Like many of you, I have seen the reports of increased COVID-19 infection rates across the U.S. and here in Orange County. It is tempting to think of this most recent increase as "an epidemic of the unvaccinated," yet we know that viruses can adapt and take unexpected turns as long as they are infecting large numbers of people. In public health, we truly are in this together.
With the COVID-19 Prevention Plan in place, Monday's return is proceeding. We intend this step to give lots of space and flexibility for maintaining distance and keeping the overall number of interactions low. However, our timeline for future phases may adjust if needed. We will also monitor the science and data in determining if we need to pause or take a step back at any point.
Until we receive new guidance from the state, masks are encouraged for vaccinated individuals and required for unvaccinated individuals while indoors on campus or at the District Office. Wearing a face covering while indoors in public spaces is a powerful personal act to protect yourself and others from the risks of the COVID-19 delta variant. Anyone wearing a face covering, regardless of vaccination status, has the District's full support.
We are returning to a point where information and public health guidance may change rapidly. I ask that we all remain vigilant and aware of new information coming out. Please pay extra attention to announcements from Human Resources or others and be aware of the resources being provided to faculty, staff, and managers.
We are returning to in-person presence for the good of our students – yet any progress we make depends on the continued health and wellbeing of our faculty, staff, and managers. Your health and wellbeing are important.
John Weispfenning, Ph.D.