As students return to campus for the spring 2023 semester, student health is slowly returning to a normal campus, albeit cautiously.
In a brief statement with Daily Trojan On Tuesday, Chief Student Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said the removal of Trojan Check tents and a coronavirus isolation policy at the start of the spring 2023 semester is in line with other peer institutions.
USC removed Trojan Check tents from Trousdale Parkway at the start of the semester, yet another sign that the campus is returning to pre-coronavirus protocol. Van Orman said the Trojan Check program will not be in use until March 2022, but the stalls will remain open for the rest of the year.
“We didn’t know what was coming during the novel epidemic,” Van Orman said. I think just as a precaution, the infrastructure would remain in place should there be a change in public health that would force that rollback.
Van Orman said it may not be necessary to return to strict coronavirus protocols during the fall 2022 semester, so Student Health has opted to remove Trojan Check Tents.
“It’s starting to look more and more like the pre-pandemic times, even though we’re asking for caution,” van Orman said. “[Coronavirus] It is still a leading cause of death, hospitalization and serious illness, so I think we are not immune to it. But hopefully we can get back to most of our lives as normal, including here at USC.
Student Health also updated its winter break coronavirus quarantine policy, so students living in on-campus apartments do not need to quarantine if they test positive for the coronavirus. Students in residence halls with large shared bathrooms, such as New North or Pardee Tower, are still required to isolate themselves in university-provided isolation rooms. All students are still required to follow other isolation procedures, including self-isolation in their own residences and not going to classrooms or dining halls when sick.
“if so [students] They’re in a situation and they’re not comfortable doing that, there’s still a hotel isolation facility on campus for those students,” Van Orman said. But for many people, that was a relaxation of the policy, realizing that they could isolate in place.
Van Orman said the university does not provide separate housing for students living off campus.
“This is consistent with the fact that for most people, the presence of antivirals is considered at the level of infection [and] The vaccination rate, the isolation in place is a more accurate strategy than it was a year ago, Van Orman said.
Van Orman said she expects the university’s coronavirus cases to mirror those of Los Angeles County. Hospitals in LA County are in decline. Case counts for the past two weeks were lower than at the end of the fall 2022 semester, with about 100 cases each.
Current cases of coronavirus include older variants, including BA.4 and BA.5. The new XBB.1.5 variant is named Variation of “Kraken”.Not yet dominant on campus or in LA County.
“Our precautions are the same for everyone on campus: students, faculty and staff,” Van Orman said. “We have advised people returning from travel to switch to masks because we don’t need too many. [XBB.1.5] They are from students who come back from vacation and enter the country.”
Student Health will also continue to monitor immunization and booster rates, Van Orman said. Currently, 96 percent of undergraduates have primary immunizations and one booster, and 14 percent of undergraduates choose to receive a dual booster. Meanwhile, 60% of teachers received bivalent incentives in addition to primary sequential and prior incentives.
“[The bivalent booster] It’s just a recommendation, and the recommendation is stronger for people who are older or have health problems,” Van Orman said.