Annenberg Radio News

USC to remain cautious about loosening restrictions

As Los Angeles County clocks in the highest single day death toll in almost a year. USC Chief Health Officer gives updates about the mask mandates.

In compliance with L.A. county’s indoor masking mandate, students at the University of Southern California wear face masks while studying at Wallis Annenberg Hall, Los Angeles, CA, on September 9, 2021. (Julia Zara)

At USC, this week had 925 new COVID cases compared to last week’s 1,728. Chief Health Officer for Student Affairs, Dr. Sarah Van Orman, said USC remains cautiously optimistic about heading into loosen restrictions, but just not yet as county numbers remain high.

DR. SARAH VAN ORMAN: There still some time will need to pass before Los Angeles County will actually change the mask mandate and they have a series of metrics that are put forward which make good sense in terms of hospitalizations in LA County. LA County won’t be dropping the indoor mask requirement until we move more into the lower levels of transmission.

Cases are continuing to do gown because of USC’s regular testing and 75% booster rate. Dr. Van Orman said, if you haven’t received your booster yet said there’s no reason to wait, especially if you have contracted Omicron.

DR. SARAH VAN ORMAN: And again, especially with omicron, we don’t know how long that duration of protection lasts. So people should get their booster as soon as they’re able to leave their quarantine. Students who are not boosted are going to get notifications this week about the need to get boosted or be subjected to a registration hold in the future. So we really still want this.

Although USC will likely continue in-door mask mandates, Dr. Van Orman reiterated that the trends look good for March and April.

DR. SARAH VAN ORMAN: If things continue to trend in this direction, you know, we were feeling very positive about the semester looking more and more back to normal. Again, nothing yet. But we’re really looking at that, you know, beginning of March, beginning of April, will there be opportunities if things continue to improve here in USC and in the community to start to scale things back.

You can find more information about USC’s COVID policies at For now, do your part by masking up and getting boosted.