3/18/2020 - Travel Home
To: Caltech Students and Parents
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
The United States is facing a pandemic that threatens to overwhelm its health care system. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the country has increased by a factor of 12 in the last 6 days and is growing super-exponentially. Los Angeles County, of which Caltech is a part, is starting to experience these trends.
Under these circumstances it is incumbent for all of us to do what we can to help alleviate the situation. At Caltech we have moved to a telecommuting model for all but essential services, shifted courses online, and asked undergraduates to head home as quickly as they can. To that end, we have extended the finals period and the deadline for exams to March 27, reoriented courses for spring quarter, and provided substantial financial assistance for travel planning to those in need. We expect Pasadena City and Los Angeles County to issue more stringent restrictions soon.
In light of this quickly evolving situation, I want to stress the need to vacate your rooms as swiftly as possible. If you have not received permission to stay on campus, the absolute latest deadline to move out of campus residences is Friday at 4 pm. We do this to protect the Caltech and broader communities in an environment where the health risk is increasing and travel delays and restrictions are likely to become pronounced. Some of our undergraduate students, particularly our international cohort, cannot make it home and we need to disperse them in the residences in a manner consistent with CDC guidelines.
I share the distress of the seniors in particular, who should not be saying their goodbyes under these circumstances, but in a time of national emergency we must all pull together for the common good. I urge all undergraduates to move expeditiously and ask their parents to support their children and our students in this endeavor. Resources for students who need assistance such as changing airline reservations are available and can be accessed through the Dean's office.
Thank you for your understanding and help. Be well and I hope that we will be able to reconvene for graduation exercises on June 12.