COVID-19 Student Handbook Policy

Introduction


In accordance with current California and Los Angeles County health and safety orders and protocols for universities, we will begin the fall 2020 semester with fully remote education — Biola at Home. Though we are disappointed we cannot gather in person, our commitment to our students remains the same. There could be no better time than during this COVID-19 pandemic to be part of a Christian university such as Biola where students are encouraged to live into their passions, to bolster their faith, to mature their biblical worldview and to sharpen their minds.

Biola is committed to doing our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While COVID-19 does not appear to pose a significant risk of death to most members of our community while we conduct remote education, we know that COVID-19 is a serious, even deadly, threat to others. Therefore, Biola is adhering to applicable health standards and protocols set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health with the hope that many of these actions will lower the risk of a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 on campus and will minimize the spread in our community. We are expecting you to follow the standards and protocols described below for your protection and for the protection of others, a commitment which we believe is part of our Christian calling to love our neighbor.

For students who have been permitted to live on campus during this time, please also read the additional information below that is applicable to you to ensure that you understand all of the community expectations during this season at Biola:

In addition, please note that all university policies and standards remain in effect during Biola at Home, including:

Circumstances and information may change during the academic year, and we may need to alter or revise actions to reflect that new information. We are committed to keeping you well informed with consistent and updated information. Please follow all University signage regarding health and safety requirements on campus. You will be emailed when new announcements or decisions are made and new information and resources will be posted on Biola’s coronavirus website.

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Campus Access


Per county order at this time, only a limited number of students who are approved to be on campus due to the requirements of their programs may return in person for classes. Per LA County regulations, all students who are living on campus or taking in-person classes are required to get an immunization against influenza, which is available at the Student Health Center.

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Accountability


Because we are a community seeking to keep each other safe and healthy, we expect that you will follow applicable federal, state, and county orders and guidelines, and honor university standards and precautions, including the Community Safety Standards detailed below, both on and off campus.

Student Development and Campus Safety staff will be enforcing the standards that are set. Please know that if you choose not to adhere to the standards and guidelines outlined for the health and safety of our community during this season, disciplinary action will be taken. A first violation of these safety standards will result in a $100 fine and a written warning. A second violation will result in the immediate loss of your ability to be on campus (including housing). If your behaviors/choices off-campus are putting our on-campus community at risk, we will also respond appropriately, and your access to campus could be denied. You should also know that there may be times that egregious and irresponsbile behavior may lead to an immediate loss of campus access or even suspension from the university, regardless of whether you had a prior violation.

We will work together as a community to hold each other accountable in order to minimize the risk of having COVID-19 threaten the lives of others or interrupt our living and learning together this year. If you have concerns about a community member’s behaviors, please contact Campus Safety at 562-903-6000.

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Community Safety Standards


Our Community Responsibility

The success of Biola At Home in fall 2020 will require every member of the Biola community to care for the health and safety of one another. In response to the spread of COVID-19, Biola has developed community safety standards below as part of our effort to reduce the potential exposure to and spread of COVID-19. All students on campus are required to read the following safety standards and agree to abide by them.

The safety standards outlined here are subject to change based on further guidance and protocols issued by these and other public health agencies. Biola will monitor COVID-19-related guidance and protocols and will communicate any changes to these safety standards as they become available. Additionally, some groups of students are required to follow more specific rules. If there is any conflict between the standards below and those directed at particular students or programs, the more specific and restrictive standards will apply.

Main Defenses to Staying Healthy

The best way to remain healthy is to adhere to the following practices which are discussed in detail below. Biola is requiring of all faculty, staff, students, volunteers and visitors to do the following:

  • Know the symptoms and stay home or in your campus residence when you are sick
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Maintain personal hygiene and health
  • Wear face masks or cloth face coverings
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Know the Symptoms and Stay Home When You are Sick


Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Testing and Daily Screening

COVID-19 testing will primarily be conducted on symptomatic individuals. For this reason and others, mass testing on campus will not be feasible. Students accessing campus should conduct symptom checks before any permitted activity that may require them to be on campus.

Students will be expected to self-screen daily by asking themselves the following questions:

  • Do I have a cough?
  • Do I have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Do I have a fever or chills? A temperature check should be done if feasible.
  • Have I been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions and you do not have a previous condition (e.g. allergies, asthma) to explain the symptom(s) you are experiencing, then you should not come to campus or, if living on campus, not leave your room. Please report your symptoms to the Student Health Center. During the hours of 8am-5pm Monday-Friday you can reach the Student Health Center staff at (562) 903-4841. If outside of these hours, call Campus Safety at (562) 777-4000.

Certain groups of students may be subject to additional health screening based on their duties or requirements from outside agencies/organizations, such as clinical nursing students, or student athletes. Impacted individuals will be notified before reporting to campus regarding any additional requirements.

The Student Health Center operations will adapt to ensure health and safety for students, including: having a separate check-in location and treatment room for students with symptoms that could indicate COVID-19; rapid-testing capability, close collaboration with Residence Life and Housing for quarantine options, food services for meal delivery; and close collaboration with the Learning Center to minimize impact on students’ educational process should quarantine become necessary. The Student Health Center will also be engaging in contact tracing to quickly minimize and contain any COVID-19 outbreaks on campus.

Quarantine

If a student living on campus is experiencing COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, the student will be tested and asked to self-isolate in his or her dorm room until the test results are received.

High-Risk Individuals

According to the CDC, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Furthermore, individuals of any age with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Compromised Immune System
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Based on what is known at this time, people with the following conditions might also be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These conditions include:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Smoking
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Vulnerable students (those above age 65, those who are pregnant, and those with chronic health conditions) are able to complete their classwork from home whenever feasible and should discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider to make appropriate decisions about returning to campus

As more information is verified by the CDC about COVID-19, Biola will in turn continue to update this list.

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Practice Physical Distancing


Physical distancing of 6 feet or more is a practice known to halt the spread of viruses from one person to another. Students and all others on campus will be expected to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others. We encourage all persons to refrain from physical contact with others while on campus and off campus, with only family members you know have been adhering to recommended safety precautions.

Greetings

  • Refrain from handshaking, high-fives, fist-bumping or other forms of greeting that prohibit the ability to maintain physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing should be maintained when greeting anyone.
  • Verbal greetings should be the norm.

Meetings

  • Meetings should continue to take place via an electronic medium (e.g. Zoom or Google Meet)
  • Attending an on-campus gathering larger than the number of people allowed in that space (COVID-19 Occupancy) or hosting an on-campus gathering larger than the number of people allowed in that space (COVID-19 Occupancy) will result in disciplinary action.

Digital Files

  • Continued use of digital files rather than paper formats is encouraged when possible in order to avoid contact with surfaces others have touched and to support remote working and learning.

Elevators and Stairs

  • Students are encouraged to use the stairs in campus buildings whenever possible.
  • When waiting for the elevator, maintain physical distancing.
  • Most elevators should be limited to two occupants per cab when 6 feet physical distance can be maintained, otherwise only one occupant at a time is allowed. If more than one person is in the elevator, talking should be avoided..
  • Students should wear a face covering while traveling in an elevator alone or with another occupant and are directed to refrain from talking.
  • Avoid touching the elevator buttons with bare hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers upon departing the elevator

Restrooms and Bottle-Filling Stations

  • Students should be mindful of the number of individuals inside a restroom and limit occupancy to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • A 6-foot physical distance should be maintained while waiting for the restroom and bottle-filling stations.
  • Hands must be thoroughly washed after using the restroom and bottle-filling stations.
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Maintain Personal Hygiene and Health


Required Influenza Immunization

Per LA County regulations, all students who are living on campus or taking in-person classes are required to get an immunization against influenza, which is available at the Student Health Center.

Hand Hygiene

Aside from staying home when ill, frequent hand washing is another way to maintain the health and safety of the community.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub hands together for at least 15 seconds. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. There will be hand sanitizer available in each building.
  • Wash hands before and/or after:
    • Eating and drinking
    • Putting on a face covering
    • Using the restroom
    • Coughing or sneezing, even into a tissue
    • Touching mail or packages
    • Cleaning, sweeping, mopping
    • Touching an animal
    • Starting class 

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

  • While in a private setting alone and without a cloth face covering, students should practice covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use the inside of the elbow if a tissue is not available. Used tissues should be discarded in the trash.
  • Immediately following a sneeze or cough, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for at least 15 seconds.
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Wear Face Masks or Cloth Coverings


All persons on campus must follow the Los Angeles County Department of Health orders and protocols regarding the use of face coverings: All community members on campus are required to wear a face covering that covers both their nose and mouth at all times anywhere on campus or participating in any Biola-sponsored activity where there may be other people. Students are not required to wear face coverings when on campus in their own personal living space, while eating in the dining halls, or when wearing a cloth face covering is otherwise impracticable (e.g., while showering, brushing teeth, etc.).

Mask Guidelines

  • Disposable masks may only be worn for one day and then must be discarded.
  • Reusable cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time and must be properly laundered after each use.
  • When using a face covering, the mouth and nose need to be fully covered. It needs to fit snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps. Be sure you do not have any difficulty breathing while wearing the cloth face covering. The cloth face covering can be tied or otherwise secured to prevent slipping.
  • Students are responsible for their own face coverings — including bringing them to campus each day and wearing them as instructed when on campus.
  • If students forget their face covering, they will be required to obtain one at the gatehouse before proceeding onto campus or into any physical structure or on-campus facility.
  • The cloth face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing; both must be followed simultaneously.

Special Circumstances: Certain health conditions may prevent a person from wearing a face covering. Individuals who are unable to wear a face covering need to seek direction and accommodation from professionals in the Health Center. 

Note: It is likely that when and where face coverings will be necessary will change over time and as restrictions change, use on campus will change. It is the responsibility of the student to stay current with new protocols as they are released by the university. Biola will be providing all students with one Biola-branded cloth face covering upon arrival, but students are encouraged to have additional masks as well to account for the frequency of usage.

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Residence Halls Required Protocols


Only a limited number of students who fall within the government guidelines are eligible to live on campus. Per county guidelines, we are currently able to provide housing for students who:

  • Have no alternative housing options.
  • Students enrolled in programs providing training and instruction for essential workforce. For these students, housing may only be offered to students who must participate in in-person instruction in order to complete their training and who do not have alternative local housing options (clinical nursing students, Rosemead doctoral students, and communication sciences & disorders students who are seniors with special labs/clinicals)
  • For student athletes who are participating in on campus sports, campus housing will be offered in the small training cohorts as prescribed by the state guidance.

Below are the current expectations of students who will live or are living on campus. Updates will be provided as governmental guidelines and orders change.

Safety and Health Measures

  • One student will be assigned per room and there will be no shared bathrooms.
  • Students will only be able to access the residence hall or apartment in which they live. Non-residents, including outside guests, nonresidential staff, and others are prohibited, except for essential visitors, such as personal care attendants for students with disabilities.
  • To the extent feasible, students should remain in their individual rooms while in on-campus housing.
  • All students will be required to wear face coverings in the residence halls and apartments. (Exceptions: personal bedroom, bathroom when showering or brushing teeth)
  • Students are required to maintain appropriate physical distancing of 6 feet in the residence halls; students may momentarily come closer when passing in hallways or stairwells, riding elevators, when in restrooms, or as otherwise necessary.
  • Common areas (e.g., kitchens, community rooms, lobbies, lounges, study areas) have been closed.
  • There will be no open hours.
  • No social events or activities are permitted as per current local and state health officer orders.
  • Co-curricular programming/outreach will focus on one-on-one and small-group connections. There will be no overnight guests or visitors in the residence halls and apartments except during specified times (e.g. move-in day) and except for essential visitors (e.g., personal care attendants for students with disabilities).
  • There will be no room changes except when extenuating circumstances warrant a change.
  • Students who have symptoms or have tested positive will be isolated/quarantined. We have designated such spaces which are separated physically from other students.
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Student Support and Resources


During this unprecedented and difficult time, we want to continue to provide holistic support to our students. We know that many in our community are experiencing physical, emotional, spiritual, academic, relational and financial challenges. We encourage you to check out these resources and reach out if you would like support and care.

*The safety standards above are based on guidelines and protocols issued by:

  • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (“LACDHS”)
  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“LACDPH”)
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”)
  • California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (also known as Cal/OSHA)
  • American College Health Association (“ACHA”)
  • State of California, including California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”)
  • Biola University health experts
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