Temporary Indoor Mask Requirement Effective June 15

Dear Saddleback Students,

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we continue to prioritize your health and safety so that you can learn, including on our campus, and feel secure about it. Indeed, we want our campus to be one of the safest places you frequent.

Accordingly, we instituted a vaccine mandate to lower risk for the campus as a whole, which also allowed us to end our mask mandate as numbers dropped. At that time, I told you all that we would be monitoring those numbers closely in the coming weeks and might re-institute the indoor mask mandate for a time, if necessary, to ride out future waves of COVID in our community.  Because the number of COVID-19 cases has increased in our region, and Orange County’s positivity rate increased to a rather dramatic 14.3% in recent days, the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) has announced that effective June 15, the indoor mask requirement will be temporarily re-instituted for Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, ATEP, and satellite locations.

The requirement will be in effect for 30 days, until July 15, unless it is extended beyond this date. As such, all students and employees must wear a face covering while indoors on any SOCCCD campus until the requirement is lifted.

I know many of you aren’t big fans of masks. I’m not either. But they work. They lower risk for both the wearer and others around them. They will help lower the risk of transmission at a time when increasing numbers of people are walking around with COVID, many of whom do not know it. When we can safely remove the mandate again, we will do so. We will be guided by science, data and our commitment to keep you as safe as possible on our campus.

As a reminder, particularly for those enrolled in hybrid and in-person classes this summer, here are the indoor masking guidelines:

  • The college requires that face masks or two-layer face gaiters be worn at all times in all indoor locations on campus except the cafeteria. You will need to wear a face mask indoors even if you are vaccinated. This requirement will be enforced. Students who fail to comply will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Masks will be available in buildings throughout campus – please help yourself to a box.
  • Masks are not required outdoors.
  • If you are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical or psychological condition, please contact the Student Health and Wellness Center for verification of disability and approval of accommodations. Accommodations will require either the use of a clear face shield with a full drape to the chest or switching to all-online classes.

Please also re-familiarize yourself with the health and safety guidance we followed at the start of the pandemic.

  • All students should self-screen each day before coming to class and familiarize themselves with COVID-19 protocols. Visit our COVID-19 web page for more details, along with resources if you need testing or vaccine information.
  • If you feel sick, stay home to keep yourself and others safe. Check your syllabus or contact your instructor to find out what to do to stay on top of your missed class.
  • Hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes are available in learning spaces throughout campus. We ask that you keep yourself and classmates safe by cleaning your surfaces, such as desks and keyboards, before and after use.
  • Free testing is available in the outdoor trailer set up next to ATAS.

Thank you for putting your masks back on indoors for the next 30 days. You do so as part of a campus community that supports and lowers risks for each other. I am grateful for your help in making this one of the safest places you can. And I am grateful that you are at Saddleback.

Sincerely,

Elliot

Dr. Elliot Stern, President
Saddleback College