Pepperdine placed foot traffic signs on the floors to help with social distancing in hallways and hand sanitizer dispensers in the Cultural Arts Center on April 6. The University placed similar signals in all in high-traffic areas all over campus, due to COVID-19 protocols. Photo by Ali Levens
As LA County COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease due to the county being in the Orange Tier of COVID risk, students and faculty face new safety protocols.
Pepperdine opened campus for limited activity Feb. 24, allowing students to make library reservations and to use outdoor recreation facilities. Before entering campus, Pepperdine students, faculty and staff must fill out a Daily Wellness Check.
“I believe the DWC has been well received by the Pepperdine community,” Dr. Lucy Larson wrote, in a Mar. 24 email to the Graphic. “It is an effective tool for meeting Public Health’s requirements without being too burdensome on individuals.”
LA County Department of Public Health mandated DWCs for college campuses in Los Angeles to allow students to participate in in-person activities. The Student Health Center reviews the DWCs and students are then either authorized to come onto campus or asked to remain home, Larson wrote.
Sent out from the Public Relations office, DWCs ask students whether they have any COVID-19 symptoms or if they’ve been in contact with anyone who has within the past 10 days. Students must also indicate which campus site they will be visiting.
Pepperdine libraries implemented various safety measures to keep students and staff safe, including limiting the number of students at tables or in study rooms, requiring reservations to use library facilities and restricting students from eating or drinking inside the library.
“I don’t worry much about my safety because the University has put in place very good safety measures,” Payson Library student worker Daniel Kibuuka said. “I think the students have done a really good job at following these measures.”
Kibuuka expressed his joy at being able to see and interact with students again on campus, even though the reunion feels a bit odd.
“I was used to sitting at my desk for 14 hours a day, but now I get to interact with people,” Kibuuka said. “I’m now comfortable with talking to people, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic.”
Students following the University’s COVID-19 protocols resulted in a smooth transitional period for the library’s reopening, Kibuuka said.
“I think the cooperation between the students and the University’s management team and the library has been good and has been mutual,” Kibuuka said. “We’ve been getting lower in COVID numbers in the area and that’s been great, so I think it’s getting safer on campus.”
As county restrictions continue to ease and more students come onto campus, Kibuuka notes there could be scenarios in which he wouldn’t feel as comfortable in terms of safety.
“If the numbers are very high, I would worry because you can try to be safe but you can only be so safe,” Kibuuka said. “If we get more people on campus and the cases were increasing, that would scare me.”
Pepperdine administration plans to keep the precautionary health measures consistent with the changing regulations administered by LA County, Larson said. This includes an increase of cleaning in areas that might receive increased traffic as students come onto campus, along with heightened contact tracing and testing efforts for students who potentially will use on-campus housing.
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