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COVID-19 Updates

Santa Clara University COVID-19 Updates 

Find more information about Santa Clara University's plans for safe return to campus at Prepared SCU.


JST Berkeley Campus COVID-19 Updates

The Jesuit School of Theology is in the City of Berkeley, Alameda County. Find more information about the following:

Vaccinination Requirements

SCU has announced to students, including the Jesuit School of Theology, their intent to fully return to campus in the Fall 2021. “Santa Clara University will require graduate and undergraduate students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 for fall 2021. The requirement will go into effect once at least one of the three currently available vaccines has received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the start of fall term, whichever is later.” All students will be asked about their vaccine status prior to their arrival on campus for the fall quarter. We will work to help arriving students obtain a vaccination if they have been unable to obtain one at their home location.

Will exemptions be available? 

Reasonable accommodations for medical exemptions from vaccination will be considered. We will work to accommodate students from outside the United States. Students in these situations will be able to request an exception and, once it is approved, will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing. Other requirements may also apply. For more information, please read our Vaccine FAQ.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Testing is provided free of charge on the JST campus. If you have completed your vaccine series you are still required to test up to three weeks following your last vaccination. 


Dear JST,

Today Santa Clara University announced its decision about teaching and work modalities for the beginning of our semester here at JST (see the message below).  With the rest of the University, our school will be returning to in-person activities next week, on Monday, 31 January.  While this decision might occasion feelings of relief for some or of trepidation for others, it is good for us to remember that we need to continue to follow SCU’s reasonable safety requirements with patience and with concern for each other’s health and varying sensibilities.  With the staff’s help, I have developed below the details of what this decision means for particular aspects of the life of our school.

Building Operations

The main door to the JST Academic Building will be open from 7:45 am to 5 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The main door will be open from 7:45 am to 8 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we have evening classes.

Academic Delivery

Classes will meet in person starting on January 31 unless a class is specifically identified as being remote in the GTU Course Schedule. If an instructor becomes infected with COVID, the class will be held remotely until the end of the infection. A student infected with COVID will make arrangements with the instructor to attend the class remotely or to do remedial work until the end of the infection. Students who take courses at another GTU school or University of California–Berkeley should check what is the momentary or permanent delivery mode.

Liturgy & Community Life

We will resume the daily liturgy schedule in the JST Chapel on Tuesday, February 1, as follows:

Tuesday-Friday:  8:00 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Saturday:  8:30 a.m.

On Friday, February 4, at 5:15 p.m. PST, we will celebrate the festive Mass of Gathering for the spring semester, as well as the Lunar New Year.  This Mass will be livestreamed.

Please do not attend if you are having any COVID symptoms, or have not completed isolation protocol following infection, or have not completed your initial JST-SCU testing for the spring semester.

Doors will be open for ventilation during our liturgies, so wear jackets for the cooler temperatures.

We will follow SCU guidelines for gathering in person for school community events and programs, as posted here.  For information on both in-person and online events, please see the weekly Magis school newsletter issued on Fridays, as well as e-mail announcements.

Staff and Faculty Work Arrangements

As of 31 January, the default setting for staff will be to do their work at their desks at JST.  As we start in-person classes, students and faculty in need of staff attention will return to our building.   However, the flexible work experiment that allows supervisors to have their direct reports work from home up to two days per week will be in force until the end of February.  All those who have already set up such flexible work arrangements may continue them, subject to the varying needs of their areas as interpreted by their supervisors.  The best way to gain access to staff members in person will be to verify by e-mail or by phone the days when they will be at JST.

While faculty office hours, department meetings, and other obligations can be performed online, I encourage those faculty members who can to return to the normal regime of office hours so that they can be available for in-person meetings with students.

All of what I have written above will depend on each of us doing our part to keep ourselves and each other safe from illness.  I therefore remind you of a number of health procedures that we will all have to follow with care.

Testing Requirements and Arrangements

  • On campus residents are required to test weekly through Color, and all students, staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to test weekly, as well.

    • Testing through Color is available at the Front Desk of the JST. Test kits are picked up from the Front Desk and dropped off at the collection bin in front of the Front Desk on collection days.

    • Test Kits are available for pick up on Mondays (8AM-5PM)/Tuesdays(8AM-1PM) OR Wednesdays(8AM-5PM)/Thursdays(8AM-1PM).

    • Collection days are Tuesday by 1:00 PM and Thursdays by 1:00 PM.

  • All students with medical exemption and faculty and staff with medical or religious exemption are required to test weekly as well.

  • All students, regardless of vaccination status, must complete entry testing the first week of the Spring 2022 semester or when they return to campus for the first time.

    • Students must test once at the beginning of the week, and once at the end of the week (e.g.Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday).

    • All staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to complete entry testing as well.

  • Students who suspect they may have been recently exposed to Covid-19 or who have Covid-like symptoms can take a rapid antigen test.

Mask Requirements

  • Masks must be worn when people are inside the main building, the chapel, and public spaces in our apartments, regardless of vaccination status. N95, KN95 or KF94 are strongly recommended and offer the best protection against the Omicron variant.

  • KN95 masks are available at the Front Desk.

Vaccine and Booster Instructions

  • All students, staff and faculty who have not been granted an approved exemption are required to get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible.

  •  All JST students must upload their most updated vaccination information into Cowell Center/ My Student Health Portal.

  • All GTU students in JST housing need to verify their most updated vaccination information with the Manager of Housing and Building Operations.

  • All staff and faculty must upload their most updated vaccination information to Workday.

  • The deadline for uploading the booster information for students, staff and faculty is March 17, 2022.

  • The deadline for new incoming spring semester students to upload initial vaccination verification is February 11, 2022.

JST’s safety procedures are fully in line with pertinent regulations of the City of Berkeley and Alameda County.

This message has been long.  Thanks for your care in reading it.  In the Greek of the New Testament, the same word often connotes both health and salvation.  We have experienced the appropriateness of this vocabulary many times in the last two years.  The beginning of our spring term gives us one more chance to praise the Great Physician and to pray for all those in need of divine healing in body, mind, or spirit.  At this time, I ask you to pray especially for our own emeritus professor, John Endres, S.J., who is struggling with cancer at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.

In Jesus,

Joe Mueller, S.J.


Dear JST,

A number of statements in the last few days lead me to announce anew pandemic safety procedures for JST. On 11 June the Health and Human Services Agency of the State of California announced a new order on such matters, an order that became effective on 15 June. The City of Berkeley has decided to "align" itself with this new order. Finally, the Human Resources office of Santa Clara University put out today the message reproduced below.

The following procedures are henceforth in place at JST.

[1] At least through 30 June (by which point we hope to have new workplace regulations from the State of California), masks and 6-feet of social distancing are required indoors for all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors. If you are alone in a closed room and are fully vaccinated, you may go without your mask in that context.

[2] Unvaccinated individuals are required to be tested weekly if they visit campus once or more per week; watch for the e-mail messages from William Troche on the scheduling of those weekly tests. I warmly encourage those faculty or staff members who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

[3] No one need fill out the daily symptom survey on the SCU website before coming to the JST campus.

[4] Any member of the JST faculty or staff or any student employee or contract employee who wishes to frequent the JST academic building once or more per week may request permission to do so. Faculty may receive this permission only from me. Staff and other employees can address such requests to their respective supervisors. Permission will be granted only if such presence in the building is needed for the proper accomplishment of an individual's job. Our default setting is still to work away from JST.

[5] Anyone with permission to enter the JST academic building one or more times per week must fill out this one-time survey. If you don't know whether you have such permission and think you need it in order to do your job, ask your supervisor (for faculty that supervisor is the Dean). If you have already been granted such permission, you must fill out the survey.

Thanks for your attention to these procedures and for your patience as we inch toward increased removal of health-and-safety restrictions. My hope is to have better news for you as the summer continues. Let us continue to pray for the end of this pandemic throughout the world!

In our Lord,

Joseph G. Mueller, S.J.
Dean, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

In a message to the Berkeley campus community, Dean Mueller announced that, "JST is planning to return to in-person teaching and on-campus work by all faculty and staff next fall.

This planning comes with some conditions. First, we have an on-line option for our MTS degree; we will plan to offer the on-line course options needed by students in this program. Second, our plans will at all times be subject to the regulations and orders of the City of Berkeley, the County of Alameda, and the State of California. If the public authorities allow us to operate in person (as we hope that they will do), we will operate in person. The public authorities, however, have not yet made that decision.

Since we plan at this point to resume in-person instruction in the fall, we anticipate that JST will offer enough in-person classes for international students (new and/or continuing) with Initial immigration records to be eligible to enter the U.S. for the fall semester. We anticipate that continuing students with Active immigration records will need to return to the U.S. for in-person instruction in the Fall."

Read Dean Mueller's message in full.

Regarding fall 2021 return to campus, President Kevin O'Brien, S.J., and Provost Kloppenberg announced that Santa Clara University is "preparing for our graduate programs to resume many in-person classes, with some classes continuing in hybrid or remote format, depending on the modality of a program before Covid and to address students’ needs.”  Read the university announcement in full.

In a message to the campus community, Dean Mueller shared JST’s plans for the spring 2021 semester. JST will plan to offer every one of its courses totally on line from January through May 2021. If the public health situation and governmental rules allow, JST will consider adding an in-person component to our classes, when possible, for students who live in the geographical region of JST. Any move to add an in-person component to an on-line course will not diminish the possibility for any student, whether in Berkeley or not, to participate in an exclusively on-line way.

Dean Mueller shared that these decisions were made in consideration of the health and safety of our school community and in compliance with the local and state health authorities’ guidance and orders. This decision was also rooted in consideration of our international student population, an integral part of our school community who will need online access to classes for as long as they are unable to travel to the United States.

He concluded his message by recognizing the profound challenges faced by many members of the JST community in our various circumstances, reminding us that while our challenges may be unique, we do not face them alone.

On July 14th, Provost Kloppenberg announced that JST plans to join other graduate schools at Santa Clara University (SCU) in delivering courses in fall 2020 by using a hybrid model

Even though the vast majority of our academic programming will be offered online, we are planning to provide a limited number of courses that will include a substantial in-person component in the event that we can offer them safely.

Students should continue working directly with their respective academic advisors to identify what courses they should enroll in.

JST classes are to be delivered remotely for the fall 2020 semester.

Considering that the opportunity for face-to-face meetings will continue to be severely curtailed, we have decided to deliver our coursework and community events remotely for the fall 2020 semester. This decision was made so that our students can continue (or begin) their studies without significant interruption. While all of our classes will be delivered remotely, we will try to augment remote coursework, when safe and permissible, with in-person encounters and ministry experiences.

Click here to read the full statement regarding this decision from Interim Dean Benders.

Resources through SCU

JST students who are experiencing food insecurity because of the shelter-in-place order may request assistance with the SCU Bronco Pantry. Please indicate that you are from JST.

JST students who are experiencing financial need as a result of COVID-19, please see the SCU Financial Aid page for information on the SCU Emergency Fund and submit the request at this link.

Resources in the Community

Food Assistance:

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Guide to Food Resources in Alameda County

- Food Helpline (for anyone residing in Alameda County, no verification required) for information on food pantries and hot food services near you
- CalFresh (formerly food stamps, for US citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees)
- Meals on Wheels (for seniors who are homebound)
- Senior Brown Bag (for low income seniors over 60 years of age)

United Way Bay Area
Call 2-1-1 to speak with a local trained specialist who can connect you to services providing food, shelter, childcare, legal assistance, and more.

Other Forms of Assistance

Alameda County Rapid Response Resources
This document lists websites and information on essential help during this time. It indicates relaxation of government and business rules regarding wait times, scheduled payments and other forms of assistance, including:
- Apply for CalFresh (formerly food stamps)
- EBMUD and PG&E moratoriums on service disconnection and bill reduction
- Rules for state disability and unemployment insurance for reasons of COVID-19
- Extension of state and federal tax filing deadlines
- AC Transit and BART changes in policy
- Cellular service hardship policies

California Department of Public Health

Center for Disease Control

Dear JST Community,

It seems like a hundred years since yesterday! I pray you are all still safe and sound. I'm trying not to send too many messages, but this is important. I'll be brief.

Classes: All classes will continue online/remotely through the end of this academic year, as decided by the President's Office.

JST Apartments: Residents in JST Housing will be allowed to remain in their apartments until the end of their leases. This is our best information now. I apologize for the confusing text some residents received yesterday from the University administration, which applied only to dormitory residents on the main campus.

Graduation: No word yet on how JST's graduation will be handled in May. We ask for your patience.

We know this is a difficult and stressful time for our community, just as it is everywhere. Everyone seems to be feeling a deep sense of loss and uncertainty that escalates daily. The best medicine may be to reach out and care for others around you. Here is a note from Maya Ackerman, SCU Engineering Professor, with her thoughts on what we can do:

I've been worried about the impact of the coronavirus on the lives of many, from both a health and financial standpoint. So, I did some research and ended up putting together a short article on what individuals can do to help others.

With prayers and hope in these turbulent times,



Dear JST Community,

I truly hope you are well in these uncharted times. Today, Alameda County and the City of Berkeley issued a 'shelter in place' order, effective tonight at midnight through April 7, 2020. Here's what that means for JST.

Classes: Faculty and students will continue to hold classes remotely through April 13, 2020. There is no change. From faculty members' reports, things seem to be going very well. We're having an all faculty meeting on Wednesday to share our experiences and make sure there are no difficulties. Spring Reading Week will be March 23-27, as planned. We will move all advising meetings to online or telephone. Thank you to Mey Saechao and other academic staff who are supporting online Zoom meetings and technology. And a big thank you to our great faculty who are so profoundly committed to student learning and support in these days.

Academic Building: The academic building at 1735 LeRoy is now closed and will remain so at least through April 7. The building alarm will be set. Only essential facilities staff will be allowed to enter the building. My deepest gratitude to Tanisha Sparks, Director for Finance and Administration, for all the hours she has spent communicating with the main campus about building security and our community's health.

JST Residences: The 'shelter in place' orders apply to all JST apartment residents. Tanisha will be in regular contact with you to be sure you are safe and secure.

Daily Liturgies: Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to offer daily liturgy in JST's Gesu Chapel. Many thanks to Paul Kircher and Marty Connell, SJ for working together planning to keep our worship together as consistent as possible. Watch for more from Paul about alternatives.

JST's 50th Anniversary: With regret, we will have to postpone our 50th Anniversary celebration set for Saturday, April 25. We will also cancel the April 28 interfaith prayer service at the Tuesday evening community supper. Once we determine the new dates in the fall, we will be sure to inform you. We look forward to sharing the memories of JST's past 50 (or 51) years with all of you.

GTU (from Interim President Uriah Kim):
Following the order to “shelter in place,” the Library building will be closed starting tomorrow until at least April 7th and all GTU staff must work remotely. Here is the following announcement:

  • As of 5pm on March 16, 2020, and continuing through April 7, 2020, all in-person services are suspended, and the building is closed.
  • Remote services will continue on M-F, 10am-5pm.
  • Access to all virtual services will continue. Learn more by viewing this online webinar.
  • Ask-a-librarian: Chat available via the library webpage, email or zoom by appointment.
  • Guide for distance students
  • Guide to remote resources

I've been conferring daily with the JST Deans Cabinet members (Drew Roberts, Paul Kircher, Tanisha Sparks, Dianna Gallagher and Ed Stewart), who are wise and committed to our community's well being. Some decisions and policies are not yet finalized. We will continue to give you as much information as we can  -  as events unfold.   Please also watch your email for communications from the SCU senior administration, especially from President O'Brien and his staff.   

May God be with us in these turbulent times.  Let us take good care of each other.  And let us keep those who are sick and those who minister to them in our prayers.



Dear JST Community,

I realize that this week has been very overwhelming and that we have many uncertainties as we move forward. On top of trying to figure out everything here, many of you have have concerns over family members, school closings or communities where you serve. It is a difficult time indeed. In the midst of all of this, I wanted to say thank you for your creativity, graciousness, and patience as we tread in unknown waters. It heartening to be at a place with such amazing people!

Here are the plans for JST's school operations and buildings for the next few weeks.

Most importantly, we will continue with our semester as normally as possible. However, the University leadership has asked us to limit the number of people on campus. Therefore, all employees who can work remotely are asked to do so starting Monday March 16, 2020. Supervisors will set up Temporary Remote Work Agreements for the students and staff who report to them. These need to be in place before remote work begins. Staff members should consult with their supervisors about specific reasons for coming to campus.

We will have 1-2 staff members on campus during the days to handle essential matters and be available for unexpected matters. The outside doors will be locked but not alarmed. You will need your key card for access.

Courses are already offered online. Faculty members are encouraged to work from home and to limit their trips to campus. All student-faculty meetings should take place virtually: by phone or zoom.

Here is some additional information.

  • Front desk phone number: 510-549-5000.

  • Laptops and electronic file access:
    • Staff and faculty should take their laptops home for working on school matters. People who need to borrow a laptop should contact Jasmine (x5000).
    • Please make arrangements to access your electronic files away from the office - especially those that are not already on Google drive.
    • VPN - On the SCU website for COVID-19, there are instructions for how to install VPN on your laptop. This will give you remote access to the ‘Everyone Drive’ and your personal drive.
    • You can also download a Google app to receive your desktop items. Drew Roberts will offer a Google Drop session at noon on March 13 to demonstrate. Bring your laptop.
    • Borrow a thumb drive from Mey to transport files.
    • Upload all desktop files to Google now.

  • Mail, packages and phones:
    • The front desk will be staffed. Mail and incoming calls will be handled by the staff who are present in the building.
    • Mail can be forwarded, saved, or scanned to save you a trip to campus. Tanisha will share a process for that in the coming days.
    • Do not have Amazon or other personal packages delivered to JST. This will only add to our burden and delay your access.
    • Your voicemail messages can be delivered to you through email. Instructions for setting this up are here:

  • Residents in JST's apartment buildings will find most things continuing as usual. Tanisha will communicate with residents about health and safety protocols during this time.

  • Tips for working remotely - 

Please anticipate that we will return to normal operations on April 13, 2020 according to President O'Brien's directive.

In the days ahead, we need to be mindful of protecting ourselves and others in the community. I’m grateful to all of you for your patience and forbearance as the university and our school sort through our next steps. Special thanks to the members of the Deans Cabinet (Drew Roberts, Tanisha Sparks, Paul Kircher, Dianna Gallagher, and Ed Stewart) for their planning and advice.

I’ll be sending regular updates as we know more details and can plan to restart business as usual. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need clarification or support.

Wishing everyone peace and health,



Dear JST Community,

Many of you have been asking questions about what JST and SCU are doing about protecting our community from COVID-19. Information has been coming in quickly, sometimes just partial information. I want to assure you that the JST staff has been carefully monitoring information and decisions.

This email compiles information from all JST areas to let you know where things stand now, and how you can keep track of updates.

Notices for EVERYONE in the community:

  • SCU and JST remain open with business being conducted as normally as possible.

  • President O’Brien announced at about 5:00 pm: “As of Tuesday, March 10th, SCU (and JST) will suspend face-to-face meetings of classes and move to a virtual format until Monday, April 13th.” Please see his message in your inbox and also watch for further updates from SCU offices or JST offices.

  • JST will follow the President's directive - our classes will be held virtually through Easter, with face to face meetings now scheduled to resume on April 13.

  • JST Liturgies will continue at the regularly scheduled times:
    • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.
    • Tuesday - Friday: 5:15 p.m.
    • Saturday: 8:30 a.m.

  • JST Tuesday Evening Soup Suppers and presentations are canceled for March 10 and 17. We anticipate starting up again after spring break, but please watch for notices.

  • We are monitoring JST residential population for any signs of exposure. We have no concerns so far. If we were to identify such a case, we would confer with SCU’s Student Health experts, as well as other community health offices, to provide protection for our residents.

  • JST’s public spaces are being disinfected daily.

  • If you personally have concerns about attending an in-person meeting, I ask you to contact the meeting planner to make alternate arrangements to protect your health.

For Students:

  • President O’Brien’s announcement directs students to return to their homes. We are not certain yet what this means for JST students, particularly our international students. Please watch for further information tomorrow.

  • We are waiting for instructions from the Provost's office about student workers and whether they should report to work.

  • All GTU classes are offered remotely. If you have questions about the virtual classes at another GTU school, please contact the registrar or dean of that school.

For Faculty and Staff:

  • According to President O’Brien’s announcement, John Ottoboni, SCU Chief Operation Officer will provide faculty and staff additional information about their work scheduled and locations.

  • The Faculty Meeting and Academic Council meeting on March 11 will proceed as scheduled.

  • We will provide support for faculty members to shift their courses online. The GTU and SCU offer plenty of resources to help with this and many of the faculty are well prepared for Zoom or other synchronous online platforms.

Communications Updates:

I will send JST specific updates via email as often as they are available. These will be dated and timestamped and added to our COVID-19 Updates page on our website.

As we continue in the next few weeks, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Use sensible precautions about contact with others to avoid spreading COVID-19.

We’re grateful for all you do for JST!