COVID-19 News Updates

Update 1.6.22:

The news on the Omicron front continues to be sobering, and we all must continue to exercise an abundance of caution to keep the Mills community safe and the campus as contained as possible. Given the news reports, medical recommendations, and data surfacing, the College is implementing more stringent precautions and procedures as outlined below:

Vaccinations/boosters

With the rampant increases, nationwide, of positive COVID-19 cases and to protect our community, Mills will require all staff, faculty, and students to receive a booster before returning to campus, or as soon as they are eligible. Early data regarding the Omicron variant suggest the increased transmissibility of the variant is two to four times as infectious as the Delta variant, and there is evidence of immune evasion. Recent evidence also shows that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection is decreasing over time without boosters. The CDC announced this week that individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine are now eligible for a booster five months after the second shot; Moderna boosters are recommended after six months, and J&J vaccine boosters are recommended after two months.

Vaccine boosters will be available for faculty, staff, and students who are eligible on campus. Starting January 18th, the College will have a new Student Health Center operated by Elite Corporate Medical Services. More information and details on how to make an appointment for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, for students as well as faculty and staff, is forthcoming, but if you are eligible and can get a booster now, please do.

Spring 2022 classes

For the Spring semester, to slow the transmission of the Omicron variant and provide an additional layer of safety for everyone, Mills classes will be on-line through Friday, January 28, 2022. On Monday, January 31, 2022, Mills will resume in-class room teaching and learning. We continue to monitor information from the appropriate agencies to determine whether to make any adjustments.

Past experiences with an online environment have been challenging, and many students and faculty have expressed preference for in-classroom teaching and learning. To best serve our students, we feel the on-campus, in-person experience to be the gold standard. Some classes are already structured to be hybrid and will continue as such. In specific instances where the context of the class requires broad interactions with the public, individual faculty may determine whether or not adjustments or alternatives are warranted, upon discussions with the Provost’s Office.

You are invited to contact Interim Provost Hardaway at phardaway@mills.edu or the Provost’s Office at provost@mills.edu with any questions.

Staff working from home

Since the early Fall semester, many staff have returned to campus full time, while some have continued with a hybrid on-campus/remote situation. We are encouraging all but essential staff to work remotely as much as possible from January 10, 2022 until further notice. All staff should speak to their supervisor to determine if their position is considered essential at this time.

Please consult the College’s Telecommuting Policy 3790 (PDF) for ergonomic and safety information. If you have equipment needs, please make your request to IT via this form or contact ergo@mills.edu for ergonomic equipment requests.

Contact tracing and quarantine protocols

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined from campus for 10 days following a positive test result. Employees who report an exposure to someone who has tested positive will quarantine until they provide a negative test, or 10 days based on the level of exposure. We are continuing this longer quarantine period, despite the recently revised CDC guidelines, as safety is our highest priority.

If you or a family member test positive, please contact benefits@mills.edu to initiate quarantine and contact tracing protocols. If a student tests positive or has been exposed and discloses this to you, please submit a report using the reporting page provided by the Department of Student Life. A case manager will contact trace and provide support to the student.

Masking

The College will continue to follow state, and specifically Alameda County, public health mandates. The Alameda County community transmission rate is now categorized as “High” on the CDC COVID-19 data tracker. The mandate calls for everyone to wear masks in all indoor public settings. Mills will keep this mandate in effect until Alameda County determines otherwise, despite the state mandate ending February 15.

Recent medical briefings have advised against wearing only cloth masks. It is now recommended that masks be upgraded to surgical masks or KN95 or N95 masks. Those who don’t have access to these may consider wearing double masks (wear two surgical masks or a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top). If you choose a fabric mask, consider opting for one with three or more cloth layers.

Meetings

To the extent possible, meetings should be virtual to allow participation by those working remotely, by external participants, and to assure ease of scheduling.

Events

As possible, events should be virtual. For in-person events, we will follow guidelines from the Alameda County Public Health Department in terms of capacity limits, masking, social distancing, etc. It will be at the College’s discretion to request proof of vaccination to attend events.

MillsGo App

Effective Monday, January 24, we will ask the Mills community to, once again, use the MillsGo app to do a daily COVID-19 health check when coming to campus. After opening the app, tap the COVID-19 Health Check and Pass button on the homescreen and answer the screening questions. Show the public safety officers your pass from your mills.edu mail. Or, you can go back into the MillsGo app, tap the COVID-19 Health Check and Pass button, and show your green "good to go" result to the officer.

If you answer "yes" to any of the health check questions, do not come to campus.

Authorized vendors and official visitors who are not Mills students, faculty, or staff do not have access to the MillsGo app. Vendors and official visitors must use the Daily Symptom Check Form for Vendors.

COVID Dashboard

To track the number of positive COVID-19 cases at Mills, please consult the COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Monday morning.

We will continue to send updates, as appropriate.

Prior COVID-19 Updates