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Booster requirement in response to the COVID-19 Omicron Variant

Dear students, staff, and faculty, 

I know most of us are home with friends and families for the Holiday Break, enjoying some down time from university life. I would only interrupt this time with important news, so I write today with an update that warrants your attention. Please read this entire message. 

Since moving most of the university back to an in-person format several months ago, Cal Lutheran has fared well in mitigating the risks of COVID-19 for our community and visitors. Much of our success can be attributed to high vaccination rates: 93% for students and 95% for faculty and staff. We will continue to require that all members of our community are vaccinated.  

In that vein, we are updating the Cal Lutheran vaccination requirement. Effective January 18, 2022, all students, faculty, and staff must show evidence of having received a booster (exemptions will be reviewed). Strong evidence suggests that authorized vaccines are a safe and effective means to control the spread of illness. The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus—and its rapid spread throughout the U.S. and the world—has prompted additional planning for how Cal Lutheran will prepare for the safest return to in-person operations and activities starting in January.  

Given this new requirement, students, faculty and staff are urged to schedule and receive their booster during the holiday break in order to meet our deadline requirement of January 18. You may locate available appointments at this website https://www.vaccines.gov/

Starting January 5, Cal Lutheran students and personnel will be able to upload proof of booster vaccination through the MyCLU portal. If you have already received an approved exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination, you will continue to be exempt from this requirement.  

In addition to the booster requirement, Cal Lutheran will maintain its indoor mask mandate in accordance with state and local guidance. Mask wearing is one of the simplest and effective ways to protect ourselves and others from virus spread. Please continue to wear masks in all Cal Lutheran buildings, including the Forrest Fitness Center. We ask that the community be vigilant in supporting the mask mandate. 

The university is also taking steps to provide COVID-19 testing in the residence halls for all residential students within two days of returning to campus. Additionally, COVID-19 testing will be available in Health Services for commuter students when they return to campus. Finally, all student-athletes will be required to test within 2 days of returning to campus and tested 3-5 days after commencing practice and competition. 

Further details on the booster requirement and any other COVID related updates will be posted on the KNOW website. Please visit that site throughout the break. 

I end with one final thought. For those who are medically able, getting the vaccine is not something we do “just” for ourself. Equally important, it is something we do for our campus, our community, our world.  We have come far in this pandemic journey, endeavoring to keep ourselves and each other healthy. I view these collective efforts as one of our most beautiful and impactful embodiments of the Lutheran value: serving our neighbor so that all may flourish.  

Thank you for serving your neighbor in helping to maintain the health, safety, and vibrancy of our community and the world around us. 

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Healthy New Year.

Lori E. Varlotta, Ph.D.