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12/07/2022 - To Undergraduate Students: Winter Break and Return Testing Protocol

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students 

From: Kevin Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs
Lesley Nye, Interim Dean of Undergraduate Students

Date: December 7, 2022

Re: Winter Break and Return Testing Protocol 

In preparation for the end of the fall term and for many students' departure from campus for winter break, which runs from Saturday, December 10, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023, we write to provide important information on on-campus operations, housing, and return testing protocols.

Please note that, before you depart from campus, you should pick up an Institute-provided COVID-19 at-home antigen test. These tests, which are now available for pick-up from your RAs, are being provided free-of-charge as the Institute is requiring that all students test before they travel back to campus for the start of the winter term. We strongly encourage that students who depart from campus do not return before December 31. 

On-Campus Operations and Housing During Winter Break
The Institute's administrative and academic operations officially close from December 24, 2022, through January 2, 2023. While staff from the Office of Residential Life, Caltech Security, Student Wellness and Counseling, and Facilities will continue to provide critical support services during this period, there will be a significant reduction in activities and a depopulation across the campus. As such, students who remain on campus or access open facilities to participate in athletics or research activities should note the following:

  • Food service and dining halls will be closed from December 24, 2022, until January 3, 2023. 
  • The campus surveillance testing program will continue to operate as detailed below in this memo, and all students who remain on campus during the break will be expected to submit surveillance samples during the program's open periods. 
  • Athletic facilities will have reduced hours of operation; consult the Athletics and Recreation website for current schedules.
  • Counseling services will be supported through on-call holiday operations. For additional details, consult the counseling services after-hours website
  • Security will be staffed 24/7 and can be reached at 626-395-4701 for non-emergencies and 626-395-5000 for emergencies. For general information, please refer to Caltech Security's homepage.

All undergraduate students who remain in-residence must complete the online Undergraduate Winter Break Housing form and identify the days they will be staying in Caltech Housing. This registration is outlined in the Resident Guide and is necessary in order to ensure that the Institute is aware of all students' plans. The deadline to submit the Winter Break Housing form is tomorrow, Thursday, December 8, 2022 at noon. If the form is not submitted by the deadline, it will be assumed that you are leaving campus.

Testing Requirements For On-Campus Residents During the Break
As noted above, students who remain on campus during the break must continue to participate in the surveillance testing program during its operational periods. The surveillance testing program will operate over the break as follows: 

Week of 12/19/2022 (2 samples required)

  • Drop-off bins open: Monday 12/19 at 8 a.m. – Thursday 12/22 at 11 a.m.

Week of 12/26/2022 (no testing required)

  • Drop-off bins closed

Week of 1/2/2023 (2 samples required)

  • Drop-off bins open: Tuesday 1/3 at 8 a.m. – Friday 1/6 at 11 a.m.

Winter Term Return Testing Requirements
All students are required to take a COVID-19 test before traveling back to campus. Any student who receives a positive result must delay their return to campus and report the result through the COVID-19 Reporting Application.

Furthermore, once students are back on campus, they are required to re-enter the campus surveillance testing program. Students must submit a sample to the surveillance testing program on Tuesday, January 3, or (if not returning to campus until after January 3) their first day back on campus.

The Institute intends to begin the term with in-person instruction, including the continued required use of N95 masks in instructional spaces, but there will be no student social activities and events for the first week of the winter term as everyone returns. 

We appreciate your compliance with our plans to keep the campus and our students safe and supported and we look forward to everyone's safe return for the new term.