by Photo courtesy of Southwestern College

Southwestern College updated its health guidelines for the summer 2022 session due to a sharp decline in local COVID-19 infections in San Diego county. 

Masks will be strongly recommended but not required indoors beginning June 6. The college’s reopening group reviewed employee/student survey results, current federal, state, and local guidelines, and vaccination metrics in the college’s service area. 

Students and employees will still be required to be fully vaccinated to access in-person learning and services. Booster shots will be highly recommended, not required. According to college officials, current health guidelines, such as masks indoors, remain in place until the end of the spring semester.

Local public health officials encourage the use of masks and being fully vaccinated, including boosters to protect oneself and the community from COVID-19. Vaccination site locations are available on San Diego County’s vaccine website

College officials say it will continue to pursue partnerships to offer vaccines and boosters to students and employees. 

“Southwestern College leadership will continue to monitor local COVID-19 data and consult with local public health officials for the fall semester and beyond. If local case rates begin to surge, Southwestern College may reinstate previous health guidelines- including face masks in indoor spaces,” the college wrote in a statement. 

This update comes after county health officials recorded more than 30,000 hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although hospitalizations caused by the pandemic have decreased, the county recorded 405 people in hospitals, marking a two-week high.  

The most recent figures show two additional deaths on Wednesday, which increased the county’s cumulative total to 5,231. The cumulative infections increased to 755,863.

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, according to two reports released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall death rates were highest among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native and non-Hispanic Black or African American people. 

For the second year, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The studies found that the overall age-adjusted death rate increased by almost 1 percent in 2021 from 2020. 

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