Campus COVID-19 Plan
Cal State LA will continue offering a curriculum that is nearly entirely virtual during spring 2021. University leadership is collaborating closely with public health officials to safeguard the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and local communities as we continue to confront the evolving dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis.
University leadership is engaged in multiple areas and is coordinating efforts with internal stakeholders and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (County Public Health) and the California Department of Public Health (State Public Health) to manage campus density levels and mitigate health risks in the spring semester, per the guidance and protocols of both agencies. Senior University administrators have participated in regular teleconferences with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the agency’s top medical experts, including Dr. Robert Gilchick, chief of the Child and Adolescent Health Section, to receive guidance regarding campus operations and safeguarding the Cal State LA community. The vast majority of staff will continue to telework remotely until such time that the health and safety of a more fully populated campus can be assured. For the small number of employees required to maintain core campus operations, the Cal State LA Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety (RMEHS) is working with all divisions to follow the guidance of state and local public health officials. These measures include maintaining hand sanitizing stations, conducting health self-screenings, rearranging furniture and work areas to provide adequate physical distancing, frequently cleaning restrooms and high-touch areas, installing plexiglass protective coverings in areas where employees may interact with the public, and providing face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and gloves. A small number of students—fewer than 2% of all registered students—will occasionally meet individually and in small groups for on-campus instructional components. Participants will adhere to public health protocols and guidance to protect students, faculty, and staff.
Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Information Technology Services staff have continued to provide laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students who lack computer technology or reliable internet access. Limited on-campus housing will continue to be provided to students in spring 2021, and dining services will be offered in a manner that ensures strict adherence to risk mitigation protocols outlined by public health officials. On-campus housing consists of apartment-style units that allow students to be placed individually in units. Units will be set aside in the event that students and faculty need to be quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. To minimize interaction between students and dining service staff and maintain physical distancing, all meals will be pre-packaged for pickup. All common areas in campus housing such as the dining area, break room, recreation room, and basketball courts will be closed. The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) suspended competition for spring 2021. Cal State LA Intercollegiate Athletics does not plan to open facilities or permit student-athletes to return to campus during spring 2021.
Health and Safety Protocols
The process of repopulating the campus with employees will be controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the communities served by the campus. RMEHS is working with all divisions to follow the guidance of public health experts.
The campus will continue to provide hand sanitizing stations, rearrange furniture and workstations to provide adequate physical distancing, and work to improve mechanical ventilation in buildings to the highest feasible level, as outlined by State Public Health guidance. Other measures include frequently cleaning restrooms and high-touch areas with EPA-approved disinfectants and asthma-safer cleaning products, as well as installing plexiglass protective coverings in areas where employees may interact with the public, and ensuring the availability of personal protective equipment such as masks, face shields, and gloves. Information has been provided regarding the use of face coverings, and RMEHS will work with all divisions to follow the guidance of State Public Health regarding the implementation of policies for individuals exempt from wearing a mask. RMEHS is also working with all divisions to ensure compliance with Title 8, Section 5199, per the guidance of State Public Health. Signage has been placed on buildings, in elevators and stairwells, and across campus with messaging about requirements for face coverings, 6-foot physical distancing, and one-way entry and exit routes, as well as symptoms and signs of coronavirus. Cal State LA is working to follow County Public Health protocols regarding prohibiting the use of water fountains and ensuring that water systems and features are safe to use in the event of a prolonged facility shutdown. The University is using multiple communications and social media platforms to disseminate health and safety messaging and is featuring COVID-19-related messaging on a Health Watch website.
Cal State LA is committed to ensuring the safety of the University community. Divisions, departments and offices are provided a safety site assessment to manage their operations in a safe manner that complies with federal, state and local guidelines. Please visit the RMEHS COVID-19 Safety Site Assessment webpage for more information and email [email protected] for a safety site assessment.
On-Campus Operations in Spring 2021
Employees unable to return to campus when directed will contact Human Resources Management (HRM) to determine next steps. Employees who are 65 or older, or who have underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, will be allowed to continue working remotely. Nearly all students will be enrolled in virtual classes. Staff in the divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Information Technology Services have developed plans to continue providing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students who lack computer technology or reliable internet access.
Campus COVID-19 Compliance Task Force
Pursuant to the Protocols for Institutes of Higher Education by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Cal State LA staff are overseeing the establishment, compliance, and enforcement of safety protocols and ensuring that employees and students receive information about coronavirus. These staff members are creating a campus-specific prevention plan and will regularly evaluate adherence to the plan, as outlined by State Public Health. A liaison has been designated to work with health officials in the event of an outbreak on campus. Students in University housing have been instructed to carry out self-screenings. Should three or more cases of coronavirus be identified on campus within a 14-day span, Cal State LA will follow the state and county protocols and document the cases and notify county health officials. The University has communicated to students and employees about the importance of immunization against influenza. Cal State LA is in the process of procuring rapid testing kits for use by the Student Health Center.
Parking and Transportation Services
RMEHS is working with the campus Office of Parking and Transportation Services to follow the guidance of County Public Health regarding measures to ensure physical distancing and protect drivers and passengers utilizing University vehicles on campus, as well as to provide on-campus biking infrastructure. RMEHS is also working with all divisions to encourage students and employees who rely on mass transit to consider using alternative transportation options, per the guidance of State Public Health.
Visitors to Campus
To help maintain healthy operations, RMEHS is collaborating with all divisions to ensure that absenteeism is monitored and staff are cross-trained. RMEHS has worked with all divisions to schedule visitors to campus buildings by appointment only and to ensure they are pre-registered in a visitor log. Visitors with children will be reminded that children must stay next to a parent at all times.
The Division of Academic Affairs requires that all faculty and staff requesting access to campus for instructional activities complete an On-Campus Instructional Activity Protocol form. This protocol requires that all participants complete COVID-19 safety training. All requests are reviewed by the college dean before being submitted to RMEHS to conduct safety site assessments with faculty present to further ensure proper safety measures, including that PPE, are in-place. The office evaluates all proposals against our weekly updated records of all Academic Affairs-approved campus activities to ensure that we are maintaining appropriately low density across buildings, floors, dates, and times. The office also ensures that faculty and staff have adequate safety and sanitation resources and utilization plans. Academic Affairs has also developed Research Scholarship Creative Activity Reopening Protocols.
Academic Affairs will have instructors add a COVID-19 self-screening to their Canvas course pages, based on the survey featured on the Health Watch website. This Canvas survey will be completed by every enrolled student each day in which there is an in-person instructional component on campus. Instructors will then have a record of all students who completed the self-assessment and attested to their lack of COVID-19 symptoms every day in which they meet in person.
Housing and Residence Life
For students living on campus, Cal State LA Housing and Residence Life has carefully considered options for limiting the number of on-campus residents in response to the uncertainty of COVID-19 progression. In consultation with the Cal State LA Student Health Center and RMEHS, following the standards and guidelines recommended by local and state agencies, and with specific attention to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health protocols, the University significantly limited the number of students in on-campus housing during the fall semester. For spring 2021, Housing and Residence Life will continue implementing a plan of one student per apartment, each with an individual bathroom.
Students in housing have been informed that they must follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines, per the guidance and protocols of public health agencies. They have been instructed regarding the signs and symptoms of coronavirus and are asked to contact the Student Health Center if they are not feeling well. The University will require COVID-19 entry testing for students residing in on-campus housing in spring 2021 and conduct periodic testing during the semester.
Meal plans for on-campus housing have been optional in the past several years and have been provided by vendor Aramark. In consideration of the health and safety of our residents and to reduce their need to go into the community for meals, a mandatory meal plan was instituted for fall 2020 and will continue through spring 2021. During the COVID-19 stay-at-home period, Aramark has continued to provide services while observing appropriate physical distancing and sanitation protocols. Service was changed to takeout food only, creating a touchless environment. Aramark removed all service ware and replaced it with disposable utensils and cups. One-way entry and exit routes were created, with six-foot distances marked on the floor. Dining staff follow protocols for personal protection, wear masks and gloves, and utilize appropriate sanitation procedures. With the touchless environment, dining staff have had fewer areas to clean and sanitize on a regular basis and instituted cleaning procedures between services (twice per day).
If COVID-19 progression lessens and we are able to open the dining facility for limited use, sections for seating will be designated per distancing recommendations of state and local authorities. When this occurs, cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces will be performed before, during, and after each meal period. Appropriate procedures to provide plates and utensils will be reinstituted when self-service is deemed safe. Hand sanitizing stations are currently available and will aid in customers cleaning their hands during meal periods. The dish return will need to be fully operational and staff must wear gloves while handling used plates, cups, utensils, etc., which will need to be washed appropriately in hot water through the dish machine. If these conditions cannot be met, disposables will be used and trash collected throughout the meal periods, avoiding overfilling of trash receptacles.
The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) suspended competition for spring 2021. Cal State LA Intercollegiate Athletics (Athletics) will not open facilities or allow for student-athletes to return to campus during spring 2021. Our plan for Athletics will be reviewed and modified if the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis result in revised guidance from state and local public health officials and the CCAA.
Nida Niravanh - Campus COVID-19 Coordinator
Director, Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety
Local Public Health Official:
Child and Adolescent Health Section Chief
Division of Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health