To: Caltech Students
From: Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs
Date: January 21, 2022
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as the Caltech community works together to navigate the winter term return to campus and to sustain in-person instruction during a pandemic.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the Caltech community, remains our top priority. However, we understand that the measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 also make it difficult for you to engage in the social and residential activities that are very much part of the student experience, particularly for those in Caltech housing. While we need to remain particularly cautious through the current Omicron surge, in an effort to provide more opportunities for student social interaction and collaboration, the following modifications to residential policies and campus operations will take effect on Monday, January 24:
Student Gatherings and Events
- All undergraduate students, including those living off campus, can access all undergraduate residences. Guests are still prohibited in undergraduate residences.
- Small indoor social gatherings in common areas of Caltech housing will be permitted. These need to comply with current campus masking requirements, so indoor consumption of food and drink at such gatherings is prohibited.
- Organizational and committee meetings for houses and clubs may also be conducted indoors, provided everyone is appropriately masked and the number of people gathered is limited to no more than 50 percent of the room's designated occupancy.
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 individuals are allowed. Masks will not be required, so food and drinks are allowed, but students are strongly encouraged to mask whenever possible at outdoor social gatherings.
- All such indoor and outdoor gatherings and meetings will need to be hosted, with documentation of those participating, in order to facilitate contact tracing in conjunction with our surveillance testing program. The Office of Residential Experience will provide guidelines for registration and documentation.
- Indoor spaces in the Braun Athletic Center will reopen in a limited way on Monday, January 24, with reduced density and with masks required indoors at all time. To ensure student access, certain hours will be designated for student-use only. This will assist with our efforts to manage the spread of COVID-19 by limiting indoor interaction between residential students and other community members.
- Only undergraduate and graduate students will be allowed access to indoor athletic facilities Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Non-student members, including campus employees, affiliates, and broader community members, will only have access to indoor athletic facilities Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Outdoor athletic facilities will remain accessible to students and other members at all open hours.
- Undergraduate physical education classes will continue meeting in person at their regularly scheduled times.
- Student leagues and clubs will begin to resume activities the week of January 24, initially with only students allowed to participate. More information will follow from athletics staff.
- Intercollegiate sports will continue, with no spectators for the time being.
- The Red Door hours have been extended: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. –2 a.m.
- Indoor dining cannot yet resume, given the risks associated with unmasking. All dining orders remain to go.
I understand that many members of our student community are keen to see a relaxation of current restrictions and a return to normal activities. With this in mind, administrative leadership will continue to assess case rates on campus and in the region, and adjust campus policies and protocols as conditions allow. Unfortunately, the Omicron variant is driving high transmission rates throughout Los Angeles County, and as long this continues to be the case, the Institute's approach will remain cautious and measured, with a focus on preserving the integrity of in-person instruction.
I thank you for your continued cooperation and adherence to protocols and policies that are meant to help protect the health and well-being of our community, while also supporting the integrity of Caltech's research and educational mission.