Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about PLNU operations for students and parents. Faculty and staff can find additional updates here. These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available. (Last update: September 7, 2021)

Masking Policies

What is PLNU's current masking policy?

In response to the CDC’s latest guidelines and California Department of Public Health Recommendations, PLNU has updated our policy for masking. We will continue to monitor the data to inform a change in policy that aligns with CDC guidance. 

Our updated masking policy effective August 4, 2021:

  • Individuals on all PLNU campuses, regardless of vaccination status, must be masked indoors
  • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are unvaccinated should remain masked outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained
  • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are vaccinated may remain unmasked outdoors

In addition to masking, regular surveillance testing will be required for all unvaccinated PLNU students, faculty, and staff regardless of residential status.

Will masks be required for vaccinated people?

All individuals regardless of vaccination status must be masked indoors with the exception of students in their personal residence hall room or when you are alone in an office or contained space.

Vaccinated people will be allowed to be unmasked outdoors.

What are the mask requirements in places like: classrooms, dorms, chapel, sporting events?

All individuals, vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to wear masks in all indoor settings. Individuals on the Point Loma campus who are vaccinated may remain unmasked outdoors.

All indoor spaces on PLNU campuses will enforce and require all individuals to wear masks while using the facilities.

Dining

Given the high transmission rate of the Delta Variant in San Diego County, PLNU will follow CDC Food Service and Communal Dining guidance for higher education to limit campus-based transmission. (This policy is subject to change based on the current rates of COVID-19 in San Diego County.) 

  • Masks are required for ALL attendees at any indoor event.
  • Indoor events may remain at capacity without distancing when all attendees are masked at all times. 
  • Communal Dining should be staggered to offer outdoor seating and reduced occupancy indoors
  • University events where food or drinks are served indoors should be limited to 25 guests. Events hosting more than 25 people should be moved to the outdoors where ventilation aids in reducing transmission.
  • Any events indoors serving beverages only are permissible with no capacity limits. Masks should be worn except when actively drinking.

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is spread by handling or eating food. However, consuming refreshments, snacks, and meals with persons not from the same household may increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 among people who are not fully vaccinated because masks are removed when eating or drinking.

Vaccines

Are you requiring the vaccine?

Vaccination will play an important role in ensuring a full fall return. PLNU is not currently requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for the Fall 2021 semester. 

We are continuing to develop policies in alignment with CDC guidance for higher education, the Federal Department of Education, and the CDPH. 

Accordingly, the CDC recommends that Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) with mixed populations of individuals who are fully vaccinated and those who are not, should: 

  • Implement entry screening testing at the beginning of the term. Individuals given the entry test should be required to receive a negative result prior to accessing campus; and
  • Provide serial screening testing for asymptomatic and unvaccinated individuals without COVID exposure to reduce transmission.

Individuals with questions regarding vaccinations should contact the PLNU Wellness Center at covid19wellness@pointloma.edu

Individual academic programs may have additional or different immunization requirements due to the nature of the program or the requirements of external partners. This includes, but is not limited to, internship, clinical/field experiences, or PLNU programs offered at partner sites. All students participating in such programs will be required to meet all applicable requirements. External partners may restrict a student’s access to its facilities and/or activities if immunization requirements are not satisfactorily met. If necessary, students may request accommodations through PLNU's Educational Access Center (“EAC”).

Will COVID-19 testing be required?

All unvaccinated PLNU students and employees will be required to participate in a weekly COVID-19 saliva testing beginning Fall 2021. Testing will be stratified based on housing/office location. There may also be other requirements for those not vaccinated such as mandatory quarantine in the event of an outbreak. Our medical team within the Wellness Center is closely monitoring data on a daily basis to ensure our approach is metrically informed.

Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to participate in testing. Proof of vaccination is required to bypass testing. If you have already been vaccinated, please remember to submit your vaccine records to the Wellness Center either through the QuickBase app or by email at covid19wellness@pointloma.edu

I’ve been fully vaccinated, what do I need to do?

To be considered fully vaccinated means the PLNU Wellness Center has documentation that the person 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).

If you have already been vaccinated, please remember to submit your vaccine records to the Wellness Center through the QuickBase app

The PLNU Wellness Center does plan to offer limited vaccination appointments on the Point Loma campus this Fall. Walk-up appointments are readily available at public county sites and local pharmacies. 

Is there any chance that you'll be changing the fact that you're not requiring the vaccine?

At this time, we are not requiring the vaccine for the Fall 2021 semester. Individual academic programs may have additional or different immunization requirements due to the nature of the program or the requirements of external partners. This includes, but is not limited to, internship, clinical/field experiences, or PLNU programs offered at partner sites. All students participating in such programs will be required to meet all applicable requirements. External partners may restrict a student’s access to its facilities and/or activities if immunization requirements are not satisfactorily met. If necessary, students may request accommodations through PLNU's Educational Access Center (“EAC”).

How will you collect proof of vaccination?

Proof of vaccination is required to bypass surveillance testing. If you have already been vaccinated, please remember to submit your vaccine records to the PLNU Wellness Center either through the QuickBase app

Testing

Do I have to be tested before the start of Fall 2021?

All unvaccinated students who plan to live, learn, or work on campus are required to take an initial COVID-19 test and will be enrolled in PLNU’s follow-up surveillance testing program. Testing will be required for all unvaccinated PLNU students regardless of residential status. Students will be notified of their required testing dates and times through their PLNU email for saliva testing on campus.

Will everyone be tested, or just unvaccinated people?

All unvaccinated PLNU students and employees will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 saliva testing for Fall 2021.

Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to participate in testing. Proof of vaccination is required to bypass testing.

How often will people be required to test?

As of August 3, 2021, all unvaccinated PLNU students and employees will be required to test weekly.

Will the test will be the invasive nasal swab?

Surveillance testing will be conducted through saliva samples in what is know as saliva-based batch testing. This is the same process PLNU used during the Spring 2021 semester. No nasal swab testing will be used in surveillance testing for unvaccinated individuals.

What happens if a student tests positive?

Students will be provided with an isolation space, meals will be provided, and they will receive daily check-ins by phone from the COVID-19 clinic.

What will self-isolation look like if I am living on campus?

PLNU has reserved several dorm rooms on campus to house students who need to be in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test. Students in isolation are not allowed to leave their assigned isolation area without PLNU staff supervision. They should expect to remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days, and will be followed closely by Wellness Center healthcare providers. Students in this category will be personally cared for regarding their medical, academic, and everyday living needs.

Academics

Can I do the semester from home if I have health issues or don't feel safe?

For students who have health concerns related to in-person learning, students may request accommodations through PLNU's Educational Access Center (“EAC”). You will be required to provide information from your medical provider regarding your specific health restrictions so that we can evaluate potential accommodations.

Will any classes be offered in a hybrid mode?

While the vast majority of our classes will be taught in person, a few courses will be available in an online-only or a hybrid format. You may find these in Workday, under the “Delivery Mode” section.

How will support services like the Educational Access Center be delivered?

In addition to our usual offerings delivered virtually, we have added additional support services for our students while they cannot be on campus.

  • LomaCare, on-demand, 24/7 access to thoughtful telehealth, will be available to all traditional undergraduate students (lomacare.care).
  • Wellness Center counselors will be available to provide services for students experiencing COVID-related anxieties and other mental health concerns. 
  • Feel free to reach out if you have any needs wellness@pointloma.edu.

What support will be available to ensure that students have access to reliable internet connections during remote instruction?

During these unprecedented times and the possible personal challenges with accessing the Internet, PLNU is providing a list of internet/WiFi resources that might be of help to you. For more resources and information, please visit the PLNU ITS Knowledge Base.

Residential and Community Life

If I will live on campus, will I need to be tested before I arrive?

Yes, all unvaccinated students, whether they live on or off campus, are required to take an initial COVID-19 test and will be enrolled in PLNU’s periodic follow-up testing program.

  • Residential students have received specific information from the Wellness Center and Residential Life regarding testing sign-up through their PLNU email address.
  • Commuter students who live off-campus will receive specific instructions for testing from the Wellness Center through their PLNU email address.

What other health and safety guidelines will I need to follow on campus? How often will I have to wear a mask?

Here is a basic overview of PLNU ResLife guidelines for living on campus during this pandemic: 

  • Everyone must wear a mask, except for the following reasons:
    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses, regardless of vaccination status, must be masked indoors.

    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are unvaccinated should remain masked outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained.

    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are vaccinated may remain unmasked outdoors.

Any student conduct violations may result in the loss of PLNU housing.

PLNU will also follow CDC guidance on Food Service and Communal Dining for higher education to limit campus-based transmission. (This policy is subject to change based on current rates of COVID-19 in San Diego County.)

  • Masks are required for ALL attendees at any indoor event.
  • Indoor events may remain at capacity without distancing when all attendees are masked at all times. 
  • Communal Dining should be staggered to offer outdoor seating and reduced occupancy indoors
  • University events where food or drinks are served indoors should be limited to 25 guests. Events hosting more than 25 people should be moved to the outdoors where ventilation aids in reducing transmission.
  • Any events indoors serving beverages only are permissible with no capacity limits. Masks should be worn except when actively drinking. 

Where are some resources PLNU has available to stay connected to others during this time?

We have a variety of connection opportunities for our entire student community being led by ASB, Chapel, Student Life and Formation, and others. These events and resources are focused on helping you develop relationships with others, get involved, cultivate your interests, and simply have fun:

Chapel and Spiritual Life

What will the chapel experience look like?

Chapel will continue to be available through a variety of experiences and formats this fall, including:

Morning Chapels
Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 9:45 a.m. in Brown Chapel
*On Wednesdays, Chapel is offered at the Point Loma campus and the Liberty Station campus

Evening Time Out Chapel
Thursday at 9 p.m. in Brown Chapel

All indoor Chapel experiences will follow PLNU's masking policy.

How else can I get involved spiritually on campus?

With a return to campus, all Alpha groups for freshmen will re-launch in person. D Groups, PLNU’s small groups for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, will be offered as well.

Community Ministries and Ministry with México will offer both virtual and select in-person, socially distanced engagement opportunities.

Campus pastors will be available for meetings by phone or outdoors.

Opportunities to worship, pray, and connect will continue to be available through @plnuchapel on Instagram.

Will chapel still be required?

Yes, Chapel will still be required.

COVID-19

If I feel sick, what do I do?

Call PLNU's C19 Hotline at (619) 849-2280.

Symptomatic testing is available from the Wellness Center for individuals who experience any symptoms related to COVID-19 as listed on Campus Clear. Vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals may request appointments at the Wellness Center by calling the hotline at (619) 849-2280. We offer testing, treatment, and care 5 days a week. Vaccinated individuals will not be isolated unless they test positive for C19. If you are tested at an outside facility and have a positive result, please communicate with the Wellness Center.

If I think I’ve been exposed, what do I do?

In the event of a possible exposure or emergency situation, please contact the PLNU C19 Hotline at (619) 849-2280. Please follow this protocol regardless of vaccine status.

What is the difference between Quarantine & Isolation?

Isolation is reserved for individuals who test positive for C19. Isolation is initiated with a positive test result. The isolation period is 10 days from symptom onset or positive test date. Isolation is used to separate those who are infected with the virus from those who are not infected.

Quarantine is for individuals who have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for C19 or who has symptoms that are consistent with C19. Quarantine lasts from exposure date to day 7 with a negative test result or day 10 without a test. (All students/employees placed in quarantine by the Wellness center are tested 3-5 days from exposure)

Modified quarantine is for a person who has had a negative C19 test between day 3-5 and has completed 7-10 days of symptom free quarantine. This individual is simply completing a full 14 day quarantine period as per CDC guidelines and presents a very low risk of becoming C19 positive.

Vaccinated individuals will be placed in a modified quarantine if they are exposed to a person who tests positive for C19. They will be tested 3-5 days after exposure. A negative test will release you from modified quarantine. 

Can I get vaccinated on campus?

We will hold opportunities for our community to get vaccinated at various times throughout the semester. These vaccination dates and times will be communicated out to students, staff, and faculty via their PLNU emails.

What is a “close contact”?

The CDC defines this as a person you have interacted with for more than 15 minutes with less than 6 feet of distance between you over a 24-hour period. If you have a roommate, this person would be considered a close contact. If you live in an off-campus household, all individuals in your household would be considered close contacts. This definition is what compels us to follow recommendations for wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing around others not in our household.

How will I attend classes if I am asked to self-quarantine or self-isolate?

Faculty have adapted their courses to allow for students to attend virtually, either in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. Students will be excused from attendance for a medical issue on a case-by-case basis through the Wellness Center. Students should also contact their professors and the office of the Vice Provost of Academic Administration. Additionally, professors may need to teach virtually if they are required to self-isolate or self-quarantine.

How do I “live my life” in a way that I can manage my mental health while also being safe?

While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. So, think about:

  • How many people will you interact with?
    • Interacting with more people raises your risk.
    • Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
    • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
    • Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
    • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
    • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who have an increased risk for severe illness.
    • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
    • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
    • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.
    • Learn more about how to decide on your social activities and how to conduct them as safely as possible. 

NSO & Move-In

What will NSO look like this year?

Fall 2021 NSO will take place Friday and Saturday, August 27 and 28. At New Student Orientation you will meet other students, get your ID card, learn about the culture of PLNU, move into your room, purchase your textbooks, and much more. You are welcome to bring up to two guests, complimentary, to attend NSO with you.

All new unvaccinated students will be required to do an onboard COVID-19 test to move into residence hall. Proof of vaccination is required to bypass testing. If you have already been vaccinated, please remember to submit your vaccine records to the PLNU Wellness Center. Vaccinated students who have not yet submitted documentation to the Wellness Center can bring their vaccination documentation to NSO to be taken out of onboard testing as well as ongoing surveillance testing.

There are a few changes to this year’s events in light of COVID-19 and the recent rise in cases due to the delta variant:

  • In accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines, effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021, PLNU’s masking and face coverings policy will be the following:
    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses, regardless of vaccination status, must be masked indoors.
    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are unvaccinated should remain masked outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained.
    • Individuals on all PLNU campuses who are vaccinated may remain unmasked outdoors.
  • Feel free to bring your own tightly woven, breathable fabric mask. Masks will also be provided on campus for all guests.
  • Most large gatherings will be held outside, with overflow areas for indoor events to ensure capacity limitations. Please bring sunscreen and a reusable water bottle.
  • Masks are required for ALL attendees — vaccinated and unvaccinated — at any indoor event; indoor events may remain at capacity without distancing when all attendees are masked at all times.
  • Communal dining on the Point Loma campus will offer supplemental outdoor seating as well as to-go options.
  • Compliance with these requirements is especially important due to the health and safety requirements placed upon the university and its operation.

Move-in

  • All our new families are welcome to join their students during move-in to residence halls. You should have received details about your move-in time. Residential life staff will be on campus to answer any questions you may have.
  • All new unvaccinated students will be required to do an onboard COVID-19 test to move into their residence halls. Proof of vaccination is required to bypass testing. If you have already been vaccinated, please remember to submit your vaccine records to the PLNU Wellness Center either through the QuickBase app or by email at covid19wellness@pointloma.edu. Vaccinated students who have not yet submitted documentation to the Wellness Center can bring their vaccination documentation to NSO to be taken out of onboard testing as well as ongoing surveillance testing.
  • Masks will be required for everyone on campus indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

What happens if a student tests positive upon moving back to campus?

Students will be provided with an isolation space, meals will be provided, and they will receive daily check-ins by phone from the COVID-19 clinic.

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