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3/16/2020 - Important Information for Undergraduates

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students
From: Joe Shepherd, Vice President of Student Affairs

I understand that the decision to shift to online learning for spring term poses challenges for undergraduate students, and I appreciate your support in ensuring that the transition goes smoothly. At the same time, I need to set some clear interim expectations.

  • The deadline for petitioning to remain in residence on campus is 5 p.m. today, Monday, March 16. Please respond immediately if you feel that you meet the criteria for remaining on campus and have not already done so. Those who have submitted the form have already been notified of the final decisions.
  • While 4 p.m. on Friday, March 20 is the hard deadline to leave campus for undergraduates who have not been approved by the deans' office to remain, students should plan to leave campus as soon as possible.
  • The situation is changing rapidly outside Caltech, and there continue to be increased difficulties with transportation and restrictions on travel that may inhibit your ability to return home. Local preschool and K-12 closures are also creating challenges for staff and faculty, and the Institute needs to move quickly to prioritize the essential services required to sustain research and online instruction

Students should prioritize departing campus rather than focusing on completing coursework or engaging in social activities. Students who have concerns about faculty not providing deadline extensions for exams or final coursework should contact the undergraduate deans. Students who need financial assistance to travel home should contact the financial aid office or the undergraduate deans. Housing staff are available to provide boxes for packing personal belongings and to assist in moving boxed belongings to Brown gym. Furniture and other large items can be labeled and left in rooms. A number of students have already taken advantage of the storage service.

In response to COVID-19 and in adherence with health professionals' guidance on social distancing practices, Caltech has canceled all Institute-sponsored events through June 12; this includes seminars, social gatherings, and other public performances and activities. With this in mind, the following measures are effective immediately for undergraduates and will remain in effect until further notice:

  1. No social events or activities in the common areas of undergraduate residences.
  2. No large social gatherings in individual rooms.
  3. No visitors from outside the Caltech community, other than family helping you to pack, are allowed in the undergraduate residences.
  4. No travel away from campus to attend social events or gatherings. Any travel away from campus should be brief and limited to shopping and obtaining supplies.
  5. Students are expected to follow the preventative hygiene measures and guidance advised on Caltech's COVID-19 website.
  6. Violations of the conduct and drug and alcohol policies will not be tolerated.

Students who violate any of these measures or other Institute policies will be required to leave residential housing and campus immediately. Sanctions for policy violations may also include ineligibility to enroll spring term and in subsequent terms. For students approved to remain on campus through spring term, these measures will remain in force until further notice.

Students who live locally or chose to relocate to nearby rental housing to complete spring term online are not permitted to enter campus to socialize or complete group work with students who have been granted approval to remain on campus. Similarly, students who are remaining on campus are not permitted to leave campus to visit other students. All undergraduate students must identify ways to collaborate through online resources.

Students who are staying locally and need to come onto campus to complete laboratory work must receive permission from a faculty member. Students who have departed campus already should not return to the undergraduate residences to retrieve personal belongings, or to use campus facilities. Students who feel that they need to retrieve personal belongings should contact housing staff, who will determine whether such requests can be accommodated.

COVID-19 is posing extraordinary challenges at Caltech and around the world. We expect undergraduate students to join the rest of the Institute community in focusing on the effort to safely sustain our education and research mission.