9/23/22—As the COVID-19 case rate in Los Angeles County has dropped in community-level transmission, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised guidelines on mask requirements and recommendations.
Masks are required in health care settings (including the Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers, COVID-19 testing sites, the USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC Pharmacies, and other patient care settings on campus). They are also required for individuals who have COVID-19 (through day 10), or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (for 10 days following exposure).
Masks are strongly recommended on all forms of public transit, including trains, buses, shuttle buses, and ride-shares. Masks are an individual preference in all other indoor public settings.
Sept. 1, 2022—CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.
Updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, helping to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading. Read the full CDC announcement.
USC Pharmacies has temporarily suspended its booster clinic with the previous booster formulations. Pending new clinical guidance, booster vaccination will resume with supplies of the new bivalent formulations.
We are looking forward to a vibrant fall semester, and the arrival of our students for the beginning of the academic year. As we prepare to greet one another in person once again, we want to share important reminders with the community to continue to take precautions regarding COVID-19 in our campus communities. Currently, Los Angeles County is experiencing a slight decline from a high level of community transmission (7,009 new cases reported as of the week ending 7/28) that has trended throughout the summer months, driven by the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron. Some of the cases include reinfection in individuals who previously had COVID-19. We strongly recommend wearing medical-grade masks or respirator masks (including surgical, N95, KN95, KF94) when indoors around others to reduce transmission and risk of infection. Masking is most effective when there is both a good fit (no gaps, covering the nose, mouth, chin) and good filtration. Testing before arrival (1-2 days) to campus and testing upon arrival (3-5 days after) will help keep our campuses safer from transmission.
We strongly recommend wearing medical-grade masks or respirator masks (including surgical, N95, KN95, KF94) when indoors around others to reduce transmission and risk of infection. Masking is most effective when there is both a good fit (no gaps, covering the nose, mouth, chin) and good filtration. If and when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issues changes to the Public Health Officer order regarding indoor masking protocols, the university will align with required measures.
In keeping with the state and county’s revised definition of “close contact” (someone sharing the same indoor space for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) the university is revising its COVID-19 notification practices. This change is needed to ensure compliance with the new definition.
Beginning on Wednesday, May 4, all currently enrolled students and all university employees will receive a daily email message with an update on reported cases. A sample message is attached. The message contains a link to the daily report of cases, and instructions for individuals who believe that they have been in close contact with a positive individual.
As of April 4, 2022 (Monday), USC campuses will no longer require Trojan Check for access to campuses. Perimeter check at the UPC campus will be discontinued on that date. Read the complete university message.
All USC students are encouraged to pick up a free COVID-19 antigen testing kit for use after spring break travel. You will receive an email from the USC Bookstores with a unique QR code for pickup, and when you return to campus from travel, use this kit within the first 24 hours of arriving back to your residence. If you test NEGATIVE, you may proceed to classes and activities. No uploads are necessary. Schedule a PCR test through Pop Testing between days 3-5 after your return from travel to confirm your results. Learn more about safety over spring break and kit pickup locations.
Beginning March 7, masking will no longer be required indoors in most locations on USC campuses. This includes classes, labs, offices, libraries, recreational facilities, dining facilities, and athletic facilities.
Local, state, and federal guidance requires continued masking in health care facilities (including patient care buildings and testing sites) and on public transportation (including USC shuttles). Masking may also be required in certain circumstances, like in the event of an outbreak on campus.
The university is reviewing the guidance and monitoring data in our region and for our campuses. Although our masking policies have not changed yet, we will provide more information next week after consultation with our public health experts and local authorities. Even as masking requirements are relaxed, members of our community are encouraged to continue wearing face coverings as an additional layer of personal safety.
At this time, we anticipate additional easing of restrictions in Los Angeles County that will enable us to lift our indoor masking requirements by the time students return from Spring Recess.
As announced on February 16, Los Angeles County removed restrictions for outdoor masking, based on improved metrics for hospitalizations and case fatalities. Outdoor masking is now also lifted for university-sponsored events. Masking is required indoors, on transportation, and at health care facilities (including testing sites). We are anticipating that metrics will continue to improve even more in one more week, so are planning for a lifting of some campus measures slated for March 1.