Faculty, Staff and Students,
I know you are all aware of the recent announcements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Several of you have expressed concerns or asked questions about various issues, so I wanted to provide you with an update on our preparations. Our intention is to inform you about where things stand in terms of our preparations and planning.
While there are no known cases in the Claremont or Los Angeles County areas, officials with local, state and federal public health agencies have made it clear that they anticipate the virus will spread within the United States. Harvey Mudd College, in partnership with the other colleges in Claremont, have been doing a number of things to prepare:
- Intercollegiate committees with representatives from each campus have been meeting to address both short- and long-term issues and planning. This includes the Student Deans and Academic Affairs committees as well as emergency preparedness personnel.
- Harvey Mudd College has created a task force to meet regularly to monitor and plan for potential spread of the virus. This task force includes representatives from Student Affairs, Dining Services, Facilities and Maintenance, Business Affairs, Human Resources and Communications. We also have created this site that will include updates from the task force as warranted.
- Harvey Mudd has stepped up its cleaning and sanitization procedures in residential, office, dining and academic spaces to mitigate the potential spread of illnesses.
- Our existing plans for isolating students in the event of illness have been reviewed and expanded to include the potential for larger numbers of community members to be impacted.
- We have begun expanding plans—including procurement of additional food and other resources—in the event the campus or the city of Claremont is forced to become quarantined/isolated for a period of time. This includes exploring how to ensure adequate staff is available to support our students.
- We have been, and continue to be, in touch with study abroad programs and students, as well as students who were planning to attend programs that have not yet started, to coordinate any changes that need to be made regarding their programs of study. We are addressing these situations on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific details, such as the country/city hosting the program, start dates, availability of alternative course delivery methods, etc.
- We are reviewing plans for larger, upcoming campus-wide events—including Admitted Students Weekend, Alumni Weekend and Commencement—so that we can make adjustments as needed. For the time being, we do not anticipate changes to currently scheduled events. We will provide updates on events as needed, but we encourage anyone planning to travel to campus for an event to stay home if they are not feeling well to avoid the risk of spreading illness.
- As part of our planning process, the College has been exploring options for continuing to deliver courses to the extent possible in the event of a widespread outbreak in the U.S., including how we might use alternative course delivery mechanisms.
This website includes additional information related to leave from work or class, domestic and international travel, and spring break. We encourage all members of our community to review this site for updated information in the coming weeks.
Leave from Work or Classes
In conjunction with recommendations from the CDC, the College strongly encourages faculty, staff or students who are not feeling well to stay home or stay in your residence hall room until you are free from fever or other symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Health officials have recommended that if you suspect you might be infected with the COVID-19 virus, you should call your healthcare provider’s office or the emergency room before going to seek treatment to ensure that appropriate procedures can be followed to minimize any risk of the spread of potential infection.
- Faculty and staff should contact their supervisors (as appropriate) to discuss any specific issues related to sick leave or family leave. Faculty and staff supervisors will receive additional communication from the Office of Human Resources providing guidance for addressing employee absences due to illness.
- Students should call or email the Dean of Students Office.
Domestic and International Travel
At this time, there are no limitations on College-related domestic travel for work-related purposes. For faculty and staff who plan to travel internationally on College business, we ask that you discuss your travel plans, as soon as possible, with your area vice president to determine the appropriate course of action. We are attempting to minimize work-related, international travel for the time being.
For faculty, staff and students who are planning to travel internationally for personal reasons—including travel over spring break—we strongly encourage you to review the latest travel-related notices from the CDC and U.S. Department of State to make sure you will be able to get into and out of the countries you plan to visit. This information is being updated constantly. Because of that, we ask that you keep in mind that any international travel carries a risk that you might be quarantined or prevented from returning to the U.S. If possible, the safest option is to postpone your trip until the outbreak diminishes. If that is not possible, we encourage you to explore travel-related insurance options to ensure you are able to obtain medical treatment and/or be evacuated in the event of an emergency.
In addition to travel recommendations, the College is reviewing the possibility that a larger than normal number of students may choose to remain on campus instead of traveling home for spring break. Soon, students should receive a request from Dean Marco, in Residential Life, asking them about their interest in remaining on campus over the break so that appropriate housing and dining arrangements can be made.
We will continue to provide updates via the website as well as via email as necessary.