| by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Campus Notes

Dear MIIS Community,

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases at Middlebury College reminds us, in case we needed reminding, of the importance of continuing to follow our safety protocols with discipline.  In the meantime, the new Omicron variant was detected over the Thanksgiving holiday, and many cases have now been reported in the U.S. Omicron is thought to be even more transmissible than the Delta variant and might evade some of the protection provided by vaccines. 

The best way to protect yourself continues to be indoor masking and obtaining vaccination and booster shots when eligible. You are highly encouraged to get a COVID vaccination booster shot six months after the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose or two months after an initial Johnson & Johnson dose.  

I will be announcing new guidance regarding boosters for MIIS students, staff and faculty early next week; stay tuned.

As always, detailed information on COVID-19 policies in place for the fall semester can be found on the Return-to-Campus webpage and the Vaccine webpage.

Tips for Minimizing Exposure and Transmission: The following are some important guidelines:

  • Self-isolate and sign up for a PCR test if you are having even mild cold or flu-like symptoms. 
  • Wear a well-fitted face covering indoors and avoid crowded gatherings.
  • Get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as you are eligible, and consider doing so before the break if you are traveling as it may be easier to obtain one in California.
  • Take care of yourself by focusing on sleep, hydration, nutrition, and regular exercise.
  • Plan ahead and sign up in advance for a test before departing and returning to campus. 
  • Use good hand hygiene. 

COVID-19 Testing Site Close to Campus: A COVID-19 testing site is available at the Portola Hotel & Spa at 2 Portola Plaza in downtown Monterey, within easy walking distance of the Institute. Free PCR tests are available from 7 AM - 4 PM Tuesday through Saturday.  There are other vaccine and testing locations in the local area, including at the Tuesday Farmers Market and the Monterey Airport. 

Weekly COVID-19 Office Hours: If you have any COVID-19 questions, please join us between 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM PST each Wednesday for COVID-19 office hours. Experts who have been monitoring and managing the COVID-19 pandemic response will be available to answer your questions. Click this Zoom link to join. This is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic, including current guidelines, and the latest developments worldwide and locally.

New Travel Mandates: Travel rules have been tightened to now require all in-bound international passengers to test for COVID-19 within 24 hours of departure, regardless of vaccination status. Additional travel guidance is likely to emerge in the coming weeks, so be sure to check frequently for guidelines before and after traveling over the winter break.

I wish you all well as you wrap up the end of the semester and look forward to celebrating with our graduates at Commencement on Saturday, December 18.

Jeff Dayton-Johnson
VP of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute