CMC Returns
Claremont McKenna College

COVID-19
Campus Update:
Summer 2022

CMC will report new positive COVID-19 cases identified on campus week-by-week, refreshed on this page every Monday.  The COVID Compliance Committee will send timely messages if pertinent information warrants campus-wide communication. The Committee monitors evolving Public Health guidance as relevant to the College and makes recommendations to the President’s Executive Cabinet.

COVID-19 Case Management

CMC will report new positive COVID-19 cases identified on campus week-by-week, refreshed on this page every Monday. There were four (4) on-campus positive cases for the week of 08/01/2022.

Update on BA.5 Subvariant

According to Dr. Glenn Davis, Chief Medical Officer for Hamilton Health Box, while the future of COVID-19 is unpredictable, infections and reinfections will continue to affect campus life in the near term; however, individuals can successfully assess any special circumstances and make their own decisions with a better understanding of the disease, prevention strategies, and available treatments, in order to enjoy the widest range of learning opportunities and remain in good health.

  • Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are currently the most dominant strains of COVID-19. These new variants, while more infectious, cause less severe disease. Most of the rise in BA.4 and BA.5 is due to their increased ability to infect individuals previously immune to other variants. Most of the world is not enforcing infection control measures; thus, the rise and fall of this wave will be determined mainly by local population immunity.
  • At this time, it appears full immunization combined with a previous infection provides the highest immunity to further symptomatic infection. This is followed by full immunization (3 vaccine doses) and finally, a previous infection. In all cases, immunity does wane over time but there is still strong protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death.
  • New effective treatments have emerged for those at higher risk for complications. Paxlovid, for example, is an oral antiviral that helps prevent hospitalization and death. The monoclonal antibody Bebtelovimab is a single dose intravenous infusion that has shown strong activity against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
  • Most likely, if no significant mutations occur, a dominant variant will emerge and become endemic similar to the other four endemic strains of Coronavirus. Vaccines will continue as a cornerstone of treatment along with effective therapeutics and behavioral modifications in certain situations. 

Testing

  • Surveillance testing optional; diagnostic testing required if symptomatic
  • Student Health Services to provide saliva tests at multiple sites (including at CMC)
  • HHB to provide limited testing for CMC students/employees with a confirmed exposure who are symptomatic

In alignment with the consortium and in an effort to centralize our processes and resources, testing of CMC students, faculty, and staff will now be provided through TCCS Student Health Services (SHS). SHS partners with Shield T3 to offer PCR saliva tests, and these will be administered at multiple test sites across the colleges, including at CMC (anticipated to be in the breezeway at the Hub, near the Amazon lockers). Members of the Claremont Colleges community may test at any site they choose, and no appointments are required. Moreover, because the lab samples are processed at an onsite laboratory, the turnover time to receive results should be shorter by virtue of not being subject to large influxes of samples from other sources. SHS will also manage student requests for medical vaccine exemptions. We will provide much more information about this new testing process very soon.

Hamilton Health Box remains on campus to continue to provide the excellent, personalized service to which CMC students, faculty, and staff have grown accustomed since the outset of the pandemic. In addition to supporting members of the CMC community who test positive through SHS, HHB will continue to be available to answer your questions, provide information about quarantine and isolation requirements, and perform testing for those who wish to end isolation early. Moreover, for our symptomatic community members who have also had a confirmed exposure to a positive case, HHB can perform a rapid Cue diagnostic test. These testing hours will be announced closer to the start of the semester.

  • Unless public health conditions warrant or require it, we generally anticipate that mandatory surveillance testing will not be required, except:
    • Students will be required to test at an SHS testing location within 72 hours of arrival in Claremont for the fall semester and should anticipate similar required testing immediately following major breaks (e.g. Fall Break, Thanksgiving Recess, Winter Break).
    • Any student who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the preceding 90 days must share those results with HHB and will be exempt from this testing requirement. The Dean of Students office (DOS) will support any student who learns they are positive before coming to campus to adjust their arrival date.
    • We strongly encourage faculty and staff to help protect the health of our campus community by likewise testing during the first two weeks of classes and following major breaks.
  • Throughout the semester, all students, faculty, and staff will be strongly encouraged, but not required, to test regularly, and can access surveillance tests at any of the SHS testing locations on the campuses.
  • Any student, faculty, or staff member who is symptomatic must test with SHS or, if symptomatic and with a known exposure to a positive case, with HHB.

In order to access testing on campus, everyone must complete their consent forms annually.

  • Consent forms for testing through HHB can be completed in hard copy at the clinic at the time of testing.
  • For students, consent forms for SHS testing have already been completed through the student portal.
  • For employees, all SHS consent forms will soon be in your Workday inbox to complete; because there is a lag time of at least several hours between completing the forms and being able to access a test through SHS, you should take care of the paperwork as soon as possible – well before you seek testing.

Masking

  • Masking is currently not required, but is strongly encouraged in indoor as well as crowded outdoor settings.
  • The College must comply with any health officer orders issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. As you may know, the County is currently weighing whether to reimpose an indoor mask mandate amidst the current surge in cases. This week Public Health officials indicated they will not immediately move forward with universal indoor masking due to data suggesting COVID-19 transmission may be declining locally.
  • There is otherwise no immediate plan to require masking on campus; however, even if not required by LA County, the Claremont Colleges are considering whether to allow faculty to ask their classes to mask in their own classrooms.
  • N95 masks filter up to 95% of the particles in the air and reduce your odds of testing positive by 83%. KN95 masks also perform well, as do surgical masks – particularly when doubled. Cloth masks do not efficiently filter airborne particles and are not recommended. Please refer to the attached infographic for detailed instructions for wearing an N95 or KN95 respirator mask.
  • Human Resources will provide N95 and KN95 masks to individual departments, to the Bauer Mail Room, to Story House, and upon request. Students should bring a supply of masks to campus, and can contact the Dean of Students if they need assistance obtaining masks.

Summer Clinic Hours and Offerings

During the summer, HHB will only perform testing for those experiencing symptoms or those who are required to test due to an exposure, and these tests continue to be provided at no cost to our community members (and $70 for your symptomatic family/household members). The clinic is open weekdays, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for onsite testing at 654 E. Sixth Street, by appointment only. To schedule a test, or to ask questions about testing, recent exposure protocols, isolation timelines, etc., please reach out to Marina Zanzarini, PA-C at covid19@cmc.edu (preferred) or (909) 607-2301.

NOTE: Between July 25 and August 21, the parking lot surrounding the clinic is being repaved, which will preclude access to the COVID Services Clinic through the west gate. During this period, you will need to access the clinic through the south gate (see map).

If you develop COVID-like symptoms do not report to work or come onto campus. You should reach out to HHB to schedule a diagnostic testing appointment as soon as possible. If you take a home antigen test and test positive, please advise HHB immediately, and do not return to campus until you have been cleared by HHB. If you test negative, we encourage you to reach out to HHB regardless, as they can offer you a diagnostic test that is more sensitive and better at detecting the virus in symptomatic people than the antigen tests.

International Travel

If you travel abroad this summer and you become ill while outside the United States, it is critical that you test for COVID-19. The CDC requires proof of a negative test (or documentation of recovery) for all passengers boarding a flight to the U.S. from a foreign country. If you test positive while abroad, please share your test result with HHB.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also details reentry requirements here.

Looking Forward

We are optimistic that the pandemic outlook will continue to improve. We will only reinstate requirements such as mandatory testing and indoor masking if public health conditions so warrant. We hope that the worst is behind us, but we remain mindful that COVID-19 is stubbornly persistent and always has the potential to reemerge when mitigation measures are relaxed. We therefore urge your continued vigilance respecting not only your own health, but that of the community around you. Please continue to consult Public Health dashboards and other tools to stay informed about transmission rates and other metrics in your area:

  • Los Angeles County’s dashboard can be accessed here.
  • The CDC’s community levels tool (by County) can be accessed here.

Over the coming weeks we will continue to meet regularly as a Committee, to solicit input, and to plan thoughtfully for the fall. We will also continue to report new positive cases discovered in our campus community on a weekly basis, Mondays, on CMC Returns.

Sincerely,

CMC COVID Compliance Committee

Marcie Gardner, General Counsel
Heather Antecol, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
Larry Burik, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Capital Projects
Christine Costanza, Executive Director of Academic Administration
DT Graves, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Nyree Gray, Vice President for Human Relations and Chief Diversity Officer
Ellen Rentz, Associate Dean of Faculty
Rene Vega, Director of Enterprise and Applications
Brian Weir, Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Toby Hamilton MD, physician, CEO, Hamilton Health Box
Glenn Davis MD, physician, Hamilton Health Box
Marina Zanzarini PA-C, Hamilton Health Box

CMC COVID-19 Community Portal

Coronavirus Relief Funding to Students

Additional Resources

Please see the following for COVID-19 updates for  Los Angeles and the state of California, in addition to federal resources listed below.

The Claremont Colleges Services