January 6, 2022
Dear CMC Community,
I hope this finds you and your families well in the early days of 2022. Happy New Year to you all.
As you well know, in preparation for an effective, healthy, in-person return to campus this month, we are facing challenges posed by Omicron, a highly contagious COVID variant. We are hopeful that this global surge will recede as quickly as it has advanced; however, cases may still be rising sharply at the moment everyone is headed back. This leaves us with a short-term challenge—and several interim steps we need to take to get through our return effectively.
We write today to inform you of two major policy decisions.
The first is a recent decision by the Presidents Council of The Claremont Colleges that affects the earliest weeks of the semester.
Each campus will be open as scheduled, with most students moving back on Jan. 16-17 in advance of the first day of classes on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
However, to minimize increased spread due to recent travel, reduce formidable pressures on our local health care systems, and mitigate the serious educational disruptions imposed by state and county isolation protocols, the Presidents Council has made the following 5-C adjustments for the first two weeks of the semester:
- All classroom instruction will be online. If conditions improve in advance of the second week of the semester, we will allow faculty the option to continue to teach online or to teach in person in the second week;
- To avoid large congregations, all of the colleges will decrease indoor dining as much as practicable. At CMC, this means grab-and-go meals at Collins Dining Hall, the Hub, and on-site food trucks. We are adding heated outdoor tents on campus for convenience; and
- To reduce density and potential spread, the colleges will not be allowing guests from other campuses inside their own residence halls or apartments.
The second policy decision builds on our vaccine and booster requirements for students and extends them to all faculty and staff. Data continues to show that among people who are fully vaccinated (especially with the booster) and not otherwise immuno-compromised, all variants of COVID, including the highly contagious Omicron, carry less risk of hospitalization and severe illness or death.
Accordingly, all students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated. We are defining fully vaccinated to include boosters for those who are eligible. If you haven’t already done so, please upload proof of your vaccine and booster here. Also note that all returning students must show proof of a negative PCR test, to be taken within 72 hours prior to returning. Faculty and staff must receive a negative PCR test result before they can come to campus.
The COVID Compliance Committee will be in touch soon about many additional steps we have taken: the reduction of workplace density; the distribution of county-recommended surgical masks to those employees who are essential to on-campus operations; mandatory, weekly PCR testing for all students, faculty, and staff; and the postponement of large events and gatherings during the first two weeks of the semester.
These measures will allow us to protect the health of our communities, in particular those most vulnerable to COVID; help reduce strain on hospitals and campus testing resources; establish a 5-C community health baseline from testing; and minimize cross-campus exposure and serious disruptions from public health isolation protocols. It is also important to provide flexibility for students who have structural challenges, particularly international students and anyone with a recent positive test, making it back to campus.
We will continue to monitor state and county public health guidelines and more detailed information on specific plans and forums will be available by early next week. Please reach out if you have any questions.
Thank you for your continued patience and persistence during these next few weeks.
Take strong care and be well.