Weekly COVID-19 testing no longer required at the 5Cs

A student takes a PCR test for COVID-19.
Most vaccinated students, faculty and staff will no longer be required to test regularly. (Nanako Noda • The Student Life)

After over a year of mandated weekly COVID-19 testing, most students, faculty and staff across the 5Cs will no longer be required to test weekly.

On Sept. 12, Pomona College’s Dean of Students, Avis Hinkson, announced the official suspension of mandatory testing in an email addressed to Pomona’s student body.

There will still be instances, however, in which students, faculty and staff will be required to test for COVID-19, according to Hinkson.

Unvaccinated students are required to keep testing biweekly, and those with COVID-19 symptoms are required to test within 48 hours of the onset of those symptoms, Hinkson said in the email. Meanwhile, faculty and staff who are not vaccinated will still be required to test weekly.

Students in Pomona musical groups will also be required to test on a regular basis, she said.

Citing lower cases in Los Angeles County and stable infection rates on campus, Hinkson said  the decision was made in agreement with the college’s 5C counterparts which included university-wide COVID-19 planning groups and medical advisors from all schools.

There’s no need to put those saliva tests away forever, though. According to Hinkson, required testing could return at any moment for a variety of reasons, including spiking on-campus case rates. 

Students will be required to test when returning after travel periods, such as breaks in the academic calendar. 

In addition, Hinkson stated that if fewer than 15 percent of Pomona’s student body tests on a given week, random samples of students will be required to test, which would be communicated through email.

Free testing will still be available at Tranquada Student Services Center and at various vending machines across the 5Cs for students who want to or are required to test. 

Faculty and staff will also be able to get free COVID-19 tests at the nearby Hamilton HealthBox Clinic located on 8th Street.

Despite the marked end of mandatory weekly testing for most of the vaccinated 5C community, Hinkson stressed the importance of continued vigilance, adding that students are “strongly encouraged” to continue testing and masking indoors.

“While much of the national guidance has shifted to focus on individual responsibility, we want to stress the importance of considering our entire community as each of us makes choices regarding testing and other safety measures,” Hinkson said in the email. 

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