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January 4 President's Briefing Recap

The President's Briefing Recap summarizes important information for the Pepperdine community shared during each President's Briefing. Here's what you need to know this week:

University COVID-19 Updates

University leadership continues to meet with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials to protect the community against the spread of coronavirus, particularly the new and highly transmissible Omicron variant. To do this, additional protective measures have been implemented as follows:

  • As mentioned in previous updates, in order to return to campus, students must receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their campus entry. 

    • Students may report their negative test result via the Spring 2022 Entry Test Reporting Form. If students receive a positive entry test, they are not permitted to enter campus and must report the positive test result to the Student Health Center for further guidance.
  • Following their arrival, students must receive a negative COVID-19 test from one of the Pepperdine-administered testing sites in order to attend in-person classes. Students should be prepared to go to a testing site the day they arrive on campus. Testing sites will be open on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate student move-in.
  • Pepperdine continues to require everyone in the community to wear facial coverings indoors, unless actively eating or drinking or alone in an office. In addition, the county has required all employees to wear surgical, N95, or KN95 facial coverings. These face coverings are more effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 than cloth facial coverings. Further information on when and where these face coverings will be distributed will be forthcoming.
  • The CDC updated its guidance for isolation and quarantine and L.A. County has included it in their most recent health order, though Pepperdine is still waiting to see how it will specifically be applied to institutes of higher education, with further guidance expected later this week. University officials are preparing to implement these updates and will alert the community when finalized. 
  • The county has adjusted the definition of mega-events to include events held indoors with more than 500 guests, impacting fine arts shows and indoor athletics games. In order for guests to gain entry to such events, they must provide full vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test. 
  • The University strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to receive their COVID-19 vaccine including a booster and the flu vaccine as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held on Friday, January 7, and Thursday, January 13. Appointments are limited. The community is encouraged to register to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

Science Update

The updated guidance to protect the community against serious illness is informed by scientists and public health experts. Two studies have shown Omicron’s unique behavior compared with other COVID-19 variants. One study looked at the rate the virus replicates in the upper respiratory tract of humans, referred to as the bronchus, showing it replicates 70 times faster than the Delta variant within 24 hours of infection. The second study looked at Omicron’s cell behavior in the lung tissue of hamsters. After three days of infection, Omicron’s replication significantly slowed compared with Delta. These studies suggest that Omicron’s minimal activity in the lungs yet significant replication in the bronchus is the reason for significant spread but minimal serious illness from Omicron infections. For these reasons, experts continue to recommend well-fitted facial coverings such as surgical, N95, and KN95 face coverings to slow the spread and protect against infection.

 

Join the President's Briefings

The next President's Briefing will be held at 8:45 AM on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. Archived viewing is available on the President's Briefing website.