Bi-Weekly VP Update April 1
Dear MIIS Community:
Welcome back to campus. I hope you all had a relaxing break and have returned refreshed. As you know, COVID-19 is slowly transitioning from pandemic to endemic as the trends globally and locally improve. We are glad to offer some additional flexibility in terms of COVID-related policies and will continue to monitor trends in Monterey County. For now, several changes were implemented on March 28 that I want to reiterate below.
What has changed, effective March 28:
- Indoor masking in common areas is optional: This includes the Holland Center, the Samson Center, building lobbies, and the Library. At Munras Housing, masking is optional in lounges, hallways, study rooms, and the kitchen, except for groups of five or more. Masking is not required when you are alone in your personal office, or for Munras Housing residents, in your room. Wearing masks is a personal choice and many members of the Institute community will likely continue to wear masks. We ask that everyone respect the mask-wearing preferences of your fellow campus community members within the limits of these new rules.
- Guests are now allowed at outdoor MIIS-sponsored events, but only if guests are included in event planning by the organizers beforehand (i.e., no walk-ins).
- Our guidance up until now has been that meetings among staff and faculty should be entirely on Zoom. That is no longer the case. Staff and faculty, as well as student clubs and other MIIS organizations are invited to re-think their meeting strategy, and consider in-person meetings to foster engagement among participants. There are many rooms available across campus for in-person or hybrid meetings that can be reserved by submitting a Room Reservation Request Form. Most importantly, do what is comfortable for attendees. Masks will continue to be required for indoor meetings.
What will not change:
- Masking is still required in all classrooms and conference rooms.
- Those that are not vaccinated against COVID-19 due to an approved religious or medical exemption must remain masked at all times while indoors.
- Lanyards with ID cards and COVID compliance stickers continue to be required at all times while on campus.
- If you are sick, especially with COVID symptoms, stay at home. Test regularly for COVID. As a reminder, if you test positive for COVID-19, guidelines are in place for notification and care.
- Guests are not allowed to attend MIIS-sponsored indoor events. Case-by-case exceptions can be requested by emailing Barbara Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second Booster Approved for Those Over 50. This week, the CDC authorized a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people 50 and older and those 12 and older who are immunocompromised. These updated recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe disease in certain populations including those who are elderly or over the age of 50 with multiple underlying conditions. The second booster should be available through local pharmacies within the next few weeks.
As a reminder, free rapid tests and masks are still available in the Segal Building Monday - Friday between 10 am and 2 pm. As always, you can view all return-to-campus policies and updates on our return to campus web page.
We hope to see some of you at next Friday’s faculty showcase to learn more about the important work faculty are doing. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.
VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute