On August 2, members of the Mount community were officially allowed to return to both campuses, safely following state and county health guidelines. Staff and faculty returned before classes started, in anticipation of the students’ return. According to Treemonisha Smith, director of emergency management and environmental health and safety, part of making the reopening a success was having clear rules for everyone’s protection and their feeling of security. Mask mandates were lifted for outdoor spaces but remained in place indoors. Plexiglass stayed in place in designated areas, and social distancing was highly encouraged.
Both in-person and hybrid courses are being conducted, while students are living in only single- and double-occupancy housing, according to Rosalyn Kempf, assistant vice president for student affairs.
Dana Lopez, senior director of human resources, says that departments worked with their respective vice president or provost to decide how to best accomplish their daily work while reentering the workplace after the pandemic.
Lopez credits the careful philosophy of the COVID Task Force, comprised of faculty and staff from across the university. “It’s been a very holistic approach,” she says, “a delicate balance of caring and inclusivity, while also relying on the guidance provided by our partners at the CDC, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA to ensure the health and safety of our community.”
Lopez emphasizes that the university also recognizes the need to be fluid, knowing that things can change at the spur of the moment. “Flexibility is key,” she says.
Kempf commented on the stirring emotional energy of the students’ return. “We have second-year students who had never set foot on our campuses before,” she says. “They finally got the chance. We keep health and safety top of mind, but it’s about allowing them to experience college life — clubs, activities, hanging out with friends and just being students.”
Note: This article depicts the state of the University at the time it was written. The situation may have since changed based on the pandemic.