Scripps, Pitzer, Harvey Mudd Move Classes Online For First Two Weeks Of Spring Semester


After a preliminary announcement earlier this week, on Thursday Scripps, Pitzer, and Harvey Mudd College, members of the Claremont Consortium, sent students an email informing them that classes would be moved online for the first two weeks of the semester in response to rising COVID-19 case rates. Additionally, all students are expected to be on campus by January 17th, and “[e]mployees and students will be required to wear upgraded masks during the spring semester.”


Scripps’ email explained that “[g]iven the accelerated spread of the Omicron variant and based on recent advice from our medical advisors, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), and the CDC, the presidents of the Claremont Colleges have determined that all classes will be remote for the first two weeks of the semester. If the effect of the Omicron surge significantly wanes, the presidents have agreed to meet to reevaluate this decision on January 21. This adjustment to remote education allows us to establish a baseline of testing, minimize cross-campus contact, and provide flexibility to our students who may not be able to or want to return to campus due to exposure to or testing positively for the coronavirus and/or flight cancelations or modifications. As a result, the presidents also decided that there will be no cross-campus events or activities, nor will there be guests from other campuses allowed in the residence halls during this period.”


In addition to these restrictions, Scripps’ email included a broad range of stipulations. “The Malott Commons dining services will provide all menu items to-go in the servery along with some additional grab-and-go options. Mobile ordering will continue to be available with additional offerings. With the exception of the Malott Commons dining and the non-common areas in the residence halls, indoor areas that are shared common spaces will be closed (e.g., classrooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, break rooms, residential hall common spaces, SCORE, and the student union). Tiernan Field House will be open for outdoor activities only. The Field House pool will be closed. Employees whose job duties are not essential to be performed on campus will work remotely.”

The college encouraged students “to make use of our many outdoor spaces for activities such as dining and studying. These spaces include the outdoor classrooms on Alumnae Field and the outdoor dining and study spaces located on Elm Tree Lawn, the Edwards Humanities Building’s Lyddon Court, Seal Court, and the Mary Wig Johnson Court, adjacent to Vita Nova Hall. We most strongly recommend wearing masks at these outdoor locations when appropriate distancing is not possible.”

Scripps also stated that “[e]mployees and students will be required to wear upgraded masks during the spring semester due to the scientific evidence that cloth masks are not sufficient protection from Omicron. Masks will be provided by the College and more information about distribution will be available in the coming days.”

Harvey Mudd stated that “[t]his transition will provide additional time for everyone to return to Claremont, particularly those students who face challenges getting approval for travel visas or those who test positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate before their return to campus. As was the case last fall, students should anticipate restrictions on social gatherings for the first few weeks of the semester. The Student COVID-19 Advisory Board will meet to discuss these social guidelines and communicate them with students before move-in. Students will be expected to test regularly as we did during the fall semester. Additional information on our isolation and quarantine procedures will be sent soon from Dean Marco.”

While the other members of the Claremont Consortium (Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College) have not yet released their official policies for the start of the spring semester, it is expected that they will follow the same guidelines laid out by Scripps, Pitzer, and Harvey Mudd.


 

UPDATE:

This evening, Pomona College sent an email to students explaining its plans to move classes online for the first two weeks of the spring semester. Pomona is asking students “to arrive on campus with proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken at most 48 hours before arrival. All students will be required to be tested as instructed once they arrive on campus. Details on providing pre-travel negative test results and campus testing clinic hours will be shared in the days ahead, and required testing will continue through the spring semester. Residence halls will reopen as scheduled and we will maintain our academic calendar with classes starting January 18. We recognize the vital importance of on-campus education, and we believe in our students and our academic mission.”

Pomona also stated that ​​”[w]e recognize the need for continued community and connection, and we will emphasize smaller-scale outdoor activities during this time. More dining space will be provided outside, and we will continue to work to expand our existing array of outdoor classrooms. For interior spaces, we already have taken steps such as upgrading all air filters and replacing them more frequently. At the same time, we have revised system controls to maximize outside air to facilitate multiple air exchanges throughout the day.”


 

UPDATE:

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) announced that “to minimize increased spread due to recent travel, reduce formidable pressures on our local health care systems, and mitigate the serious educational disruptions imposed by state and county isolation protocols, the Presidents Council has made the following 5-C adjustments for the first two weeks of the semester: All classroom instruction will be online. If conditions improve in advance of the second week of the semester, we will allow faculty the option to continue to teach online or to teach in person in the second week; To avoid large congregations, all of the colleges will decrease indoor dining as much as practicable. At CMC, this means grab-and-go meals at Collins Dining Hall, the Hub, and on-site food trucks. We are adding heated outdoor tents on campus for convenience; and [t]o reduce density and potential spread, the colleges will not be allowing guests from other campuses inside their own residence halls or apartments.”

In addition, “all students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated. We are defining fully vaccinated to include boosters for those who are eligible. If you haven’t already done so, please upload proof of your vaccine and booster here. Also note that all returning students must show proof of a negative PCR test, to be taken within 72 hours prior to returning. Faculty and staff must receive a negative PCR test result before they can come to campus.”