Claremont Colleges To Continue Online Classes, Scripps, CMC To Allow Outdoor Option


Earlier this evening, the member institutions of the Claremont Consortium announced a new set of guidelines for the remainder of the month of January. Online classes, a measure announced earlier this month to combat the spread of COVID-19 following the holiday break, will continue at Pomona, Pitzer, and Harvey Mudd College, until January 31. Faculty at Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College (CMC) will “have the individual option to teach in-person only outdoors with Dean of the Faculty approval and as long as faculty accommodate those students who are not able to attend in person for Week Two.”


In her email, Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr said that “all students need to be back on campus by January 26. This allows students who are still away time to receive on-campus COVID-19 testing and results, which are required before attending in-person classes. So far this week, 3.1 percent of student tests (out of 1,253) are positive for COVID-19. With the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant, this positivity rate is higher than what we experienced in fall semester. At the same time, it is currently far lower than our medical experts projected and far lower than the rates experienced by institutions in our region that began their semester earlier this month.”


Additionally, “students who test positive must enter isolation, and we are currently making use of roughly one-third of our available isolation capacity. All isolation housing is clustered on campus, with staff members providing meal and supply deliveries for the students.” Students “can reduce their time in isolation from 10 days to six days if they test negative on an antigen test administered by Student Health Services.”


Starr assured students that the Pomona “community is continuing to meet the challenges of the pandemic. We are adding additional outdoor classrooms and are providing upgraded masks to everyone in our community who requests them, among other safety steps. Staff members are working constantly to respond to the demands of the Omicron surge, and please be aware that in some instances we will face temporary staffing shortfalls and supply constraints. We will address the challenges: To supplement our existing dining options for students, we will have food trucks on campus next week (details will be emailed to all students). Starting January 31 with the return of in-person classes, our dining halls will discontinue grab-and-go service and return to the more regular service, with primarily outdoor seating.”


Scripps’ Dean of Students and Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, Adriana di Bartolo-Beckman, said that “all common spaces in the residential halls will be open as of Monday, January 24. All residence hall kitchens will remain available for food preparation only. There should be no eating or drinking in the shared kitchens. Surgical-grade mask or higher is required at all times in all indoor spaces and students are encouraged to maintain distance from others while indoors. Other common spaces across campus, including SCORE, Student Union, classrooms, conference rooms, etc. will remain closed until further notice.”

Di Bartolo-Beckman also explained that “[t]he Tiernan Field House will remain open for outdoor activities only, and the Field House pool will remain closed until further notice. Scripps students can use functional and cardiovascular equipment (bikes and rowing machines) on the lower and upper balconies, outside of TFH. Access to the Field House will be through the west balcony and patrons will not be able to access restrooms or locker rooms until further notice.”

The dean’s email also specified that “[a]ll student events must continue to be virtual or outdoors. CLORGS and other Scripps-only groups will be able to plan events during this time. All events must be requested and approved through the Office of Student Engagement. Events for the spring semester are currently being reviewed. As a reminder, events are limited to 10 students at a time including host(s)/facilitator(s) and participants. A surgical-grade mask or higher is required at all times for in-person outdoor events. Eating and drinking will not be allowed at events during this time. Again, these protocols are in place for the beginning of the semester.”

According to di Bartolo-Beckman, “[t]he Student Deans Committee will meet in February to reevaluate cross-campus activities. 7C students will not be permitted in Scripps housing. This will also be reevaluated in the coming weeks.”