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Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to answer any questions you have. Please be sure to review our frequently asked questions and answers below for additional details. We cover topics such as:

 

General

What are COVID testing sites near Biola?


Below are a list of testing locations and websites to schedule testing appointments. 

  • Walgreens
  • CVS including Minute Clinics
  • Rite Aid
  • Kaiser (for those with Kaiser insurance)
  • Local Urgent Care or Primary Care Physician (check with your insurance regarding coverage)
  • Visit the website for CA testing options
  • Visit the Testing Solutions website for other options

Will masks be required on campus in the spring semester?

Yes. On Thursday, July 15, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced an indoor mask mandate. Effective Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. everyone, whether vaccinated or not, must wear masks indoors. This means that Biola employees, students and visitors will be required to wear face coverings on campus while indoors at all times unless they are eating or drinking or alone in an enclosed office or dorm room. Outdoor masking is not required unless you are attending a large Biola sponsored event. However, we encourage students, employees and visitors who are unvaccinated to wear a face covering if they cannot maintain 6 feet of physical distance. We will support members of the Biola community who choose to wear a mask outdoors for any reason, whether as a personal choice or because they have a medical condition that places them at increased risk of severe illness. The indoor mask mandate will be in place at least through March 2022. We will keep the community updated.

What health precautions will be in place for campus community life?

In our commitment to the health and safety of our community, we will continue to ask students and employees to self-monitor for COVID symptoms and stay home if they are feeling sick. Biola will continue enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices throughout campus. In addition, students will be required to sign COVID liability waivers before they arrive on campus and during their registration process.

Will I be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to live and learn on campus?

Students, faculty and staff are not presently required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to campus, but they are encouraged to get it. However, there are some student groups who are required to get the vaccine such as clinical nursing students, student athletes and study abroad students.

The CDC and L.A. County Department of Health states that being vaccinated is still the best protection against COVID-19 and significant health issues related to COVID.

Can I continue to attend Biola remotely?

All classes will be delivered in-person with accommodations available for students who cannot travel to the United States or have other health conditions which prevent them from being on campus. Remote options are available for students who have severe health issues. They will need to submit their request through the Learning Center.

Will Biola require the flu shot this year?

The flu shot was a county requirement last year due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the county. We haven’t heard that the county will require the flu shot this year. At this time, Biola is not requiring the flu shot. 

Will unvaccinated students be required to do regular testing for COVID-19?

At this time, all undergraduate and graduate residential students who are not fully vaccinated are required to submit a negative PCR or antigen test upon checking into their residence hall for the fall semester. According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 2 weeks after a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Students must take the test within 72 hours prior to arriving on campus and bring printed proof of a negative test upon checking into your residence hall. Since people can continue to test positive on a PCR test for several weeks following a COVID-19 infection, students who have had COVID within the last three months may, at the time of check-in, provide documentation from a physician validating their diagnosis and dates of their illness instead of presenting a negative test.

All unvaccinated residential students will participate in weekly surveillance testing for the spring semester. This is true even if you are unable to receive the vaccine due to health issues. At this time, unvaccinated non-residential students will NOT be required to participate in surveillance testing except for students in certain student groups such as student-athletes and some CMA students.

Will Biola be offering the COVID-19 vaccine to students who have not been vaccinated?

Yes, the Health Center has vaccines available. Feel free to contact the Health Center to schedule an appointment.

How will the university promote individual health choices about wearing face coverings?

Students can voluntarily wear face coverings outdoors for their own comfort, health and safety. At this time, all students, regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a face covering indoors. 

We will have students from all over the country and the world coming to campus, living and learning in close proximity. Some will be vaccinated and some will not, and students will have differing opinions regarding face coverings. We are a community that promotes respect and kindness to one another regardless of our thoughts on COVID. We want to promote an environment where those in our community who desire to wear a mask outdoors can do so without being shamed. Biola will not tolerate any form of bullying and staff will engage in allegations of bullying or harassment with appropriate measures.

How will quarantine be handled for students who test positive for COVID?

We have a team who will care for our residential students who may need to go into quarantine. Our plan includes:

  1. Students will have their meals delivered to their room, which is handled by the Resident Director in partnership with the Manager of the Cafeteria.
  2. A 24/7 Student Care Support Team will provide general care and time sensitive emergency response. This team is comprised of the Resident Directors and Campus Safety personnel. 
  3. Daily medical check-ins will be conducted by the Health Center team. The purpose of this team is to monitor the student’s progress and address any current or emerging health issues.
  4. The Biola Learning Center will work directly with the student's professors to help manage the student's academic needs.
  5. The Biola Counseling Center will be available to walk-alongside students, as needed.
  6. Lastly, we have a Pastoral Care Team that will be in touch with the students to encourage and pray with them.
  7. Visit the Quarantine and Isolation Care page for more details.

Is there a likelihood of Biola’s campus to be shut down due to COVID-19?

It is important that we follow the mitigation measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus on Biola’s campus. We understand that the county will not close down campus unless there is a severe outbreak. This is why we encourage the Biola community to become vaccinated and to follow all health and safety mitigation measures we have put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Are there any exemptions to wearing masks?

Unfortunately, the county’s indoor mask mandate is a requirement of all people, regardless of vaccination status. We are not granting any religious or personal exemptions from wearing masks. If someone has medical issues with wearing a face covering, they should contact the Student Health Center.

How long will the mask mandate last?

The indoor mask mandate is likely to be in place through at least the month of March if not all of the spring semester. We will keep the community updated.

I am not vaccinated yet, but would like to get vaccinated? Will vaccines be available through the Biola Health Center?

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available at the Biola Health Center in addition to the booster for both vaccines. Please contact them to make an appointment.

Do I have to wear a mask while working out in the Fitness Center? In the gym?

Yes, all people using the fitness center and the indoor gym are required to wear a face covering at all times. If wearing a face covering is difficult while you are exercising, we recommend you find alternative ways to exercise outdoors.

Will physical distancing be required on campus?

Physical distancing will not be required, however, increasing physical distance between individuals is strongly recommended in settings where masking cannot be maintained, such as in dining halls. Biola will implement physical distancing as appropriate or possible in lecture halls, specialized classroom settings, and all other indoor spaces as it remains an effective mitigation strategy.

Are international students required to be vaccinated?

International students returning to the United States for the spring semester will not need to quarantine, but they will need to be fully vaccinated. As of November 8, 2021, the government will require all foreign, non-citizen, non-immigrant, national travelers to the United States to be fully vaccinated, this includes international students (some exceptions are available).

    What adjustments is Biola making to their ventilation especially in classrooms with no windows?

    Biola’s HVAC teams have already made adjustments to building ventilation systems to allow for the maximum amount of outside air and airflow possible. We have also worked closely with our on-campus staff to ensure ventilation systems are operating at all times when buildings are occupied. Most of our non-residential buildings do not have operable windows, so ensuring we have adequate ventilation has been very important. We do have a number of portable air filter units that can be deployed upon request and additional units are readily available. Facilities Management will be happy to come out and do an assessment if there are any concerns.

    Can I get a COVID-19 test at the Biola Health Center?

    Biola provides free surveillance testing for unvaccinated, residential students, including any necessary follow-up testing, when students come to the designated testing days. Any student, regardless of vaccination, who is experiencing symptoms should contact the Health Center for next steps including possible testing. All other students, staff or faculty are encouraged to be tested at local testing sites such as CVS, Walgreens, local urgent care or primary care providers. Costs range from $30 to $125 or may be covered by health insurance. Students may see a healthcare provider at the Student Health Center free of charge, regardless of insurance. Services such as COVID-19 testing (apart from the free surveillance testing), other lab work, immunizations and medications are available for a fee.

    Will the cafeteria, library and other services be open before January 18?

    The Caf, library, bookstore and Heritage Cafe will be open the first week of the semester, January 10. Students who decide to return to live on campus as previously scheduled on January 10 will have access to the cafeteria. The Caf will be open for dining and they will also offer students to-go boxes for free. Service departments such as financial aid, advising will be remote until January 18, but they are ready to serve students virtually. Please call or email the department directly.

    Will I need to be tested for COVID even if I was approved to stay at Biola over Christmas break and have been staying on campus?

    Yes, students who have been staying in the dorms over Christmas break need to upload a negative test by Friday, January 7. They won't lose access to campus, but you do need to upload the test by the date above or they will lose access to campus on January 14.

    Are students required to wear surgical masks or N95 masks?

    Students are not required to wear surgical or N-95 masks but are encouraged to do so if they have access to them. Only faculty and staff are required to wear surgical grade, KN95 or N95 masks. Students can continue to wear cloth face coverings.

    What do I do if I return to campus over the weekend and do not have my test results in time to upload prior to arriving?

    Residential students who are waiting for test results and are moving back to campus over the weekend are welcome to return to their residence halls. They will need to email Campus Safety at campus.safety@biola.edu on the Friday prior to their arrival. In the email, please let them know the date of your test and when you are planning to move back over the weekend. Students should limit their contacts on campus until they get their results back and uploaded. If their results come back positive, they need to call 562-903-6000 immediately for next steps. If their results come back negative, they just need to upload their results via the confidential portal Medicat. Students who fail to upload their results will lose access to campus starting on January 14.

    What happens if a student does not upload a negative test result?

    Students will lose campus access starting on January 14, if they have not uploaded a negative test result and been cleared to be on campus. Loss of campus access includes losing access to housing, campus buildings and students won’t be able to use their card for meals.

    What do I do if I can’t find a testing appointment in my hometown and I have airline tickets to return and move back to campus?

    We understand it is currently challenging to find a COVID testing appointment. If a student has exhausted all the available resources to them, they can get tested at the Biola Health Center for $30 upon their arrival. If they are planning to arrive on campus after hours or during the weekend, they need to email Campus Safety at campus.safety@biola.edu at least 24 hours prior to their arrival and include in their email their planned return date. Students will need to go to the Health Center the following business day at 8 a.m. to get tested. Biola has limited tests available for students who have exhausted all their options. Students should limit their contacts until they get their test results.


    Do I need to test if I’m a commuter student and won’t be back to campus until Jan. 18 for class?

    All students (graduate and undergraduate) need to upload a negative test before they return to campus to move into their residence hall or for in-person classes. This means you will need to upload a negative test at least 24 hours prior to when you plan to return to campus for living, in-person classes or work. For instance, commuter students need to take a test within 72 hours of their planned return date and upload their negative results test at least 24 hours prior to their first day back on campus for classes.

    Can student employees work on campus prior to January 18?

    Some students are working on campus who have jobs that require them to be on campus (i.e. Cafe, facilities, etc.) Student workers who are not essential to work on campus will need to work remotely the week of January 10 unless instructed otherwise by their supervisor.

    How will I get my books for the first week of classes if I choose to stay home out-of-state the first week?

    If students signed up for the Slingshot automatic delivery service, books were delivered to their dorm rooms on January 6. Students who have elected to have books shipped to their homes should expect those prior to January 10. Students who have opted to pick up their books in the Biola Store can do so during store open hours. This means students who decided to stay home the first week will not get their books until they return to campus. Faculty are being made aware of this and they will work with the student.

    Do I upload my positive test result to Medicat?

    Employees or students who tested positive during the Christmas break need to upload their positive test results to the confidential, secure Medicat portal and email the Health Center for further instructions on clearance to return to campus. Employees or students who have tested positive in the 90 days prior to the Christmas break need to upload documentation of their positive test result via Medicat before returning to campus. Employees or students who test positive prior to returning to campus need to immediately notify the Health Center at 562-903-4841 and stay home.


    HEERF III

    How does Biola define exceptional need?

    We are defining exceptional need in two ways. Students who have exceptional need meet the following criteria:

    First, students who meet the following block grant criteria.

    • Students must have a 2020-21 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than or equal to $15,000 or were paid a Cal Grant in 2020-21
    • Students must have unmet financial need (Cost of attendance less EFC less gift aid) greater than $5,000.
    • Students must have net spring 2021 tuition charges greater than $2,500.

    Second, students who had significant loss of income due to COVID or significant additional expenses related to COVID.

    Are incoming students eligible to receive the funds?

    No, the funds are only available for students who were enrolled in the spring 2021 term as of the end of the spring semester.

    Will graduate students, online bachelor’s and part-time students be eligible and if so, will they receive a smaller amount?

    These categories of students are eligible if they meet the above criteria, and graduate and post-baccalaureate students will receive a lesser amount than traditional undergraduate and online bachelor’s students.

    Can undocumented students or international students receive fund from HEERF III?

    Yes, if they have exceptional need based on significant loss of income due to COVID or significant additional expenses related to COVID they will need to complete the questionnaire to determine if they qualify for aid. There is also other emergency funding or institutional aid available to help those students, too. Students are encouraged to fill out this questionnaire and the Office of Financial Aid will review the student’s information and assist them in identifying every option available to them to meet as much of their unmet need as possible.

    How can students get the money?

    Eligible students who meet the criteria for block grants will receive the grants automatically unless they opt to credit their Biola account by completing this form. If students opt to apply all the grant to their university expenses, it will either pay down existing charges or be applied to Fall 2021 tuition as of July 1, 2021. If students choose not to apply the funds to their Biola account, the funds will be automatically deposited into the bank account they have designated as their refund account, if they have it set up, or a check will be mailed to their permanent mailing address on file. Since the block grants are automatic, eligible students need not apply to receive them. The fastest way for students to get their money will be through direct deposit (ACH), if they already have it set up. To set-up a direct deposit or to check whether you have already set one up, please visit the Student Accounts website for more detailed instructions. If you have trouble setting up direct deposit, please contact Student Accounts by emailing student.accounts@biola.edu or call 562-903-4760. For those eligible students who have not set up direct deposit, they will receive a check in the mail to the permanent address reflected on their student account.

    Students who have exceptional need due to significant loss of income due to COVID or significant additional expenses related to COVID will be notified if they qualify for aid and how to obtain the funds.

    When will block grants be disbursed?

    Student Account Services is working to disburse direct deposits by Tuesday, July 6, with checks going out by Wednesday, July 7 to those who do not have direct deposit set up.

    Who is eligible to receive the “block grants”?

    Students who meet the set of criteria below as of May 25, 2021 are eligible to receive the block grants.

    • Students must have been enrolled (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, post-traditional, online students) as of the end of the spring 2021 semester.
    • Students filed a 2020-21 FAFSA and completed their file with Biola’s Office of Financial Aid.
    • Students must have a 2020-21 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than or equal to $15,000 or were paid a Cal Grant in 2020-21
    • Students must have unmet financial need (Cost of attendance less EFC less gift aid) greater than $5,000.
    • Students must have net spring 2021 tuition charges greater than $2,500.

    Isolation/Quarantine

    What if I want more bottled water?

    Contact the covidcarecoordinator@biola.edu and we will coordinate with staff to get additional water.

    What if I want to order meals and don’t have a meal plan?

    Find instructions for adding or changing your meal plan on studenthub.biola.edu/eating-on-campus/costs. Should you like to add funds to your student account, go to studenthub.biola.edu/eating-on-campus/setting-up-your-e-account.

    What do I do about my trash?

    Leave it outside your room; facilities will be checking for trash regularly.

    Can I use the hallway vacuum?

    Unfortunately, no. If you have a major issue that needs cleaning, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to help!

    What if the fire alarm goes off? Can I leave?

    Yes, definitely. Make sure you are wearing your mask and that you keep at least 6 ft distance from others. Return immediately to your room upon the building being cleared. You will probably need the RA or Campus Safety to unlock your room.

    Can I just go home instead?

    You definitely can! Please let us and the Health Center know ASAP if that is your plan.

    Can I get tested somewhere else?

    Please contact the Health Center about this.

    Can I use the laundry room?

    Unfortunately no. We can provide packets of sink detergent for you to use to wash any clothes in your sink. Let covidcarecoordinator@biola.edu know if you would like one.

    Can I access the ice machine?

    Unfortunately no; you’ll need to stay in your assigned room.

    What if I forgot something in my room?

    Unless it is absolutely essential to your health/well-being or academics, it will need to wait. If it is essential, see if a friend could coordinate with your RA to gain access to your room to get what you need.

    Why does Biola use nasal swab tests instead of saliva tests?

    The nasal swab tests, BinaxNow tests, provide results within 15 minutes which allows us the opportunity to very quickly identify and isolate COVID-19 infections, something which is of utmost importance, especially since we are a residential campus. These test results may also be used by students for purposes beyond campus testing. The saliva tests offered last year were the best available product at that time. However, the 1-3 day delay in results made it harder to quickly identify infections and temporarily isolate students from the rest of the population.

    Why does Biola use tests containing Ethylene oxide (EO)?

    We understand some have concerns about the use of Ethylene oxide (EO) as a sterilizing agent on some of the swabs in the BinaxNow test kits Biola uses. The scientific data shows that EO is used on a wide variety of medical supplies to keep people safe from harmful bacteria. At the conclusion of the sterilization process, EO gas is removed from products, and we understand that the FDA monitors this process to ensure safety. The Safety Data Sheet for the nasal swab provided by the manufacturer reports there is no carcinogenic effect. Additionally, we recently reached out directly to the CDC who provided the following statement. “Ethylene oxide sterilization is an important sterilization method that manufacturers widely use to keep medical devices safe. Manufacturers follow strict standards, regulated by the FDA, to ensure that any residual ethylene oxide on medical devices, such as swabs, is within safe limits for use. Long-term and occupational exposure to ethylene oxide have been linked to cancer”. The once a week testing campus program is not considered long-term exposure.


    Rapid-Trace

    My roommate told me they have COVID-19. What should I do? Am I at risk?

    Biola University has contracted with Rapid-Trace to conduct our contact tracing. If you are at risk and need to quarantine, Rapid-Trace will contact you. If needed, Housing & Residence Life will work with you to determine the best quarantine space available on campus. You may also contact Rapid-Trace to discuss your particular situation at (813) 699-3551, seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you do not reach someone immediately by phone, please leave Rapid-Trace a message, and they will return your call within 2 hours.

    If you are not contacted by Rapid-Trace or Housing & Residence Life, you should continue practicing the safety recommendations and most recent COVID mitigation strategies at biola.edu/coronavirus/updates, and you may continue to attend your classes. If you develop symptoms at any time, please call the Student Health Center at (562) 903-4841.

    Who is Rapid-Trace and do I have to speak with them?

    Rapid-Trace is a company Biola University has hired to do their contact tracing, working to stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the community. Rapid-Trace will help us expedite contact tracing. Students who have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19 may be contacted by Rapid-Trace for contact tracing. All Biola students and employees must cooperate with Rapid-Trace for contact tracing and follow the university’s directives for quarantine and isolation.

    What kind of information will I be expected to share with Rapid-Trace?

    Rapid Trace will ask those who test positive to identify all areas where they were physically present and help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact in the timeframe that they may have been infectious. Rapid-Trace will then identify and inform those who may have been in contact with the confirmed case, so they can take the necessary steps to prevent further spread of the disease. Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. Rapid Trace will not ask you for private information such as your social security number or driver’s license number.

    What will Rapid-Trace do with my personal health information?

    Personal health information shared with Rapid Trace will be given to the Student Health Center and kept confidential. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. Rapid Trace will only notify people with whom you were in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) to inform them that they might have been exposed to COVID-19.