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COVID-19 Update

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

We are nearing the end of the first week of what is a most extraordinary academic year.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create some uncertainty for our students, faculty, and staff, just as it does more broadly for our surrounding community, our country, and the world. While it is impossible to eliminate all risk posed by COVID-19 either on campus or off, we continue to be guided in our work by both our mission and prudent health and safety practices.

As educators, and as a university dedicated to the service of our region, we play a critical and unique role in this moment to be a source of strength, support, stability, and wisdom. Central to this responsibility is our historical commitment to providing a student-centered and personalized education, which includes, as safe and allowable, in-person teaching and learning.

Returning to this work after some 18 months away has required the dedication, grace, and patience of every member of the university community. Thank you for your commitment to this mission, and for living our values in service of our students. Thank you also for bringing this intention to our ongoing collaborations and communication.

Please find below important updates for our continuation of the fall term.

Tracking the New Coronavirus Variants

We continue to monitor the spread of the Delta and other variants, and remain in close contact with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA to ensure that we are meeting or exceeding their COVID-19 safety guidelines. Our decision last month to require masks indoors for everybody on our campuses, regardless of vaccination status, is one example of how we are making continual adjustments to our Safe Return plan to maximize the safety of our community. We are also continuing to provide notifications to impacted individuals and the university community about identified positive cases on campuses as appropriate and permissible.

Most counties in California, including Los Angeles, Kern, and San Bernardino, remain designated as high-level for community transmission by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the positivity rate in Los Angeles County has been dropping dramatically since the beginning of August, even as greater numbers of people are tested for COVID-19. The current positivity rates across the county are now on par with those of early July.

The facts and all of our health experts continue to assert that unvaccinated people are at the greatest risk both for becoming infected with COVID-19 and developing more severe symptoms when infected. It is essential that all members of the university community get vaccinated as soon as they are able.

Vaccination Policy

This week, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years old and older. Many members of the university community have expressed interest in receiving the vaccine now that FDA approval has been granted. The vaccine remains free to all. To find a location that is convenient to you, visit myturn.ca.gov.

Once you have been fully vaccinated, please visit univ.lv/vaccination to upload documentation to comply with the university’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement policy.

As a reminder, all University of La Verne students and employees must submit proof of vaccination, or receive an approved exemption for medical, religious, ADA, or personal reasons. To date, I am happy to share that nearly 80 percent of all registered students have complied, including nearly 90 percent of our traditional undergraduates and nearly 100 percent of our student-athletes and students who live in campus housing. Those numbers are slightly lower for regional campus and graduate students, though it is important to remember that students studying fully online are not required to provide documentation, per university policy.

With full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, and approvals of other major vaccines possible soon, we will continue to consult with key stakeholders on campus, with public health partners, and follow the science in evaluating our vaccination policy exemption process to ensure that it meets the needs of the university community.

Classroom Technology

The Office of Information Technology has equipped 10 additional classrooms on the La Verne Campus with updated technology to support flexible teaching options. An additional 12 units are on order with an expected delivery date of late fall. This will bring our total classrooms with technology enabled to support “hyflex” instruction to 43.

  • Eight at Regional and Online Campuses
  • One at the College of Law
  • Twenty-nine at the La Verne Campus
  • Five mobile units

The Center for Teaching and Learning, in partnership with the Office of Information Technology, continues to offer enhanced training for faculty on the use of classroom technology. To sign up for a session, contact The Center for Teaching and Learning at ctl@laverne.edu or 909-448-1433.

You may also view previously recorded sessions via Blackboard and the CTL community or laverne.libguides.com/faculty-resources.

Stay Home if Sick

If you are feeling sick or having any COVID-19 symptoms, or if you had a positive COVID-19 test result, stay home, contact your health care provider, and submit a COVID-19 Report.

If you have been exposed and are not vaccinated, stay home, contact your health care provider, and submit a COVID-19 Report. If you have been exposed and are vaccinated, you may report to work. You should also contact the Health Center or your health care provider, and submit a COVID-19 Report.

Ongoing Updates

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to provide updated information and opportunities for ongoing conversations around these and other important issues. In the meantime, please take the time to familiarize yourself with our comprehensive La Verne Safe Return plan, which was most recently updated on August 16 and provides detailed information on our procedures for staying safe and responding to signs or symptoms of COVID-19 on our campuses.

If you have any immediate questions about your specific work plan, please address those to your supervisor. You may also share more general comments with us via the virtual suggestion box.

I look forward to our continued communication, updates, and feedback. As a reminder, the first State of the University for faculty and staff for the new term will be on Thursday, September 9, at 11 a.m.

Sincerely,

Devorah Lieberman, PhD
President