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Update for graduate and professional school students

Clarification on procedures and best safety guidance for those concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 during the entry testing period.

This message is being emailed to all graduate and professional students on August 11, 2020. For any updates, please visit the Student Affairs website.

Dear graduate student community,

Some of you have reached out with concerns about the current testing, quarantine and isolation procedures shared in a message with our graduate student community last week. We understand that with each decision and its subsequent communication during this time comes an incredible impact on our students and community. We want to acknowledge how challenging it can be to prepare for a new academic year during a pandemic. We are writing to provide clarification on the procedures and best guidance for how to stay as safe as possible during this time.

The State of California has recently released it’s guidance for institutions of higher education. These plans are designed to lower the risk of transmission in higher education campus communities. As we mentioned in the previous message, there will be a campus compact outlining all of the university measures on prevention, testing, quarantine, isolation and physical distancing that aligns with state and county guidance. The primary purpose of this email is to help you navigate your current housing transition into the academic year.  

We understand that for current residents, the arrival of new students is a specific source of concern as we navigate current public health guidance.

Specifically, students who are living in multi-bedroom apartments have expressed concern for transmission of the virus in the entry testing period when a new roommate arrives. When moving on to campus, students are expected to follow the testing protocol shared in the August 6th message. To add, new students are asked to complete a Health Check before arriving. As students prepare for new roommates, here are a few key steps that you can take during the entry testing period:

  • Avoid close contact with your new roommate. Specifically, for COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define a close contact as being within six feet of a person for at least 15 minutes. 
  • Wear a mask when you are in the common areas of your shared apartment and in the larger apartment building.
  • Stagger use of common area spaces.  For example, avoid sharing kitchen utensils and completely clean up the kitchen area after each use during the testing period.
  • Engage in frequent handwashing and surface cleaning
  • Set shared expectations with your roommate.  Discuss how you both plan to communicate and engage in all of the public health measures together, including cleaning, physical distancing and mask wearing in the apartment.

For students who remain concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 during the entry testing period, we have a limited number of spaces for students to relocate during the entry testing period (up to 7 days). It is our expectation that the person who expresses discomfort with their current situation will be the one who will relocate temporarily. This is available through August 31, 2020 at which point, we will no longer have capacity to provide this option. Please contact the Graduate Life Office staff if you would like to learn more about this option.  

We welcome your thoughts and concerns

During a time of a global pandemic, we cannot make our campus community completely safe from the virus; however, together, we can make it safer. COVID-19 is challenging all of us, but we will continue to find solutions together. We recognize that some of you will continue to have questions and concerns. Again, here’s where you can share your general concerns. In addition, if you have individual or specific concerns about navigating your needs, please consult with the Graduate Life Office to receive support and/or contact the Office of Accessible Education, should you have specific accommodations to address. 

Shirley Everett
Senior Associate Vice Provost, Residential & Dining Enterprises

Mona Hicks
Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students

Dr. James Jacobs
Executive Director, Vaden Health Services