I write today with updates on the College’s masking requirement. Please read this email in its entirety. There is a lot of important information here!
You likely are aware that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released updated indoor masking guidelines effective March 4, 2022. The new guidelines permit establishments, businesses, and other venues to remove indoor masking requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Los Angeles County made this decision after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention updated its “weekly community level” benchmarks, moving the county into a lower transmission rate classification.
While colleges and universities do fall into the permitted types of establishments mentioned by the County, Scripps College postponed any changes to our masking requirements due to the post-spring break surge of Covid-19 cases. Since the surge has subsided, we have seen a consistently low positivity rate over the past few weeks. We currently have 7 students in isolation, with only 3 students testing positive this week.
Given the low positivity rate at the College and across the consortium, the campus masking requirement is removed effective today except in the following campus locations:
- academic classes;
- the Malott Commons servery;
- the Motley Coffeehouse when ordering a drink on the café side (masking is not required in the lounge); and
- the 240 House Testing Center
We have been wearing masks for close to two years now, this may feel uncomfortable to some. I strongly encourage students to do what feels most comfortable and safe. Though we have lifted the mask mandate, we strongly encourage students to wear a mask inside and out when social distancing is not achievable. When entering an office please be aware of the space and distance between you and staff. For in-person 1:1 meetings with staff indoors, masks may be required when social distancing cannot be achieved.
Keep your mask with you! Where masks are required, they must be of surgical quality or higher. Surgical masks will still be made available throughout the end of the semester. Be sure to pick them up in your mailbox. As a community we support individual decisions to wear a mask and want to remind everyone that masks are for the protection of the person wearing the mask; individual choice is important and should be honored.
All students are still required to test weekly until the end of the semester. That includes all seniors and during senior week. As a reminder, students who are positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate and will not be able to leave isolation or be on campus until cleared by Student Health Services. This includes, but is not limited to, not being able to (1) attend finals in person or in-person end of year events and celebrations, (2) pack belongings to move out at the end of the semester, and (3) graduate in person. Think about how your behavior can affect you and your community. We want to make sure we end the semester strong and healthy!
Yesterday, the College also released the mitigation practices in Malott Commons starting with breakfast today. Students will be able to dine inside Malott at 50% capacity. Reusable dishware will return on Monday, May 2. Paper and reusable to go boxes will continue to be available at the cashier station. Food trucks will continue through the end of the semester, the last day being May 12. There currently is still NO cross-campus dining. Malott will remain Scripps only until further notice. The meal plan (board swipes) will end after dinner on Friday, May 13, 2022. Remember masks are still required in Malott servery!
As we approach the end of the semester, I ask that you all take a big deep breath. This year we have seen many up and downs as a community. What remains steadfast is our resiliency, our strength, and deep care for each other. Be kind to each other these last few weeks, we all are carrying different stressors that may not be visible. If you need help do not hesitate to reach out. There are many resources and support available to you. I ask for the continued attention to current mitigation practices and to keeping our community safe. For further information please visit Scripps Strong.
Dean di Bartolo-Beckman
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students