Visiting program update to vaccination requirements
December 24, 2021
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide updated guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements as they relate to visiting.
This memorandum supersedes direction for in-person visiting provided in the following memorandums:
- Plata Order Regarding Mandatory Vaccination for Incarcerated People (October 27, 2021)
- Increasing Capacity for Indoor Group Activities, Programming, and Visiting (December 8, 2021)
Due to the recent appearance of the highly contagious Omicron Variant of COVID-19, we will not increase visiting capacity at this time. We will continue to work with our public health experts to monitor conditions and increase capacity when it is safe to do so. We will continually evaluate the situation and provide updates to the field.
Effective the week of January 3, 2022, incarcerated persons must be fully vaccinated, or have an approved medical or religious exemption, prior to participating in the in-person and family visiting programs. Fully vaccinated is defined as being 14 days past the last injection of your injection series. Vaccinated incarcerated persons are not required to submit to a Polymerase-Chain-Reaction (PCR) test prior to their visit. Unvaccinated incarcerated persons with a medical or religious exemption are required to submit to a PCR test resulting in a negative result within 72 hours of their visit. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated incarcerated persons with a medical or religious exemption will be required to submit to a PCR test three to five days after their visit. All vaccinated incarcerated persons will be given a procedure mask to wear during their visit. All unvaccinated incarcerated persons with a medical or religious exemption will be given a N95 mask to wear during their visit.
Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated incarcerated persons will be permitted to participate in the video-visiting program. Institutions will be required to provide at least one day of the video-visiting program, and work with their respective Inmate Family Council (IFC) and Inmate Advisory Council (IAC) on this process. All vaccinated and unvaccinated incarcerated persons will be given a procedure mask to wear during their video-visit. Wardens, if you have any concerns regarding providing video-visiting please work with your Associate Director.
Existing vaccination and testing requirements for visitors will not change. All visitors including children must present proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their visit. On-site testing is not available and self-administered tests will not be accepted. Visitors presenting proof of vaccination will be given a procedure mask that they shall wear during their visit. Visitors who are unvaccinated and present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of their visit will be given a N95 mask that they shall wear during their visit.
The current method of scheduling will remain the same for video visiting, with visitors scheduling visits through the Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA). The only exceptions will be when scheduling visits at a fire camp or California Health Care Facility (CHCF). Visitors at these locations will continue to schedule visits by email. Institutions are expected to continually update their Visiting Facility Status to ensure visitors have access to the most current information regarding their facilities.
Child play areas will be made available with the minimum age of minor visitors remaining age two and above. COVID-19 sanitation protocols will be followed throughout the visiting day. Areas of high physical contact will continue to be cleaned and disinfected between each visit.
We will continue to monitor the process and provide updates as they occur.