping up with the CDC protocols. According to Van Ommeren, there has been great achievement among the Cal Lutheran community in preserving a safe and healthy learning environment for all of the school’s students and employees.

For more information or questions regarding the Cal Lutheran mask policy or COVID-19, please contact c[email protected]