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9/30/2020 - Campus Health Measures

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

As we start the fall term and welcome new students, postdoctoral scholars, staff and faculty members to Caltech, we want to re-emphasize our shared responsibility to protect the health of our community. We have all seen recent news reports of rising levels of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with the opening of the academic year.

When we approved a cautious re-opening of campus facilities in June, we established a set of Institute protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19. These measures are now familiar; all of us must:

  • Monitor ourselves for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Attest to our health, detail campus locations visited on a daily basis, and report illness in the Caltech COVID-19 Reporting Application
  • Wear a face covering both inside and outside campus buildings
  • Maintain a minimum of six feet of separation from others, and
  • Wash our hands frequently and thoroughly throughout the day

It is only by rigorously adhering to these measures and other campus policies that we can hope to keep the risk of disease transmission low. We would like to ask our faculty colleagues, and our managers and supervisors, to emphasize this point in discussions with their students and coworkers at every opportunity. We understand that six months of disruption and worry can cause "COVID-19 fatigue," but it is essential that we not let down our guard.

With the arrival of new community members and the winter flu season soon upon us, we are implementing additional measures to protect the health of Caltech personnel:

  • Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy: The Institute is requiring that all campus community members (including students, staff, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars) receive, and verify that they have received, the flu vaccine for the 2020-21 season. Verification of immunization is required by October 31 and will be recorded through the Caltech COVID Reporting application. Failure to verify immunization by October 31 will cause loss of campus access. Information on this policy is available on the Institute's coronavirus information site; individuals may direct questions about the policy to Student Wellness Services (undergraduate and graduate students) and Human Resources Disability and Leave Administration Unit (staff, faculty, postdoctoral scholars) at A free campus flu clinic for staff, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars is planned for October 20. Instructions for participation will be distributed by Human Resources. Information on access to flu shots for undergraduate and graduate students will be provided by Student Wellness Services.
  • Expanded Testing Availability: All members of the community who are ill, who are identified as close contacts of an ill person, who have had known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or who otherwise have participated in activities that present an elevated risk for exposure, may be eligible for SARS-CoV-2 testing by Student Wellness Services. For a free medical evaluation of your eligibility, contact SWS by phone (626-395-6393, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.). In addition to this service, the Institute is continuing to explore other testing options and will provide updates as new services become available.
  • Expanded Sick Leave Policy: To encourage community members to report symptoms of COVID-19 and to participate fully in testing and contact tracing programs, employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, who must quarantine because of potential exposure, or who must isolate because they are exhibiting symptoms of illness, will not have to use accrued sick time when they are required to isolate or quarantine. Employees with questions on the policy or how it might apply to them, should contact Human Resources Disability and Leave Administration Unit at
  • Campus Isolation and Quarantine Space: To further support the health and well-being of all members of the Caltech community and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we will make on-campus quarantine and isolation space available to members of the campus community who live in the local area. Allocation of this space will be prioritized for those members of the community who are in-residence and individuals who are unable to appropriately isolate or quarantine in their personal residence. Use of this space will be coordinated through Student Wellness Services.

We thank you for your continued cooperation. Limiting transmission of COVID-19 within our community requires all of us to work together.

Information about the Institute's response to COVID-19, as well as updates to protocols and policies will be shared through Ion Caltech and the information site.