CalArts Response to Omicron: Winter Session, Boosters, Testing

CalArts Response to Omicron: Winter Session, Boosters, Testing

We are concerned about the health and safety of our community at CalArts with the rising COVID positivity rates in Los Angeles County. We are taking early precautions to limit the spread of COVID and to protect our work together in the spring semester: student art-making, gallery nights, productions, performances, festivals, one-on-one mentorship and support, collaborations, and in-person interaction.

This will mean making adjustments to our Winter Session offerings, and requiring COVID boosters for students, faculty, and staff as soon as they are eligible to receive this additional protection. The Omicron variant is very easily spread, and has a shorter incubation period than previous mutations of the virus. The good news is that, in general, Omicron has milder-symptoms for those who are vaccinated.

Winter Session

Academic leadership, in alignment with public health guidance, has adjusted plans for Winter Session (Jan. 10 - Jan. 21) to limit in-person interactions and will include an abundance of safety precautions. Specific protocols and adjustments to offerings are metier-specific and will be forthcoming from your school. Because each school has differing needs, all will be prioritizing student work in labs, studios, and performance spaces and making safety adaptations accordingly.

In general, students will continue to take one unit of classes and should check on Course Advising Day for further updates regarding locations, mode, testing, or other special safety requirements about the use of the facilities for projects, rehearsals, etc. Independent study options may be offered when appropriate.

To prioritize student access during the Winter Session, all administrative and faculty meetings should be held virtually when possible.

COVID Boosters

To mitigate the effects of COVID as we return to campus, all eligible students, faculty, and staff will be required to receive a vaccine booster in addition to their current required vaccinations by Feb. 28, 2022. CalArts requires boosters be received six months after an individual received the final dose of the original vaccination, whichever is later. Those who received the J&J vaccine should already be eligible for the booster (eligibility is two months after your initial dose). Please stay tuned for booster clinics available on campus in January and February. This is our most powerful strategy against infection and severe disease. 


As an extra preventative measure, we strongly recommend that anyone who has traveled or gathered in groups over the break get a free PCR test, regardless of if they have symptoms or not, upon their return to the area and wait for a result before coming to campus. The County of Los Angeles offers them free of charge. If you receive a positive COVID PCR test result, contact covidcompliance@calarts.edu to get the appropriate additional testing protocol before returning to campus.

Community members with medical and religious vaccination exemptions will remain responsible for following any updated testing requirements and other new safety protocols. Please review the CalArts website for CalArts testing protocolsThose who fail to follow testing rules will face serious consequences that will affect students’ status, degree progress, employee status, and other impacts.

To upload your booster information visit:

Room and Board

Students will have continued access to their Residence Hall rooms, Steve’s Cafe, and Tatum Lounge throughout the Winter Session.

We will strictly enforce indoor mask wearing in all campus facilities.

We urge community members to continue other safety precautions such as mask wearing (required indoors), physical distancing, washing hands regularly, and staying home when and if they are not feeling well. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion/running nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Some symptoms may be very mild, so when in doubt, a COVID test (any type) can provide additional peace of mind.

The COVID Response and Implementation Team (CRIT) and the rest of the CalArts leadership are working together to protect your health and enable your creative endeavors in the coming season. Please help us to keep our community safe and thriving by following guidelines and regulations, and remaining flexible as conditions change.

Thank you.

Ravi Rajan, President
Tracie Costantino, Provost
Amanda Beech, Dean, School of Critical Studies
Rosanna Gamson, Dean, School of Dance
Darcy Huebler, Dean, School of Art
Travis Preston, Dean, School of Theater
Abigail Severance, Dean, School of Film/Video
Volker Strabel, Dean, School of Music
Brian Harlan, COVID Response and Implementation Team, Co-Chair
Jesse Smith, COVID Response and Implementation Team, Co-Chair
Elizabeth Peisner, Executive Director of Health and Wellness