Caltech Logo

Coronavirus Information

GENERAL INFORMATION and UPDATES

Caltech's Response to COVID-19

As of April 4, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 on Caltech's campus. A JPL employee, who has been off site, has tested positive. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic and our duty to the Caltech and Pasadena communities, we have moved to online teaching for the spring term. Complying with the "Safer at Home" order from the County of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena and the Stay at Home order from the State of California, we have also limited activity on campus to essential functions. For more information, please see the latest updates from Caltech below.

Caltech is actively monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. We are working closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and taking all precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Caltech's first priority is the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff, and community.

Contact us if you have additional questions or concerns about Caltech's coronavirus preparedness and response.


A Message From Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum

In these liminal times, a message from campus about Caltech’s essential strengths and our need to keep connected with each other.

Latest Update

4/3/2020

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students

From: Joe Shepherd, Vice President for Student Affairs

The last three weeks have been a period of intense activity in Student Affairs with the closure of the campus, the move to online instruction, and the implementation of additional efforts to prepare our remaining community for the expected onset of COVID-19 cases on campus. Staff members from the housing, deans, and residential experience offices are still very much preoccupied with these activities, and are managing their work remotely.

Given this situation, we are postponing the undergraduate housing lottery for Fall 2020 until later this term. We will be back in touch with you on our next steps for managing the lottery after Add Day on April 17.

The Institute is planning to reopen the campus as soon as it is safe to do so, and Student Affairs is taking the necessary steps to prepare the residences for occupation by undergraduates in the fall.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this difficult time.


Previous Updates

For constituent-focused communications, please see information for students and parents, and information for faculty, postdocs, and staff.

On April 1, JPL learned that a member of the community who has been working remotely tested positive for COVID-19. This individual has been working away from Lab for more than two weeks, and is not believed to have interacted with any co-workers while infected. Out of an abundance of caution, the individual's work area is being sanitized. More details are available on the Coronavirus and Current JPL Guidance site.

To: Caltech Students
From: Office of the Registrar

We hope this message finds you well, and we are pleased to welcome you back to Spring Quarter at Caltech in a new online environment. As you know, this first week of term is dedicated to providing students with an opportunity to settle into online learning, and to allow faculty to communicate with you about course materials, procedures, and expectations. With that in mind, please follow each of these initial guidelines:

  1. Finalize your schedule. Work with your advisor to confirm that the courses you see in REGIS are the courses you intend to take this term. The Registrar's Spring Term information page contains Registration Information for Students.
  2. Enroll in all of your course Moodle sites after you have officially registered for those courses in REGIS. Students who attempt to enroll in a Moodle course for which they have not officially registered will be dropped from the Moodle.
  3. Consult with your advisor about schedule changes, which they need to pre-approve. Your schedule must be submitted to your advisor each day after you make a change, as this is the only way they can see your schedule.
  4. Respond to any preliminary communications and expectations sent to you by your instructors.
  5. Note that students are not permitted to audit courses this term. The only exception is Bi 252, and this exception only applies to students for whom Bi 252 is a requirement.

Please see the Online Learning website with important information about learning resources and tools for this Spring Term, as well as an FAQ. This website will be updated throughout the term.

Please review closely the following information.

Personal Privacy and Intellectual Property

In an online learning environment, students must respect the privacy of their classmates and not share personal information about other students beyond the online classroom. Students must not share class recordings, transcripts, or links to lectures and discussion sessions with anyone who is not enrolled in the class, or teaching or supporting the class. While each student enrolled in a course should have access to all course materials and learning options, they should also remember they have an ethical responsibility as members of the Caltech community to keep this information private. Violations of these expectations may be considered violations of the Honor Code and of the Caltech Code of Conduct.

Honor Code

While many of you will be working at a distance from Caltech, you remain members of the Caltech community. It is still the case that "No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community." Students should be thoughtful and deliberate as they adjust their work habits and collaborative practices to an online learning environment. Review course collaboration policies carefully, and consult a course instructor or TA if you have questions or concerns.

Current Residence Information

With the undergraduate community now dispersed around the globe, Caltech needs to know where every student is actually residing during Spring Term. This information will be critically important as the public health emergency in our country continues to unfold. All enrolled students must therefore use the Current Residence Information Form to provide the address where they are residing for Spring Term.

Student Resources

Many familiar resources remain available remotely, with necessary adjustments for the online learning environment:

  • Student Wellness Services, including Counseling Services and Occupational Therapy, is serving students via secure and confidential telephone appointments. Students can schedule counseling or occupational therapy appointments by calling the main office number, (626) 395-8331, during regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. PDT, M-F). Student Wellness Services has created a Service Updates page to provide information and updates about Spring Term services.
  • The Deans' Office is accessible through email and phone. Deans are available to provide advising around Overloads, Underloads, Leaves, UASH petitions, and personal or familial matters. Students can directly e-mail the dean's office at deansoffice@caltech.edu, or schedule a time to speak with a dean via the Online Booking System.
  • Deans Tutors are available through Find a Tutor, and will be able to meet with students via Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, or other platforms. Note that to access this website you must be logged into the Caltech VPN, where under "Groups" you need to select "Tunnel All Traffic." If you have trouble identifying a tutor, please email deansoffice@caltech.edu for assistance.
  • Your Freshman Advisors and Option Advisors are accessible via email as needed.
  • Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) is available via email and online at CASS. Students with academic accommodations are encouraged to continue to work with CASS during Spring Term.

Course Updates

Since last week, the following updates on courses for the term have also been posted on the registrar's website:

  • Ch 3a and Ch 3x will all be offered this term, with lab experiments and lectures pre-recorded, and mandatory, 1-hour live recitation sessions with a TA (assigned by time zone). The enrollment scaps have been removed.
  • Some previously open courses now have enrollment limits. Please check the schedule of classes or REGIS. To over-enroll in limited seating courses, you must ask the faculty instructor for permission. If permission to over-enroll is granted, the faculty instructor will then email permission to regis@caltech.edu.

To: Caltech Faculty

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost; Stephen L. Mayo, Division Chair, Biology and Biological Engineering; Dennis A. Dougherty, Division Chair, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Guruswami Ravichandran, Division Chair, Engineering and Applied Science; John P. Grotzinger, Division Chair, Geological and Planetary Sciences; Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, Division Chair, The Humanities and Social Sciences; Fiona A. Harrison, Division Chair, Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy

We have asked all of you to take extraordinary steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. Among the most wrenching consequences of those steps has been the disruption of your research programs, caused by the abrupt ramp-down of our laboratory operations, reduced access to campus and colleagues, our transition to online instruction, and other public health measures. For many of you, these changes come with new and time-consuming responsibilities at home. We have been encouraged by your prompt and effective response to these difficult circumstances.

We recognize that disruption of research may be especially stressful for those of you who are "on the tenure clock." To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on progress toward tenure for our early-career faculty, Caltech will extend by one year the deadlines for reappointment and tenure decisions for all faculty members whose reviews have not already begun. Reviews are underway for faculty members whose current appointments end on or before October 15, 2021. Those review packages have not been affected by recent events, so those reviews will continue and the corresponding deadlines will not be changed. For faculty members who are currently under review for reappointment, the reappointment deadline will not be changed, but the deadline for the tenure decision will be extended. All extensions will be automatic, but may be declined in writing at the faculty member's discretion.

Further details will be provided in personal letters to our assistant professors, and should be discussed with the division chairs. For now, we wanted to inform you of the general policy, which has the unanimous support of the Institute Academic Council.

To: Caltech Faculty and Division Operations Officers

From: Margo Steurbaut, Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer; David A. Tirrell, Provost; Cindy Weinstein, Vice Provost

Caltech's online spring term will open on Monday. A dedicated website, http://teach.caltech.edu, has been created to provide resources and guidance on teaching continuity to our faculty, instructors, and TAs and is continuously being updated as new tools and information become available. The website http://learn.caltech.edu has been created for our students to help their transition to online learning. For our staff,http://telecommute.caltech.edu provides information regarding applications and "how-tos" for working from home.

Caltech has established an integrated support model for online learning that includes the Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach (CTLO), Academic Media Technologies (AMT), the rest of Information Management Systems and Services (IMSS), the Registrar's Office, and other units. Creating this support model has been a high priority for the campus, and our colleagues in these units have done a remarkable job of enabling the processes, applications, and infrastructure needed to make our online teaching and learning as successful as they can be.

CTLO and AMT have been conducting daily office hours with faculty, instructors, and TAs. Next week, sessions are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to noon. More sessions will be added as needed, and will be included in CTLO's emailed "Updates for Spring 2020 Instructors" and on http://teach.caltech.edu. IMSS has implemented tools and infrastructure including Zoom, Google G-suite (Google Drive and Hangouts), and Gradescope, and their integration with Moodle based on Caltech credentials. IMSS is restructuring to provide the best possible online learning support by including all the pertinent resources from the various groups such as AMT, Help Desk, and the rest of the IMSS, as well as IMSS student workers (called House Reps).

In the next few weeks, we expect an increase in the frequency of support requests associated with the transition to online instruction. Prioritizing requests from faculty, instructors, TAs, and students means that IMSS may not be able to respond to other requests as promptly as they normally do. We ask for your patience if you experience delayed responses during this transition.

To: Caltech Faculty and Research Administrators
From: David A. Tirrell, Provost; Kaushik Bhattacharya, Vice Provost; Richard Seligman, Associate Vice President for Research Administration

We are writing to provide a brief status report on sponsored research operations as they have been impacted by the COVID-19 situation. The Office of Sponsored Research and the Office of Export Compliance are fully operational. Staff are telecommuting, but are available to assist faculty members, grant managers, and others throughout the day with proposal submission, acceptance of incoming awards, and addressing unanticipated situations related to the impact of COVID-19 on normal campus operations. A website has been established to provide on-going guidance for proposals and awards. The url is: https://researchadministration.caltech.edu/COVID_19

Proposals

Many agencies have issued deadline extensions as a result of COVID-19. Each agency has taken a slightly different approach to dealing with deadline extensions, if at all, so it's best to communicate directly with each funding agency for the latest information.

NIH has made a general statement about proposal deadlines at:
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-082.html

NSF has consolidated its deadline extensions at: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/covid19/covid19_deadlines.pdf

Administrative Relief on Federal Awards

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance allowing Federal agencies to provide some administrative relief to grantees. It will be up to each agency to issue its own implementation of the OMB recommendations. As of March 23, only NSF and NIH have issued specific instructions to grantees; links are available on the ORA COVID-19 webpage referenced above.

Charges to Federal Awards

Federal regulations take the position that charges to federal awards must be allowable under the award terms and must be consistent with institutional policy. Based on all the information provided by the Federal government thus far, funds from Federal agencies can be used to pay faculty and staff who are working on sponsored projects, whether working remotely or at their normal workplace. To the extent that a federal agency provides extraordinary administrative relief for awards impacted by COVID-19 (e.g., the cost of trip cancellation costs), these costs may only be charged to federal awards to the extent an institution's policy allows. Please continue to follow Caltech guidance when making charges to sponsored awards. Caltech HR will be issuing specific guidance for the ways in which employees' time should be recorded if impacted by COVID-19, regardless of the funding source.

Considerable detail on these topics is provided on the website. Please feel free to contact Richard Seligman or David Mayo with any questions you may have.

Richard Seligman
Associate Vice President for Research Administration
richard.seligman@caltech.edu
x6073

David Mayo, Director
Office of Sponsored Research
david.mayo@caltech.edu
x6219

3/24/2020 - Health Guidance for Faculty and Supervisors Regarding Ill Supervisees

To: The Caltech Community

From: John Tsai, Medical Director of Health Services; Jennifer Howes, Executive Director of Student Wellness Services

The spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is of significant concern to individuals within the Caltech community, and faculty members and supervisors are often approached with questions about how best to proceed if someone reports an illness, particularly one that shares symptoms with COVID-19.

The State of California, Los Angeles County, and City of Pasadena "Safer at Home" orders direct everyone to remain at home unless they are engaged in essential activities. Caltech's president and provost have issued several communications outlining expectations around telecommuting and the management of personnel and affiliates on campus. The only individuals who are authorized to be on campus are students living on campus and those who are involved in supporting critical functions (including online instruction) and/or the maintenance and management of laboratories and facilities with unique agents and equipment. When reporting to campus, it is the expectation that appropriate social distancing measures are in place at all times.

Guidance from Human Resources regarding timekeeping and administrative concerns may be found here, and HR staff remain available to consult about specific circumstances.

Of special note: If a member of the Caltech community directly shares personal health information (PHI) with you (specifically a doctor's note, disclosure of test results, direct communications between doctor and patient, etc.) DO NOT forward or disclose this information. Please immediately call the Disability and Leave unit at 626-395-3092 within Caltech Human Resources (for PHI involving non-student individuals) or Student Wellness Services at 626-395-6393 (for PHI involving students) for assistance in how to handle these records in a way that is consistent with privacy guidelines.

Many faculty members and supervisors have additional questions about the availability of COVID-19 testing and guidance around quarantine, isolation, deep cleaning of laboratory spaces, and notification of laboratory or building occupants if a coworker, laboratory group member, or supervisee has reported illness. While the information below can help clarify these questions, further inquiries about the management of a particular situation should be addressed via an email message to Jennifer Howes (Executive Director of Student Wellness Services) and John Tsai (Medical Director of Student Wellness Services and liaison to the Pasadena Public Health Department) that includes the following:

  • A description of the situation
  • Names, positions, and contact information for all involved parties
  • Any specific questions or concerns


Inquiries will receive a response within 24 hours. Drs. Tsai and Howes will work with the Pasadena Public Health Department and the individuals directly impacted by each situation.

In case of illness

  • If a Caltech student, faculty or staff member, postdoctoral fellow, or affiliate becomes ill with respiratory symptoms, they should immediately return home, or, if already there, stay home and practice self-care and monitoring of symptoms. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has issued guidance for self-care measures, which should be used for individuals with mild illness.
  • Caltech students who are ill or become ill with a respiratory illness should immediately notify their supervisor, as well as Student Wellness Services at 626-395-6393. Student Wellness Services will monitor the student and communicate with relevant parties, including the student's faculty member or supervisor, with public health related concerns, as appropriate.
  • Caltech personnel who are ill or become ill with a respiratory illness should immediately notify their supervisor, who should in turn communicate with the Disability and Leave unit for further guidance. As a reminder please do not ask for any specific information about the individual's health or medical condition.
  • If symptoms worsen (difficulty breathing, dehydration, can't keep fluids down, confusion, or other serious symptoms), non-student individuals should contact their primary care provider or urgent care by phone to determine next steps.
  • If symptoms are severe or life-threatening, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. For on-campus emergencies, call Campus Security at 626-395-5000; they will direct emergency medical personnel to the specific location.
  • Individuals recovering from illness should consult with their supervisor and, if a non-student, Human Resources regarding a plan to return to work

Communications and coordination around reported illnesses

  • The division chairs, faculty, laboratory managers, and other supervisory staff are important partners in the management of health and safety issues within laboratories and the entire instructional and research enterprise.
  • Faculty members, laboratory managers, and other supervisory staff should notify division chairs and the Disability and Leave unit (for non-students) or Student Wellness Services, if they have a student, faculty or staff member, postdoctoral fellow, or affiliate who reports a respiratory illness.
  • Once notified, the Disability and Leave unit will contact Drs. Tsai and Howes to enable coordination of the campus response with the public health department.
  • Once the facts of each situation are understood and a plan has been formulated for next steps (e.g., cleaning/disinfecting, notification of relevant close contacts, and other public health measures), Dr. Tsai and/or Dr. Howes will communicate directly with the relevant division chair, faculty member, and/or laboratory manager to discuss the recommended actions. This will enable all parties to ask questions, understand the rationale, and explore any further action items needed to resolve each incident.
  • In particular, the division chair, faculty member, and/or laboratory manager may have specific recommendations, precautions, or considerations for the cleaning and disinfecting of sensitive laboratory spaces; these discussions will involve the relevant partners within the Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety units.
  • In general, individuals should remain home until a minimum of 7 days after the onset of symptoms and should be fever-free for 72 hours without medication, as well as see improvements in other symptoms prior to returning to work.

Testing for COVID-19

  • Testing for COVID-19 is becoming more widely available; however, access varies quite considerably within the greater Los Angeles and Pasadena areas.
  • Caltech Student Wellness Services contracts with LabCorp for COVID-19 testing. Specimen collection occurs at a testing site on campus; specimens are then sent to a LabCorp processing facility. No specimen processing or test protocols are conducted by Caltech.
  • Specimen collection is currently available for Caltech students who meet clinical criteria for testing.
  • In the event of a positive test for COVID-19 in a student, appropriate measures will be taken to notify close contacts as well as faculty or supervisors for further assistance with contact tracing and liaison work with the Pasadena Public Health Department.
  • Unless there is a suspected illness in a non-student community member (faculty and staff members, postdoctoral fellows, and affiliates) that would have significant public health implications for the campus, non-students are directed to their primary care provider for testing. Such community members might include a Caltech health care provider who is ill, or an ill staff member who had some potential contact with others on campus while supporting the critical services that remain operational.
  • Any positive test for COVID-19 in a non-student community member should be reported to the Disability and Leave unit, which will coordinate with Dr. Tsai for further assistance with contact tracing and liaison work with the Pasadena Public Health Department.
  • The LACDPH strongly advises against testing asymptomatic individuals, as well as those who report mild respiratory illnesses that can be managed at home. These measures are in place to preserve critical personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies as well as reduce potential exposure to healthcare workers during specimen collection. LACDPH recommends that providers test only persons with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 where a diagnostic result will change clinical management or inform public health response.

Instructions for those on campus/providing essential services who have been in close contact with an ill person within the last 14 days

  • If a Caltech student, faculty or staff member, postdoctoral fellow, or affiliate comes in close contact with a person ill with respiratory symptoms (within 6 feet for 10 or more minutes, or prolonged contact of common spaces even if staying 6 feet apart), they should self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the time of exposure to monitor for symptoms.
  • The individual in self-quarantine should immediately notify their supervisor, who in turn will communicate with Student Wellness Services or the Disability and Leave unit.

Notifications to laboratory groups, building occupants, etc.

  • While public health emergencies do allow for disclosure of some personally identifiable health information for the purposes of contact tracing and disease mitigation, the scope and process for doing so is the responsibility of the involved medical personnel and public health officials. Please do not share personal health information of Caltech students, personnel, or affiliates, beyond the processes and protocols outlined herein.
  • Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to notify other individuals who may have had close contact with an ill person or someone who has been exposed to respiratory illness; however, please do not send broadly distributed messages to the occupants of a laboratory or building every time there is a report of any illness. This approach could cause unnecessary alarm (particularly when the vast majority of individuals should be working remotely and not in contact with individuals on campus) or result in a large number of notifications that individuals may disregard over time.
  • Please consult with Drs. Tsai and Howes before sending any messages regarding respiratory illness or COVID-19.

Cleaning and disinfection of laboratory or common space

  • Any positive test for COVID-19 should be reported to Student Wellness Services or the Disability and Leave unit, which will coordinate with Dr. Tsai, Facilities, and Environmental Health and Safety to initiate a protocol for cleaning and disinfecting affected physical spaces in consultation with the cognizant division chair or supervisor.
  • Until cleaning and disinfection is complete, the space should be closed and secured, and access prohibited.
  • Caltech faculty and staff members, students, postdoctoral fellows, or affiliates who used or accessed the affected space(s) will be notified of any relevant facts regarding the public health implications and asked to quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of exposure, and self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Although Facilities is currently working with reduced staff in compliance with the "Safer at Home" orders, additional cleaning or disinfecting may still be available for physical spaces even in the absence of a positive COVID-19 test result. An assessment will be made by the relevant professionals in concert with the faculty, laboratory manager, and division chair to determine cleaning prioritization for impacted spaces.

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students

From: Joe Shepherd, Vice President for Student Affairs; Kevin Gilmartin, Dean of Undergraduate Students

We appreciate your support in the last week as students have made it safely off campus. All remaining residential undergraduates are now assigned to rooms in the Bechtel Residence.

Entry to Bechtel is permitted only for students approved to reside there for Spring Term. The North and South Houses (including the SAC), Marks House, and Avery are now closed to all undergraduate students.

The March 19 "Safer at Home" Order from President Rosenbaum and Provost Tirrell makes it clear only community members involved in essential functions are allowed on campus. Undergraduate students who are not approved to reside in Bechtel cannot enter the Caltech campus under any circumstances. Students who do not now reside in Bechtel but feel they need to access campus facilities should contact the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for permission to enter campus.

We are very concerned to learn of repeated instances of students not complying with the Order and our policies in recent days. Any violation of these expectations is a violation of Institute policy and of the City of Pasadena's "Safer at Home" Order. Students not approved to reside in Bechtel who enter campus will be subject to serious sanction, which may include suspension for the upcoming Spring Term and future terms. These measures are consistent with Caltech's efforts to help contain COVID-19 transmission in the Caltech community.

Any student who feels that they need to retrieve personal items left behind cannot enter campus to do so. They should instead contact the Housing office, who will determine if the request can be accommodated. Only requests that involve essential items such as medicine or passports will be considered.

Faculty and staff are making extraordinary efforts to cope with a global public health crisis, and sustain Caltech's essential research and academic programs. Students need to support these efforts by not accessing campus facilities under any circumstances not approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

With appreciation for your commitment to supporting Caltech's response to COVID-19, we write to provide information and guidance regarding online instruction during the spring term. Our comments are directed specifically to those of you – faculty members, teaching assistants, and educational support staff – who will be engaged in teaching in the spring, but we would like everyone in the Caltech community to be aware of our plans.

Some of you have asked whether yesterday's "stay at home" orders preclude the use of on-campus facilities for remote instruction. They do not. For example, the state order cites a document issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA-Guidance-on-Essential-Critical-Infrastructure-Workers-1-20-508c.pdf. This document identifies education as an essential activity and allows us to continue to operate according to our current practices, which keep occupancy of our campus spaces to a minimum. We encourage you to base your teaching activities in a location that provides high-quality internet access. For many of you, this will be an on-campus location with wired access.

The formal start of spring term remains March 30, 2020. We ask, however, that you defer the start of required class meetings and assignments until Monday, April 6, and that you use the week of March 30 to prepare and test online elements of your course, to communicate with your students regarding your expectations and course procedures (and their circumstances and concerns), and to place essential information (e.g., your syllabus and links to other resources) on Moodle. The campus will use Moodle as a central hub for students, so every course should have a presence there, even if you use another site for your primary course materials.

The Dean's Office, Student Wellness Services, the Caltech Center for Diversity, the Hixon Writing Center, IMSS, and other campus units will be available to support students during the week of March 30, so that they experience a successful transition to online learning. For those who are teaching spring courses, the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach will be sharing updates with you directly over the coming weeks as new resources become available, to make sure that you have access to the latest information and recommendations. These updates will also be online at https://teach.caltech.edu, highlighted on the front page, where you can already find a robust collection of resources for planning spring classes.

Please remember that students will have the option to take any course on a pass/fail basis during the spring term. Registration information will be sent to students and faculty next week by the Registrar's Office.

We understand that our transition to online instruction will create new challenges and new demands on your time. We thank you for your dedication to the Institute and its students, and we are confident that your efforts will help ensure a successful spring term.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

Today, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena jointly announced a "Safer At Home" order that prohibits public and private events or gatherings of 10 or more people, and requires the temporary closure of all nonessential business through April 19 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the broader community. The order, effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, restricts public movement except for a limited set of essential functions.

As Caltech complies with the order, the Institute will build on the actions that have been implemented over the past several weeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. The order allows only essential activities to continue at this time. For the Caltech community, the essential functions include: distance learning and the operation of student housing and dining facilities; custodial, security, payroll, and student wellness services; and the maintenance and management of laboratories and facilities with unique agents and equipment.

Those employees who will need to conduct these essential on-campus functions must do so in accordance with health professionals' guidance on social distancing, which includes maintaining a distance of six feet per person, staggering personnel schedules, and following preventative hygiene measures to the greatest extent possible. Individuals responsible for essential support functions already should have been identified and informed by their managers or supervisors of continuing responsibilities.

Please be aware that all campus buildings are locked 24/7 and are accessible only to occupants with a Caltech ID card or a building key. If you will be on campus, remember to keep your Caltech ID card or building key with you at all times. Please be attentive to security even with the restricted access; do not allow others into buildings if you do not recognize them or they do not have a Caltech ID. If you see someone who you believe does not have permission to be in the building, contact security at 626-395-5000. Security will have increased foot and vehicle patrols on campus during the closure.

We will provide updates as needed on the impact of the order via community messages and on the COVID-19 Information website.

Thank you for your continued cooperation during this extraordinary time. While circumstances are forcing us apart, we take solace in the fact that Caltech is a community of vibrant, engaged individuals who will persevere. We encourage you to remain connected to each other (virtually) as we are brought together by the shared mission of keeping the Institute at the forefront no matter external exigencies.

Below, please find the guidance we have for specific campus constituencies and operations at this time.

Guidance for Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who are leaving campus to return to their homes can continue to do so, and they should do so as soon as possible. Financial questions or concerns around travel should be directed to the undergraduate deans' office. The undergraduate residences will close at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 20 to all students who were not previously approved to remain on campus beyond that date.

Those who remain on campus must abide by the provisions of the order and the Institute. This means that students are prohibited from participating in large social gatherings and activities in private rooms or common areas, hosting visitors from outside the Caltech community, or traveling away from campus for anything other than essential supplies, groceries, medical appointments, or providing essential care or support for other individuals or pets. Individuals may exercise outside as long as they maintain a distance of six feet from others.

Undergraduates with permission to continue to live on campus will be reassigned to new rooms in the Bechtel Residence in order to most effectively serve their residential needs in accordance with health professionals' guidance on social distancing.

Similarly, Caltech's dining service is offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner carry-out-only service for undergraduates through the Bechtel Residence dining hall.

Guidance for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Graduate students may continue to stay in their campus residences and must abide by the provisions of the order. It is incumbent upon all to limit access to communal spaces in order to best adhere to guidance on social distancing practices.

Graduate students and postdocs are advised to remain at home and not come to campus unless they have responsibilities approved as essential by the laboratory PI in collaboration with their division chair. In addition, graduate students and postdocs may only travel away from their residences for groceries, essential supplies, medical appointments, or to provide essential care or support for other individuals or pets. Individuals may exercise outside as long as they maintain a distance of six feet from others.

To the extent there is sufficient demand for food service, Caltech Dining will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner carry-out service Monday to Friday to graduate students, postdocs, and essential staff in Chandler Dining Hall. Updates on these services and the hours of operation will be provided on the Caltech Dining Services website.

Guidance for Employees

Those employees who can do their work from home must do so at this time. If you are unsure about your options or the transferability of your tasks to a remote location, please consult with your manager. Guidance for remote work is available on Caltech's telecommuting website.

If you work in a role that is designated as an on-campus essential function, please continue to report to campus for such tasks. Your manager will be in touch to provide further direction and guidance so that you may do so as safely as possible.

If your work tasks ordinarily require you to report to campus, but are not identified as an essential function, please do not report to campus. The Institute has committed to continue to pay all full-time and part-time benefits eligible employees at their current base rate of pay.

Guidance on Academic Operations

Plans to proceed with Spring Term 2020, which will be conducted through online instruction only, continue unaffected. Any updates to that schedule will be communicated immediately via email and the COVID-19 Information website.

Guidance on Research Operations

Only those students, postdocs, and staff who perform essential procedures, processes, or agent and equipment management to maintain laboratory viability will continue to have access to their laboratories. Faculty will have access to their laboratories only for the purpose of ensuring safety and viability.

PIs should have identified these essential functions in their laboratory continuity plans. Any additional work on-site requires the explicit approval of the cognizant division chair.

No other personnel or visitors should access campus laboratories until further guidance is issued. Information on deferring research, as well as guidelines and a checklist for laboratory ramp-down, have been developed by the Provost's Office in collaboration with the Office of Research Compliance and the Environmental Health and Safety group.

To: The Caltech Research Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

We are writing to clarify the guidance provided in our March 16 message on Social Distancing in our Academic and Research Operations. Reports from various sources have made it clear that some members of our community have misunderstood what we meant by "essential research operations." Routine continuation of research activities does not qualify as an essential research operation. To protect the health of our community, laboratory personnel should be instructed to work remotely. Some of you have already been informed that continuing work in the laboratory must be approved by your division chair. We write to confirm that this requirement is Institute policy.

We recognize the importance of your work, and we respect your deep commitment to it. Nevertheless, as we learn more about the transmission of COVID-19, we see more clearly the profound challenge of limiting its spread. As an example, we reference a recent report, published in Science, that suggests that undocumented infections (i.e., people who were never diagnosed with the disease) served as the infection source for nearly 80% of documented cases in the early stages of the epidemic in China.

Our responsibility to one another demands that we maintain physical separation for some period of time. As one of our colleagues wisely pointed out to us earlier today, though, we must work especially hard under these stressful circumstances to avoid social isolation. Please stay in communication with your colleagues, support one another, take care of yourselves, and be ready to return with renewed energy and commitment when we can get together again.

To: Caltech Students and Parents
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President

The United States is facing a pandemic that threatens to overwhelm its health care system. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the country has increased by a factor of 12 in the last 6 days and is growing super-exponentially. Los Angeles County, of which Caltech is a part, is starting to experience these trends.

Under these circumstances it is incumbent for all of us to do what we can to help alleviate the situation. At Caltech we have moved to a telecommuting model for all but essential services, shifted courses online, and asked undergraduates to head home as quickly as they can. To that end, we have extended the finals period and the deadline for exams to March 27, reoriented courses for spring quarter, and provided substantial financial assistance for travel planning to those in need. We expect Pasadena City and Los Angeles County to issue more stringent restrictions soon.

In light of this quickly evolving situation, I want to stress the need to vacate your rooms as swiftly as possible. If you have not received permission to stay on campus, the absolute latest deadline to move out of campus residences is Friday at 4 pm. We do this to protect the Caltech and broader communities in an environment where the health risk is increasing and travel delays and restrictions are likely to become pronounced. Some of our undergraduate students, particularly our international cohort, cannot make it home and we need to disperse them in the residences in a manner consistent with CDC guidelines.

I share the distress of the seniors in particular, who should not be saying their goodbyes under these circumstances, but in a time of national emergency we must all pull together for the common good. I urge all undergraduates to move expeditiously and ask their parents to support their children and our students in this endeavor. Resources for students who need assistance such as changing airline reservations are available and can be accessed through the Dean's office.

Thank you for your understanding and help. Be well and I hope that we will be able to reconvene for graduation exercises on June 12.

To: Caltech Employees

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

Every day, Caltech staff provide services critical to the Institute's operation and to the success of its research and education mission. We are grateful for the dedication of so many Caltech employees and we are committed to the health and safety of every member of the Caltech community. In that spirit, Caltech is implementing, effective immediately, a reduced on-campus operations model that defers activities, or transitions work to remote locations (home office, private space within your residence, etc.), whenever possible.

To support staff members who are telecommuting, Caltech's Human Resources, Information Management Systems and Services (IMSS), and the Office of the Provost have created a Caltech Telecommuting website, which includes telecommuting guidelines, information on connecting remotely to Caltech systems, a set of tools for collaboration, and guidelines that explain how to handle work calls remotely.

A number of responsibilities, however, require employees to work on-site. Where necessary, on-site work should be carried out in a manner that is consistent with social distancing practices. In addition, campus leaders are exploring opportunities to redeploy skillsets of staff whose regular work area has reduced operations. Please speak with your manager to determine whether specific tasks can be deferred or should be transitioned to a remote work location, how best to perform your on-site work with appropriate social distancing, and whether your skillsets can be redeployed outside your usual area.

Employees should work with their managers to ensure that required hours and responsibilities are met whenever possible. If your work cannot be done remotely, if you can only telecommute for a portion of the day, or if there is a temporary lack of work because of COVID-19-related response measures and your skillset cannot be redeployed, the Institute has committed to continue to pay all full-time and part-time benefits-eligible employees at the current base rate of pay. This policy is effective March 16 and will also apply to those members of our community who are self-isolating in compliance with public health requirements, or who are caregivers to young, elderly, or ill family members without other means of care.

Employees who are affected by any of the above circumstances should work with their managers to determine required work responsibilities. Similarly, if you are ill, you should charge that time to sick leave; if you are taking a planned vacation, you should charge that time to vacation leave.

These are exceptional times that have required all of us to take swift action and make drastic changes to our daily routines as part of a collective effort to mitigate the spread of disease. As circumstances unfold, we will review this among other temporary policies, and communicate changes with you and your managers and supervisors. We recognize the uncertainty these restrictive measures have brought, both on campus where we have reduced operations in many areas, and at home where many confront new challenges around personal and family care. We will do our best to support you and to keep you well-informed of Caltech's plans and processes.

To: Caltech Employees

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President, and David A. Tirrell, Provost

As indicated in this morning's message on Social Distancing, we are instituting a series of measures to protect the Caltech campus and our broader community. This message provides more detailed guidance for our academic and research enterprises. We realize these measures have significant implications; at the same time, this is an unprecedented emergency, and it is critical that we do what we can to limit the spread of disease and support the efforts of public health authorities to mitigate the impact on our healthcare infrastructure.

Research continuity

  • All non-essential research operations should be deferred or transitioned to remote (home office, private space within residence, etc.) activities whenever possible.
  • All heads of laboratories and research units should immediately evaluate their continuity plans and identify any critical operations that require human, in-person support for maintenance and preservation. Information on critical operations should be communicated immediately to the Division Chairs.

Graduate students

  • Faculty, lab managers, and anyone with responsibility for graduate students should instruct those students to work remotely to the extent possible.
  • Do not insist that graduate students report to campus, unless they are involved in an essential research function. Such determinations should be part of a laboratory's research continuity plan.
  • If a graduate student has an essential role in a critical research function or whose work is at a critical stage in the laboratory, accommodations should be made to conduct those essential functions in a manner consistent with social distancing while maintaining laboratory and experimental safety protocols. For example, minimizing the number of people in a laboratory space while adhering to relevant safety protocols may require supervision or a buddy system.
  • If possible, graduate students should focus on reading and writing papers, data analysis, preparing for candidacy or thesis defenses, and any other activities that do not involve close contact with others.
  • Stipends will continue to be paid, and students will not need to use their 10 days of vacation time if they are ill or working from home.
  • Graduate housing remains open, as well as critical Institute services to support graduate students (dining, wellness, Graduate Studies Office)

Faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows

  • Faculty, staff, and others over the age of 65 have been asked by public health authorities to self-isolate at home until further notice.
  • Do not insist that faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows report to campus, unless they are involved in an essential research function, consistent with a laboratory's research continuity and safety plans.
  • Whenever possible, allow all constituents to work remotely; follow the guidance provided by Human Resources regarding telecommuting.
  • The cautions and limitations regarding social distancing and lab hygiene for graduate students also apply to postdoctoral fellows.

Lab meetings and gatherings

  • All lab meetings should be conducted via teleconference, Zoom, or other virtual tool.
  • One-on-one meetings should be conducted in-person only if the objectives of the meeting require in-person interaction, in an environment where individuals can practice social distancing, and only when both parties agree.
  • Do not invite or host visitors on campus.
  • Lab group members and administrators should use electronic communication whenever possible to order supplies, reconcile reports, and accomplish other crucial administrative functions, practicing appropriate hygiene and social distancing when picking up and dropping off materials.

Hygiene and social distancing

  • The schedules of everyone who must be in the lab or shared office space should be staggered as much as possible, and everyone should work remotely whenever possible to reduce person to person contact.
  • Maintain 6 feet (2 meters) of distance from other people.
  • Practice good hygiene and follow recommendations of the CDC, including when using shared instrumentation and resources.
  • If you are ill, stay home and do not come to campus. In the event of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, notify the Institute (students should notify Student Wellness Services; faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows should notify Human Resources). Follow self-isolation instructions.

Cleaning practices

  • Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting
  • Notify supervisors, Environmental Health and Safety, and Student Wellness Services immediately if you believe that you or someone in your group has been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Facilities staff may need to ramp down typical cleaning practices in order to prioritize other areas of the Institute; cleaning and disinfecting may need to be done internally until other resources become available
  • In the event of a diagnosed case of COVID-19, contact facilities and EHS. Laboratories, offices, and other impacted spaces will be closed for cleaning and prepared for re-occupancy.

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students
From: Joe Shepherd, Vice President of Student Affairs

I understand that the decision to shift to online learning for spring term poses challenges for undergraduate students, and I appreciate your support in ensuring that the transition goes smoothly. At the same time, I need to set some clear interim expectations.

  • The deadline for petitioning to remain in residence on campus is 5 p.m. today, Monday, March 16. Please respond immediately if you feel that you meet the criteria for remaining on campus and have not already done so. Those who have submitted the form have already been notified of the final decisions.
  • While 4 p.m. on Friday, March 20 is the hard deadline to leave campus for undergraduates who have not been approved by the deans' office to remain, students should plan to leave campus as soon as possible.
  • The situation is changing rapidly outside Caltech, and there continue to be increased difficulties with transportation and restrictions on travel that may inhibit your ability to return home. Local preschool and K-12 closures are also creating challenges for staff and faculty, and the Institute needs to move quickly to prioritize the essential services required to sustain research and online instruction

Students should prioritize departing campus rather than focusing on completing coursework or engaging in social activities. Students who have concerns about faculty not providing deadline extensions for exams or final coursework should contact the undergraduate deans. Students who need financial assistance to travel home should contact the financial aid office or the undergraduate deans. Housing staff are available to provide boxes for packing personal belongings and to assist in moving boxed belongings to Brown gym. Furniture and other large items can be labeled and left in rooms. A number of students have already taken advantage of the storage service.

In response to COVID-19 and in adherence with health professionals' guidance on social distancing practices, Caltech has canceled all Institute-sponsored events through June 12; this includes seminars, social gatherings, and other public performances and activities. With this in mind, the following measures are effective immediately for undergraduates and will remain in effect until further notice:

  1. No social events or activities in the common areas of undergraduate residences.
  2. No large social gatherings in individual rooms.
  3. No visitors from outside the Caltech community, other than family helping you to pack, are allowed in the undergraduate residences.
  4. No travel away from campus to attend social events or gatherings. Any travel away from campus should be brief and limited to shopping and obtaining supplies.
  5. Students are expected to follow the preventative hygiene measures and guidance advised on Caltech's COVID-19 website.
  6. Violations of the conduct and drug and alcohol policies will not be tolerated.

Students who violate any of these measures or other Institute policies will be required to leave residential housing and campus immediately. Sanctions for policy violations may also include ineligibility to enroll spring term and in subsequent terms. For students approved to remain on campus through spring term, these measures will remain in force until further notice.

Students who live locally or chose to relocate to nearby rental housing to complete spring term online are not permitted to enter campus to socialize or complete group work with students who have been granted approval to remain on campus. Similarly, students who are remaining on campus are not permitted to leave campus to visit other students. All undergraduate students must identify ways to collaborate through online resources.

Students who are staying locally and need to come onto campus to complete laboratory work must receive permission from a faculty member. Students who have departed campus already should not return to the undergraduate residences to retrieve personal belongings, or to use campus facilities. Students who feel that they need to retrieve personal belongings should contact housing staff, who will determine whether such requests can be accommodated.

COVID-19 is posing extraordinary challenges at Caltech and around the world. We expect undergraduate students to join the rest of the Institute community in focusing on the effort to safely sustain our education and research mission.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

As we monitor the evolution of the global pandemic, modeling trajectories for the spread of COVID-19 indicate that increased social distancing will be required for an extended period. With the aim of protecting the health and well-being of individuals on our campus and in the broader community, we are taking the steps described below.

Caltech will cancel all campus and off-campus events through June 12, the end of spring quarter, with the possible exception of commencement exercises. We hope that conditions may improve in time to hold our 126th Commencement ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 12. We will provide updates on plans for commencement as the date approaches.

Caltech's athletic and recreational facilities are closed until further notice. The gym will be staffed Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for retrieval of personal belongings. Individuals who are not able to return during this timeframe should contact the Athletic Director, Betsy Mitchell, to make arrangements.

All members of the Caltech community who remain on campus in laboratories, workspaces, housing, and other facilities should adhere to social distancing practices to reduce contacts that could spread COVID-19. Where reasonable to do so, this may include limiting in-person meetings and interactions, maintaining a distance of six feet from others when in-person meetings are essential, and establishing staggered work schedules to reduce the number of individuals working near each other.

Each of these measures is disruptive professionally, and some personally. Yet each step is essential as we attempt to balance response to the spread of disease with the continuation of academic and research endeavors. In order to be prepared, we have asked that academic and administrative leaders prepare specific plans, including the identification of key functions and personnel, that will allow us to sustain critical operations in the eventuality of mandated campus-wide closure. In taking decisive action now, we hope that Caltech may be able to hasten the return to traditional operations. More details on these actions, as well as related FAQs for the community, are forthcoming and will be available on the COVID-19 information website.

To: Caltech Postdoctoral Scholars

From: Kaushik Bhattacharya, Vice Provost

Regarding the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation, I wanted to provide you with guidance of particular relevance to the postdoctoral scholar community.

Human Resources policies

Caltech's Human Resources (HR) team has drafted a Temporary Personnel Memorandumoutlining measures that faculty, postdocs, and staff can take to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, on campus.

The measures outlined in the memorandum include the following:

  • Any employee who is sick with any infectious disease must stay home from work.
    • Absences for employees not reporting to work pursuant to this policy are considered to be excused absences.
    • Employees will be required to use available sick accrual for the duration of their absence.
    • Until further notice, medical certifications for infectious diseases associated with the COVID-19 epidemic will not be required for employee absences exceeding 10 days.
  • Many large school districts have recently announced that they are closing temporarily. Employees who have childcare issues resulting from COVID-19 should contact their manager about working remotely, if possible, for the time being. HR's guidelines on telecommuting can be found on Caltech's COVID-19 information webpage.

Research

During this academic break, the campus will remain open and active research projects will continue. Caltech's custodial teams have introduced enhanced cleaning measures on campus, including lab spaces. Additional guidance on the preventative steps and measures that you and your colleagues can take to sanitize your lab space is available on Caltech's COVID-19 information webpage.

As much as possible, we advise you to work with your lab manager to replace in-person lab meetings with remote teleconferencing or video conferencing options. Any work that can be done remotely during this time should be, as we all work to support social distancing as a means for mitigating the spread of disease.

Travel

Right now, based on the U.S. Department of State's guidance, we strongly advise against international travel for all postdoctoral scholars, regardless of citizenship. We understand that many of our postdoctoral scholars have family abroad, but if foreign nationals or U.S. citizens/permanent residents leave the United States, they will be subject to reentry restrictionsand self-isolation guidelines, respectively. These air travel or governmental restrictions can change and are beyond Caltech's ability to control.

International Scholar Services will continue to provide immigration support for international scholars and can be reached by email iss@caltech.edu.

We also continue to advise limiting non-essential domestic travel. If you must travel, we ask you to avoid any area where there is community spread of the disease, meaning that spread cannot be traced back to contact with a traveler from an affected country.

Preventative care and planning

There are several simple and effective steps you can take to make sure that you are prepared for any infectious disease, including COVID-19:

If you are taking a medication, make sure that you have an adequate (30-day) supply.
Make sure you have stocked up on food and other essential items for at least a 14-day period.
Practice good hygiene at all times: cover your cough, wash your hands with soap and water, and avoid touching your face.

Be mindful of your proximity to people you don't know when in public. Consider replacing handshakes with a wave and a smile.

Finally, misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant, and can create confusion and panic. Rely on official communications from the CDC, PPHD, and the Caltech COVID-19 information webpage.

If you become ill

If you are ill with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms (such as sore throat, body aches, congestion), stay home. If you exhibit these symptoms, call your health care provider and do not go into their office unless you are directed to do so. It is important to limit your contact with others if you are ill. Your healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms and risk factors, and give you further instructions regarding self-isolation. At this time, testing for COVID-19 is taking place at the direction of the Pasadena Public Health Department until commercial testing is available.

Mental health resources

Postdocs who experience increased anxiety or stress related to the virus, concerns about family in the United States or abroad, or your personal health may utilize the Staff and Faculty Consultation Center. Please call (626) 395-8360 to arrange an appointment.

For more information on COVID-19 and ongoing updates on the Institute's response, please visit /coronavirus. Information specific to postdocs can be found at /coronavirus/faculty-postdocs-and-staff.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President

The Institute's mission of forefront research and education is embedded in a commitment to societal responsibility and improvement. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic and our duty to the Caltech and Pasadena communities, we have decided to shift to online teaching for spring quarter for undergraduate and graduate students alike. The campus will remain open and we will continue to operate as a research institution, providing critical research and administrative services.

Such a decision is a serious one and involves many different operational considerations, a number of which we address below:

  • The transition to remote learning is effective the first day of spring term, Monday, March 30. A core team of administrators and staff, under the guidance of the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach, has been engaged in extensive planning and preparation for this eventuality. We have launched an online website, teach.caltech.edu, with resources and guidance for instructors and faculty, and will continue to develop guidance and the necessary support systems to ensure that the high-quality, in-depth education that is a hallmark of Caltech continues.
  • We wish to emphasize that the shift to online education will not interfere with the ability of our graduating seniors and graduate students to attain their degrees. We are asking all faculty members and instructors to assess their course requirements and expectations for students to ensure that they are appropriate for an online learning environment. Students will have the option to take any course pass/fail during the spring term, and we will identify alternatives to required courses that cannot be offered online.
  • Caltech's on-campus undergraduate residences will remain open through the end of the winter quarter. Students should now plan to return home as soon as they can. All students must vacate their on-campus housing no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Those individuals who are unable to leave because of travel restrictions or other compelling circumstances can apply to continue living on-campus by making an official request to the Dean of Undergraduate Students office. Students who continue to reside on campus will have their room assignment changed to consolidate undergraduate housing, enable appropriate support from Caltech Housing and the Office of Residential Experience, and maintain the health and safety of our campus. Further information will follow from the Caltech Housing office.
  • All undergraduate students who are leaving campus will be asked to pack up their personal belongings, taking with them as many belongings as reasonably possible. The Institute will store remaining items without charge until the start of fall term. Spring quarter room and board charges will not be assessed for individuals who leave campus. Further information will follow from the Caltech Housing office.
  • Caltech's graduate residences will continue normal operations in accordance with existing housing contracts.
  • The Caltech campus will remain open and the research enterprise will continue. Business services and administrative functions that are necessary to support that activity, including but not limited to dining, human resources, finance, and wellness and support services, will continue to operate. The Institute reserves the right to scale back services and operations as conditions develop, while being sensitive to the needs of the on-campus population.
  • At this time, we continue to hold open the possibility of reconvening for our graduation ceremony in June, as it is the ultimate celebration and recognition of accomplishment for all of our students. It may not be possible to hold commencement, however, and we will update all of you as our plans become clearer.
  • Student Wellness Services will continue operations and may use telehealth and other technology to support student wellbeing. Web-booking of appointments will no longer be available as of Monday, March 16; please call the office to schedule a visit or telephone consultation with a provider. Counseling services will be available on campus, and clinicians will work with students who have relocated off campus who are in need of referrals for local providers. After-hours and weekend crisis support can be reached by calling 626-395-8331 and pressing ‘2.' Please note that wait times may be longer than usual due to increased demand across the country for telephone support. Additional resources can be found on the Student Wellness Services website.
  • In an effort to provide additional clarity around this decision and the impact it will have across campus, we have compiled additional FAQs related to this and other topics on Caltech's COVID-19 Information Page. If you have additional questions beyond those addressed in the FAQ, please share them through the online form; a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.

We recognize that these actions are disruptive and unsettling, and we do not take them lightly. We believe that they are essential to protect the health of our community, and that they can be implemented in a manner consistent with the high standards that all of us hold for Caltech. We hope that the lessons we learn from this experience will further enhance our work as we return to normal operations in the future.

To: The Caltech Community

In abundance of caution and care for the community's health and well-being, Caltech will cancel all spring intercollegiate athletic contests and practices as of March 15. This action is taken in concert with our Division 3 conference, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) which has canceled all conference competition for the spring.

As with the rest of the Institute's activities, we will monitor this situation as it evolves and respond accordingly. Ongoing updates and information for all students will continue to be shared via Caltech's COVID-19 information page.

To: Caltech Faculty
From: David A. Tirrell, Provost

Following up on the most recent community update about completing the winter term remotely, and the possibility of the spring term being conducted online, I would like to provide information about the submission of student work and grades for winter term, and about the resources available to assist in the transition to online instruction, should it be necessary.

Completing Winter Term

To take account of the time students will need to commit to traveling home over the next week or so, we will implement a one-week extension for submission of final exams, projects, and papers for winter term courses. We will also extend the deadline for submission of final grades for one week, until 9 a.m. on Monday, March 30.

Resources for online instruction

A dedicated website has been created to provide resources and guidance on teaching continuity. The website, teach.caltech.edu, will continue to be updated as new tools and information become available.

Currently, you may access:

  • Information on access to Zoom for videoconferencing; IMSS has extended the Institute's license to provide coverage for the entire academic community
  • Guidance on communicating with students electronically
  • Guidance on providing support for students with accessibility concerns
  • FERPA-compliant tools for collecting assignments and exams
  • Information on the Caltech learning management system, Moodle, and
  • Direction on staff contacts to support this transition

In order to continue the high quality, in-depth education that is a hallmark of Caltech, and to support students' progress toward their degrees, faculty and instructors scheduled to teach during the spring term are still expected to do so. If, after reviewing the information on the Online Teaching Continuity website, you believe that your course would be impossible to adapt to an online environment, please contact the Executive Officer(s) of the option(s) in which the course is listed immediately to discuss alternative plans. We will contact each of the instructors scheduled to teach laboratory and field courses to determine the feasibility of delivering those courses online, and to establish potential substitutes for courses that cannot be taught remotely.

As always, instructors have flexibility and discretion in the approach that they take to teaching, which remains true even if course(s) are moved online. Should spring courses be conducted remotely, please be sure that, at minimum, units for in-class and lab instructional hours are replaced with a similar amount of class interaction and students have at least as many opportunities to practice, receive feedback, and demonstrate learning through class assignments and/or exams.

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility as we navigate this evolving situation.

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students
From: Joseph E. Shepherd, Vice President for Student Affairs

As a follow up to the most recent community update regarding Caltech's decision to officially end the instructional term on March 11, I wanted to both provide you with additional guidance that is particularly relevant to the undergraduate student community, and to share some of the reasoning behind the Institute's actions.

COVID-19 is a very real public health concern not only worldwide but in our local community and on campus. Caltech has an open campus and collaborates extensively with partners around the nation and the world, making it very challenging to control the introduction and spread of the virus.

If the public health situation deteriorates in our community, this may result in significant staff, faculty, and student illness, in which case we do not know if we will be able to keep all the student residences open. Our ability to cope with a substantial level of student illness may also be diminished if public schools and childcare in the area close, requiring staff to stay at home.

The likelihood of transmission increases substantially when there is a group living in close proximity that shares bathrooms and dining areas. Best practices in public health are to reduce or eliminate the possibility of transmission through dispersing individuals, practicing social distancing, and canceling in-person academic activities. To support these efforts, we need to reduce the population within the shared living environment of the undergraduate residences.

We agree with these concerns from public health officials and have acted on them. This is also why we are limiting in-person interaction, finishing the term online, and considering a move to online instruction in the spring. All academic and support groups on campus have been asked to be very mindful of hygiene, social distancing, limiting travel, and reducing the size of or eliminating large gatherings.

The Institute did not come to this decision easily. We know that this is very disruptive to our students' lives, and our academic and research programs. We have taken these precautionary steps out of concern for the welfare of our community. We are committed to returning to our traditional academic and business operations as soon as it is safe to do so.

This following information is based on the current situation and will be updated as the situation evolves.

Campus Residences

  • To help manage the evolving situation on campus, we are asking all undergraduate students to indicate whether they are planning to leave or stay on campus via this webform. Please fill out the form as soon as you know your plans.

Leaving campus

  • We urge all undergraduate students who are able to do so, to return home as soon as possible to complete assignments and final exams electronically. This is in the best interest of student and community health.
  • If you would like to leave campus and have financial needs or other considerations that might prevent you from doing so, please contact the dean's office for additional guidance and support.
  • As you are packing, please take all valuables, any necessary medications, an adequate supply of clothing, books, your laptops and other electronics, etc. While on-campus instruction is currently scheduled to resume on March 30, this is a rapidly evolving situation and that schedule may change. You should be prepared to be away from campus longer than is currently expected.

Remaining on campus

  • Students who need to remain in Caltech undergraduate housing may do so; however, they should be prepared for the possibility that the Institute may implement reduced or alternate dining services and shift room assignments in order to create quarantine space.
  • Any students who remain on campus need to be mindful of the inherent risks of congregate living environments. We are asking that students engage in appropriate social distancing, avoid student gatherings, and limit socializing in the residences and on campus. All social events in the residences have been canceled until April 6.
  • If you are an international student, live in an already-impacted area, or are otherwise unable to return home, you are permitted to stay on campus. If you would like to go elsewhere and need guidance, please consult with the Office of Residential Experience/Housing, which has curated a centralized list of student volunteers who have invited classmates to their personal residences.

Academics

  • Completing this term: The Institute is asking faculty to provide a one-week extension for submission of exams, projects, and papers that are due to complete the winter term. You will be receiving communications from your instructors about how to complete final projects, problem sets, and exams. Please be attentive to the electronic messaging, emails, and websites that are used for communications in your classes.
  • Spring term: We hope to be able to resume regular campus operations and classes on March 30, but the situation is continually evolving and we will need to evaluate our campus in light of the projected public health situation at that time. For now, the Institute has extended the deadline for academic eligibility for the spring term to April 17.

    We will stay in regular communication with you and provide timely updates on the resumption of classes. You will be receiving emails from Caltech that will provide essential information and instructions regarding the resumption of instruction, completion of graduation requirements, and return to campus. It is vitally important that you read your email on a regular basis to stay informed about these developments.

    We are keenly aware that any prolonged closure or delay in starting classes will have an impact on many students, particularly graduating seniors and students with summer plans. The Deans and Registrar will be working with faculty and students to address and accommodate these circumstances.

    We ask that students wishing to return early for spring term wait until the Institute has resumed regular operations. Please stay at home, monitor email communications on the status of the Institute, and contact the Housing Office for further instructions.
  • Support services: During the time you are away from campus, the Hixon Writing Center will be conducting its one-to-one meetings with students online; you can find more information at http://writing.caltech.edu/. Caltech Accessibility Services for Students will continue to support students with documented needs.

    Deans tutors will also continue to be available to support Caltech undergraduates. Students are encouraged to utilize whatever video chat apps they prefer in order to communicate most effectively with tutors, and tutors should continue tracking hours as usual. Information can be found at deans.caltech.edu.

Preventative care and planning

Wherever you are during the coming weeks, there are several simple and effective steps you can take to make sure that you are prepared for any infectious disease, including COVID-19:

  • If you are taking a medication, make sure that you have an adequate (30-day) supply.
  • Make sure you have stocked up on food and other essential items for at least a 14-day period.
  • Practice good hygiene at all times: cover your cough, wash your hands with soap and water, and avoid touching your face.
  • Be mindful of your proximity to people you don't know when in public. Consider replacing handshakes with a wave and a smile.
  • Finally, misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant, and can create confusion and panic. Rely on official communications from the CDC, PPHD, and the Caltech COVID-19 information webpage.

In addition, please practice common-sense social distancing, which should include taking into account your and your family's risk profiles and enacting measures that will protect you and those around you. Current guidance from health officials is to maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.

If you become ill

  • If you remain on campus and are ill with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms (such as sore throat, body aches, congestion), call Student Wellness Services at (626) 395-6393. Please do not come to the Student Wellness Services building unless you are directed to do so. It is important to limit your contact with others if you are ill. A healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms and risk factors, and will give you further instructions regarding self-isolation. At this time, testing for COVID-19 is taking place at the direction of the Pasadena Public Health Department until commercial testing is available.
  • If you experience a medical emergency, please call Campus Security at (626) 395-5000.

Mental health resources

  • Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to the virus, concerns about family overseas, or your personal health may contact Student Counseling Services for consultation and support. Call (626) 395-8331 to arrange an appointment.

For more information on COVID-19 and ongoing updates on the Institute's response, please visit caltech.edu/coronavirus. Targeted information for Students and Parents, as well as for Institute employees, is also being collected online.

To: Caltech Faculty

From: David A. Tirrell, Provost

As you know, Caltech is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation. For updates on institutional actions, please visit Caltech's coronavirus webpage.

Effective immediately, please cease recruiting human subjects or conducting experiments that involve in-person testing of human subjects. We have decided to take this measure out of an abundance of caution and to promote the health and safety of both our subjects and our researchers.

This moratorium applies to all protocols where Caltech/JPL researchers conduct in-person testing of human subjects, and includes all on-campus testing of human subjects, as well as off-campus testing where Caltech personnel could come into contact with research subjects. This does not impact your ability to continue analysis on existing data, collaborate with other institutions whose personnel are conducting human subjects research, or collect data that does not involve direct interaction between you and the research subject (e.g., over the internet).

If your protocol involves data collection by an outside collaborator (i.e., not a JPL or campus employee) at an offsite location, or involves third-party collection of biological samples, recruitment of those subjects is at the discretion of the entity collecting the data or specimens.

As a reminder to those who are collecting biospecimens from third parties during this time, you should be utilizing BSL2 practices when handling the specimens.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Institutional Review Board atirb@caltech.edu. We will re-evaluate this decision frequently as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As we do so, your advice will be welcome.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) notified Caltech today that the results for the graduate student who was tested Monday for COVID-19 were negative. The student has been self-isolated in off-campus housing since the weekend and is recovering.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases on the Caltech campus. PPHD did confirm its first positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but has said that the case is unrelated to Caltech's graduate student.

Given the growing number of cases in Los Angeles and in California, as well as increased testing availability and frequency, we must be prepared for a confirmed case to be present in the Caltech community. Caltech may not be able to provide ongoing updates about every individual who is being tested, but as we are made aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among members of our community, we will work closely with local public health officials to keep you informed of the situation and to mitigate the spread of the disease.

In the meantime, the infectious disease task group continues to work across campus to implement plans and preventative measures that will protect the safety and well-being of the campus community and ensure the continuity of research and education.

We appreciate your help as we manage this evolving situation. We will monitor developments on campus and in the community, and will provide regular updates via email and Caltech's COVID-19 Information Page.

To: Caltech Graduate Students
From: Doug Rees, Dean of Graduate Studies

In follow up to the most recent community update regarding Caltech's decision to officially end the instructional term on March 11, I wanted to provide you with additional guidance that is particularly relevant to the graduate student community.

Your faculty and advisers will be in touch with you regarding classes that you are TA'ing, with instructions on how to proceed for the quarter. Moving forward, on-campus instruction is scheduled to resume with the start of the spring quarter on March 30. Given the rapidly evolving situation, however, campus leadership is proactively planning for the option of conducting teaching online, through such video conferencing platforms as Zoom.

Research
During this academic break, the campus will remain open and active research projects will continue. Caltech's custodial teams have introduced enhanced cleaning measures on campus, including lab spaces. Additional guidance on the preventative steps and measures that you and your colleagues can take to sanitize your lab space will be made available to the divisions and posted on Caltech's COVID-19 information website.

As much as possible, we advise you to replace in-person lab meetings with remote teleconferencing or video conferencing options. Any work that can be done remotely during this time should be, as we all work to support social distancing as a means for mitigating the spread of disease.

Travel
Right now, we strongly advise against international travel. We understand that many of our graduate students have family abroad, but if you leave the United States, you must understand there is a chance that there may be a self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return, and that there may be air travel or governmental restrictions beyond Caltech's ability to control that could hinder your return.

We also continue to advise limiting non-essential domestic travel. If you must travel, we ask you to avoid any area where there is community spread of the disease, meaning that spread cannot be traced back to contact with a traveler from an affected country.

Preventative care and planning
There are several simple and effective steps you can take to make sure that you are prepared for any infectious disease, including COVID-19:

  • If you are taking a medication, make sure that you have an adequate (30-day) supply.
  • Make sure you have stocked up on food and other essential items for at least a 14-day period.
  • Practice good hygiene at all times: cover your cough, wash your hands with soap and water, and avoid touching your face.
  • Be mindful of your proximity to people you don't know when in public. Consider replacing handshakes with a wave and a smile.
  • Finally, misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant, and can create confusion and panic. Rely on official communications from the CDC, PPHD, and the Caltech COVID-19 information webpage.

If you become ill
If you are ill with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms (such as sore throat, body aches, congestion), stay home. Caltech's response to COVID-19 has emphasized that members of the community should not come to campus if they are ill, as it is not beneficial to the welfare of the individual nor the welfare of their colleagues. The faculty have been given guidance in a letter from President Rosenbaum that if a group member appears to have or has reported to them flu-like symptoms, that person should avoid coming to campus. Your stipend will continue during this period.

This advice is in accordance with guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which state that students should stay home and not return to work or classes until they are free of fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

If you exhibit any of the symptoms above, call Student Wellness Services at (626) 395-6393. Please do not come to the Student Wellness Services building unless you are directed to do so. It is important to limit your contact with others if you are ill. A healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms and risk factors, and give you further instructions regarding self-isolation. At this time, testing for COVID-19 is taking place at the direction of the Pasadena Public Health Department until commercial testing is available.

If you experience a medical emergency, please call Campus Security at (626) 395-5000.

Mental health resources
Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to the virus, concerns about family overseas, or your personal health may contact Student Counseling Services for consultation and support. Call (626) 395-8331 to arrange an appointment.

For more information on COVID-19 and ongoing updates on the Institute's response, please visit caltech.edu/coronavirus. Targeted information for Students and Parents, as well as for Institute employees is also being collected online.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) expects to provide test results on Thursday for the one graduate student tested for COVID-19. While we wait for results, we would like to remind you that testing alone is not cause for alarm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently broadened its criteria for testing COVID-19 and expects more individuals will be tested as an increased precaution.

In the eventuality of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, we will work with the local health department to communicate this to the campus as quickly as is possible, and to conduct a full investigation that includes contacting individuals who might have been exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their campus routines.

The campus's emergency response group, in concert with the infectious disease task group, has been working with public health officials to consider the best course of action given a lack of information about the test result. After consultation with local experts, we have been cleared to proceed with plans to end the instructional term at the end of today, Wednesday, March 11.

With this decision, undergraduate students will be asked to complete their final exams and assignments for the quarter remotely. Faculty will communicate by email to students regarding exams and any outstanding assignments, which will need to be submitted electronically.

At this time, on-campus instruction is scheduled to resume with the start of the spring quarter on March 30. Given the rapidly evolving situation, however, the task group and campus leaders are actively planning for all instruction to shift online. If such measures are to be implemented, we will notify the community with as much advance notice as possible.

Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to consider taking this opportunity to return home for the duration of spring break.

Students who would like to remain in Caltech undergraduate housing during break must register with Student Housing and should be prepared for the eventuality that we may need to implement reduced or alternate dining service as we move forward. We also may need to shift room assignments if isolation measures are required.

During this academic break, the campus will remain open and active research projects will continue. Additional guidance on the preventative steps and measures that graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff remaining on campus can take will be forthcoming.

We advise that all individuals should stay informed on the developing COVID-19 situation and avoid any area where there is community spread of the disease, meaning that spread cannot be traced back to contact with a traveler from an affected country. As communicated previously, we continue to advise against international travel and prohibit travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice.

Public health officials have advised that students who are currently displaying flu-like symptoms or are otherwise reporting illnesses should remain on campus and not travel until they have recovered.

We appreciate your help and patience as we manage this evolving situation. We will monitor developments on campus, in the community, and across the world, and we will provide regular updates via email, Ion Caltech, and Caltech's COVID-19 information website.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

Earlier today, a Caltech graduate student was tested for COVID-19 by the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD). The student, who has exhibited mild symptoms, is currently self-isolating in off-campus housing pending test results.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases on the Caltech campus, and no other community members are undergoing testing.

As soon as we learn the outcome of the testing, we will inform you of the results and of any campus impact. In collaboration with and under the guidance of PPHD, we are continuing to operate within the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's established guidance for campus activities.

Caltech's first priority is the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff, and community. We will take all precautions recommended by PPHD, LADPH, and the Centers for Disease Control, to prevent or contain the disease from spreading at our institution.

This is an evolving situation and we are committed to keeping you informed as we receive new information. We encourage our students, parents, faculty, and staff to visit caltech.edu/coronavirus to remain updated on the situation.

If you develop flu-like symptoms, please contact your medical provider by telephone for instructions on seeking medical attention. Students should call Student Wellness Services at (626) 395-6393. Staff and faculty should contact their primary care medical provider.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

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.

Events

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 webpage. 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 events@caltech.edu.

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 webpage 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 event must to 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.

Travel

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 webpage, and distributed via Ion Caltech emails. Thank you for your partnership and assistance as we work to address and manage this evolving situation.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve quickly. This morning Los Angeles and Pasadena each declared local public health emergencies to aid in preparation for and response to increasing cases of COVID-19 locally. Six new cases of the disease have been confirmed in Los Angeles County. None were the result of community spread. Instead, all new cases could be traced to travel to affected countries or close contact with individuals who had recently visited an affected country.

As of March 4, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus or in Pasadena.

At Caltech, the health and safety of our community members remains our top priority, and we are developing and taking precautions to protect students, staff, and faculty. In light of the declared public health emergencies, and in an abundance of caution, we advise additional near-term measures detailed below. Caltech's infectious disease task group is in regular communication with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and will continue to follow updated guidance and recommendations of PPHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they are released.

Travel Guidance
Many members of the Caltech community have asked questions about international travel and visitors and colleagues from abroad. In keeping with CDC guidelines, we recommend that:

  • All Caltech community members avoid travel to any countries designated with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice: currently 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.
  • Anyone who has returned from travel to one of these countries should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days.

We continue to advise limiting non-essential travel. Students who wish to remain on campus during spring break are welcome to do so; the Institute and its residences will remain open.

Preparedness Around Events and Activities
At present, there are no plans to alter or cancel classes. Any future changes, if necessary, would be made in consultation with CDC and PPHD. In an effort to be prepared for such an eventuality, we are exploring possible remote learning alternatives that could be used to allow students and staff to continue their education and work from other locations.

Events on campus will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with event organizers. At this time, we recommend that event organizers exercise extra caution in planning or hosting events that may bring a significant number of external community members to campus. As a result, we are postponing the Explore Caltech community event and the Science of Sports panel that were planned for Saturday, March 14.

The infectious disease task force will contact organizers of other events across campus to help consider the necessary precautions for their activities, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. Regular updates on any future cancellations will be shared via weekly Ion Caltech community emails and the Caltech Today website.

Enhanced cleaning and preventative hygiene
To fight the possible transmission of illness on campus, Caltech's custodial teams have introduced enhanced cleaning techniques that include sanitizing frequently touched surfaces like tables and door knobs every day. In addition, signs are posted across campus to remind the community and guests of the importance of basic hygiene in combating illness, including regular hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.

To aid these efforts, members of the Caltech community who are sick with any communicable illness need to stay home. Following PPHD recommendations, until further notice, doctor's notes will not be required for employee absences exceeding 10 days.

Managers and supervisors seeking further guidance to address potential issues with employees should reference the Temporary Personnel Memorandum on the Human Resources website.

Additionally, the CDC advises flu shots to protect against influenza and to follow these suggestions that help prevent the spread of all viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick.

Regular updates can be found on a dedicated website, Caltech's Coronavirus Information page, and in Ion Caltech emails. If you have any questions or concerns about Caltech's COVID-19 preparedness and response that are not covered in our online FAQs, you can submit them through an online inquiries form.

Thank you for your partnership and assistance as we work to address and manage this evolving situation.

To: The Caltech Community

From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently advised that the eventual community spread of COVID-19 in the United States is likely. The Institute has an Infectious Disease Plan, and an infectious disease task group, to mitigate and manage health emergencies involving diseases of concern, such as COVID-19. Following up on previous messages to the community from Human Resources and John Tsai, Medical Director of Health Services, we provide here an update on the status of campus operations, activities, and events in light of the current COVID-19 risk assessment.

The health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty are our top priorities. As of February 29, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus or in Pasadena. Members of the infectious disease task group are in regular communication with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and will continue to follow the guidance and recommendations of PPHD and the CDC. We are assessing developments on a continual basis, but, for the present, there are no plans to alter or cancel upcoming events or classes on our campus. Regular updates can be found on a dedicated website, Caltech's Coronavirus Information page, and in the weekly Ion Caltech community emails.

Faculty, students, and staff who have questions or concerns about planned travel, or about colleagues visiting from abroad should reference the CDC recommendations. We and many of our peers advise limiting non-essential travel.

The CDC advises that those who have visited a country where COVID-19 has been reported and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arriving home, should seek medical advice and avoid contact with others. While COVID-19 cases vary greatly in severity, and can be fatal, the majority of cases involve mild to moderate illnesses. In most cases, home isolation and monitoring as well as careful personal hygiene practices will be required to prevent spread of the disease. Managers and supervisors seeking further guidance to address potential issues with employees should reference the Temporary Personnel Memorandum on the Human Resources website.

Additionally, the CDC advises flu shots to protect against influenza and to follow these suggestions that help prevent the spread of all viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick.

If the PPHD or CDC risk assessment and guidance change, we will provide additional updates to the campus community. If you have any questions about this situation that are not addressed via information and the links above, or if aspects of the guidance provided are unclear, please contact your immediate supervisor or faculty advisor, who will be able to help resolve specific issues of concern.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

To: The Caltech Community

As of February 26, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus.

We will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC and the Pasadena Public Health Department. This is an evolving and rapidly emerging situation. There is an increasing number of cases outside of China and many other countries are now affected.

Please see the CDC website for the most up-to-date travel notices: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Please visit the CDC Newsroom to access the media telebriefing on 2/25/2020: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0225-cdc-telebriefing-covid-19.html

To: The Caltech Community

As of February 24, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus and the risk to the general population remains low as per the Public Health Department.

This is an evolving and rapidly emerging situation. There is an increasing number of cases outside of China.

There are new travel warnings for travelers to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea from the CDC.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

02/21/2020 CDC Briefing from Dr. Nancy Messonnier:

"We're not seeing spread here in the United States yet, but it is possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen. Our goal continues to be slowing the introduction of the virus into the U.S. This buys us more time to prepare our communities for more cases and possibly sustained spread.This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat. We don't yet have a vaccine for this novel virus, nor do we have a medicine to treat it specifically. We are taking and will continue to take aggressive action to reduce the impact of this virus, that it will have on the communities in the U.S. We are working with state, local, and territorial health departments to ready our public health work force to respond to local cases and the possibility this outbreak could become a pandemic. We are working closely with health care systems across the country to reinforce infection control principles and plans for surges of people seeking and requiring care. We're collaborating with supply chain partners to understand what medical supplies are needed and available. This will help CDC understand when we may need to take more aggressive measures to ensure that health care workers on the front lines have access to the supplies they need. We're working with businesses, hospitals, pharmacies, clinicians, manufacturers, and distributors to communicate about these measures and what they can do to get ready.… If you're watching the news, you may be hearing about schools shutting down and businesses closing in countries in Asia to reduce the potential spread of this virus. The day may come where we need to implement such measures in the U.S. communities. By next week, we expect to be posting a new web page focused on what CDC is already doing to mitigate transmission in communities. We recognize the uncertainty of the current situation. As always, CDC public health experts strive to make the best recommendations based on the most up to date data."

Access the full transcript and audio telebriefing.

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

  • It's currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

To: The Caltech Community

As of February 21, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus and the risk to the general population remains low.

To: The Caltech Community

Please note: there is currently no identified risk on the Caltech campus, and the risk to the general population remains low.

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the disease that is causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, COVID-19. We will be updating our website to reflect the updated name.

Caltech continues to follow the guidance of the Pasadena Public Health Department, as well as monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for travelers from China arriving in the United States.

We encourage all community members to continue to follow the CDC recommendations:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick.
  • Get an influenza vaccine if you have not already done so.

To: The Caltech Community

Please note: there is currently no identified risk on the Caltech campus, and the risk to the general population remains low.

Caltech continues to work closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department and is following guidance released on February 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the risk assessment of individuals with potential COVID-19 exposure due to travel or contact with infected persons.

The information and resources in this email are being shared on a precautionary basis; Caltech Student Wellness Services and Human Resources staff are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and will provide regular updates on Caltech's COVID-19 Information page and in the weekly Ion Caltech community emails.

According to the CDC, travelers who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have visited the Hubei province of China within the last 14 days are reasonably believed to have a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 based on the scope and magnitude of the epidemic in those areas. If you have visited the Hubei province within the last 14 days:

  • Students should contact Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393) to receive further instructions.
  • Faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, visitors, and other affiliates should contact their primary care physician for further instructions, as well as notify Dr. John Tsai, Medical Director of Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393), to ensure that the Institute can offer appropriate assistance during any quarantine period.

Travelers who have visited mainland China within the last 14 days, entering the United States prior to February 3 and absent respiratory symptoms, fever, or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are not subject to a self-quarantine period. Students, Faculty and Staff must follow the Institute's guidelines regarding nondiscrimination as outlined in the Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity policy.

Managers and supervisors seeking further guidance on addressing potential issues with employees should reference the Temporary Personnel Memorandum on the Human Resources website.

The U.S. Department of State has elevated its travel advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel to China. The CDC recommendation as of 02/03/2020 and going forward is for travelers from mainland China outside Hubei Province who were not exposed to a person with COVID-19 infection, to remain at home or in a comparable setting to the extent possible and avoid areas where large groups of people congregate, limit public activities, and practice social distancing. These travelers will be under Department of Public Health monitoring. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also placed a temporary ban on entry into the United States for foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents) who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days.

Additionally, we are advising you get a flu shot to protect against influenza and to follow these CDC actions that help prevent the spread of all viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick.
  • Get an influenza vaccine if you have not already done so.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

To: The Caltech Community

As of February 4, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus.

Frequently asked questions have been published.

To: The Caltech Community

As of January 31, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019 novel Coronavirus outbreak (renamed COVID-19 on February 11, 2020) to be Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against travel to China.

The situation continues to change quickly and as of today, there are about 10,000 cases and 200 fatalities. There are 6 confirmed cases in the United States with one person to person transmission between close contacts.

The risk to the general population continues to be low. There are no restrictions for people who are not ill. Please consult public health departments at local, state, national and international levels for accurate information and official recommendations.

The actions individuals persons can take are:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you are ill with respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and have traveled recently, call Student Wellness Services at (626) 395-6393 and report your situation along with leaving a contact phone number. Stay in your room, wear a mask if you leave your room but avoid public settings. We will call you back and give you instructions.

Additionally, American Airlines and Delta Airlines have announced that they will be temporarily suspending flights to China. Please visit their official newsrooms for more information:

American Airlines - http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2020/American-Airlines-Update-on-China-Flights-OPS-DIS/default.aspx

Delta Airlines - https://news.delta.com/delta-temporarily-suspend-all-us-china-flying

To: The Caltech Community

As of January 29, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus.

The Centers for Disease Control advises avoiding all nonessential travel to all of China. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china

The number of cases in China continues to increase and the number of confirmed cases in the United States remains at 5. All the cases in the US involve people who had travel from Wuhan, China.

Per the Los Angeles Department of Public Health: Despite the case in Los Angeles County, there is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness. Los Angeles County residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene as this is the height of flu season across the county. The risk from COVID-19 to spread in Los Angeles County residents is deemed to be low at this time.

Caltech Student Wellness Services has received questions and evaluated students with concerns. We thank the campus community for its cooperation during this time. We continue to monitor the situation and work closely with public health officials as this situation evolves.

To: The Caltech Community

As of January 27, 2020, there is no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus.

The situation involving the novel Coronavirus infection (renamed COVID-19 on February 11, 2020) is changing and evolving rapidly as 5 cases have been confirmed in the United States with one in Los Angeles County and one in Orange County. The risk level is still low per public health officials. It is important to read official announcements from public health agencies.

Los Angeles County Public Health Department: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/

California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

(If these links are not current, go to the organization homepage and search COVID-19.)

Caltech Student Wellness Services continues to monitor the situation closely. We are working with the Pasadena Department of Public Health and following their guidance and instructions.

If you have symptoms of respiratory illness and have traveled to Wuhan, China recently or had contact with a confirmed case, please call Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393) and relay the circumstances along with your contact number. We will call you and give you instructions for your care. Please also contact Student Wellness Services with questions or concerns.

  • Your health and the health of the public are the most important concerns regarding illness caused by COVID-19, originating in Wuhan, China.
  • Criteria from the CDC for patients who may be ill with COVID-19 from Wuhan, China are fever AND lower respiratory illness (cough or difficulty breathing) AND recent travel in Wuhan China or contact with known suspected cases of this new infection.

What to do:

  1. Please call before going to a healthcare facility. Please contact Caltech Student Wellness Services (626) 395-6393 if you are ill or have concerns. If the center is closed, contact the local hospital emergency room. Please state your symptoms and your travel history.
  2. Prior to your evaluation, you should avoid being in communal settings such as public areas and public transportation. You should wear a face mask when not in a private room and generally avoid other people. You should cover your coughs or sneezes, wash hand frequently, and avoid sharing food, drink, utensils or other items that may have oral or respiratory secretions.
  3. You will be evaluated in a private room with both you and the healthcare provider wearing masks. The instructions from the local public health department will be followed for any further testing or management.
    • There is currently no specific viral treatment or vaccine for this new virus. Treatment is directed towards your symptoms. Please contact the healthcare facility if you feel worse.
    • Evaluation is important so you have proper care and the spread of this infection can be limited.

To: The Caltech Community

In December 2019, the World Health Organization learned of unusual respiratory infections occurring in Wuhan, in the Hubei Province of China. On January 7, 2020, health authorities identified the cause as a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory-tract illnesses, such as the common cold, with symptoms that last only a short time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Cases of individuals presenting infections with COVID-19 are being reported in a growing number of countries, including in the United States. It is not yet known how easily the virus spreads between people.

Please note: there is currently no identified risk on the Caltech campus.

The information and resources in this email are being shared on a precautionary basis; Caltech Student Wellness Services and Human Resources staff are monitoring the situation closely and will provide updates as they are warranted. Staff are working closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department and following their guidance.

This situation is evolving rapidly and, for now, we are advising you to follow these CDC preventive actions:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick.
  • Avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China
  • Travelers to Wuhan should avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat). Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should avoid travel to Wuhan or other affected areas if possible.

In addition, we are asking all Caltech students who have traveled to Wuhan in the past month AND have respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) to please contact Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393) or their healthcare provider. Please call Student Wellness Services first before coming to the Center so we can make appropriate arrangements.

For all other community members, please contact your primary care physician if you have traveled to Wuhan in the past month AND have respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing). Please follow your treating provider's recommendations for seeking care.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.