Clearance Issues Add Stress For Students

Students are having difficulty getting cleared through the school’s Cleared4 app


Jianping Cao

Students ask questions at an information booth outside the Mt. SAC library on Sept. 21.

Due to the college’s decision to require vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests as of Sept. 12 and the possibility of losing in-person campus services and classes, students have been having trouble getting “cleared” through the Cleared4 app.

Faculty are now implementing the college’s decision by checking their rosters for “cleared” and uncleared students to follow the new guidelines. Students, however, often do not keep track of their emails and many have claimed to not know about these new guidelines and requirements.

“I didn’t get an email, phone call or text,” accounting major Omar Guiterrez Rosas said. “When I came to campus to get tutoring for my math class they wanted me to show my pass. I was confused so they redirected me to get tested.”

This confusion led to a subreddit on Reddit listing all issues at Mt. SAC, including the issues with student clearance. One Reddit user who goes by “saltymango” described their frustration over the lack of receiving their test results after two days, and another user under the name “WaywardSon2244” described how their information was denied.

Several students have uploaded their vaccination status, but still have clearance issues because the system did not recognize their vaccination. Others receive clearance the same day from testing and vaccination sites around campus.

There is assistance on campus in the form of student ambassadors with Student Services. Patricia Alarcon is a 23-year-old student ambassador who worked at the building 13 testing site on Sept. 16.

“I help students upload direct vaccination cards and I help them through the appointments and just answer your questions in general that they might have,” Alarcon said. “There’s an ambassador in most of the stations.”

Student service station staff members outside the library, like Garren Haynes, answer questions specific to clearance as well, to help people get cleared to access the library.

“We started to work at the station from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for students asking COVID-19 questions,” Haynes said. “Many students asked us how to have a Cleared4 certified Code Pass if they took their weekly testing and are still waiting for the result.”

Students who receive a self administered COVID-19 test will also be notified to receive clearance to return to class.

“If they are positive,” phlebotomist Jennifer Garcia added. “Then it is someone from the school that contacts them and lets them know what the protocol is, which I’m not familiar with.”

This would be handled by contact tracing under Human Resources, but staffers not familiar with these protocols highlights another issue with the system.

One of SAC.Media’s editors was directly affected by the implementation of this new protocol.
Before the beginning of the fall semester, SAC.Media conducted an editorial vote to have all current editors working in both SAC.Media and Substance Magazine to be fully vaccinated in order to work in the newsroom.

As the editor received her second dose and uploaded her proof of vaccination to her Cleared4 account, the school did not clear her for return to class. To further follow the protocols that the school has implemented, she received a test at 10 a.m. and was told to go home before receiving temporary clearance at 5 p.m. on Sept 23.

She told the workers that she had class before and after the test, but they told her that they are not the ones in charge of verifying clearance. At the testing site, she witnessed a student receive a test and a pink wristband in order to attend class with a temporary clearance, the editor did not receive any such wristband.

The two week period after the second dose ended on Sept. 28 for this editor and they were fully cleared to return, but their experience and treatment during that period did not match their peers.

Students who have had their vaccination records denied or have not received clearance to return to campus can email [email protected] or call (909) 274-5122.

Students who refuse to get vaccinated or to receive weekly testing might face similar consequences to students who do not obey the Aug. 15 face covering requirement for indoors. Students who do not wear any face coverings without showing proof of a medical condition or any reason that excuses them from wearing a mask will be subjected to student discipline.

According to the Student Services Discipline Procedures students will be asked to leave the classroom for the day and the instructor will be required to submit a misconduct report to the Student Life Official. The Student Life Official may set up a meeting between the student and instructor and may be in attendance upon request from either party. The student will be provided with a report by mail, email or personal delivery of the alleged violation with a request to schedule a conference within five days.

“There’s always a risk and with COVID being highly infectious an outbreak is possible,” criminal justice major Luis Cervantes told SAC.Media. “A mandate should be given. It just depends on how responsible we are following CDC guidelines.”

The risk of an outbreak remains present, especially since students that are “cleared” might also not actually be cleared.

“I am concerned about a COVID outbreak only because of all the news stories of teenagers buying and selling fake vaccine cards,” psychology major Emily Hogle said. “It still makes me nervous that someone next to me may be lying about their vaccine status.”