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COVID-19 Update

March 06, 2020

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President and David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: March 6, 2020
Re: COVID-19 Update

Following our March 4 community message, we are writing to provide you with further updates and guidance on Caltech's actions in response to COVID-19.

As of March 6, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus or in Pasadena. However, the situation continues to evolve rapidly. In keeping with the guidance and recommendations of Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Institute is implementing new policies around events and travel that are aimed at inhibiting the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Our goal is to protect the health and safety of the members of the Caltech community.


Effective Monday, March 9, the Institute is postponing or canceling all large public events through Monday, April 6 that draw large crowds of individuals from outside of the Caltech community to campus. 

Caltech faculty, postdoctoral scholars, students, and staff should refrain from organizing or scheduling any new public events through May 1, 2020.

A preliminary list of affected events can be found on the COVID-19 information page. If you have a question or concern about a specific event that you do not see listed at the link, you can submit them to [email protected].

This restriction applies to Caltech's K-12 outreach programs, tours, and activities on campus, as well as a wide range of public lecturers, performances, and gatherings in venues across campus. 

Given the dynamic nature of the situation, this policy may be applied more broadly and/or extended. Public events beyond April 6 will be evaluated on a three-week rolling basis. Regular updates on any future cancellations will be shared via the COVID-19 information page and weekly Ion Caltech emails.

Members of the Caltech's infectious disease task group will contact campus event organizers of internal events to help consider the necessary precautions for their activities, as well as to provide guidance on information that should be shared with attendees about campus prevention efforts. For campus events that are to continue as scheduled, we ask that attendance be restricted to the internal community (students, staff, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars).

Caltech's Environmental Health & Safety Services is monitoring the situation closely, and custodial teams on campus have introduced enhanced cleaning techniques that include the daily sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces like tables and door knobs.

As a reminder, participants in any Caltech events must adhere to Caltech's guidance about self-quarantining upon return from travel to a country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Currently, this includes China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. The CDC updates its travel notices regularly; please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.

If you are sick with a communicable illness of any kind, stay home. Do not come to campus. This applies to members of the Caltech community and visitors to our campus.


Caltech is also updating its policy on travel, both international and domestic.

International travel: Caltech prohibits all Institute-sponsored travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice, and we strongly advise against all personal international travel. If you do undertake such travel, you must understand there is a chance that there may be a self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return as well as the fact that there may be air or governmental restrictions on return that are beyond Caltech's ability to control. 

Domestic travel: We ask the Caltech community to be mindful of the spread of COVID-19, and to limit travel to any area where there is community spread of the disease—meaning that it cannot be traced back to contact with a traveler from an affected country. We continue to advise limiting non-essential domestic travel.

These new event and travel policies were made after consideration of guidance and recommendations of PPHD and the CDC, and are in line with those of Caltech's peer institutions and JPL. 

As always, regular updates will be posted on Caltech's COVID-19 Information page, and distributed via Ion Caltech emails. Thank you for your partnership and assistance as we work to address and manage this evolving situation.