Spring 2021 Campus Health and Safety

Dominican remains committed to providing the highest-quality education to our students and maintaining learning environments that are safe, supportive, and equitable. Based on the shifting conditions in our county and our state, we continue to update our plan for the spring semester. 

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2020-2021 Academic Year

The plan for Spring 2021 is similar to Fall 2020; most classes will be taught remotely. Students involved with state-defined “essential workforce” training, or whose courses require in-person settings, have been allowed on campus for instruction and to live in the residence halls. More information is included in the FAQ section below.  

Our current plans have been designed using public health protocols and best practices. When we return to full in-person instruction, we will continue to leverage our small size to make decisions based on research, advice, and regulatory protocols from state and county health officials.

We have infused flexibility and creativity into all plans in order to follow public health guidelines while providing all students with a high-quality education, a structured network of personal and professional support, and opportunities to interact with each other and our community. 

Our Dominican Experience Flex program will ensure that highly personalized teaching, thoughtful mentoring, and meaningful interactions with the community remain at the heart of every student’s Dominican experience.

Our Promise

Our Strategy Team and its four working groups have developed a comprehensive plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. Our mission, as embodied by The Dominican Experience, will not change. This academic year will look very different, and we will continue to adapt to public health protocol, but what we can promise is this:

  • We will ensure continuity of education, even as we are proactive in protecting the health and safety of the entire campus community.
  • We will remain agile and responsive, building into our plans the ability to integrate instructional best practices with the flexibility of interacting remotely as needed.

Additional Information

The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus has been integrated into all of our interactions and protocols. We have worked closely with Marin Health and Human Services, the Student Health Center and the Global Public Health Program to ensure that our planned operations are congruent with their guidance and suggested best practices, as follows:

  • Campus grounds and facilities have all been evaluated and marked for appropriate social distancing, and an inventory and assessment of individual offices and classrooms has been conducted.
  • Physical distance markings, cleaning resources, and walking routes are clearly indicated throughout the campus.
  • New protocols for high traffic areas has been developed and are outlined at those sites (i.e. dining hall, library).
  • Mandatory training is required for all students, faculty and staff.  
  • Face coverings are required on campus.
  • A daily health survey is distributed to all on-campus personnel.
  • The University has appointed a COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team and Lead who will manage our ongoing response and ensure alignment with evolving health protocols. The Lead can be reached via email at penguinprepared@dominican.edu.
  • Even with the measures we take, there will be cases of infection on campus, just as there will be in the larger world. We will have procedures for self-isolation and quarantine in place by the time fall semester begins. We are engaged in discussions with leading health experts about the importance of testing, and are defining how regular screening could be implemented on campus. 

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.


  • Faculty and staff are being asked to complete a daily health attestation online for each workday on campus. The individual is asked to attest that they are healthy, that they do not currently have symptoms associated with COVID-19, and that they have not been in contact with an individual known or suspected of having COVID-19.


  • The University is continuing “surveillance testing” one-quarter of the campus each week to keep an eye out for potential outbreaks.
  • Partnered with Mirimus, Inc., the University will provide pooled screening tests on campus, which allows for results within 24-36 hours.
  • Testing pools are set at 24 participants; if a pool is returned positive, the lab can reduce the potential positive case to two people in the pool, and then work with a third party provider to run a diagnostic test to reduce to a single individual.
  • All faculty, staff, and students who are on-campus will be asked to take a baseline test on the week they return to campus in January 2021.

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.

Classes in the fall will be offered through a model of “Dominican Experience Flex,” prioritizing a highly engaged model of education through a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online course delivery options.

  • Essential workforce and experiential learning courses are permitted to be delivered in-person on the campus.
  • An inventory of classroom, laboratory, and outdoor space has been created using health guidelines for safety, and a full inventory is being managed through Academic Affairs.
  • Internet bandwidth has been expanded to support increased use on- and off-campus.
  • Our dedicated faculty have developed a full range of flexible and engaging curriculum delivery options to ensure the best possible experience for our students. Our primary emphasis will be on individualized, personal interactions, while we remain adaptable to meet public health measures.
  • We will broadly employ high quality hybrid approaches to accommodate safety guidelines, particularly those for students whose health conditions prevent a return to the classroom or who may need to self-isolate. We will also offer courses online due to physical distancing and space limitations.
  • Regardless of the method of delivery, The Dominican Experience — a relationship-driven, individualized education —  will continue. Our network of integrative coaches and faculty mentors will remain focused on the success of every student.

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.

We have evaluated every campus facility, including classrooms, labs, and common spaces and have made the following changes:

  • Signs have been installed in each space, marking spaces to reinforce the importance of physical distancing.
  • Custodial teams will clean common spaces and frequently touched surfaces based on CDC guidelines for sanitizing and disinfection protocols daily.
  • Faculty, staff and students will be asked to do their part to keep surfaces clean. Penguin Protection Stations, stocked with cleaning and sanitizing supplies, have been placed throughout the campus. The community is expected to supplement cleaning provided by custodial services by cleaning their personal workspaces, as well as supplementing cleaning of frequently-touched equipment.
  • Ventilation systems have been assessed and are in compliance with current state guidelines, which includes updating HVAC filters and adding air filtration equipment to smaller spaces without windows. Additionally, when and wherever possible, windows and doors will be left open to reduce handling and increase air flow.

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.

Marin Health and Human Services has approved the reopening of residence halls with two reduced capacity and a thorough testing regime.

  • In an effort to reduce the potential spread of COVID, students should avoid travel to and from locations outside of campus as much as possible. Access to residential units will be restricted to ONLY the assigned residents. No visitors/guests (including other resident students) will be allowed in a residential unit. Non-resident guests/visitors are not allowed in any campus residence hall space at any time.
  • The University is reducing room occupancy across campus to single and double rooms (no triples).  Shared spaces like lounges have been closed; laundry rooms have established capacity and physical distancing guidelines.
  • In accordance with public health guidelines, some single rooms with private restrooms have been reserved for isolation and quarantine for students who may not be able to be isolated off-campus or at home. In the case all isolation rooms are full, the University will pursue off-campus facilities to accommodate isolation or quarantining needs.
  • The University will support screening, isolation, quarantine, and care for students showing symptoms of COVID-19. Support includes isolating resident students in their room, or if necessary, moving them to a reserved isolation room. Meals will be delivered should they choose to remain on campus. All students will receive support to complete classes remotely.

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.

Campus dining has reopened using the protocols developed with the County health inspector.

  • All meals in Caleruega will be safely delivered and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines as well as local Marin County Environmental Health (MCEH) guidelines.
  • Epicurean Group (EG) has also developed a plan that has been reviewed and approved by MCEH, and will continue to update and review guidance on a regular basis. EG will operate on a cashless basis in accordance with Marin County Health guidelines and provide a system that accepts credit card or Penguin Pass payments.
  • Social distancing measures and signage are in place for all meal periods, and all seating has been arranged in respect to these measures. Additional outdoor seating has been added.
  • EG staff will wear the proper EPE when on the Dominican campus, especially in high traffic areas, and all staff members will be temperature screened prior to the beginning of their shift. EG employees will also attest that they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not had contact with those that are currently COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms.
  • Frequent sanitization between mealtimes and nightly disinfecting will be implemented. A sanitation station will be available.
  • Grab and Go Options Pre-order and prepay opportunities will be available through the mobile ordering app that can be downloaded from your app store. The app will allow online ordering and pick up for Chilly’s Cafe if a student does not wish to sit in the dining hall for their meals.

For more details, review the Penguin Prepared Plan.


Since June, 60 members of the Dominican community have been working to design a strategy to return to onsite work, teaching and learning. They met regularly to review the latest medical guidance, as well as Federal, State, and County policies and regulations, in order to evaluate a wide range of options related to every facet of campus life. The Penguin Prepared Plan comprises Dominican University of California’s comprehensive plan to resume onsite work for faculty and staff, and to allow students to return to campus beginning in August 2020. This plan has received approval by Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS).

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The Dominican Experience Flex

Highly personalized teaching, thoughtful mentoring, and meaningful interactions with the community are at the heart of every student’s Dominican experience. None of this will change despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Learn More About Flex
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find up-to-date information about Dominican's health and safety plan.

Spring 2021 FAQs
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COVID-19 Information

Here you will find COVID-19 campus updates and resources, including messages from the president and our current COVID-19 campus dashboard.

Updates From the President Additional News and Resources COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard
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Our Campus

Our beautiful, spacious campus grounds allow for community even as we employ best public health protocols.

Our Campus Virtually Tour

The Campus Responds to COVID-19

Questions? Please contact us.