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10/14/2021 - Graduate Guidelines for On-Campus Events

To: Caltech Graduate Students

From: David Chan, Dean of Graduate Studies

Re: Social Activities and Events

Thank you to everyone for contributing to this successful start of the Fall term. Caltech has been able to reopen to in-person instruction while maintaining low case rates on campus. Several factors have contributed to this success: compliance with the vaccine requirement, compliance with the testing requirement, and adherence to health and hygiene policies.

Revised "Guidelines for On-Campus Events" will be posted soon, to take effect October 18. These will indicate that food and drink may only be served indoors in designated dining venues, and in student residences in accordance with specific protocols developed through the Office of Residential Experience (ORE). Food and drink may still be served outdoors throughout the campus, in accordance with local health guidelines.

Please note that students in graduate housing still may only host vaccinated guests, except when guests are children who are too young to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Masks are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking. Masks are encouraged outside in large group settings.

With these safeguards in place, and the low case rates, some of the social restrictions relevant to graduate students can be relaxed starting October 18.

  • Informal student gatherings may take place outside, in recreational rooms, in common spaces, and in locations across campus, in accordance with current occupancy limits.
  • For informal gatherings inside the Catalina Recreation Rooms, please make a reservation 48 hours in advance by emailing catsrecrooms@caltech.edu to ensure the space will be available. If students are using the space with the same household, they do not need to make a reservation (first-come, first-served basis).
  • The current 25-person limit for student social events will be increased to 50 students. These events can now be registered through the ORE event registration process (https://spa.caltech.edu/), and may take place in available venues on campus, including the Catalina Recreation Rooms.
  • The allowance of food and drink at indoor residential social events (per the revised "Guidelines for On-Campus Events") is certainly a welcome development for students. However, health and safety should still be the priority in planning and in practice. Wherever possible, please continue to take social activities that involve food and drink outdoors, and when indoors, continue to wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking.
  • Student groups can also register off-campus events and may be required to provide transportation. The Office of Residential Experience will provide health and safety protocols for these events.
  • Food service at small social events must follow safety protocols.
  • Events with alcohol that take place inside Catalina Recreation Rooms with over 25 participants require the use of an outside bartender. Please work with Student Activities and Programs (studentevents@caltech.edu) to coordinate this process.
  • No guests from outside the community may attend Caltech events at this time.
  • Although we are holding off on larger scale events, we encourage students to work with ORE to plan possible outdoor events for the community. All events must adhere to the Health and Hygiene policy.

I am grateful to the student leaders who provided valuable feedback on the kind of improvements and changes that would be most meaningful to the graduate student community. Once we have had an opportunity to assess this limited scaling up of residential social activity, we will consider moving on to larger scale social events. This anticipated easing of social restrictions in the coming months depends on continued compliance of the testing requirement for campus residents, and adherence to health and safety protocols. Thank you for your contribution to Caltech's transition to a more normal campus environment.