Mindful Monday—Nurse Notes for Employees - 08.29.22

August 29, 2022

Good morning,

Thank you to everyone who has been in the clinic in the last few weeks—and to those new to Pitzer who I cannot wait to meet! As we start a new semester, I would like to remind everyone that testing is available to both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and can be used anytime you would like or need a test.

The testing clinic is in West Hall living room Q222. Testing hours are 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday/Wednesday and 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 13 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday.

Testing:

As campus life has increased the past week, COVID-19 testing is encouraged weekly. Testing is available on campus and is free to all Pitzer employees.  Appointments can be made through Healthy Pitzer, detailed instructions can be found below.

Daily Health Screening:

On the Healthy Pitzer website, you will also find the Daily Health Screening. This is a COVID-19 screening tool available for community members and guests. This tool is to be used whenever you develop symptoms or as needed.

COVID-19 Testing Instructions: 

How to make an appointment:

  • Routine Testing: Please make an appointment for testing through Healthy Pitzer. After logging in, you will see Appointments on the second tab. The first time that you log into Healthy Pitzer you will be required to sign Pitzer and HHB consent forms; these forms must be completed prior to testing. 
  • Please bring your phone to your appointment and be ready to log into Healthy Pitzer; we will use the barcode found in the top right corner of the homepage for testing. 
  • The test will be a self-administered nasal swab and the process only takes a few minutes. 
  • You will receive your test results directly via text message and/or email 24–48 hours after testing. 

If you have been exposed or have symptoms: 

  • If you have symptoms, please do not make an appointment with Healthy Pitzer and instead email [email protected] explaining your situation, and we will get you scheduled for diagnostic testing.  
  • This is important so that we can determine if you are safe to work on campus and so that we can test symptomatic individuals separately from others to reduce the risk of exposure. 

As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Best,

Zephyr

Monkeypox Update and Information - 08.19.22

August 19, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community,

As we near the start of the fall semester, we want to share information and resources concerning the nationwide outbreak of Monkeypox, which the Biden administration has declared a national public health emergency. Pitzer, in partnership with Student Health Services (SHS) at The Claremont Colleges, is closely monitoring the situation. Pitzer College participates in weekly higher education-specific briefings with public health experts at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH). 

Please visit Pitzer’s Pathway Forward site for updates and resources, including:

As with the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect public health guidelines and protocols for Monkeypox to continue to evolve. Pitzer will continue working with SHS and the County to help keep the campus community informed and as safe as possible.

Sincerely,

Laura A. Troendle, CPA, MBA
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & Treasurer

Allen M. Omoto, PhD
Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty

Sandra Vasquez, EdD
Vice President for Student Affairs

Monkeypox Update from The Claremont Colleges Services - 08.05.22

As you all may be aware, the Biden administration declared monkeypox to be a public health emergency in the U.S. on August 4, 2022. Both California as well as Los Angeles County have also made similar declarations recently.

First, I would like to share with you a few current facts regarding monkeypox:

  • Monkeypox is a viral infection
  • As of August 4, 2022, there have been more than 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico
  • While this is a cause for concern, thankfully, monkeypox is rarely fatal and no deaths have been reported in the U.S. so far. However, there have been eight reported deaths from this disease across the world during the current outbreak, primarily in Africa and other regions where the health systems aren’t as robust
  • Early signs may include fever, muscle aches, headache, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion. A rash may also develop, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, including the hands, feet, eyes, mouth and/or genitals. This rash can sometimes be quite painful in nature
  • Infection can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, usually 2-4 weeks
  • Current transmission/spread is primarily through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact
  • There is no specific treatment for monkeypox virus infections. Treatment for monkeypox infection is mainly supportive care (e.g., easing the symptoms by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever or pain)
  •  However, since monkeypox virus and smallpox virus are genetically similar, antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may sometimes be used to treat and prevent monkeypox virus infections, currently only in those at highest risk
  • Vaccine supplies to prevent monkeypox remain limited currently. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has established priority criteria to administer first dose of vaccine to as many people who are at higher risk for monkeypox exposure as possible. When supply improves, they will make second doses available. Vaccines are not currently available for administration to private clinics such as Student Health Services

As with the last public health emergency declared in the U.S. in January 2020 in response to COVID-19, Student Health Services (SHS) at The Claremont Colleges continues to closely monitor the situation and is in touch with our local public health officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for regular updates. SHS current response includes:

  • Keeping our staff up to date on the latest monkeypox information
  • Keeping up to date with our laboratory partner on proper methods of collecting and submitting samples from suspicious lesions for testing
  • Creation of a webpage with more detailed and regularly updated information to keep the campus community informed on monkeypox
  • Reinforcing proper cleaning and hygiene habits, both within our department as well as across the consortium

Prateek Jindal, DO

AVP for Health and Wellness

The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS)

Link to update on Student Health Services site

Friday Nurse Notes - 04.08.22

April 8, 2022

Campus mitigation reminders:

  • 5C Cross-Campus Dining is suspended until further notice
  • N95s, KN95s or double surgical/procedure masks are required. Single layer cloth masks are not acceptable. Masking outdoors is optional, except as required for outdoor events/programs or faculty outdoor classroom guidance, but highly encouraged in denser outdoor settings.
  • Pitzer staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to participate in surveillance testing regardless of vaccination status, especially those with high student contact outside of the classroom
  • All Pitzer, 5C parties, and 5C student club and organization events and programs are cancelled until further notice

Dear Community,

Thank you to everyone in the community for following the mitigation efforts we have made in response to the COVID-19 surge. While this surge may be alarming to the Pitzer community, in consultation with our doctors this wave is to be expected given our recent case numbers and we are hopeful that with the mitigation efforts Pitzer implemented last week and enhanced 5C mitigation efforts, we will soon see a decline in cases. This week’s email will focus on COVID concerns and what we as a community can do to reduce spread.

Where am I most likely to be exposed to COVID-19?

You are most likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in poorly ventilated spaces that are indoors, filled with people that are not wearing face coverings, and/or participating in activities such as singing or yelling. Physical distancing remains a very effective health measure while we navigate the current surge.

This means that places such as parties and bars are hot spots for the virus. This also means that our classrooms are not high-risk spaces for contracting COVID-19. Our classrooms are well ventilated, and masks are required.

If you are concerned about the way someone on campus is behaving in regard to COVID-19, we have the COVID-19 reporting forum available. Use this forum to report a COVID-19 concern involving you, another individual, or a group. These concerns may involve issues related to: monitoring symptoms, face covering guidance, physical distancing, cleaning, COVID-19 Disclosure, or other concerns.

Students in isolation: please continue to respect our community, especially the permanent residents of CCA, by NOT leaving your apartment during this time. Our isolation location is an apartment complex, and our medical professionals have said we CANNOT have isolation students leave their units. This means you can’t take a walk, you can’t open your door to talk to friends, and you can’t be in the hallway. 

See below the isolation summary as of Monday 03/28/2022 (this number may vary from the COVID dashboard, pending dashboard daily updates and home tests reported)

Day ofStudent PositivesFaculty & Staff Positives
04/08/202260
04/07/2022101
04/06/2022280
04/05/202261
04/04/202240

Medical grade surgical masks and KN95 masks are available for free in the Office of Student Affairs, Dean of Faculty Office, Gold Student Center, ResLife, PitStop, Dining and the Nurse Clinic. As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Sincerely,

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes: Reducing On-Campus Transmission - 04.01.22

Dear Community,

This week’s email is sent in support of yesterday’s COVID update. Positive cases of COVID-19 have increased across the Pitzer College campus. As of today, we are at a total of 35 students and one staff/faculty in isolation. This number of positive cases may be alarming, but this surge was anticipated by healthcare professionals as students returned to campus from spring break. We are expecting numbers to decrease in a couple weeks with support from the community in upholding COVID protocols. The nature of the COVID-19 virus has evolved in the past two years, and we are seeing that the majority of cases have mild, cold-like symptoms. Our goal is to reduce on-campus transmission of the virus.

What can I do to help reduce on campus transmission?

Test! Testing is critically important in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Testing at least once a week is required for students and highly recommended to staff/faculty. Please remember to be mindful of others and report symptoms as soon as they are developed.

Mask! Masking is a critical public health tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19. What kind of mask is best? The most protective type of mask available is the N95 mask and its counterparts, such as the KN95. The next most protective mask is a medical grade surgical mask. The least protective type of mask is a cloth mask. The mask should provide a good fit (i.e. fitting closely on the face without any gaps along the edges or around the nose) and be comfortable enough when worn properly. Sometimes surgical masks can become loose after worn a couple times; a good solution to this is to wear your cloth mask over your surgical mask. The surgical mask and cloth mask combo provides almost as much protection as wearing an N95 or KN95 mask.

Medical grade surgical masks and KN95 masks are available for free in the Office of Student Affairs, Dean of Faculty Office, Gold Student Center, ResLife, the Pit-Stop, McConnell Dining Hall, and the Nurse Clinic.

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 04/01/2022

Week ofStudents TestedStudent PositivesFaculty & Staff TestedFaculty & Staff Positives
03/28/20221082321011

Thank you for your ongoing mindfulness and cooperation. The health and safety of our community continues to be the highest priority for us all. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Nurse Zephyr

COVID Updates and Community Shifts - 03.29.22

Dear Pitzer Community,  

We hope this email finds you well. We wanted to alert you all, that we are currently in the midst of a spike of positive COVID-19 cases here at Pitzer, and at the Claremont Colleges generally, post spring break. 

We greatly appreciate proactive efforts from students and the continued partnership. Immediately following the return of students from spring break, we anticipated an increase in COVID-19 cases with 12 COVID-19 positive student cases reported last week. Now that we are in the second week of classes since spring break, with the impact of Omicron and the subvariant transmissions,  we currently have 24 students in isolation, with 13 of these students diagnosed positive in the last day. (NOTE: There is typically a 1-2 day delay on reporting positive cases on the Pitzer COVID-19 dashboard and the dashboard only shows SHS diagnosed cases).  In nearly all of our cases, we have noticed transmission has occurred amongst friend groups and close contacts.  

We continue to work closely with our health providers and hope to get through this phase in the coming days. Below is a reminder of resources available to students: 

It is critical that even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, the expectation is that you are continuing to get tested as part of your weekly mandatory COVID screening. To prevent continual spread, it will require a collective communal effort in our testing, masking, as well adhering to the ever-evolving health guidelines. This is our new normal to have to regularly adjust our social interactions in the day to day to manage the potential for spreading.  

Community Shifts 

To mitigate further spread, we are writing to ask for your partnership with necessary temporary community shifts as outlined below. We will continue to monitor case trends and we will let you know when we will be able to loosen these new restrictions. 

Grab and Go Dining 

Beginning today, Tuesday, March 29, indoor seating will be closed for all Pitzer food service venues: McConnell Dining Hall, Pit Stop, and Shakedown starting at dinner. Hours of operation will remain the same and students may continue to take-out their meals from McConnell in a green reusable box or paper to-go box. 

Outdoor Masking at Events 

We are asking all students to mask at all registered outdoor events on campus. Consistent with our Campus Life event registration protocols, outdoor events over 30 people need to be pre-approved with Campus Life at least one (1) week prior to the event. All indoor events that have already been registered will either need to be moved to an outdoor location or will need to be cancelled until further notice. Please pay attention to posted signage and emails about events for masking standards.  

In closing, we must remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to help proactively and reactively protect ourselves, each other, and our greater community. Thank you all for your continued support and efforts to keep our community safe and healthy. 

Best Wishes, 

Vince on behalf of OSA 

Vince Greer, M.Ed.  (He/Him/His)

Assistant Vice President & Dean of Students

Pitzer College 1050 N Mills Avenue Claremont, CA 91711

Office of Student Affairs

Scott Hall 121 909-621-8241

COVID-19 Clinic Information - 03.07.22

Monday, March 7, 2022

Thank you to everyone who has been to the clinic in the last few weeks to meet us and get a test! I would like to remind everyone that if you are in high contact with others, please be mindful of your symptoms, and remember that minor symptoms, such as cold symptoms, can be symptoms of COVID-19. 

The testing clinic is in West Hall living room Q222, testing hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday/Wednesday and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday. Please see testing instructions below for more details.

COVID-19 Reminders

  • All individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering/mask while indoors
    • Pitzer’s COVID policies are to be followed regardless of changes discussed by LA county 
  • If you are up to date on your vaccinations you are not required to test for COVID-19 weekly, however I recommend testing at least once a week if you have high contact with others
  • If you are not up to date on your vaccinations, you are required to test twice a week

Testing Schedule: 

  • Testing is available on campus and is free to all Pitzer employees. Appointments can be made through Healthy Pitzer, detailed instructions can be found below.  
  • If you have recently had a COVID-19 infection, please reach out to [email protected] to discuss your testing schedule, as you may be exempt from PCR testing for 90 days after a positive COVID test. 

COVID-19 BoostersBooster Shots are required for everyone on campus.

Pitzer’s COVID Clinic is offering booster shots Booster shots will be available by appointment only Thursdays 11 a.m.-12 p.m., and 1-2 p.m. Make an appointment here: Pitzer Clinic

Booster shots are available at any vaccine site.  You can make an appointment for your booster using My Turn or find a walk-in vaccination site.  If you are looking for a site close to campus Hendricks Pharmacy in the Claremont Village offers COVID vaccines, click the link to make an appointment. Vons and CVS are also good near-by locations that offer the Booster shot.  

Once you have received the booster, the College asks that you follow the Vaccine and Booster Reporting Instructions to submit proof of your booster. While it is recommended you do this through the Healthy Pitzer portal, other options are available for those that are interested.

Daily Health Screening: The Daily Health Screening is required every day that you come to campus, if you have any symptoms or have had an exposure to a positive case email [email protected] or call (909) 607-2180 before coming to campus.

How to make an appointment:

  • Routine Testing:  Please make an appointment for testing through Healthy Pitzer, after logging in you will see Appointments on the second tab.  The first time that you log into Healthy Pitzer you will be required to sign Pitzer and HHB consent forms, these forms must be completed prior to testing. 
  • Please bring your phone to your appointment and be ready to log into Healthy Pitzer, we will use the barcode found in the top right corner of the homepage for testing. 
  • The test will be a self-administered nasal swab and the process only takes a few minutes. 
  • You will receive your test results directly via text message and/or email 24-48 hours after testing.  

If you have been exposed or have symptoms: 

  • If you have symptoms, please do not make an appointment with Healthy Pitzer, and instead email [email protected] explaining your situation and we will get you scheduled for diagnostic testing.  
  • This is important so that we can determine if you are safe to work on campus and so that we can test symptomatic individuals separately from others to reduce the risk of exposure.  

Testing at an outside facility: 

  • If you would prefer to test off campus or if you need testing on a holiday or weekend, please check LA County testing sites or Kaiser testing sites.  
  • If you need assistance finding or making an appointment, please let us know!
  • If you are getting diagnostic testing at an outside facility for symptoms or an exposure you must get a PCR test, a rapid/antigen test will not clear you to return to campus. 
  • If you get tested an outside facility you can report your test results to [email protected]

Warm Regards, 

Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 02.25.22

Friday, February 25, 2022

Dear Pitzer Community, 

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a safe and healthy week. Today, the CDC updated its mask guidelines.

These guidelines and the COVID-19 community tool provided are helpful, however, they should be followed OFF college campus.

Pitzer College is discussing and evaluating this change implemented by the CDC and will update the community if anything changes.

As of now, 02/25/2022, all individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face-covering/mask while indoors.

Pitzer’s COVID Task Force would appreciate feedback from faculty, staff, and students about three options we are considering for the second half of the semester regarding face-coverings. You may give your ranked choice between two options and add further comments.

Please click here to take the survey. The survey closes Monday, February 28, at 5 p.m.

COVID-19 Reminders: 

  • All individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face-covering/mask while indoors
    • Pitzer’s COVID policies are to be followed regardless of changes discussed by LA County 
    • Pitzer is discussing and evaluating the updated mask mandate put into place by Governor Newsom, and we will update the community if anything changes 
  • When worn consistently and properly, N95s provide the highest level of protection from particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19
  • N95s are effective in protecting yourself from particles, even when others around you are not wearing face coverings
  • If you would like an N95, they are offered, available, and provided by Pitzer College
    • N95s are available in the Student Affairs office, facilities, and the nurse clinic

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 02/25/2022  

Week ofStudents TestedStudent PositivesFaculty & Staff TestedFaculty & Staff Positives
02/21/202274211061

I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. 

Warm Regards, 

Nurse Zephyr 

Zephyr Dowd-Lukesh – RN (She, Her, Hers)  
Hamilton Health Box 
Pitzer College 

Office: (909) 607-2180
Cell: (909) 952-1000

Friday Nurse Notes - 02.11.22

Friday, February 11, 2022

Dear Community,

Happy Friday and thank you for everyone’s continued efforts to keep campus safe and healthy. This week I will touch base on a couple of reminders about COVID-19 and share some information regarding the possible Norovirus infection.

COVID-19 Reminders:

  • All individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering/mask while indoors
    • Pitzer’s COVID policies are to be followed regardless of changes discussed by LA County
    • Pitzer is discussing and evaluating the updated mask mandate put into place by Governor Newsom and we will update the community if anything changes
  • If you test positive for COVID over the weekend with a self-administered antigen test, please notify Campus Safety as soon as possible for students and Nurse Zephyr for employees
  • Following their initial two weeks on campus, all Pitzer students will be required to complete free weekly COVID-19 routine testing, including once per week for vaccinated students and twice per week for unvaccinated students
    • If you have delayed your return to campus, you will still need to test two times each week for YOUR first two weeks back on campus
  • Employees that are up to date on their vaccinations are not required to test for COVID-19 weekly, however I recommend testing at least once a week if you have high contact with others
  • Employees that are not up to date on their vaccinations are required to test twice a week

Possible Norovirus:

  • Norovirus spreads through contact from an infected persons mucosa to another; this means that Norovirus is not airborne and does not require isolation or quarantine.
    • It is vital that individuals practice good hand hygiene, and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing their hands thoroughly
  • If you are experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, it is vital that you ensure you are staying hydrated and keeping your electrolytes up. I would recommend drinking fluids such as water and Gatorade. I recommend eating foods that are gentle on your stomach, such as bread, rice, applesauce, and toast. Scents such as ginger and mint are helpful to combat nausea.
  • Student Affairs is coordinating with Dining Services to deliver impacted students a care package of foods and sanitation items specific to this suspected norovirus illness. Pitzer is providing food care packages, and additional supplies for students who are feeling unwell. These packages include items like soup, crackers, and electrolyte drinks. If you are not feeling well and would like a food care package delivered, please complete this support form.
  • You may notify and be evaluated by Student Health Services by calling (909) 621-8222 for an appointment or seeking TeleHealth support 24/7 at 7C.Health.  

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 02/11/2022  

  • Total Students Currently in Isolation: 10
  • Total Staff/Faculty Currently in Isolation: 0

I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Best,
Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 02.04.22

February 4, 2022

Dear Community,  

We have been doing a fantastic job as a community with being up to date with our vaccinations!  

I wanted to touch briefly on COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, and specifically mRNA vaccines. This information is provided by the CDC.  

How do mRNA vaccines work? 

To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, mRNA vaccines use mRNA created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. This means that the virus of COVID-19 is not inserted into your body when you received your COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies.
  • Like all vaccines, mRNA vaccines benefit people who get vaccinated by giving them protection against diseases like COVID-19 without risking the potentially serious consequences of getting sick.
  • mRNA vaccines are newly available to the public. However, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.
  • mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell where our DNA (genetic material) is located, so it cannot change or influence our genes. 

Why the booster shot is important:  

Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time and due to changes in variants. 

  • Data from clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series 5 months earlier or who received a J&J/Janssen single-dose vaccine 2 months earlier
  • With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against getting infected with COVID-19. For Pfizer-BioNTech and J&J/Janssen, clinical trials also showed that a booster shot helped prevent severe disease.

Booster Locations: 

You can make an appointment for your booster using My Turn or find a walk-in vaccination site.  If you are looking for a site close to campus Hendricks Pharmacy in the Claremont Village offers COVID vaccines, click the link to make an appointment. Vons and CVS are also good near-by locations that offer the Booster shot. 

  • Staff/Faculty: You may make an appointment to be vaccinated in the COVID Clinic with Nurse Zephyr on Thursdays from 11 am-12 pm and 1 pm-2 pm. Make an appointment here: Pitzer Clinic 

As we are a close-knit community, it’s important to stay up to date with our vaccinations and be mindful of where others are in their health journey. Booster shots are required for everyone on campus. 

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 02/04/2022  

  • Total Students Currently in Isolation: 7 
  • Total Staff/Faculty Currently in Isolation: 2 

Thanks to everyone for their continued efforts in preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 😊  

Best,  
Nurse Zephyr  

Zephyr Dowd-Lukesh – RN (She, Her, Hers)  
Hamilton Health Box 
Pitzer College 

Office: (909) 607-2180
Cell: (909) 952-1000