Jackie Espitia | Mustang News

Students accessing campus are required to test for COVID-19 during the first week of winter quarter regardless of vaccination status, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong announced in a campus-wide email Wednesday afternoon.

Pre-arrival tests will not be accepted, Armstrong said.

The testing schedule is as follows:

Unvaccinated students

January 2-3: Unvaccinated students (those with medical or religious exemptions)

Vaccinated students (regardless of booster status)

January 2-3: All first-year students and new transfer students who live in residence halls

January 4-5: Students who live in campus apartments

NOTE: all students living on campus must be tested by January 5

January 6-9: Off-Campus students by Last Name

January 6: Last Names A-G

January 7: Last Names H-M

January 8: Last Names N-R

January 9: Last Names S-Z

Students are allowed to attend in-person classes, even if their scheduled test date is after their first in-person class.

Cal Poly is requiring the booster by Jan. 20 for those are already eligible. People are eligible to receive the booster six months after their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  People must receive the booster as soon as they become eligible if it is later than Jan. 20. 

According to the email, more than 80% of all vaccinated students are now eligible for the booster shot. 

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated must request a medical or religious exemption unless already requested earlier this school year. Exempt students and employees must complete COVID-19 testing every three days during winter quarter. 

The university is not yet ready to accept booster vaccination records and will provide further instructions on uploading records later in winter quarter, Armstrong wrote in the email. More details on the university’s plans for winter quarter will be sent out before students return to campus, Armstrong said. 

Cal Poly plans to return in-person classes on Jan. 3 and hold classes as scheduled during the quarter. Professors are still allowed to hold up to two weeks of their own courses virtually, even if they are scheduled for in-person instruction.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the Cal State Chancellor’s Office announced that faculty, students and staff will be required to get a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine either six months after initial vaccination or by Feb. 28. 

The requirement applies only to those accessing university facilities or activities in person. Individual campuses have the option to require a booster shot earlier than Feb. 28, like Cal Poly, but not later. 

“Implementing the booster requirement now will help mitigate the potential spread of the variant on campuses as they repopulate in January after the winter break,” CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro wrote in a press release.

The CSU’s announcement of a booster shot mandate came a day after the University of California issued an identical mandate for its students, staff and faculty on Dec. 21.

Because of the Omicron variant causing a spike in COVID-19 cases across California, several UC campuses also announced that the first two weeks of instruction will be remote when classes return in January.

As of Dec. 22, the CSU has not announced a similar systemwide precaution of remote learning for the first few weeks of classes in 2022. Cal Poly has also not announced a similar precaution.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated Wednesday, Dec. 22 to include information from an email President Jeffrey Armstrong sent to the campus community about returning to campus during the winter quarter. 

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