In a Dec. 9 email sent to students, Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh announced that students would not be allowed to return to campus this January. International students, however, may be able to enroll in a new CMC residential program in London.
Many international students experienced unique hardships this past semester, taking classes in inconvenient time zones. So, the College is creating “an adapted residential program in London for our international students who are struggling with time zone challenges in CMC coursework.”
The announcement comes at a time of increased coronavirus cases and restrictions in Los Angeles County. President Chodosh elaborated, “Given the record COVID-19 numbers in California, with 54 of the 58 counties in the most infectious purple (widespread) tier, we will have to resume a virtual program for the start of our spring semester. New daily cases in L.A. County are currently at an adjusted rate of 27 per 100,000 people, roughly four times the adjusted rate of 7 per 100,000 people required to move out of the purple tier the County has been in since March.”
President Chodosh also announced that there will be expanded opportunities for both academic and social engagement, including: “new, flexible course design for small groups of three to six students” to work with a faculty on independent projects, a new “Engage CMC” platform that features an expanded alumni directory, and a fund dedicated to ensuring creative community engagement for students led by DT Graves and Devon Maclver in the Dean of Students office.
CMC is also providing relief to furloughed employees, forming a “community furlough relief fund.” The College has raised more than $700,000 for furloughed staff. Students not returning to campus “trigger[ed] part- and full-time furloughs for 127 staff members. [CMC] will continue to provide health and other benefits for our furloughed staff. Staff are also eligible to apply for state unemployment compensation benefits.”
As of November 18, nearby Pomona College raised only $250,000 of its $300,000 target for furloughed employees, less than half as much as CMC’s current amount.
The College is ready to return to in-person learning if local and state governments permit. The potential return plan includes reduced density, twice-a-week testing, on-campus medical support through Hamilton Health Box, and a student agreement to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols. CMC is also exploring the possibility of an in-person commencement for the Class of 2021.
There are multiple upcoming virtual community forums that members of the CMC can attend to receive more information on next semester.