By now we hope that all of you have settled into your academic and co-curricular routines for fall semester. We continue to miss having you on campus, and our staff is working hard to prepare our facilities to re-open so that we may bring you back to live and learn at Mudd.
While we are hopeful that Los Angeles County’s numbers will decline, we face the continued challenge that we are still in California’s purple tier. As of last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) is only allowing waivers for pre-K through 2nd grade school students to open in person and stated that we will receive an announcement in mid-November about whether institutes of higher education in the county will be allowed to have students in residence. Even then, the LACDPH’s current guidance, which we do not expect to change, limits us to housing students living on campus in singles.
Therefore, in preparation of bringing back a limited number of students to campus, our staff members have been closely monitoring what has been working at other colleges and universities in terms of keeping their communities safe. As such, we will be adding new guidelines to our Stay Safe at Mudd program, including mandatory flu shots as well as the addition of twice weekly COVID-19 testing for students in residence (including those living at the Arrow Vista Apartments) and any faculty/staff coming to campus on a regular basis. Similar to our past communications, all students in residence will be required to adhere to these guidelines. Please know that the majority of the curriculum will remain remote.
The academic deans and presidents have been discussing a modified spring semester calendar, with a start date of Jan. 25, 2021. The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) will send additional information on October 22 regarding the housing process and deadlines for those who choose to live on campus for Spring 2021. We will have limited residence hall capacity due to LACDPH’s requirements that the College only house students in singles. In consultation with our student advisory committee, we have decided that priority for on-campus housing will be given to our current residents of the HMC Arrow Vista apartments followed by first-years, seniors, and students with extraordinary circumstances. Any remaining rooms will be assigned to students using their room draw numbers.
The College’s final “go-no-go” date to inform students if we will be open for students in residence will be Jan. 11, 2021. While we realize setting the date this close to the beginning of spring term may not be ideal for all students and families, we are doing this out of an abundance of caution. If LACDPH announces it will allow institutes of higher education to open for students in residence in November, there is still the chance that we might see a spike in COVID-19 cases over the holidays that forces LACDPH to change that decision and re-impose limits on colleges and universities; we need a small window of time to adjust our plans if required.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to plan for a residential reopening while adhering to the two guiding principles that have focused our planning efforts from the beginning: to protect the health and safety of all members of the HMC community and to provide the collaborative educational experience we treasure. We all look forward to welcoming our Mudders to campus as soon as permitted.
Maria Klawe, President
Karen Angemi, Director of the President’s Office and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Thyra Briggs, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid
Andrew Dorantes, Vice President for Administration and Finance/Treasurer
Anna Gonzalez, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Timothy Hussey, Chief Communications Officer and Assistant Secretary to the Board
Hieu Nguyen, Vice President for Advancement
Lisa Sullivan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
Joseph Vaughan, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Computing and Information Services