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12/09/2022 - Winter Break and January Return

To: The Campus Community

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

Re: Winter Break and January Return

We write to update you on the Institute's response to the regional rise in COVID-19 case activity, and on current plans regarding winter break, resumption of in-person instruction, and student return to residential living in January.

Over the last several weeks, as Los Angeles County has experienced a significant increase in infections, we have recorded more COVID-19 cases within the Caltech community. In particular, we experienced a concentrated rise in case activity in one of our undergraduate student residential communities.

The Institute has implemented preventative health measures to mitigate the spread of infection. These measures include:

  • Pulling back on undergraduate student social activity in the closing weeks of the term. Surveillance testing results indicate that this shift in policy effectively managed a post-Thanksgiving spike in undergraduate case activity.
  • Implementing winter break testing protocols: All undergraduate students and graduate students in residence are required to continue in the campus surveillance testing program through December 22, and to resume surveillance testing immediately upon their return in January. Undergraduate students have been given at-home antigen tests in order to self-test before traveling back to campus in January.

We expect to begin winter term with a full return to instructional and social activities. Surveillance testing results from the first week of term will guide planning in the new year.

We recommend that all members of the community exercise appropriate caution during this period of elevated COVID-19 caseloads. The Institute will continue to make high-quality masks available through the Caltech Store. Free masks may be picked up with a Caltech ID. At this time, we do not expect to implement additional masking requirements, unless we are directed to do so by local health authorities. As always, we ask that you please continue to respect individuals' decisions to wear masks.

We plan to resume in-person learning, with the continued use of N95 masks in all instructional settings, when the term begins on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

All members of the Caltech community are expected to:  

  • Adhere to the Institute's vaccination policies.
  • Notify SWS immediately if you are ill, have had a positive test for COVID-19, or have been exposed to anyone with a positive test for COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are ill, have a fever, or have been instructed to quarantine or isolate.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

We will continue to monitor case activity and review testing data over the course of the break. The surveillance testing program will operate normally Monday-Friday until 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 22, and reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. If there are changes warranted by campus testing data or changes in the broader public health landscape, we will communicate updates via email.  

Thank you for your support in protecting the health and well-being of our community. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.