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4/1/2020 - Caltech Response Plan

To: Caltech Students in Residence
From: John Tsai, Medical Director of Health Services; Jennifer Howes, Executive Director of Student Wellness Services

The rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has required an enormous amount of flexibility and resilience from our community. We recognize that the Institute's actions to adhere to the Safer at Home orders from health officials have placed many restrictions on our community's academic, social, and research activities, and that these measures may be in effect for an extended period. Through the Emergency Operations Center, senior leadership and staff administrators from across the Institute are actively involved in the effort to maintain essential campus operations and activities, and to provide for the ongoing needs of Caltech's residential student community.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout Los Angeles County and more individuals fall ill with COVID-19, it may become necessary for Caltech to take additional precautions to slow the spread of the disease, protect the health and well-being of campus community members, and reduce the burden of our community on the local healthcare system. This effort requires a shared sense of responsibility among our students in each residential community and Student Wellness, Housing, Dining, Residential Experience, and other campus resources and services that support our campus response operations.

In light of this, we thought it prudent to share with you in advance information on our response plan, the details of which are included below. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our campus community.

Campus Response

If a student becomes ill with respiratory symptoms and COVID-19 is suspected after medical evaluation, or a student has a positive test for COVID-19, Student Wellness Services will initiate the transfer of the ill student to Avery House to implement appropriate isolation measures. Avery House has been prepared to accommodate ill students for the duration of their illness and isolation period per the guidelines put forward by public health authorities. While in some cases students will be able to self-isolate in their current housing assignments, the congregate nature of our residential community, particularly the Catalina apartments, makes a separate housing arrangement a necessary step to help prevent spread of disease. Students who are self-isolating will be provided meals, medical care, and supportive resources.

While we understand that a temporary move to a new location is an inconvenience, we request the cooperation of all students in this effort. If you are ill, please contact Student Wellness Services by phone (626-395-6393, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm; after hours, contact Campus Security at 626-395-4701), so that a medical provider can evaluate your situation and provide you with further instructions.

In addition to relocating ill students to separate housing, Student Wellness Services will provide self-monitored quarantine instructions to the roommates and any close contacts of the ill person. Student Wellness Services is committed to maintaining the privacy of students' personal health information and, as such, will continue to follow the guidance of and work closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department on these matters.

We implore students and all community members to abide by the Safer at Home orders, which direct everyone to limit all non-essential public activities, practice physical distancing (maintaining six feet/two meters of distance between individuals), and continue to practice preventative hygiene measures.

Additionally, we would like any student who has a pre-existing condition or health vulnerability to send a secure message to Dr. John Tsai via the Student Health Portal, so that we can provide further recommendations for managing individual risks associated with COVID-19.

Our collective efforts will enhance the Institute's ability to respond to COVID-19. We thank you for your cooperation during these challenging times. We are all in this together.