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CSUMB 'mask-friendly campus' policy starts Sept. 12

September 7, 2022

(Emailed on Sept. 7, 2022)

Otters,

The fall semester is off to an exciting start as we all engage on campus and with our community. I have enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to connecting with more students, faculty, and staff as the semester progresses.

Since the beginning of the semester, even with students returning to campus and a prevalent strain that is more infectious, the CSUMB on-campus infection rate remains extremely low. The Monterey County Health Department also reports a decreasing case rate and level of test positivity. While the public health situation could change, this is encouraging news for the health of our community.

The health and safety of our campus community remain our highest priority – and in fostering a caring community, we will continue to evaluate the precautions needed to help keep us safe. Many public health professionals agree that COVID-19 is moving to the endemic phase, wherein vaccinations are widely accessible, and treatments are available. The spread of the virus remains a concern, and we should all continue to take personal protective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Do not come to work or school if you are sick. Wear a mask, isolate, and visit the COVID-19 testing center.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced the availability of an updated booster vaccine that is effective at preventing new prominent strains of COVID-19. All CSUMB community members are encouraged to receive the booster when available. If you qualify for the bivalent booster and can access it from your physician or a local pharmacy, remember to report updates to your vaccination status in the Otter Vaccination Registry . CSUMB will alert the campus community when the bivalent booster is available by appointment at the Health and Wellness Services, as well as any booster clinics available on campus.

CSUMB is a community founded on inclusion and equity and calls upon each Otter to live our values daily as we express compassion and care for others. On September 12, 2022, CSUMB will move to a mask-friendly campus, meaning that anyone who chooses to wear a mask in most indoor spaces is welcome and encouraged to do so.

Masking is still required when:

  • Visiting campus health care settings, including Bldg 80 Health and Wellness Services, and the COVID-19 testing site in the Otter Student Union, room 210.
  • You are COVID-19 positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 and living in student housing.
  • Exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, are asymptomatic or have symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or fulfilling an isolation period.
  • Any place where official signs indicate masking is required.

The university will continue to provide free masks, including 3-ply surgical and KN95 options, at these eight locations:

Be Community-Minded

  • Removing masks in indoor spaces will likely cause a higher level of anxiety for some of our campus community. Please remember that some people remain at increased risk for more adverse outcomes from COVID-19 or regularly share spaces with someone who is.
  • Please be considerate of those who may be uncomfortable near individuals who are not masked.
  • Distinct rules cannot be made within individual classrooms or departments.
  • Those who continue to choose to mask should not feel they are unwelcome or subject to scrutiny.

Stay Flexible

  • As we’ve been doing for more than two years now, we should all be prepared to stay flexible and be ready to increase safety measures when needed.
  • People should be prepared to resume wearing masks indoors if campus conditions worsen or our county updates the health and safety recommendations. 

COVID-19 Testing 

CSUMB provides free COVID-19 rapid/antigen testing at the Otter Student Union, second floor, room #210. Testing appointments can be made online. Walk-ins are available. 

By getting vaccinated and boosted, isolating when sick, and continuing to follow personal protective measures, we can keep our campus safe and healthy this semester and enjoy a fully engaged Otter community.

As the situation continues to change and evolve, we’ll adjust and modify our approach, and our decisions about campus protocols and practices. CSUMB will continue taking direction from the health department in our local community and experts from our campus. 

Please stay healthy, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, and get tested if you have symptoms. Thank you, as always, we are counting on you to take care of each otter. 

Vanya Quiñones
President
California State University, Monterey Bay