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6/2/2020 - A Phased Return to Work on Campus

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

On May 29, the City of Pasadena issued a supplement to its Safer at Home Order, which states that "Research facilities and laboratories may operate, subject to compliance with applicable guidance from the State Health Officer, including, but not limited to COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Life Sciences and/or COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Office Workspaces."

On May 22, we distributed to the Caltech community the report of the Committee on Reconstituting On-Campus Research, which provides Institute-wide guidelines for phased reactivation of on-campus research activities. We have verified that our guidelines are consistent with the applicable federal, state, and city guidance documents, and that we may now begin a phased return to work on campus. As our laboratories begin to reopen, with each laboratory plan approved by the cognizant division chair, the Institute also will ask back to campus many critically important Institute employees whose support of academic and research activities requires their presence on campus. All individuals who can continue to complete their work from home should do so to the extent possible until further notice.

Caltech holds paramount the health and safety of every member of our community. The SARS-CoV-2 virus remains active and can pose a serious health risk to all of us. To mitigate the risk, the Institute has prepared a set of training materials and policy documents that are available on the Returning to Campus webpage. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection is a shared responsibility and we must all do our part.

In particular, beginning today, everyone working on campus, including those who have been physically reporting already and those who will be returning soon, is required to become familiar with the posted training materials, protocols and policies, and to watch the training video provided here. Your completion of the training video will serve as your acknowledgment that you understand and agree to comply with all COVID-19 health and safety policies and protocols, including the requirements that you certify each day that you have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the preceding 14 days and that you record your contacts and daily work locations. A form for this purpose is available on the Returning to Campus webpage and must be completed at the end of each workday by everyone reporting to work on campus. The contact and location information will be essential if we must conduct contact tracing in the event that one of our community members contracts COVID-19.  Failure to comply with Caltech's COVID-19 policies and protocols may result in discipline in accordance with applicable Institute policies.

Caltech's Dining Services, Caltech Store, and athletic facilities are also preparing for the reopening and expansion of services over the coming weeks. Efforts to plan for expanded operations in Chandler, as well as the Red Door and Caltech Store, are being pursued in accordance with guidance from county and city health officers, and in consultation with peer institutions, national organizations, and our on-campus partners.

There will be a phased approach to reopen some athletic facilities to our recreational membership. As our plans are finalized and approved, eligible community members will be notified and details on public health measures will be posted in the facilities.

Updates on the services available and hours of access for all auxiliary services will be posted on the relevant unit website—Caltech Dining Services; the Caltech Store; and Caltech Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation—as well as announced through Ion Caltech and included in the What's Open at Caltech? resource page on the Coronavirus Information website.

No one can foresee with confidence what shape COVID-19 will take, or guarantee an environment free of COVID-19. The health and safety protocols and policies we have put in place may change as circumstances and guidance from health officials and other government agencies evolve. The challenges presented by COVID-19 will require flexibility and patience, and we must be able to rely on your diligent and thoughtful compliance with Institute policy as we return to campus.