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3/17/2022 - Updated rules on campus meetings, events, and indoor dining

To: The Caltech Community

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

Date: March 17, 2022

Re: Updated rules on campus meetings, events, and indoor dining

As of today, March 17, 2022, the Institute is relaxing restrictions related to on-campus meetings, events, and indoor dining that were implemented to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus. The changes are another step in returning the Institute to its pre-pandemic operations, and one that we are able to take both because of the high rate of vaccination and booster compliance among members of the Caltech community and because the region has experienced a sustained decrease in COVID-19 cases. We continue to monitor the public health landscape, including case rates on campus, and will adjust our policies in accord with the data.

The Institute's requirements regarding the use of masks in instructional spaces and participation in the Institute's testing program remain in effect; anyone not yet participating in twice-weekly surveillance testing is encouraged to do so. All research, academic, and administrative buildings will continue to be locked and accessible via keycard access only. This helps to limit entry to those who are in compliance with the Institute's vaccination and booster requirement.

The following policy changes take effect today:

  • Individuals may congregate and gather indoors in accordance with the established building code limits for occupancy. The Institute-established 50 percent capacity limit for indoor locations, including auditoriums, residences, and meeting, conference, and office spaces, has been removed.
  • Eating indoors, including serving food at department seminars and division-based lectures, may resume without restriction.
  • Indoor dining at campus eateries and the Athenaeum may resume at full capacity. The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Red Door Café, and the Broad Café will scale up indoor seating and operations in the early weeks of the spring term and in accordance with community demand and staffing resources at each location. Student residential dining also will be scaled up gradually over the course of the term. Additional information on the Athenaeum's operations will be provided directly from the club.
  • On-campus events and activities organized by or sponsored through a research or administrative unit may proceed in accordance with the Institute's health and safety guidelines without a 50-person attendee cap or need for leadership approval.
  • Student gatherings and events may resume, and the Office of Residential Experience will work with student leadership to ensure that events are appropriately planned and approved in accord with event registration protocols. Large-scale student social events will be scaled up gradually over the course of the term.

With these changes, it is imperative that all members of the community continue to adhere to the preventative measures that remain in effect. This includes full compliance with updated masking rules, vaccination and booster compliance, and testing requirements for the term and for students' return from spring break travel. Additionally, anyone who is ill or experiencing COVID-like symptoms must refrain from reporting to work or class on site and must report their symptoms through the COVID-19 Reporting Application.

We ask that all members of the community continue to be respectful of their colleagues and peers during this period of transition as members of the community may adjust to the updated policies in different ways. These changes are meant to enhance the quality of the student and employee experience, to restore ease of collaboration among colleagues, and to reinvigorate the campus community and culture.