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01/07/2022 - In-Person Instruction Resumes January 10

To: The Campus Community 

From:  Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs
David A. Tirrell, Provost
Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Presiden

Following a week of online instruction, repopulation of the campus, and intensive testing for COVID-19, in-person instruction will resume on Monday, January 10.

Nearly all of our undergraduate and graduate courses are scheduled to meet in person, and all are planned to include in-person components. At the same time, in order to scale up campus activity in a measured manner that reduces the risk of viral transmission on campus, social restrictions and efforts to de-densify campus through remote work will continue. The restrictions with respect to on-campus residences and apartments, indoor events, campus dining, and the gym that were announced in our December 29 communication remain in place. The only exception is that divisional seminars and indoor athletic competitions, without spectators, can resume. We will continue to assess infection rates in order to determine an appropriate time frame for relaxing current restrictions.

Our decision to resume in-person instruction reflects the importance of personal interactions in the educational experience of our students, and follows a week of careful monitoring of the campus community for COVID-19. While a sharp increase in cases was recorded at the start of the term, that extraordinarily high level of activity has not been sustained through the week. Surveillance testing has continued to identify members of the community who are asymptomatic and positive for COVID-19, and it will continue to be an essential tool in our effort to identify infections early and minimize spread on campus. We are prepared to return to a fully remote instructional program if our testing results indicate that in-person class meetings are contributing to viral transmission.

As we return to in-person learning, instructors will have individual discretion to determine whether their classes will meet in person or remotely. Instructors will work in real time with their divisions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their courses. A daily report, delivered by 5 p.m., will provide instructors with information on any students enrolled in their courses who are under isolation or quarantine orders that would preclude them from attending class in person. Instructors will use this information to determine meeting format, which may shift over the course of the term; students will hear directly from their instructors on such changes. Furthermore, students who are unable to attend class because of isolation or quarantine orders will be able to work with their instructors to access course material they missed.

Information about winter-term instruction can be found at learn.caltech.edu for students, and at teach.caltech.edu for instructors. Students with questions should contact their advisors or the appropriate dean's office. Instructors with questions should contact their Division Operations Officers.

Thank you for your cooperation and for the care with which you have approached the return to campus this term. Please continue to take all recommended precautions to ensure a safe campus environment as we pursue our shared commitment to sustaining the highest possible quality in our educational and research programs.