6/29/2021 - Caltech's Response to Updated LA County Face Covering Recommendations
To: The Campus Community
From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness
The county's public health department updated its guidance this week to recommend the use of face coverings indoors, including in workplaces where the vaccination status of employees present is mixed. This recommendation extends to all individuals regardless of vaccination status and is an attempt to limit the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
According to the county, fully vaccinated individuals appear to be well protected from infections with the Delta variant, although those with only one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are not as well protected. COVID-19 infections identified in those who are fully vaccinated have been mild illnesses.
Based on this, Caltech appears well positioned to face the challenge posed by the Delta variant. As of June 24, 2021, more than 95% of active employees and students have attested to having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 77% of active employees and students have documented their full vaccination status with the Institute. (Anyone who has not documented their full vaccination status should do so today.)
The Institute maintains its current requirements for the use of face coverings, which allow employees and students who have confirmed their full vaccination status with the Institute to go without a face covering indoors (unless posted signage or rules for accessing a particular space state otherwise). L.A. County Public Health officials' recommendations on the voluntary use of face coverings in public spaces—such as grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you do not know everyone's vaccination status—are an additional precaution. The Institute has and continues to support fully vaccinated individuals in making their own decisions on whether or not to wear a face covering in any setting, including indoors.
All unvaccinated community members and unvaccinated campus visitors are required to wear a face covering when accessing indoor public spaces, including dining, retail, and athletic facilities.
Additionally, all employees and students who have not confirmed their vaccination status with the Institute are required to participate in the Institute's surveillance testing program and have access to N95 masks, distributed through the Caltech Store. All employees and students who have not documented their vaccination status with the Institute are considered unvaccinated and are required to wear a face covering in all indoor environments.
On campus, we have not had a known, symptomatic case of COVID-19 since March. However, Caltech continues to monitor the campus community for signs of infection or transmission of the virus. We remain in close contact with local public health authorities and will provide timely updates as they become available. Please review the latest guidance on the Caltech Together website. We will continue to add information to this site and provide updates to Institute protocols and policies as necessary.