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Winter Term Update

November 02, 2020

To: The Caltech Community
   Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs
   David A. Tirrell, Provost 
   Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President
Date: November 2, 2020
Re: Winter Term Update

After consultation with city and county health officials, and in light of public health authority restrictions and recent increases in COVID-19 cases in the County of Los Angeles, we write to inform you of Caltech's plans to maintain a primarily remote instructional model for the winter term. 

We will operate the undergraduate and graduate academic programs in the winter term in a similar manner to the fall term. Unfortunately, we will not be able to invite a broad set of undergraduate students to participate in on-campus learning or the residential experience. 

A potential change from our fall-term program, which is under discussion with local health officials, would be to offer a small number of in-person laboratory courses for undergraduate students. If on-campus laboratory instruction is approved, access to in-person courses will be prioritized for students for whom such courses are required, and we will consider a limited reopening of the undergraduate residences. Discussion of these plans with health officials is ongoing, and we will inform the community as soon as we reach a decision. The laboratory courses to be offered and the number of students to be enrolled will be determined at that time. 

We recognize that this news will be disheartening to many students and their families. We ourselves are disappointed that we cannot offer a full residential and in-person learning experience. We must proceed cautiously in reopening the campus to ensure the safety of all members of our community. However, we believe that we will be able to offer a robust Caltech experience to all our students in the winter term. 

Members of our international undergraduate and graduate student community who are currently residing abroad may have additional questions about what this plan for winter term instruction means for their education and research. While federal authorities have not yet issued guidance on winter term entry instructions, students who have initial SEVIS records are still prohibited from entering the United States to participate in a fully remote instructional model. Caltech's International Student Programs will reach out to all of our international students to offer further guidance when new information from the federal government is available. If you have questions or concerns about your particular immigration situation, we encourage you to contact [email protected]

We thank all of you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging and uncertain times. We are particularly grateful to faculty, teaching assistants, support staff, and students for the energy and ingenuity that they have brought—and will continue to bring—to our remote learning environment. We look forward to a successful completion of the fall term and to a fresh start in January.