Holiday Travel; Campus Surveillance Testing Program
To: The Caltech Community
David A. Tirrell, Provost
Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
Date: November 18, 2020
Re: Holiday Travel; Campus Surveillance Testing Program
In the last week, we have continued to see a surge in positive cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, with daily counts of new cases of COVID-19 reaching levels not seen since late July. This worrisome trend, which is also playing out across the state and country, serves as an important reminder of the need for all of us to remain diligent in following face covering, physical distancing, and preventative hygiene guidelines. The risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is high and is likely to continue to be so as we move into the holiday season and end-of-year activities.
As part of an effort to mitigate the risk of disease transmission, state and local authorities recently implemented new restrictive measures aimed at slowing the spread of disease. The Institute is following suit by implementing the following campus measures and recommendations:
- All nonessential personal travel is discouraged. It is strongly recommended that all members of the community comply with the western states' travel advisories.
- Participation in any indoor gatherings and other high-risk activities that may elevate the risk of exposure should be limited.
- Only individuals for whom it is necessary to report onsite for work, research, and instructional responsibilities will be asked do so in the two weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday, beginning November 30 and extending through December 11.
- The Institute will be piloting a new campus surveillance testing program for all individuals who report to campus during this post-Thanksgiving period, including individuals who briefly visit their offices or laboratories. The program will provide regular SARS-CoV-2 testing of students, faculty, and staff who report onsite.
Additional information on the state's travel advisory and its implications for Caltech community members as well as details regarding the campus surveillance testing program can be found below.
Western States Travel Advisory
On November 13, the states of California, Washington, and Oregon announced new travel advisories that encourage individuals to limit or restrict travel away from home, and also recommend individuals arriving in any one of these states from another state or country participate in a self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival or return.
On-campus Surveillance Testing Program
To further support the wellbeing of the community during this period of elevated transmission risk, the Institute is launching on November 30 a pilot on-campus surveillance testing program for all individuals who are required to report to campus for onsite work, research, or instructional responsibilities.
More information about Caltech's response to the pandemic can be found on the Caltech Together coronavirus website.
The recent increase in positive cases in the broader community is not what any of us had hoped to see. We must continue to work together, now with these additional preventative steps, to reverse this trend and slow the spread of COVID-19.