Update on Return to Campus

Dear APU Faculty and Staff,

We are grateful to return to in-person learning as we begin our spring semester this week. We also have several important updates to share regarding APU’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy learning environment. Many of you have asked about the changing guidance from health agencies in recent days in response to the spread of the Omicron variant. We will keep you posted as to APU’s adaptations; the latest updates are below.

Spring 2022 Training Guide – As noted in the December 31 email from Human Resources, all employees, whether working on campus or remotely, must review APU’s updated On-Campus Employee Training Guide and complete the related attestation by this Friday, January 14. This guide is now available on HR Total Access in the “Spring 2022 COVID-19 Return to Campus Employee Training and Certification” section. We strongly encourage you to revisit that email and continue to employ the measures described there.

Remote Work – In our last communication, we had made provision for remote work through January 17 if the supervisor and division leader determined it was feasible and would not negatively impact student care and APU operations. We are extending this option for remote work where feasible through the end of January and will continue to evaluate conditions until then.

Changes to Face Covering Policy – With the surge of COVID-19 cases associated with the Omicron variant, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has updated its masking requirement subsequent to publishing of the training guide. Effective January 17, all employees are required to wear a well-fitting, medical-grade mask, surgical mask, or higher-level respirator, such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator or KN95, at all times while indoors on APU premises (unless alone in a separate room or office).

Below are descriptions of several types of masks permitted by the new policy. You can find more information on the differences between a surgical mask and an N95 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Surgical Mask: A surgical mask (also referred to as a medical-procedure mask) is disposable and creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. It is a non-cloth mask of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire.

N95: An N95 mask is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. Since N95 masks form a seal to the face, they may feel more difficult to breathe through than a cloth mask.

KN95: A KN95 mask is the international equivalent of an N95 mask.

Employees may provide their own compliant masks for wear at work. APU will also make them available. In addition to being available at the main office of each regional campus, masks will be available for pickup by faculty, staff, and student employees every weekday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., beginning this Friday, January 14, at the following locations on the Azusa campus:

West Campus – Front desk of School of Nursing suite in Building 1 West Campus – Bookstore (currently located in the VIP Room in the Felix Event Center) East Campus – Front desk of Facilities Management East Campus – IMT Support Center (near Lot C; sometimes referred to as IMT Help Desk)

You will need to show your APU ID card at pickup. You will be provided a supply of medical-grade masks for the week, with N95 or KN95 masks available for those who request them.

Though we encourage the use of upgraded masks immediately, cloth masks are permissible through this week. Effective January 17, cloth masks will no longer be permitted unless worn in combination with an upgraded mask type as described above.

Change to Weekly Testing Requirement – In the fall, APU required employees to perform weekly COVID-19 testing and record their symptom monitoring and their testing status each day in Total Access unless they had either been vaccinated or had recovered from natural COVID-19 infection. Beginning next week, in compliance with guidance from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued over the weekend and directed to all institutions of higher education across the county, all employees who are not “up to date” with their vaccination(s) will be required to daily record their symptom monitoring and attest to a weekly negative test result in Total Access. Using self tests, which are located around campus, is one way to satisfy this requirement, and it is free to you.

Employees are not “up to date” on their COVID vaccination status if either (1) they have not completed a primary COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., they are not “fully vaccinated”), or (2) they have completed a primary COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., they are fully vaccinated) and they are due for a booster dose based on when they became fully vaccinated but have not yet received that dose. In other words, you are “up to date” only if you have been fully vaccinated and received a booster dose, or you have been fully vaccinated and you are not yet due for your booster dose.

This means the weekly COVID-19 testing and daily symptom monitoring attestation requirements now apply to those who have recovered from COVID-19 unless they are up to date on vaccination status as described above. In direct consultation with LACDPH officials, we have confirmed that those who have recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days are also exempted from the testing requirement. More information about being up to date based on your vaccine manufacturer can be found on the LACDPH website.

Starting January 18, 2022, you will be able to attest if you are “up to date” on your vaccination status by visiting HR Total Access.

All Employees – These COVID-19-related provisions apply to all categories of employees (i.e., faculty, staff, adjunct, student).

Thank you for your partnership in providing a safe and healthy work and learning environment at APU. If you have any questions, please contact your Human Resources Business Partner at [email protected]

Paola Martinez Vice President for Human Resources

Chris Jennings Vice President for University Integrity and General Counsel Chair, Return to Campus Task Force