Fall 2021 FAQ
APU’s COVID-19 requirements and protocols may change to reflect updates in applicable government orders and guidance or as circumstances change on our campuses and in our surrounding communities. Visit the Destination APU: Fall 2021 Return website for ongoing university updates, and to access the university’s comprehensive COVID Prevention Plan, which will be available soon.
Will COVID-19 vaccination be required?
Vaccination plays a very important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19, including its variants. L.A. County has not mandated vaccination, and APU does not intend to do so at this time.
APU strongly encourages all individuals able and eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to do so at their earliest opportunity in alignment with appropriate health and safety protocols and in consultation with their own medical professionals. Please visit the California Department of Health website at My Turn to schedule an appointment or find a walk-in vaccine location. For more information or to sign up with a local provider, visit the California State Government site. For those living out of state, visit the CDC vaccine finder. APU reserves the right at a future time to require employees, students, or visitors to be vaccinated should a change in circumstances make that necessary and reasonable to sustain normal business operations.
Does APU require individuals to wear face coverings while on campus?
Pursuant to the latest public health officer order from Los Angeles County and guidance from the CDC, all individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) must wear face coverings while they are indoors at APU. There are few exceptions, including when eating or drinking or alone in a room or office. You will be notified if other exceptions related to specific activities or programs apply.
What kind of face coverings are required?
“Face covering” means a surgical mask, a medical procedure mask, a respirator worn voluntarily, or a tightly woven fabric or nonwoven material of at least two layers. A face covering has no visible holes or openings and must cover the nose and mouth. A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric.
Anyone needing a mask may pick one up from the Office of Facilities Management located in the Anderson Building (Building 20) on East Campus.
If I am fully vaccinated, do I have to show proof?
No one is required to “prove” they have been vaccinated, because APU is not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations at this time. If, however, vaccinated individuals wish to avoid symptom tracking and surveillance testing requirements, then they must attest that they have been “fully vaccinated.” For employees, attestation requires that they affirm they have been fully vaccinated in the daily symptom tracking tool in HR Total Access. Students will also affirm they have been fully vaccinated by filling out the Attestation form on the Forms page in the MyCougar Health Portal and by uploading appropriate medical documentation supporting that attestation.
APU has long required students to submit proof of required vaccinations and has engineered its vaccination tracking tool in MyCougar Health Portal to require proof before submission. In order to be consistent with documentation, APU is requiring students to upload the same information for the COVID-19 vaccine.
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?
To be “fully vaccinated” for purposes of APU policies, you must have received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines must be FDA approved; have an emergency use authorization from the FDA; or, for persons fully vaccinated outside the United States, be listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Am I “fully vaccinated” if I have developed natural immunity to COVID-19?
For purposes of current state and county public agency orders, no, you are not fully vaccinated, even if you have developed a natural immunity to COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals who are naturally immune and follow the attestation requirements in HR Total Access (for employees) or the MyCougar Health Portal (for students) will not be required to complete the daily symptom tracker or the biweekly surveillance testing.
Will I have to pay for surveillance testing that I undergo because I am not vaccinated?
APU offers a PCR COVID-19 “self test” for those students and employees needing to perform surveillance testing. The test will get billed to your personal health insurance if you have one. As of this time, insurance companies generally have been paying for this test. Unvaccinated employees who are required to provide surveillance testing results can obtain testing at a variety of locations in the area and upload their test result through the HR Total Access health assessment tracker.
For students and employees with access to the Azusa campus, self-test kits will be placed in each living area, the Student Health Center, and several other locations. After testing yourself, drop it off at the Student Health Center by 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, on the day you test. For those attending or working at one of the regional locations, test kits will be available at those locations as well, along with a UPS envelope to mail the test.
After obtaining the test result, upload it to the MyCougar Health Portal to receive credit.
What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms as a student, stay at home and do not go to class. Log in to the MyCougar Health Portal and select the “Appts” tab. Then schedule an appointment for a “COVID-19 Phone Screen” and a provider will contact you. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms as an employee, stay at home and do not go to work. Notify your supervisor and the Student Health Center by filling out the Daily Health Assessment and selecting “yes” to one of the questions and a provider will contact you.
In the meantime, be sure to isolate yourself from others. If it is determined that COVID-19 testing is needed, the Student Health Center has the ability to perform a rapid PCR test that takes only one hour. The cost is subsidized by APU, and the resulting low fee is usually paid for by your health insurance.
How effective are the vaccines?
APU does not offer medical advice other than to individuals who come to the Student Health Center for specified medical care and treatment. There are, however, a number of resources readily available on the effectiveness and risks of vaccines. In these resources, you will find information about the following topics and more:
- Will the COVID-19 vaccines affect my genes?
- Is there an increased rate of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) after obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine?
- What are the long-term effects of the vaccines?
- Why should I get the vaccine if I am not high-risk for COVID-19 complications?
- How serious are the cardiac adverse effects from the vaccines?
- What are the main COVID-19 variants, and how well do the vaccines work against them?
- Do I need to take the vaccine if I have had natural infection with SARS-CoV-2?
- Were aborted fetal cells used to produce the vaccines?
Such resources include:
- Tracking of the variants by the CDC
- Vaccine Development Process (PDF), Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration
- “BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting,” The New England Journal of Medicine (February 24, 2021)
- “Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine,” The New England Journal of Medicine (December 10, 2020)
- COVID-19 Vaccines and People of Color, Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Charlotte Lozier Institute Ethical Analysis of the COVID-19 Vaccines
Are the attestations and health assessments that students and employees provide confidential?
The attestations and health assessments employees and students provide through Total Access and the MyCougar Health Portal will be treated by the university as confidential medical information. Employees, including supervisors, should refrain from asking other employees or students about their vaccination status or whether they have or have had COVID-19. Employees and students may voluntarily disclose to others their own personal medical information about COVID-19 or vaccination status. Employees and students are not obligated to share their vaccination status or other health status with others, beyond their required attestations in Total Access or the MyCougar Health Portal.
What will the classroom experience look like? Will social/physical distancing still be required
Physical distancing is not presently required in Los Angeles County, but it is possible that the county will again require it in some situations that apply to APU. In the meantime, because physical distancing can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we encourage you to use physical distancing, especially where masks are not required or feasible or if you are unvaccinated or with others who may not be vaccinated.
Will large gatherings/meetings be permitted?
It is expected that gathering sizes will still be capped, as continued physical distancing protocols are anticipated. We expect that gathering protocols will incorporate available protections against continued widespread transmission of viruses. Increased detail will be provided as we approach the fall semester and specific guidelines are outlined. While attending any of our events on campus, whether a guest, student, or faculty/staff member, please be aware of the following:
- All persons attending indoor events are required to bring and wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, when they are indoors except while eating and drinking in designated areas.
- Attendees must also wear masks at outdoor events when they enter indoor areas, such as dining venues, retail shops, concourses, or concession stands.
- Attendees who are actively eating or drinking indoors must be seated at a table or positioned at a stationary counter or other location.
- Masks must be worn except when attendees are actively eating and drinking. When doing so indoors, attendees must be seated or positioned at a table, counter, or other stationary location.
- To enhance safety and lower the risk of transmission at large outdoor events, it is recommended that unvaccinated attendees wear masks when they are in crowded outdoor settings and when they are in sustained close contact with others whose vaccination status is not known.