3/12/2021 - Expansion of Some On-Campus Activities and Programs
To: The Campus Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
David A. Tirrell, Provost
Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs
In preparation for the county's move to the state's less restrictive red tier status on Monday, March 15, Caltech has worked closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department to safely expand on-campus activities.
Increased access to campus will be a welcome development, permitting members of our community to connect professionally and socially. At the same time, safety protocols will remain in place to ensure that these interactions are in accordance with public health orders and the Institute's existing physical distancing, face covering, and surveillance testing requirements. For the coming spring term, city and county health authorities have indicated that colleges and universities still won't be allowed to house students in congregate living settings.
As an initial step at the start of the spring term, we will expand access to on-campus recreational and academic offerings for students living in the Pasadena area:
- Undergraduate musicians will be able to reserve for personal use one of seven practice rooms in the Music House.
- Students and eligible community members may participate in additional outdoor activities facilitated by Caltech Athletics, including spring-term training sessions for student athletes and group fitness sessions.
- Later this spring, some graduate student recreation leagues will resume.
Updates on available athletic and recreational programs and the process for accessing these facilities and programs will be available on the Caltech Athletics and Recreation website.
In addition to increased access to activity spaces, we anticipate increasing the operating density in our research laboratories. Specific guidelines for doing so will be developed in consultation with the divisions and the Committee on Reconstituting On-Campus Research, and will be distributed within the next two weeks. Increasing the personnel limit in research spaces will provide faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates with greater access to laboratories in the months ahead, and also allow staff to move forward with plans for resuming some in-person summer research programs and activities.
While the current health order restricts universities from populating on-campus residences through spring, we intend to reopen campus housing in June to a limited number of students participating in approved summer programs. Ultimately, both the expansion of research and a return to residential living are important steps toward realizing a full return of the residential living and learning experience in the fall.
Protecting the Health of the Community
As we expand our on-campus activity, we must keep in mind that all individuals reporting to campus are required to adhere to all of the Institute's preventative measures, regardless of vaccination status. These include:
- Recording on-campus activity in the COVID-19 Reporting Application;
- Wearing a face covering;
- Maintaining physical distance from others; and
- Participating in the on-campus surveillance testing program.
In addition, we encourage everyone to make arrangements for vaccination against COVID-19 at the earliest possible time, consistent with eligibility rules established by local health authorities.
Though the case numbers are diminishing, COVID-19 is likely to remain a public health challenge for the foreseeable future. Vaccination will help protect you, your family, and your community from serious illness. Likewise, Caltech will continue campus-based testing and safety protocols to help protect all members of the community who access campus—even those who are fully vaccinated.
All members who are accessing campus on a regular or one-off basis should have approval from their manager, supervisor, or division office. Furthermore, all members of the community who can continue to work remotely should do so.
We welcome the prospect of expanded on-campus activity, cognizant that we must move forward with the same care and diligence we have exercised throughout the pandemic. Thank you for your continued efforts to help the Institute maintain momentum while supporting the health and wellbeing of all members of the community.