Long Beach State will begin receiving its first shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, which will be available to students, faculty and staff affiliated with the university.
President Jane Close Conoley said she predicts the vaccine will arrive before the end of January and hopes students will begin getting vaccinated in April.
“We expect to get the Moderna vaccine, we’ve been told that within the next couple of weeks we might be able to access a couple thousand doses,” Conoley said. “We’ll probably put up a site in one of the parking garages so people can drive through.”
Under the directive of public health officials, the campus community is expected to be vaccinated in a priority-based distribution process:
Essential personnel working on campus
Faculty and staff who are 65 and older or high-risk
All faculty and staff who have not been vaccinated
On-campus students including residents, athletes and those in face-to-face courses
Students entering clinical rotations
All students who have not been vaccinated
“The campus is developing a rollout plan that will give priority first to health and safety personnel, followed by others working on campus and those with heightened health risks,” Scott Apel, vice president of administration and finance, said in a campus-wide email. “Vaccinations that are administered on campus will be available only to CSULB students, faculty and staff as well as those employed by university auxiliary organizations.”
Conoley said she has not yet be vaccinated herself and will likely receive her first dose in February.
Those seeking the vaccine must complete a survey, which can be accessed through the campus Single Sign-On. The university has been promoting vaccination using the hashtag #SleevesUp.
Campus housing officials announced via Instagram Jan. 11 that spring move-in has been delayed.
“If you are a student not currently in housing for winter break or approved to live in housing for spring 2021, move in day has been delayed. Keep an eye out for updates by email,” the statement read.
This spring, CSULB will have a slight increase in face-to-face instruction with a total of 4% of classes held in person compared to just 2.7% last fall. Per the recommendation of the health department, the Beach will be further postponing these minimal face-to-face courses to March 1 after the previously announced delayed start of Feb. 1.
“As scheduled, instruction begins in alternative modes on Jan. 19 for all courses. The small number of courses that were approved for face-to-face, on-campus instruction will remain in alternative modes until March 1, not the previous Feb 1 timeline,” Provost Brian Jersky announced in a campus email Wednesday.
Jersky said in the email that faculty members will not have access to their offices until March 1, with the exception of brief visits to retrieve materials. This adjustment to instruction has been made in accordance with LA County public health recommendations.
“It is critical that we continue to follow required safety protocols and keep our guards up in these coming months,” Jersky said. “Instructors for these F2F courses will communicate information to students about the specifics for their classes.”
As of Jan. 11, CSULB currently has 40 active COVID-19 cases, 20 of which are individuals who had been on campus within 30 days testing positive. Of the on-campus cases, three are students and 17 are faculty and staff members.
The remaining 20 active cases are from individuals who had not been on campus within 30 days of testing positive, six being university employees and 14 being students.
The state has documented 32 total cases of the new coronavirus strain, B.1.1.7, which was first reported in the United Kingdom in November. There have been 76 total cases in the United States of individuals who tested positive as a result of the variant as of Jan. 14, according to the CDC. In total, there have been 373 cases affiliated with the university since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and one death, a staff member, Conoley said.
According to Kimberly Fodran, CSULB’s medical director, the university has been working to acquire doses of the vaccine since late November.
The Moderna vaccine, which is said to be 95% effective, is administered through two separate injections 28 days apart, and everyone, including those who have already contracted the virus, is encouraged to get vaccinated as lasting immunity remains “unclear,” Apel wrote.
“As a society, we must achieve what’s termed ‘herd immunity’ that is made possible, in large part, by this extraordinary scientific achievement,” he said in the email.
With over 95% of courses being held virtually, CSULB will continue operating in person just for essential activity; only those with approved access are permitted to visit campus. Conoley maintained that the minimal in-person classes are largely held off campus for lab-related purposes.
“Some of those classes that have a face-to-face component actually don’t meet on campus, they’re like field work,” Conoley said. “They’re going to dig up mud or going to find archaeological things.”
Although officials estimated that about 1,000 individuals visited campus daily last fall, Conoley said that in reality it is likely that number was closer to only 300 students and about 500 employees.
With in-person instruction resuming in fall of 2021, she hopes to see about 50% to 60% of students on campus at that time as “we’ll have a better understanding of how the vaccinations went and if the winter break surge is over.”
California’s limited stay-at-home order, which was originally set to remain in effect until Dec. 21, has been extended for the foreseeable future and is slated to expire after the regional order ends in all of the state’s regions. The updated order now prohibits nonessential retail businesses from operating between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
According to Jersky, the Beach community should avoid non-essential travel, and those who have traveled outside of Southern California must quarantine for 10 days in line with county and campus regulations.
Individuals showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed are asked to refrain from visiting the university or any in-person gatherings in the community and to get tested immediately.
“We will continue to rely on each other during this difficult time with the hope that brighter days are ahead of us,” Jersky said.