Inside Cal Poly’s New Saliva-Based COVID Testing Program
Cal Poly’s COVID-19 testing capacity got a major upgrade earlier this month as the university transitioned from an outside vendor to a new, faculty-developed saliva-based surveillance test and on-campus laboratory — enabling faster processing and providing a valuable Learn by Doing experience in the process. As a saliva-based test rather than a nasal swab, the testing experience is more comfortable and reduces the time individuals are on-site getting tested. More importantly, the new test significantly increases the volume of samples that can be processed and reduces wait times for results to under 24 hours, allowing university health staff to more effectively catch infections before they spread. It’s also an invaluable factor in the university’s goal to achieve biweekly testing for more than 4,000 students and eventually more, as campus protocols evolve with the pandemic. “At full scale, we will be processing at minimum 4,000 individual samples in roughly eight hours,” said Nathaniel Martinez, a biology professor and the lead researcher on the team that developed the new protocols. All students who are required to test have been transitioned to the new saliva method. Check the Employee Testing webpage for updates on testing availability for employees starting this Thursday, March 25. Read more about the saliva testing program on Cal Poly News.
Cal Poly Employees Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine in SLO County
All current employees, including student employees, who want to be vaccinated are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in San Luis Obispo County. The county’s eligibility also includes a list of specific employment sectors, residents who are 50 and older, and residents with specific medical conditions or disabilities. Those eligible can look for first-dose appointments at several local pharmacies or through San Luis Obispo County’s Vaccine Appointment Registry for appointments at one of three local vaccine clinics. Employees can sign up for the county’s registry online or by calling the County Phone Assistance Center at 805-543-2444 or 805-781-4280 (seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). University employees who live outside the county are still eligible for a vaccine at a county site based on their employment at Cal Poly. Be prepared to show proof of employment at your appointment through a photo ID with a recent paystub, a PolyCard that establishes your role on campus, or a Cal Poly ID badge specific to your job. If possible, fill out, print and bring the medical screening form to your appointment to help quicken the process. Review these frequently asked questions on Cal Poly’s vaccine page to help prepare for your appointment, and plan to get your second dose of the vaccine wherever you get your first dose. Employees are highly encouraged to receive the vaccine when eligible but are not currently required to be vaccinated. Learn more about the vaccines and the vaccination process on county public health’s frequently asked questions page and the Cal Poly coronavirus website’s vaccine page for more information.
COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Check: Should I Get the Vaccine If I've Recovered from COVID-19?
Welcome to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Check, weekly insights on the COVID-19 vaccines presented by Campus Health and Wellbeing. This week’s fact check addresses whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 should consider getting the vaccine. The CDC says this: You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about vaccines available in SLO County, visit the RecoverSLO.org website’s frequently asked questions page. Look for more COVID Vaccine Fact Check posts in future editions of the Cal Poly Report.
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Development Announced
Following a nationwide search, Michael (Mike) McCormick has been named associate vice president for Facilities Management and Development. McCormick comes to Cal Poly with 35 years of experience, the last three serving as the associate vice president of Asset Management and University Architect for the University of Washington. In that role, he developed and implemented strategy planning for a facilities team of 1,000 employees who oversaw three campuses comprising 27 million square feet and directly supervised professionals in sustainability, real estate, capital planning and delivery, campus planning, portfolio management, space management, engineering, energy conservation, preventive maintenance, and customer care. McCormick has proven experience working on projects and teams that are driven by values that we as a Cal Poly community hold dear. During his time in Washington, he directed the creation of green building standards, a green revolving fund, and a universitywide Sustainability Action Plan. He created a facilities department that leveraged funding and data to more effectively use resources and create better outcomes for customers. He also developed a long-term capital plan that aligned needs with resources and helped to reduce deferred maintenance, decrease carbon footprint, and change the overall approach to funding and operational growth. McCormick will begin his new role on June 1.
Michelle Crawford Named Interim ASI Executive Director
The ASI board of directors recently approved Michelle Crawford to serve as interim ASI executive director. Crawford succeeds Marcy Maloney, who retired earlier this month. In her role, Crawford is accountable for the financial, legal and administrative management of ASI; the general management of all ASI resources, programs and managed facilities; and ensuring that ASI effectively supports and complements Cal Poly’s educational mission. Crawford began her career with ASI as a student in 2002 and has held numerous positions, including student manager, temporary assistant coordinator, coordinator, assistant director, associate director, and most recently University Union director. She received the ASI Outstanding Service Award in 2009 and the Student Affairs Chandler Award in 2014. Throughout her career, she has combined her passion for student development and strong stewardship of student fees with providing outstanding programs and services to students. Crawford has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in recreation, parks and tourism administration from Cal Poly.
Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Receives National Award
Cal Poly’s Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer William J. “Bill” Britton received the 2021 CIO Award from the Tambellini Group, an independent technology research and advisory firm dedicated to higher education. The CIO Award recognizes Britton’s achievements in serving students and leading progress during an exceptionally challenging year for higher education. The honor is awarded annually as part of the Tambellini Technology Leadership Awards. “I am honored to receive this award. I feel fortunate to work with an incredible team at Cal Poly, who has been instrumental in modernizing the university’s technology environment,” Britton said. “These efforts have allowed us to be more agile and responsive to the university’s needs, which is critical to the success of students, faculty and staff, especially now.” In his five years as chief technologist at Cal Poly, Britton has led numerous ambitious modernization projects, including the university’s successful transition to a cloud-based campus data center, and the development of the Digital Transformation Hub(DxHub). For more information about the 2021 CIO Award, visit the Tambellini Group’s website.
CSU To Host Systemwide Vaccine Webinar on March 30
CSU Systemwide Human Resources invites all employees to join a live webinar from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, March 30, on “COVID Vaccinations: An Overview of the Various Vaccinations and their Benefits.” With COVID-19 vaccine rollout now underway, there has never been a more important time to learn about the vaccinations and speak to common questions and concerns. Dr. John Rott, regional assistant medical director at Kaiser Permanente, will speak about updates to our nation’s COVID-19 strategy and address several of the most frequently asked questions they’ve received related to the vaccine. Submit questions by emailing them now to firstname.lastname@example.org. No registration is required. Use this link to join the live broadcast on March 30. Closed captioning will be provided. The webinar will be recorded and available to view until April 15.