Claremont McKenna College

Staff FAQs

COVID-19 Summary Update

As of current reporting, we are pleased to report that we continue to see a sharp decline in new positive cases in our campus community.

Effective immediately we will revert to our pre-surge policy of strongly encouraging, but not requiring, face coverings in indoor settings – except, for now, in indoor classrooms where masks are still required. For the purposes of this policy, the QCL and the CWPD are considered indoor classroom spaces.

While masks are no longer required in Collins Dining Hall, please be mindful that the other colleges in the consortium set their own policies on masking—including in their respective dining halls—and it is important to respect those requirements when visiting the other campuses. Moreover, students, please consider wearing a face covering in common spaces in the residence halls when CMC employees are present. Many of our staff members who work in these indoor spaces might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 themselves or are caregivers for vulnerable family members, so we request that students demonstrate respect to these individuals by temporarily wearing a mask when you are sharing common spaces with these College employees.

Though not required, mask wearing remains strongly recommended, especially in settings with unvaccinated people and densely populated (crowded) indoor and outdoor gatherings, and the College will unequivocally support personal decisions in choosing whether to wear a mask indoors. CMC will continue to provide free masks, including KN95s, to any student or employee upon request (contact Human Resources or DOS, as applicable). Of course, anyone who is experiencing symptoms should wear a mask until they are no longer symptomatic and/or have received a negative test result.

For now, the following measures remain in place:

  • Physical distancing remains a very effective health measure. Please practice physical distancing when feasible.
  • In light of these significantly improved numbers, we reverted to once-weekly surveillance testing (unvaccinated individuals will continue to test twice weekly, as usual). Of course, the testing requirement does not apply to those who are temporarily exempted from surveillance testing by HHB due to a recent COVID-19 infection. Once your exemption period is over, you’ll start testing again. This is for everyone unless you are currently exempt due to a recent positive case. Once your exemption period is over, testing will resume. Testing will allow us to monitor how quickly conditions improve.
  • The County is not requiring us to send emails to those who are identified as close contacts to positive cases. Our weekly surveillance testing substitutes for contact tracing during the surge. People should monitor themselves and report to HHB if they start experiencing symptoms so HHB can arrange for a diagnostic test.
  • Faculty have the discretion to change the mode of instruction for their courses for a short period of time if it makes pedagogical sense to do so.

Please contact HHB immediately (covid19@cmc.edu) if you have any symptoms so they can arrange for a free diagnostic test. You must mask (an N95/KN95 or double up on a surgical/procedure mask) both indoors and outdoors until you have received a negative diagnostic test result from HHB.

SURVEILLANCE TESTING

In light of these significantly improved numbers, we have reverted to once-weekly surveillance testing (unvaccinated individuals will continue to test twice weekly, as usual). Of course, the testing requirement does not apply to those who are temporarily exempted from surveillance testing by HHB due to a recent COVID-19 infection.

The County is not requiring us to send emails to those who are identified as close contacts to positive cases.  Our twice-weekly testing substitutes for contact tracing during this surge.  Persons should monitor themselves and report to HHB if they start experiencing symptoms so HHB can arrange a free diagnostic test.

Event and Activity Policy

The President’s Executive Council (PEC), in collaboration with the COVID Compliance Committee, has approved a policy governing activities and events on campus this semester. For now, the Dean of Students Office will not register any student events and requires that any gathering be very small (no more than 10) and preferably outdoors. Anything larger will be shut down.

Effective immediately, the policy requires that all in-person/hybrid meetings and events with greater than twenty participants (inclusive of students, faculty, staff, vendors, or outside guests) are (1) approved by the appropriate PEC member (the divisional vice president over the area primarily involved in event planning); and (2) reviewed by the COVID Compliance Committee. Event organizers are encouraged to seek final approval of their activity two weeks in advance of the date of the proposed event. Please review the policy for more detailed information on how, to whom, and when to request approval for an on-campus activity, as well as the risk factors against which the activity will be evaluated.

The PEC, together with the COVID Compliance Committee, expects to review the policy periodically, to weigh the parameters it lays out against evolving public health conditions. We will communicate any revisions to the policy as they are decided.

Questions about the Event and Activity Policy itself should be directed to Dorothy Buchanan: Dorothy.Buchanan@ClaremontMcKenna.edu 

This policy may be amended from time to time to respond to changing health conditions or governmental regulations.

Will I still be required to test for COVID-19?
  • In light of these significantly improved numbers, effective this coming week we will revert to once-weekly surveillance testing (unvaccinated individuals will continue to test twice weekly, as usual). Of course, the testing requirement does not apply to those who are temporarily exempted from surveillance testing by HHB due to a recent COVID-19 infection.
  • Please note testing schedules for the holiday weekend, for Students, Faculty, and Staff @ The Children’s School:
    • Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m -1 p.m. (Surveillance and diagnostic testing);
    • Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 a.m (diagnostic testing only-for symptomatic patients and those attempting to test out of isolation).

Regular Testing Hours

Surveillance Testing (walk-in) hours are:
Monday to Thursday – 7:30 am – 2:00pm (McKenna Auditorium)
Make up testing (once permitted/semester)
Friday – 8:00am – 12:00pm (The Children’s School)
Sat/Sun 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (for Students, Faculty, and Staff) at the Children’s School

Diagnostic Testing (by appointment only)
Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 4 pm (The Children’s School)
Saturday-Sunday 10 am-1 pm (for Students, Faculty, and Staff) @(The Children’s School)

Why are recently infected students, faculty and staff exempt from the weekly Surveillance PCR testing for 90 days?

It is known that recently infected individuals typically have robust COVID-19 antibodies for up to 90 days after. With this evidence, the LA County Department of Public Health supports Institutions of Higher Education in providing recently infected individuals with what is known as a “90 Day Test Exemption for PCR testing”.

Will I have to wear a mask on campus?

Yes. Effective April 5, required masking indoors is reinstituted, with N95’s, KN95’s or double surgical/procedure masks required. Single layer cloth masks are not acceptable. Masking outdoors is optional but highly encouraged in denser outdoor settings. Employees can contact Human Resources for appropriate masks, and students can contact the Dean of Students Office. Physical distancing remains a very effective health measure. Please practice physical distancing when feasible.

What if I have a personal situation which makes returning to Campus at my appointed date problematic?

We will support employees with personal challenges beyond their control that might justify an alternative work situation during portions of academic year 2021-22. Alternative work arrangement requests will be evaluated by a committee, in consultation with supervisors, as appropriate. Throughout this process, the College will continue to apply legal accommodation policies, as applicable. Such inquiries should be directed to Human Resources at CMCReturnsHR@cmc.edu or (909) 607-1466.

In the event an alternative work situation is approved, an employee may still be required to report to campus to meet the needs of the office and the College, if requested.

Updated quarantine and isolation requirements

On 12/31/2021, the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) issued a new Health Officer OrderIsolation Order and Quarantine Order. Consistent with the State Department of Public Health’s (CADPH) 12/30/2021 Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions, the County has updated its protocols for isolation and quarantine. As a reminder, isolation refers to the separation of people who are sick with a contagious disease from people who are not sick; quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed and may become sick. Generally, those who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days, with an end to isolation possible on day 6 if they meet various criteria (including a negative antigen test result).

Anyone identified as a close contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive must quarantine for ten days, if not fully vaccinated (including having received a booster dose, if eligible). Close contacts who are fully vaccinated (including the booster shot) do not need to quarantine provided they remain symptom-free and provided they test negative twice (both upon learning of the exposure and five days thereafter).

CMC has aligned its clinical protocols with the new guidance. Many colleges and universities have questions about the new isolation and quarantine orders, and changes to those from LACDPH are possible. As we receive any updated orders or guidance from public health officials, we will update our protocols accordingly. Please reach out if you have any questions about the new orders.

How does a student, faculty, or staff member test out of isolation?

Per the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, positive patients who are asymptomatic upon the 5th day of the 10-day isolation period are given the choice to test out early after the 5th day upon producing a Negative Rapid Antigen Test Result.

Hamilton Health Box provides positive cases with Rapid Antigen Testing services – All Rapid Antigen tests are administered and evaluated by healthcare professionals, ensuring that clearance from Isolation is based on sound medical judgement of the patient’s symptom status and their test results.

Why are Rapid Antigen Tests used to test out of isolation as opposed to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests or Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT)?

Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests (PCR) and Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) are both highly sensitive to the genetic material (mRNA) found in COVID-19 viruses. Studies show that after recent infection with COVID-19, individuals may continue to shed “dead or inactive” mRNA components for up to 60 days – thus producing “False Positives” on these highly sensitive tests.

What should I do if I notice an employee not following the health and safety protocols?

It depends on your level of comfort. Sometimes the best thing to do is politely remind a colleague of the expectations, as we are all prone to momentary lapses. Alternatively, you can contact your supervisor or Human Resources. Reporting anonymously through CMCListens is always available if you do not feel comfortable reporting directly: https://www.cmc.edu/ethics-and-compliance/cmclistens

What dining options will staff have?
  • Collins Dining Hall is again open to faculty and staff. For the weeks of April 25 and May 2, faculty and staff can use their “make-up” meal swipes accrued while dining was limited.
Will 5C faculty and staff be able to eat at other campuses’ dining halls this coming semester?

There is currently no cross-campus dining for faculty and staff. We will continue to evaluate as conditions evolve.

The Athenaeum
  • Ath Tea will continue as always from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm on the North Patio. Please observe social distancing.

What is the policy for meetings and events?

The COVID Compliance Committee will work closely with the Office of Events and others planning large events to determine if they need to be cancelled or postponed. For now (effective April 5), the Dean of Students Office will not register any student events and requires that any gathering be very small (no more than 10) and preferably outdoors. Anything larger will be shut down.

These Frequently Asked Questions  are subject to change as additional questions are added and as new or more informed answers emerge.