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8/08/2022 - Fall Term Plans

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President

Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs

David A. Tirrell, Provost

Harry A. Atwater, Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science

Dennis A. Dougherty, Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

John P. Grotzinger, Chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Fiona A. Harrison, Chair of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy

Richard M. Murray, Chair of the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, Chair of the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

As we prepare for the start of our third fall term since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it is important to remember that SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate and evolve, with the current BA.5 strain of the Omicron variant proving particularly transmissible and resistant to prior immunity. At the same time, the widespread use of vaccines has reduced significantly the incidence of severe disease and hospitalization.

With these considerations in mind, the Institute has continued to adapt our preventative measures to support a safe campus environment for instruction and research. We are making the following plans for the coming academic year:

  • Fall-term instruction will return to the normal practice of meeting in person in classrooms and lecture halls managed by the academic divisions. We will no longer require reduction in the occupancy of our teaching spaces.
  • Mask requirements for the fall term will be announced by September 20. As of today, high-quality masks (surgical, N95, KN95 or KF94) must be worn in all indoor locations on campus, including athletic facilities.
  • Twice-weekly surveillance testing will continue to be required for all undergraduate students, and for graduate students living in Caltech housing or participating in in-person instruction.
  • Employees with approved exemptions from the Institute's COVID-19 vaccination and booster requirement also must continue to participate in twice-weekly surveillance testing.

Caltech's vaccination requirements remain unchanged: all students and employees must be fully vaccinated with a booster shot or have an approved exemption on file with the Institute. All members of the Caltech community must continue to report COVID-like symptoms via the Caltech COVID-19 app.

Health and safety policies for graduate and undergraduate students in residence have been particularly important for our ability to maintain a safe environment for Institute teaching and research. Looking ahead to fall term, Student Affairs leadership will communicate to residential students and their families in the coming weeks about policies for student arrival and moving in, and about fall term residential policies and processes.

The Institute will continue to post daily updates to the Dashboard on the Caltech Together site, and will send out daily memos regarding positive cases to members of the community who subscribe to receive the updates. Our plans and polices may adjust in accordance with changes in the COVID-19 situation on campus and in the greater Los Angeles County community.

We hope that a return to more normal instructional practice will foster an environment in which all of us can continue to thrive. We thank you for your continuing efforts to support the well-being of our community, and we look forward to a productive and exciting academic year.