California colleges and universities reopening this fall will need to follow guidelines issued on Friday by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which includes the use of face coverings, social distancing and intensified cleaning protocols.
While indoor lectures are currently prohibited in counties on the state’s monitoring list, courses offered in specialized indoor settings like labs and studio arts will be permitted as long as substantial physical distancing measures are in place based on the nature of work performed in the space, the guidance says.
Here's what else the state said:
- CDPH recommends closing nonessential shared spaces and prioritizing single room occupancy for housing, as well as limiting nonessential visitors and campus activities.
- Grab-and-go options must be provided for meals and dining halls will need to serve individually plated meals instead of any self-serve or buffet-type stations, according to the guidance.
The newly released guidance also provides information on college sports.
“Teams must require masks for coaches, staff, media and any players not engaged in play at each match,” the guidance stated. Practice may only resume if athletes and staff get regular periodic Covid-19 testing.
The state said competitions for high contact sports may be held without spectators only if the college can provide Covid-19 testing and results within 72 hours of a game.
“As colleges and other institutions of higher education plan to resume in-person instruction, it’s critical that campuses make modifications to reduce risk," State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a news release. "This guidance aims to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our students, families, and the communities where they study.”
Some context: Many campuses in the state, including the University of Southern California and schools within the University of California system, have announced they will start the school year with mostly online classes.