Stay Safe @ Mudd Questions and Answers
As we welcome students back to campus and work to provide an outstanding educational experience in unprecedented conditions, the College is committed to protecting the health and safety of all members of our community. The information below is based on the College’s current plans, which were developed in accordance with best practices in public health. We are prepared to adapt as guidance from state and county public health officials evolves and will update information as needed.
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Q: When will classes begin and end in the fall semester?
A: Classes will begin for the term on Monday, August 24, 2020, and end on Tuesday, November 24. Finals will occur and final assessments like papers will be due during the week following Thanksgiving.
Q: When are students supposed to leave at the end of the semester? Are students allowed to travel over the Thanksgiving break? Are students allowed to stay on campus through final exams?
A: If you choose to leave campus for the Thanksgiving break, you will not be allowed to return to campus until the start of the spring term. Final assessments for all students will be given remotely. We believe that this measure is necessary for the safety of our community. Thanksgiving is one the busiest times for travel in the U.S., and the risk of students potentially being exposed to COVID-19 while traveling back and forth to campus is too great for us to allow them to return after they leave.
We encourage students and their families to consider carefully whether they would like to return home for the holiday this year. We are allowing students to stay on campus through the end of the fall term. However, students who elect to go home for the holiday—even if they live in Southern California—will not be allowed to return to campus and will need to complete their exams remotely. We are happy to have our students remain on campus during Thanksgiving if they would like to take their exams on campus.
Students who do choose to leave November 24 will receive a room and board credit on their student account for the days not used (the time period from November 25 through December 4, the end of the semester). This will be reflected on their statement dated December 31.
Q: Will there be a fall break this year?
A: No.. Given the new start of the academic term is now Monday, August 24, classes will continue through Tuesday, November 24. To provide for sufficient instructional days, classes will be held on Labor Day, there will be no Fall Break, and two Saturdays (tentatively September 12 and November 14) will be designated as class days. The winter break, however, will be longer than usual.
Q: I am an International student. What happens to my visa if I choose to take a semester or year off?
Incoming Students: If you choose to defer admittance to HMC for a year, your visa will not be impacted as you have not received one. You will not be allowed to get your visa until you attend HMC. Your SEVIS record will reflect a new start date and you will need to be issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 to show at your consular appointment.
Returning Students: If you choose to take a semester off please be mindful of the expiration date of your current visa. If your visa expires prior to your return to campus you WILL need to apply for a new one. If you are in the USA and choose to take a semester off, you will need to leave the country as you will not be in status.
Q: I am an International student. What happens to my SEVIS record if I choose to take a semester or year off?
Incoming Students: If you submit your paperwork to the ISS, a SEVIS record will be created when all the required documents are received. If you choose to attend at a later date the program start date of your SEVIS record will be pushed back to reflect your new start date. This will preserve your I-901 fee if it has already been paid. Upon your return, you will need to submit new documentation before a new I-20 or DS-2019 is sent to you for your consular appointment.
Returning Students: If you choose to take some time away from Mudd, your SEVIS record will be terminated for Early Authorized Withdrawal. Please keep in mind that this may affect your ability to participate in CPT, OPT and AT. For F-1 students: If you plan to return within 5 months of the date of termination, there may be a possibility to reactivate your SEVIS record. If you do not return within the 5 month window, you will need to get a new SEVIS record and your employment clock will restart and you will need to be enrolled for 9 months (one academic school year) before you are eligible for CPT/OPT again. For J-1 students: you will need to get a new SEVIS record, there is no ability to reinstate your previous record. You will need to submit new documentation before a new I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued to you. If your visa will still be valid when you return, then you will not need to apply for a new one; a valid visa is a valid visa.
Q: For international students on an F1 visa, how does the online option affect the visa status, record and internship opportunities in the future?
A: This will be addressed in webinar on July 17, 2020 with Dr. G. & Evelyn Real, RSVP to email@example.com.
Q: If the courses appropriate for my progress toward graduation are all available in an online format, may I choose to study from home or elsewhere (not on campus) in the fall term?
A: If appropriate courses are available to you remotely, and you can participate in any required synchronous elements in those courses, you may study from elsewhere during the fall term. We will not offer every course in this format and make no guarantees that all courses necessary to each student’s progress will be available online. Students are encouraged to contact the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean of Academic Resources and Student Success with questions. As previously communicated, tuition has been set regardless of the mode of instruction and will not be refunded in the event that instruction occurs remotely for any part of the academic year.
Q: For the CA/LA county approval, is it going to be on a case by case basis or will it be one encompassing verdict of: colleges are (not)allowed to open?
A: One decision for all institutions.
Q: What metrics and evidence are being used to decide what the College will do in the fall? Is the decision in the hands of the state or county, or is HMC considering students being remote even if the state or county allow them to return?
A: Our guidance has been developed using information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and preliminary information provided by LA County Department of Public Health. In addition, DSA has been working with student leaders to develop revised protocols for students to follow on campus and the Academic Contingency Planning Committee has been working to develop plans around delivery of the academic program. All of this information is at StaySafe@Mudd. That said, ultimately the decision of whether or not the College will be allowed to have students on campus in person this fall will be up to state and county public health officials.
Q: When will we know if we can move on campus for sure? When is the last day that living on campus could be cancelled? As of July 29, what is the recommendation of the LA County Health Department for the reopening of colleges and universities? Have they approved HMC reopening plan for students to return to campus? Is HMC going to set a date for a decision to go all online? Can families expect an update/communication soon as to where things currently stand with this evolving situation?
A: The College has not set a deadline for the decision. It’s important to note that under current orders from the State of California, in-person higher education is not permitted. In planning for the fall semester, Harvey Mudd College decided to proactively develop guidelines that we believed would allow us to open for in-person instruction once the state rescinds its original higher education closure. Our guidelines have been developed based on information gathered from discussions with LA County Department of Public Health (LADPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is no review/approval of the College’s guidelines from the county or the state; the College must certify that it is in compliance with the guidance required for reopening by both Los Angeles County and the State of California.
In a July 29 call with institutions of higher education, LADPH released draft guidance for higher education. This guidance will not be finalized until the state issues its own guidance for higher education. The date for that release has not been set. Our hope is that the state will release its guidance in the coming days. Once that happens, we should be able to announce to students, faculty, staff and families if we believe the College will be able to have the necessary protocols in place to meet the requirements of both the county and state. We are in the process of reviewing the draft guidance from LADPH to ensure the College’s current plans are aligned with the requirements and to make necessary adjustments. We appreciate your patience and we continue to adjust on a daily basis as the situation continues to evolve.
Q: Will there be any classes held on Saturdays?
A: The fall semester plan adopted by The Claremont Colleges schedules classes on two Saturdays. Instructors will have discretion regarding the scheduling alternatives to these days.
Fall 2020 Schedule
First-year and returning students will follow the same schedule for the beginning and ending of term, as well as the taking of finals. The revised academic calendar for fall is available in the registrar’s website.
Q: I am a continuing student. Given my own health and safety concerns and/or my strong preference to have my academic experiences at HMC occur when the campus is again fully operational, may I take a voluntary leave? Would that leave have to be for a full year? By what date would I need to let you know if planned to take a leave for 2020-2021?
A: Voluntary leaves are processed through the offices of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean for Academic Resources and Student success. Please reach out to deans Marianne De Laet or Amy Bibbens with specific questions. We are asking that students who plan to take a full-year voluntary leave to notify us by July 10.
Q: Will students who take a yearl-ong leave of absence be able to do room draw and course registration for fall 2021 as part of their new class year?
Q: Will on campus housing be guaranteed?
Q: My daughter does not need to take classes in a particular order and would like to take just one semester off, not an entire year. Is this possible?
A: Whole year leaves are being approved, not single semesters.
Q: If my student goes on leave of absence will he still receive his merit financial aid award for each of the remaining two years of his HMC career.
A: Yes, merit scholarships are reserved for the following year.
Q: If a student takes the fall semester off can they take classes from another university for Mudd credit?
A: The student should work with their academic advisor in advance to ensure they will receive credit for the courses before they make arrangements for this option.
Q: Can students defer a semester?
A: Due to the way classes have been structured, only full year deferments are taken into consideration at this time.
Q: Given that more students may defer this year, will you maintain the current class size or increase it to accommodate the possibility of a larger class of 2025 than anticipated?
A: We will take class sizes into account to the extent that we can in subsequent semesters, but it is likely that there will be some larger classes to accommodate the displacement of enrollments.
Q: If the College is not able to reopen physically due to state or county restrictions, would students still be allowed to take a year or semester off, and would you get a refund for the July payment of the monthly payment plan?
A: Yes. If the College is not permitted to reopen, we will allow students who had previously told us they planned to join us on campus to either defer or take a leave of absence. In addition, in this situation, we would follow the procedure used previously to credit student accounts for the unused portion of room and board.
Q: Are we changing the number of courses I can take Pass/Fail and still graduate?
A: Policies waiving or altering HMC’s usual restrictions on Pass/Fail courses were in place for Spring 2020 but will not be in place for Fall 2020.
Q: When are the add, drop, and withdraw deadlines?
A: Now that we have determined the start and end dates for the term we will work with our consortial partners regarding these dates. More information will be forthcoming soon.
Q: What is the last possible time for students to drop classes they are enrolled in so that if they go online they do not miss out?
A: Reference Academic Calendar for 2020–2021.
Q: Will my first-year student be guided in registering for classes?
A: Advisors will be available to assist students during Course Registration. Students can refer to the Welcome to HMC email sent on July 19 for more information about fall semester classes.
Co-Curricular Life on Campus
Q: What are the consequences to students when they are found breaking safety rules? (As we all know, teenagers and young adults they will like to push boundaries, they have already been away for a long time and have lot of stress, anxiety, and would want to meet up with their friends, go for a late night run etc. etc.)
A: This was discussed in one of the “Inside Mudd” parent’s panels. We will be working on norming practices for students to help build a culture of how to manage this situation, and reporting options. Students who do not comply will be asked to leave-campus (cannot live on-campus) for the safety of self and others.
Q: How will we enforce these safety measures?
A: We outline that in the FAQ. First this is about safety. We will engage with students and utilize the Honor Code and the res life teams will be key in this as well. Living on campus and making that choice means you have to decide that you need to live within these boundaries and rules for your own safety and the safety of others.
Q: How will you monitor if the kids are ONLY going to grocery store not to restaurants?
A: This is an example of how our Honor Code operates and student self-reporting.
Q: Will there be Career Fairs?
A: Yes, The Office of Career Services plans to host all our career fairs and other on-campus recruiting events and interviews virtually. We are taking advantage of being virtual and are teaming up with Caltech for our career fairs this fall. In addition to our STEM and Software Engineering Virtual Career Fairs, we are also hosting a smaller Virtual Graduate School and Fellowships Career Fair inviting programs Mudders have applied to and attended.
We understand participation in a virtual career fair will be a new experience for many of our students, therefore we will have workshops and guides prior to the events to help students prepare and stand out at these virtual events.
- September 2: Virtual Graduate School and Fellowships Career Fair
- October 1: Virtual Software & Data Science Fair with Caltech & Mudd
- October 8: Virtual STEM Fair with Caltech & Mudd
Q: The other Claremont Colleges appear to be on a path to reopening in the fall with students on campus, but they have not prevented their students from stepping on one another’s campuses. Why is HMC different? Why are we deviating from the rest of the consortium, and are we prepared for the longer-term social and political costs of going it alone? What is the board’s rationale in instructing the college to take this stance?
A: Given the increasing rate of infection in the county, there is no college that truly knows right now if it will actually be allowed to have students on campus this fall. While the undergraduate campuses have been able to agree to a shared academic calendar, in other areas it has been more of a challenge because we have five colleges with five boards and five sets of faculty, staff and students and everyone has a different culture and differences of opinion about how to approach the next academic year.
Q: Why are we maintaining the conceit that HMC students will isolate themselves to the HMC campus only, without crossing over to the other colleges, to the Village, or anywhere else? This is a fantasy. So much planning is being done, built on a foundation of this faulty assumption. Students’ courses are going to be thrown for a loop. CMS athletics are at risk of cancellation. The other colleges aren’t taking similar positions. Instead, HMC is planning for and living in a delusional state. We’re scientists — why are we embracing magical thinking?
A: We’ve consulted students in developing the planning scenario. They believe they can make the plans work and so do we.
Q: In reference to an apparent Board directive to make our campus “HMC students only” and prevent HMC students from going off-campus in the fall, Scripps Dean of Faculty recently said “The other four [colleges] are holding hands and not thinking about [such restrictions]. We are thinking about the Claremont Colleges as the Claremont Colleges.” Can you respond to this and why the Board is not aware of the Consortial nature of our residential and educational experience?
A: The two guiding principles that have focused our planning process are protecting the health and safety of all members of the HMC community while providing the collaborative educational experiences we treasure. We believe we can best protect the HMC community when we are able to limit its size to the 1,100 faculty, staff and students physically at HMC vs. the more than 10,000 in the entire consortium. This is a different world we are in, and while we don’t like the idea of limiting access to our campus, we believe strongly that it is necessary to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. We’re in an extremely challenging situation. There are no good answers. There is no way to make things the way we’d like for them to happen.
Q: Can HMC students eat on the other campuses?
Q: If you are putting HMC students on lockdown on campus to keep students and campus virus free, how will you control the strangers from coming on campus to walk their dogs etc.?
A: Campus Safety in conjunction with HMC staff will discourage strangers from entering campus. There is already signage at each public campus access point asking people who are not members of the HMC community to stay off campus.
Q: What is going to happen with Dry Week and Wet Season?
A: 1C/5C parties will be canceled for the fall, and possibly into the spring. Therefore, we will not have a “dry week” and “wet season” this year. When it is determined that social gatherings can happen in some form (either later this fall or next spring semester), it is important to note they will include social distancing precautions such as requirements for small numbers, face coverings, outdoor spaces, and other social distancing measures.
Q: Can we use the DSA van for shopping for groceries, going to off campus doctors, etc?
A: This semester we will be limiting the use of the DSA van for essential purposes such as doctor visits, therapists, pharmacies and groceries. There will be no club use of the van, and as always, no personal use for non-essential purposes. All of the documents usually available in the “van binder” will be offered in digital form and students will have access to these documents via QR codes we will add in the van.
To adhere to CDC guidelines, we are limiting the number of passengers allowed to be in the vans. Additionally, we will provide a cleaning kit so students will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing at the end of each trip.
Q: HMC has apparently decided to build a virtual moat around the campus, whereby students are not permitted to visit other colleges, the Village, etc., but this strikes me as unrealistic. Students have many relationships across campuses, and they overestimate their invincibility. Enforcement will be a challenge. How will this be policed? (terminology fully intended) What will the consequences be for violating the blockade?
A: This assumes we are allowed to have students on campus. In terms of preserving safety of all members of our community, we believe it is much better if we can be a community of 1,250 than be a community of 10,000 people if we add all the faculty, staff and students for all of The Claremont Colleges. Dr. G. has been working with a 22-person student advisory board crafting the student guidelines. We believe that the more conservative we are and the more we keep our community closed to visitors, the less likely it will be to have infection spread. It’s unrealistic to say there will be no infections, but the goal is to keep the number as low as possible so that we can remain open for the full semester once we begin with students on campus. I think the vast majority of students would follow the guidelines the vast majority of the time.
Q: If we are in-person/hybrid, what will be expected from faculty in terms of enforcing safety practices on campus? Will we receive training if we’re expected to do this? Will the college support us if we expel a student from our classroom for appearing sick or failing to adhere to social distancing practices?
A: Yes. We anticipate offering online training in the two weeks prior to the beginning of the fall semester. If a student does not abide by physical distancing and mask requirements in a course, that student will not be able to take the course and will most likely be sent home.
Q: I know student extracurricular participation is an important part of the mental health of many of our students, but that many of those activities, should they come back, will be on other campuses. Are we synchronizing with other colleges at all to let our CMS athletes and musicians in the Pomona ensembles participate if these programs return?
A: LA County Dept. of Public Health has said that they do not anticipate colleges and universities being able to offer athletics this academic year. It’s very hard to synchronize when we still have not received official guidance from the county. Each of the colleges in the consortium has been trying to adjust based on their own campus community’s needs. While we don’t have official guidance, we do expect that we likely will not be allowed to have musical groups, particularly choral and brass or woodwind instruments. In our planning, we have tried to carefully balance making difficult decisions that we know will negatively impact some of our students with the need to be thoughtful so that we can minimize the virus’s spread.
Q: Is there any possibility for winter sports?
A: Entirely dependent on the virus, a vaccine and whether LA County Department of Public Health allows it.
Q: How will you meet special dietary needs during the first 2 weeks and beyond?
A: We will be offering three types of meals daily for delivery (unrestricted meals, vegan meals, and allergen-free meals). Our allergen-free meals will be free of the FDA’s Top 8 major allergens and therefore will contain no milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans. If you have a special life-threatening dietary need that is not met by the meals mentioned above, please contact the Office of Disability Resources Amy Bibbens at firstname.lastname@example.org who will work with Dining Services and the student to develop a plan for meals that meet their dietary needs.
Q: Will students have to leave the meal plan?
A: Students will not have to leave the meal plan. Dining Services will do their best to meet the student’s dietary needs. If students want to petition to leave the meal plan they need to email email@example.com.
Q: What kind of meals will be available during the quarantine period?
A: We will have a combination of hot and cold entrees that will be served with a beverage, side dish, snack, and dessert. We will offer three types of meals daily for delivery (unrestricted meals, vegan meals and allergen-free meals) based on the student’s meal plan selection. Our allergen-free meals will be free of the FDA’s top 8 major allergens and therefore will contain no milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans.
Yes, a student will need to be on a meal plan to receive the delivered meals during the initial 14 day quarantine period.
Q: Will we have a food pantry this year?
A: The DSA Food Pantry will be closed for the fall semester as a safety measure for our students and staff. Information will be sent to students about options that are safe and available in the early fall semester.
The Huntley Bookstore has remained open and will continue to remain open throughout the fall semester to support students and the campus community. Starting August 24 the hours will be Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Currently the store is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Students are encouraged to order books early, and ship to their home. Shipping is free for orders over $65, and $7.50 for orders under $65. There is also a 30% off promotion for new students and their families and the Huntley Bookstore will send an email that contains the 30% off promotion information to new students soon.
COVID Safety Plan
The Huntley Bookstore is taking the same precautions you’ve experienced at many other retail stores such as:
- Face masks required for all staff and customers.
- Thorough cleaning, including wiping down commonly touched surfaces.
- Promoting social distancing by limiting the number of customers in the store.
Additionally, the store will offer limited contact/curb side pickup for the first two weeks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will take place near the bookstore courtyard entrance on Dartmouth Ave. Directional signs and posters will help direct students to this area. Mailroom delivery will also be offered for the first two weeks of class for schools that have students on campus. Students can order online and select ‘Mailroom Delivery’ from the delivery options.
Q: Will there be in-person activities?
A: With the exception of a few approved programs, events, and services, co-curricular activities will be offered virtually for the fall semester.
Currently we are not changing the process of student mail receipt and distribution for the upcoming season. Families should still send packages in the same manner and they can refer to Mailroom for more information.
Mail sent to the college should have a complete address identifying the student recipient. See example below:
Harvey Mudd College
Student Mail Box No. (If known, not necessary)
340 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711-3116
Courier deliveries, USPS First Class, overnight, certified, registered and insured letters/packages for students are accepted in the mailroom during regular business hours.
All students will be assigned a mail slot, locker and combo lock for the duration of their time at HMC. First year students can obtain a locker and combo lock at the start of the first semester of classes by stopping in at the mailroom to obtain the lock and proper info.
Q: Can I mail items to the mailroom and pick it up during my move in time slot?
A: You may mail items to yourself and they will be delivered to your residence hall. Students will be in quarantine for the first 14 days on campus, and we will use contactless delivery for mail and packages.
Q: What will HMC do to support students’ mental health under these unusual circumstances this fall?
A: The effects of COVID-19 and the way it has changed how we live and work as a nation have been significant for all of us. HMC is committed to the health and well-being of our community. Students will continue to have access to virtual health and well-being resources. We anticipate Student Health Services (SHS) and Monsour Counseling and Psychiatric Services (MCAPS) will be open for students for both in-person and virtual appointments, in addition to continuing the TimelyMD telehealth services and MIResource that were implemented this past spring for students. The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) will continue to provide student engagement opportunities (such as Muchachos events, Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) webinars, Wellness YouTube activities) for students in a virtual format this fall, and will continue to reassess in-person activities as guidance and mandates evolve. Additionally, we have been working hard to create a plan to safely re-open the Linde Activities Center (LAC) for students to have access to physical activities and exercise.
Q: What will physical distancing look like in student life and for clubs, etc?
A: As with other on-campus events, clubs and student organizations are encouraged to continue engaging community members through virtual and no-contact events.
Q: Will HMC community members be allowed to use Roberts Pavilion including the pool?
A: Yes. We are working with the administration at CMS to designate Mudd only use for specific spaces at Roberts Pavilion. We will know more about the days of the weeks and times of Mudd only use of these facilities by August 1.
Q: Will there be intercampus students interaction with 5C students during the fall semester?
A: All 5C and 7C social gatherings and collaborative events will be postponed or offered virtually until further notice. Any permissible in-person gatherings at HMC will be campus-specific and not open to attendance from students of other colleges.
Q: What are gathering limits going to look like in the fall?
A: Gatherings should be 8 people or less in an appropriately spaced area.
Q: How can I volunteer for off campus community agencies if we are allowed to leave HMC except for approved essential activities?
A: For the fall semester, community engagement opportunities will be available virtually. Communication with community partners and student organization student leaders will take place to talk about best ways to continue initiatives via a virtual platform; and or if needed, modify existing projects to best meet the needs of the community and keep true to the mission of the student organization. More information will be available on how engagement will look for each initiative in late summer or early fall depending on each initiative’s timeline. Please contact us or student leaders for more information on how you can help during the fall semester. If you would like to volunteer on our own, we welcome you to contact us to talk in more detail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses and Modalities of Instruction
Q: Are courses going to be graded, pass/NC, or something else?
A: We intend to return to our regular grading practices this fall just as we did during our online summer session.
Q: Can Mudd give an option for either all or at least some classes to be Hi Pass/Pass/Fail so the students have less stress?
A: There will be a standard grading policy for fall semester.
Q: Will courses be taught in online or in-person formats?
A: Both. Some number of courses will be taught exclusively online; some, like labs and studio art courses, will be taught largely in person (with rigorous social distancing and other safety measures in place), and some will be taught in hybrid formats that use both in-person and online modalities
Q: Will I be allowed to take courses at the other 5Cs?
A: You will be allowed to cross-register for any courses at the 5Cs that allow you to attend remotely. Our partners in the consortium are currently making decisions about which of their own courses will be offered remotely and in hybrid forms.
Q: Which courses will not be online only?
A: We are in the process of designating what we are calling “Tier One” courses, courses where hands-on work is integral to the learning objectives. Tier One courses will include some laboratories and studio courses, some clinics, and likely some in-person research, particularly for thesis students with lab components to their work.
Q: If courses begin entirely online, could practical/support/lab staff be on campus to produce filmed or interactive distance learning?
A: We are waiting for guidance from the state to let us know when people can return.
Q: What is the expected status of fine arts, music, and performing arts classes on the HMC?
A: Some HMC courses in the arts and music, including art and music theory and creative writing courses, will go forward as planned. Arrangements for other courses, lessons, and ensembles remains TBD.
Q: Does HMC have a cutoff date by which time we will decide that we have to go online only if the state and county haven’t made a decision?
A: We do not have a cutoff date set.
Q: What would the College do in terms of in-person vs. online instruction if the finances of the College were not impacted by this decision?
A: Our primary reason for wanting to have students here in-person is that we heard strongly from them about how important it was for them to be able to collaborate with their classmates and how dissatisfied many were with the learning environment being totally online and their having to go home. We heard overwhelmingly that the faculty did a great job of moving online with little notice but the students found it difficult to work as hard as they wanted when they didn’t have a collaborative learning community around them. Given where things currently stand, it seems more and more likely that we may be forced to shift to online courses only for the fall. We will have to see things progress over the next several weeks. The finances of the College are impacted whether we have students in-person or not.
Q: Can students still change their on- or off-campus status, and at what point would there be too few students to continue with an in-person plan?
A: Yes, they can still change their decision. We don’t have a target number to live on campus. We would like to have students on campus because we believe being on campus provides them with opportunities for a better learning environment.
Q: During finals, what do I do if I have terrible internet at home?
Q: During finals, what do I do if I don’t have access to a computer at home?
Q: During finals, what do I do if I don’t have a quiet place to study and take exams?
A: HMC will remain open for all students who stay at HMC through the Thanksgiving break and wish to take their finals and complete final assignments on campus. Staying on campus will ensure that you have access to reliable internet, computing resources, and quiet spaces.
Q: How do we envision doing things like laboratory courses this fall? Should we anticipate we will be in some form of hybrid model with physical distancing in place?
A: We anticipate the planning group will consider this question and provide guidance for how to address this.
Q: Will I be able to leave HMC’s campus for academic purposes (eg, to go to a class at Pomona, or to visit Monsour)?
A: As part of our #StaySafeAtMudd initiative, you will be able to leave campus for health services, but not to attend courses on other campuses. Our policy is that HMC students will be able to attend courses in person on our campus but not on other campuses.
Q: What will access to the library look like?
A: Order books online and pick up only. No study spaces.
Q: Why are so many courses going to be online only?
A: Online courses offer us the greatest opportunities for flexibility and safety. An online only course can serve HMC students on campus, cross-registrants, and possibly even HMC students who are not able to return to campus. These courses also are well-suited for students who may need to self-quarantine for some time during the semester, and offer a safe teaching assignment to faculty members who may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. But we will only assign courses to this designation where we are confident that we can continue to meet core learning objectives successfully.
Q: How many courses will be online only?
A: We anticipate that between 50% and 70% of courses will be delivered online only. That number may change throughout the summer as additional information becomes available to us about safety protocols required by public health officials.
Q: What support will the students who are staying off campus receive from Mudd faculty and how the online learning with remote learners can be facilitated?
A: Plan to model this very similarly to how the spring semester was delivered. HMC also had a robust summer courses offering and additional learning was realized during those courses to better facilitate online learning. Tutoring and grutoring will be available online as well as the Academic Excellence (AE) office and The Writing Center. Faculty will have online office hours by appointment and group meetings. Faculty office hours actually had better attendance in the spring semester as an online offering than in person office hours earlier in the year. Very popular with students.
Q: Can a student start on campus, and switch to remote learning later in the semester if they choose?
A: Yes, but not the reverse.
Q: Can students take one or two Mudd classes online for credit?
A: No, part time online is not an option.
Q: If students stay home and take online classes for the fall semester, will they have access to the same classes for the spring semester as other students who were on campus in the fall?
A: Students who engage in remote study will participate in course registration on an equal footing with students who are present on campus in the fall.
Q: What conversations are the Board and the Cabinet having about the potential for racial inequity that will result from bringing students back on campus this summer? For context, here is a quote from the Accessible Campus Action Alliance: “Campus re-openings are an issue of civil rights, particularly disability, racial, and gender equity. Given the disproportionate representation of COVID-19 infection and death in Black and brown communities, university policies that emphasize in-person work and teaching run the risk of compounding the impact of racial inequity. These policies also risk endangering already-marginalized members of university communities, including staff and contingent faculty who are less likely to have the option to take time away from work. As a matter of justice, equity, and ethics, we call upon university administrators and communities to value the lives of marginalized racialized and disabled people over the purported economic value of campus re-openings.”
A: We learned from the spring semester that some of our students are very disadvantaged if they are forced to work from home because they do not have the same access to support that they would have on campus. For some, this might mean they wouldn’t have access to a quiet place to study and work or wouldn’t have adequate access to high enough internet bandwidth to effectively do their coursework. We believe we are better able to address inequities by having students on campus. That said, we still don’t know if we will be able to have students on campus. We plan to offer students a choice about whether or not they wish to return
Q: There are two core labs (physics and engineering) required for sophomores which are not available online this fall. Will students choosing to live off campus be delayed in graduation (at great expense) due to this or will these required courses be offered later in spring and/or summer so that they can complete core requirements on time?
A: E 79 has dropped its practicum offering for this semester and will waive the practicum requirement for this year and fold its lessons into the main course material. Downstream engineering courses will accommodate. Sophomores therefore will be dropped from E79P without consequences.
PHYS 50, Physics lab, will be taught in online and remote versions. Students have been placed in sections by the registrar; there is a mechanism to swap sections if absolutely necessary, but in principle students do not need to act in order to get in the right section.
Q: If students chose the “remote semester option,” how could they stay on track with Mudd graduation requirements given that almost all students have one or more lab requirements?
A: individual academic advising is available from the academic deans at: email@example.com.
Q: Can the physical education (P.E.) requirement be met remotely via exercise at home, etc.?
A: Yes. We plan to offer virtual, online P.E. courses.
Q: I want to do research or independent study which is not part of a senior thesis, either for credit or as a paid member of a group. Will I be able to do this?
A: Decisions about research or independent study experiences which do not require in-person access to faculty and physical spaces will be at the discretion of instructors and departments. For in-person, laboratory research, our first priority will be to ensure access to research for those involved in senior theses. Once we have a plan for space use and safety protocols for regular classes and senior research and Clinic, we will turn to other research opportunities.
Q: Will I be able to participate in team sports or any athletics?
A: You will be free to participate in health activities sponsored by our own DSA office, but you will not be allowed to participate in any CMS athletic activities in the fall semester. We will revisit the question of athletic participation in the spring semester at some point during the fall term.
Q: If there are no sports, will students still have 4 years of eligibility?
A: Not allowing students to participate in sports, they are working with coaches to do strength training on campus. The students will have 4 years of eligibility, believe so but will reconfirm that.
Q: To what extent are we limited in what we can do this fall because of our involvement in the consortium?
A: There is a lot of planning going on across the consortium. Planning committees have been in place to look at issues such as health and safety, co-curricular life and housing for several weeks now. In addition, the Academic Deans and Student Deans committees have been meeting to discuss curricular and co-curricular issues for fall. I think everyone’s preferred choice is that we be on campus next academic year. These consortial planning groups—along with the Presidents Council—are meeting regularly. We continue to work on what an in-person fall semester might look like and what changes will need to be implemented to make some form of in-person experience possible for our students.
Q: What is HMC doing to better communicate and collaborate with the consortium?
A: While the colleges have chosen to take different approaches to the fall semester, we continue to work together in a variety of ways. The Presidents Council meets weekly, and we have regular meetings of the student deans, academic deans, business affairs, communications, admission and advancement leaders. In addition, there are a number of joint, cross-college committees working on projects such as the student information system as well as on projects related to shared services and resources. That said, it’s important to remember that while we are all part of one consortium, each campus still has its own unique mission and culture. We believe that makes the consortium stronger.
Employment and Benefits
Q: Should staff anticipate changing job duties or having to work in other areas?
A: We have already done this in some cases, and we would anticipate possibly needing to do this as we progress into the fall. Every Cabinet member will review the needs of their departments carefully to make changes in job duties and responsibilities within their areas.
Q: Is the Community Emergency Aid Fund meant to help us prevent furloughs if we cannot be in residence in the fall? Is the HMC Community Emergency Aid Fund something staff, students, and faculty in need can apply to or is it intended to support the operating budget?
A: The Community Emergency Aid Fund provides operational support to the College following the unforeseen expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, the need to provide more than $3 million in room and board refunds to our students as well as the additional expenses necessary to transition to online learning for the remaining portion of the semester. More than $300,000 has been raised during the 2019–20 fiscal year, which helps offset these unforeseen expenses. In hindsight, we realize that there was some confusion about the purpose of this fund, and for that we apologize.
Q: My daughter is in the process of getting braces, and I don’t know how this is going to work with our benefits if we have layoffs or furloughs.
A: In the event we do have to offer fall courses online, we have committed to continuing health insurance for our staff who may have to be furloughed. Please reach out to Human Resources to discuss your specific needs. Since staff members’ concerns and needs vary greatly, we can better respond once we know more about a person’s specific circumstances and needs.
Q: Have we looked at reducing health benefits?
A: It is our intention do to everything we can to preserve health benefits, and we plan to cover the cost of those for any staff we are forced to furlough.
Q: For how long are we going to be telecommuting?
A: At this point, we don’t really know. The College is following the guidance of the state of California as well as that from Los Angeles County. Once it is decided the spread of the virus has reached the point that will allow people to safely return to campus, we will let staff know.
Q: Are cuts to the dependent scholarship program being considered?
A: Not at this time. We felt cutting this program would have a direct and immediate negative impact on staff and faculty and wanted to avoid that.
Q: What resources are available to support community members that are most impacted by the pandemic? How will equity be taken into account in future decisions about wages, budget, and staffing?
A: We are hopeful that we will not be forced to have reductions in pay or furloughs, but given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty around what government and public health officials will allow, we cannot predict what may happen. In the event we do have to offer fall courses online, we have committed to continuing health insurance for our staff who may have to be furloughed. While we have modeled various mechanisms for meeting budget shortfalls in the online-only scenario, it is too early to predict which of those specific actions we may be forced to take.
Q: Will you consider furloughs if the students are online and in person and if so, will furloughed employees be able to receive benefits?
A: If it is possible to have most students on campus for in-person classes this fall, we will try to avoid furloughs. If we are forced to furlough employees, our hope is that we will still be able to offer medical benefits, but not other benefits. For positions that are conducive to partial furloughs, we are looking into the possibility of using a 20% (one day a week) furlough approach. There are several positions, like our dining hall workers, who would not have work to do if most of our students are not back on campus in the fall and where partial furloughs would not work. Every Cabinet member will review the needs of their departments carefully to develop customized plans to meet the needs of our community. Again, our strong preference is that we be able to have students on campus this fall and that we not be forced to furlough employees. We would only consider this option if we are not able to have the majority of our students on campus this fall.
Q: If we don’t return to campus, will the people working in Dining Services be needed? Will they be laid off or furloughed?
A: If we are not able to bring students back to campus and provide instruction online, the dining hall will not be open and it will be unfortunately necessary to temporarily furlough most of the dining staff during the period when students are not on campus.
Q: If we have furloughs, will they be complete or partial?
A: We have spent an enormous amount of energy planning to have students back on campus this fall. Given the current situation with the pandemic, we now have to pivot and begin thinking about more detailed planning for what happens if we aren’t allowed to have students on campus this fall. For positions that are conducive to partial furloughs, we are looking into the possibility of using a 20% (one day a week) furlough approach. There are several positions, like our dining hall workers and F&M residential custodial workers, who would not have work to do if most of our students are not back on campus in the fall and where partial furloughs would not work. Every Cabinet member will review the needs of their departments carefully to develop customized plans to meet the needs of our community.
Q: How much notice will staff receive if they are to be furloughed partially or fully?
A: We will make every effort to give staff as much notice as possible so that you can adequately plan.
Q: If furloughed, can we cash out vacation hours?
A: Furloughed employees are allowed to be paid for accrued time.
Q: If furloughed, can employees collect unemployment?
A: Employees can apply for unemployment and decisions to award unemployment to an individual are made by the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD).
Q: If staff are furloughed, would the College continue to pay benefits?
A: If students don’t return to campus in the fall, necessitating furloughs, your health benefits (medical, dental and vision), will continue for the fall semester. However, no other benefits, such as dependent scholarship or retirement contributions, will be provided for furloughed staff.
Q: If we have to go online only for fall, current models suggest this would mean potentially furloughing about 90 people. How large would the rest of the salary cuts have to be to continue paying those people, even if they cannot work?
A: A 1% change in salaries is between $350–380,000. Because of current position vacancies, we have reduced the amount to roughly $900,000. If we cut salaries 3% more overall, based on current projections, we could avoid furloughs. It is important to note that this is preliminary however. If the College is forced to shift to online-only for the fall semester, we may see additional students decide to defer and/or take a leave of absence. If this happens, we would have to adjust our projections based on these new data points.
Q: Would we consider asking for volunteers if we are required to furlough staff? Given what is happening with schools in the area, there are a number of people with younger children who might appreciate the option to have a lesser load. Could we ask if someone wants to be put under furlough and give them that option?
A: If we are not allowed to have students on campus, we would have to consider both furloughs and pay reductions. If we can find a way to do voluntary furloughs, it could minimize the amount of salary reductions required, but it would not necessarily eliminate employee furloughs.
Q: With so few students potentially coming back to campus, it seems like some furloughs will happen. When will we know for sure?
A: In our current plan, if we have students on campus, we believe we would not have furloughs. We anticipate receiving additional guidance for higher education from the State of California in the coming days. Based on that guidance, we may have to adjust our modeling and might be forced to consider a number of additional budget reductions including operating budget cuts, employee furloughs, pay reductions, etc.
Q: Can we voluntarily contribute some of our compensation into a ‘bank’ like we do with the Back-Up Care account for people who need it more to prevent layoffs?
A: We need to do some additional research on what might be possible.
Q: What can we do to help with operational savings to avoid layoffs/furloughs?
A: Each area vice president has been asked to begin discussing ways we can reduce operating expenses. The more potential reductions we identify, the greater flexibility we will have should we have to make additional budget adjustments.
Q: If we go to furloughs, do we have to reapply for positions or do we keep our positions?
A: It is our intent is that you would keep your position and that furloughs would be temporary, however, this will depend on facts and circumstances.
Q: Can we hire students to work for us in the fall, even if they are not physically on campus?
A: Yes, provided they can perform their work remotely and they are currently enrolled full time. We are not able to pay international students who are studying remotely and are not in the United States.
Q: What legal protections are in place to protect the College from legal issues with students who contract COVID-19?
A: We are consulting with the College’s legal counsel to try and find ways to mitigate these issues.
Q: At what rate will furloughed staff retain benefits? Will the cost to the employee remain the same per pay period? What happens if the employee does not pay their portion?
A: We would continue to pay the HMC portion. The employee would continue to be responsible for their portion. We will need to verify this with our existing plans and post an update if there are changes. If the employee does not pay their portion of the premium, we believe that the coverage would end, but we need to verify this.
Q: How can the College help employees with burnout?
A: We are looking into the possibility of offering a number of webinars by people who work in this area, some of them, alumni. We will plan to offer these wellness webinars to faculty, staff and students.
Q: What approaches can we take to address the feelings of loneliness and isolation that our students, faculty and staff may feel during the fall semester as a result of the social distancing that is required for health and safety? Working at home or in an office with the door closed can feel very disconnected from our community and colleagues, whom we miss dearly. In general, I am worried about the mental and emotional health of our faculty and staff (and students!) and I hope that the college can be resourceful and creative in how we operate within the necessary constraints that we must have in place to keep everyone physically safe and healthy.
A: We are looking into the possibility of offering a number of webinars by people who work in this area, some of them, alumni. We will plan to offer these wellness webinars to faculty, staff and students.
Q: It appears we are taking away a great deal of what contributes to our students’ personal growth and academic success during their time on campus. Moreover, we are adding measures (online learning, studying in isolation, not leaving campus) that will substantially increase their stress on campus. This is particularly true for students who experience marginalization in our community (and face a disproportionate burden of illness and death from Covid-19). Beyond teaching and staying healthy, what are we doing to help our students be successful this fall, particularly with “nurturing and developing the whole person” and “unsurpassed excellence and diversity at all levels”?
A: In spring, we did our best to pivot and do a lot of those things—we had more students take our leadership certificate that we launched in fall. We are looking to ramp up our online co-curricular offerings that look at how we build whole person. The intergroup racial dialogue will be moved to an online format. We will continue to look at ways we can support our students, including building community and offering programming and support, using online resources.
Q: Please elaborate about the “level of pay for exempt” you mentioned when discussing minimum wage increases?
A: California is on track to raise the minimum wage in the state to $15/hour over the course of the next few years. As the minimum wage increases, in order to qualify for exempt status, an exempt employee has to earn at least two times the state’s minimum hourly wage. As the minimum wage in California increases, we are increasing the salary of some exempt employees to ensure we remain in compliance with state law. As a result, some exempt employees will qualify for pay increases next fiscal year despite the College’s anticipated salary freeze for FY 20–21.
Q: On June 10, it was announced that a new position for a Coordinator for Student Accessibility Services was being posted. At a time when we’re looking at potential furloughing of staff, we have frozen faculty salaries, and we have a hiring freeze in place in other parts of the college, can you comment on:
- How the portion of the budget that covers administrative positions has changed over the last 5 years, and
- How was the decision made to approve an additional administrative position at a time when the uncertainty of the college’s financial future is being used to justify freezing wages and potential furloughs to current employees?
Q:The position is to help students who need accommodations due to various disabilities. There has been a rapid increase in these requests. Instead of being a part-time position, we decided it would become a full-time position—This has been in the planning for at least the last year. The ADA position has been discussed in DCC for a couple of years. The hire is contingent on students returning to campus. We will not hire unless we also have students back on campus.
We haven’t done an analysis of the portion of the budget related to positions in administration. Over the last five years, we can say anecdotally that the majority of the growth has been in Student Affairs as we have worked to add support resources that our students need for wellness and mental health as well as in diversity, inclusion and equity programming.
Q: I am sheltering with my family a few hours away from Claremont and will need to pack up things and move back to the area to begin working on campus. How much notice will I be given when I am allowed back onto campus?
A: When your supervisor or vice president contacts you, we will try to be flexible to allow you to have time to move back.
Q: In past meetings, kitchen employees were told to return to work Aug. 5. Is that still the case?
A: We may have to defer that date. We will let you know that as soon as we can confirm.
Q: I’m wondering how the College is planning on supporting parents with school age or preschool children when we are looking at many more months without full school or child care?
A: We encourage faculty members to speak with their department chair, with Dean of Faculty Lisa Sullivan, or Dana Nagengast in the Office of Human Resources. Since individual concerns and needs may vary greatly, we can better respond once we know more about a person’s specific circumstances and needs.
Q: How will HMC support people working from home with kids?
A: The College can provide support in different ways, depending on the situation. If you can work remotely, college will continue to support that. If you can’t work remotely and are required to come to campus, we encourage you to work with your supervisor and Human Resources to identify if flexible work schedules might be a possibility. In addition, the College offers a backup care program with Bright Horizons, which provides the employee with 80 hours of care per academic year. We encourage you to reach out to Human Resources for assistance in accessing these benefits. If these options have been exhausted or are not possible, we ask that you work with your supervisor and Human Resources to look at any other option that might be feasible. This might include the employee taking an unpaid leave of absence for a period of time. Since everyone’s situation is unique, we encourage you to contact HR for assistance.
Q: If faculty salary cuts are required in the future, will Harvey Mudd commit to progressive cuts like the UC system’s 2008-09 policy, where those with bigger salaries took on larger cuts while those with smaller salaries faced smaller cuts (10% vs 4%)?
A: This would be a decision made by the board of trustees based on the recommendation of the board’s compensation committee in consultation with Maria and Cabinet. Maria is in favor of advocating for a “progressive cut” approach.
Q: If forced to go online only for the fall semester, how long would you anticipate the delay would be between that announcement and the faculty/staff being informed what their salary for the fiscal year would be?
A: We would anticipate getting the notice out as quickly as possible. We would have to determine in which pay period the salary reductions would begin, but we will let people know as soon as we are able.
Q: Faculty who are on sabbatical are already facing a pay cut. Will there be an additional cut on top of this?
A: If the College imposes pay cuts broadly, faculty who fall within the pay ranges requiring a cut will have their salary reduced regardless of whether they are on sabbatical.
Q: What is the extent to which the College would be willing to dip into its endowment or go to trustees to ask them to help out vs. cutting retirement, salaries or other benefits?
A: We have discussed with board leadership. The majority of funds in the College’s endowment are restricted—much of that by the original donors—so we cannot spend it on other things and the process to modify that would be lengthy. There is a portion of the endowment that the board controls and that can be designated. In many cases, these funds are being designated by the board for specific purposes such as to contribute to financial aid or to cover faculty salaries. Even if we changed those designations, we would still face a negative impact in areas where we would need continued support. It is important that we preserve intergenerational equity, ensuring that financial aid and other critical resources will be available for future generations of students, faculty and staff vs. addressing the current financial crisis by making short-term endowment payout changes that could have outsized impacts on future generations Mudders.
Q: Since across the board cuts dramatically affect early career faculty, has there been any accounting for adjusting for that in the long-term considerations?
A: With regard to salary reductions, we will have to use a uniform approach; we can look into whether there are any options, but at the present time, we aren’t aware of any.
Q: If there are cuts to pay or benefits, will those cuts be shared equally between faculty and staff?
A: We are hopeful that we will not be forced to have reductions in pay or benefits, but given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty around what government and public health officials will allow, we cannot predict what may happen. In the event we do have to offer fall courses online, we have committed to continuing health insurance for our staff who may have to be furloughed. While we have modeled various mechanisms for meeting budget shortfalls in the online-only scenario, it is too early to predict which of those specific actions we may be forced to take. It’s also possible that those with higher salaries would be asked to take a larger pay reduction to help protect the salaries of people who make less. If furloughs are required, it is much more likely that staff would be furloughed than faculty, because faculty will still need to provide online instruction to our students.
Q: Have we considered implementing a pay ceiling, as in, we wouldn’t pay anyone more than $150,000?
A: This is not something we have considered, nor are we aware of any institution having considered this type of approach.
Q: Have you identified pay cut bands and associated cuts and can you share this information?
A: There has been no discussion at Cabinet yet about the specifics of the modeling; we prefer to not share numbers until we have been able to discuss the various modeling scenarios as a group. It is also important to note that any adjustments will need to be reviewed and approved by the board.
Q: Will the college still approve contributions to retirement accounts?
A: In the more financially difficult models we are projecting, we are considering a reduction in the College’s portion of the contribution, but this shouldn’t prevent people making or increasing their own contributions.
Q: You mentioned reducing the retirement contribution amount to recover $1.6 million and that the contingency fund is $2.5 million. Does that $2.5 million amount depend on the $1.6 million retirement contribution savings or do we already have the $2.5 million budgeted in the models?
A: There already is roughly $2.5 million included in contingency, of which, about $525,000 is already allocated to cover needed supplies such as tents for outdoor studying and dining, etc. The $1.6 million projected savings realized by reducing the College’s contribution to employee retirement accounts has been suggested as a way to accommodate the lower revenue projected from fewer students living on campus and a greater number of students deferring or taking leaves of absence. It’s important to note that we have not made the decision to do this yet; it is one possible model of what we might have to do.
Q: Can faculty choose to supplement their own retirement accounts though tax deferred annuities to get to 12% contribution?
A: Yes, any employee may do that as long as they do not exceed the maximum contribution limits. There are some exceptions for making additional contributions—for example, if you are over 50, you may make an additional $6,000 in contributions. We are happy to discuss options with you and coordinate with TCCS to make adjustments.
Q: Is the percentage that gets put into retirement from the College fixed or could it be variable on a per employee basis? Some might prefer to take less money home but would rather keep the same level of contributions to their retirement accounts—is that possible?
A: Most likely not. Since we have to amend the retirement plan agreement with TIAA, we will need to make sure we are consistent.
Q: Given the trustees’ decision to freeze salaries for the coming year, will there be a time when a later increase will be large enough to get salaries back to where they would have been?
A: Given that this is a global pandemic that will most likely radically affect incomes around the world, it is unlikely that there is a scenario where we or most other organizations/colleges will be in a position to make up the difference.
Q: Why is there no staff representation in shared governance at the college? Why do students have more of a voice in the running of the college than the staff do?
A: Shared governance with the faculty is fairly common in small liberal arts colleges. In our case, the faculty are primarily responsible for the curriculum and the policies and procedures found in the Faculty Notebook. Students primarily have shared governance in areas around student activities. We continue to seek ways to involve staff members in decision-making at the College where appropriate. If you have additional suggestions, we encourage you to share those with your direct supervisor or any member of the President’s Cabinet.
Q: Can staff (and faculty) anonymously vote our preferences for our preferred benefits or compensation cuts to prevent anyone having to be furloughed or laid off?
A: This is not a situation where faculty or staff can vote. The ultimate decision is made by the HMC Board of Trustees. There will be a recommendation by cabinet and we are using the feedback we receive through questions in these meetings to help guide our recommendations.
Q: Would HMC consider implementing a vacation or sick leave bank?
A: The College made the decision back in March to allow any employee to accumulate a negative sick leave balance. If you are sick, we want you to stay home for your own safety as well as for the safety of others in our community. Given we are providing unlimited paid leave for illness right now, we don’t believe creating a bank is necessary.
Q: Under Section 2802 of the California Labor Code, employees should be reimbursed for Wi-Fi if they are expected to work from home. Will Harvey Mudd cover the cost of this?
A: The College is providing the option to telecommute upon the request of staff to meet child care needs and/or for other reasons. Since most, if not all, internet plans provided unlimited usage, there would typically be no incremental cost to the employee. The College has a telecommuting policy acknowledgement, which all employees who are working remotely should have completed and obtained approval from their supervisor/area vice president prior to beginning remote work. If you did not complete the form, please contact Human Resources as soon as possible so we can have you complete the necessary paperwork. If you are required to work remotely and you don’t have appropriate internet access to do so, we encourage you to contact your supervisor to determine what alternative work arrangements might be made.
Health and Safety
Q: If antibody testing becomes available, will HMC purchase the kits so we can be tested and return to work?
A: So far, the antibody tests have not proven to be reliable. Also, there is currently no medical evidence that people who have been infected and recovered are not susceptible to future infections. Because of these factors, it is more likely right now that we will focus our efforts on testing people who may be infected and doing additional contract tracing to identify individuals with whom those individuals may have come in contact.
While we haven’t determined all of the procedures we will need to implement to open the campus for in-person classes this fall, our Board Chair, Wayne Drinkward ’73, has suggested that we might consider asking students to self-quarantine at home for the two weeks prior to arrival on campus and to do orientation and other activities during that time. Once students arrive on campus, we might consider asking them to participate in another two weeks of online classes only, with students quarantining in the residence halls, to minimize the risk of possible spread of infection. We do plan to have masks and thermometers available. We also are hopeful that cost-effective and fast testing will be available later this summer and can be used on campus this fall.
Q: If we need something from our office to bring home for work, will we be able to go on campus to get something from our office?
A: If you have not been designated as an essential employee who should report to campus for work, we ask that before coming to campus for any reason, that you please reach out to your supervisor or the vice president for your area to request permission and to discuss your needs. If you are given permission to come to campus, please limit your time on campus as much as possible and wear a mask/face covering.
Q: How will contact tracing happen? Is there a publicly available set of guidelines for contact tracing if and when an individual tests positive?
A: The current plan is to follow the guidelines from the CDC for close contacts. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated. Right now, the general idea is that there will be two complementary approaches. One will be an app that people have on their phones. The other is to involve individuals to assist with tracing—those will most likely be people working with TCCS or possibly in Student Health Services with the addition of some students hired from CGU’s School of Community and Global Health who have been trained. There also will be individuals on each campus who have received training to assist. We will share additional information as plans solidify.
Q: What happens when a student has been diagnosed with COVID-19? What happens when a student thinks they have COVID-19? What happens if a student thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19?
A: If a student believes they may have COVID-19 or if they are experiencing signs and symptoms, they should immediately isolate and contact Student Health Services at 909.621.8222 or Campus Safety after hours at 909.607.2000. If a student has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they should inform the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) of the positive test ASAP by calling 909.621.8125 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus from people who are not infected. Students who are in isolation should remain until it’s safe for them to be around others. DSA will help coordinate isolation for the student as well as meals, coursework and other needs while in isolation. Contact tracing will be conducted to determine what other community members may have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and any individuals who have been identified as close contacts (defined as having close (within 6.6 ft) and prolonged (generally more than 30 minutes) contact with a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19) will be instructed to quarantine.
If a student believes they have been exposed to COVID-19, they should immediately begin quarantine procedures and contact Student Health Services at 909.621.8222 or Campus Safety after hours at 909.607.2000. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others to help prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. DSA will help coordinate quarantine for the student as well as meals, coursework and other needs while in quarantine.
Students experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact Campus Safety at 909.607.2000 immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pressure or pain in chest
- Blueish face or lips
- Confused or hard to wake
- Other serious symptoms
For more information, please review LA County’s Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19.
Q: What will the exact (or near exact) restrictions/availability of resources be when a student is sick?
A: Since the vast majority of students are not covered by the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) they should establish a relationship with a health care provider in this area (search zip code 91711 on their provider’s website) PRIOR to arriving on campus. Making sure that the health care provider is accepting new patients. All students, whether covered by SHIP or not, have access to the Student Health Services (SHS) of The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS). Testing of symptomatic students will be available at SHS. It is unclear at this time if an adequate number of tests will be available to proactively test all students.
Q: How will contact tracing, symptom checking, medical care, and isolation/quarantine work for students at HMC?
A: Much of our specific protocol for managing confirmed COVID-19 cases will depend on the technology that is selected for our contact tracing management at HMC. Several of the frontrunners we are considering have useful symptom-checking applications that would connect directly to Student Health Services (SHS), the HMC Contact Tracing team, and HMC On-Call team. These symptom checking applications allow for students to report directly to trained medical professionals to communicate their symptoms, receive medical treatment, and to alert if symptoms become dangerous.
It is important for us to be transparent with students and families that students who are ill with COVID-19 would not receive in-person symptom checking or care from non-medical professionals on our campus, as this would put our staff at risk. The College is planning to provide thermometers and some basic supplies for students upon their arrival to campus, while also encouraging students to pack (a packing list will be provided) supplies such as medications including fever reducers, cleaning supplies, and various items should they become ill. Additionally, all of our students, whether choosing to return to campus or to engage in remote learning, will have access to medical and psychological care via Student Health Services (SHS), Monsour Counseling and Psychiatric Services (MCAPS), or the telehealth company TimelyMD.
Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be moved to isolation rooms for ten days plus a reduced fever for three days plus declining symptoms (per CDC guidance). Students will be cleared by a medical professional from SHS prior to finishing their isolation period. Students who either live with a student who has tested positive or who have been identified as potentially exposed close contacts through the contact tracing process will be asked to quarantine in their current rooms for 14 days and until they are cleared by a medical professional at SHS. During isolation and quarantine:
- All students will receive surgical masks, regular virtual check-ins from SHS and On-Call Deans, as well as information about what to do if their symptoms worsen or become dangerous.
- Students will receive cleaning supplies to maintain their rooms and keep their bathrooms and common areas clean.
- Students in quarantine (not isolation) will be given scheduled access to designated outdoor spaces and reasonable requests for wellness needs will be considered.
- Meals, mail, and medications will be delivered to all students for the duration of their isolation/quarantine.
Students who are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 illness or exposure will be connected to the Academic Deans for support.
Once our protocols have been more fully developed, based on our housing numbers and contact tracing software, they will be communicated with students. For now, this should provide a broad picture of what students and families can expect regarding caring for students who become ill with COVID-19, as well as our limitations for in-person monitoring and care.
Q: Will students that tested positive for COVID-19 and now test negative be allowed to move back to campus?
A: Yes. Students who test negative and no longer have symptoms will be allowed to return to campus.
Q: Since the CDC released new guidance recommending isolation of only 10 days after onset of COVID symptoms in most patients, will HMC adjust their requirements?
A: In the absence of additional guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health or the State of California, Harvey Mudd will follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Q: Given the re-opening of business in the state, more COVID-19 cases are expected over the next several weeks. How has the spike in COVID-19 cases affected the decision-making process?
A: We are monitoring the situation regularly. We anticipate guidance from the state and county public health officials soon and will adjust our plans as needed based on those recommendations or changes.
Q: Will the number of COVID-19 cases rising in the state mean that workers who did go back to working on campus will have to reduce their time on campus?
A: We cannot predict the answer. Given the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in California and across the nation, it is not possible to say. If the state issues another Safer at Home recommendation or if LA County Public Health officials order changes to when businesses can be open, we will comply with those orders.
Q: Are we okay with positive cases of COVID-19 like we have seen on other campuses around the country?
A: We are taking steps to try to prevent an outbreak on campus. That said, it would be naive to believe we will not have any positive cases on campus. We are making every effort to follow the guidance of health officials, including asking our students to quarantine in their rooms for the first 14 days as well as to follow stringent guidelines related to the use of masks or face coverings, social distancing, etc. We will be asking students to study and eat outdoors, maintaining social distance and not to have other students in their rooms. They are expected to only leave campus for essential services such as doctor’s appointments and to get groceries.
Q: Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?
A: Student Health Services will have testing for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider to discuss whether testing is necessary. Students who are experiencing symptoms should self-isolate and not attend any in-person classes or other activities until they have been cleared to do so. Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms should NOT report to campus for work and should contact their direct supervisor.
Q: How readily available will coronavirus tests be? Will all students, staff, and faculty be tested before the start of classes? How often will we all be tested?
A: Right now, the advice (Read ACHA COVID-19 Testing: What We Know as of June 3, 2020 (PDF) and LAOCPH COVID-19 Testing Strategy (PDF) guidance) is not to test students at the start of term and not to test until someone exhibits symptoms or has come into direct contact with someone who has tested positive. Due to shortage of testing nationally, we believe this is more of an equity issue in that if colleges and universities over-consume available tests, it leaves fewer for the people who really are more vulnerable. Our plan, assuming we are able to have students on campus and based on advice from medical experts, is doing daily symptom checks for everyone who is on campus. It is possible there will be some campuses that decide to test every student despite medical advice, but we are not planning to do that.
Q: Will Student Health Services charge a fee for COVID-19 testing?
A: Student Health Services will not charge students to test for COVID-19. However they are reserving tests for symptomatic individuals.
Q: Why are we not testing on day one of return to make sure that the 0.5% of asymptomatic cases are caught and then again on week 2 for any new cases? That would set you up for the least risk going forward and would allow for a reduced quarantine. Tests are available and this is a logical and reasonable use of them.
A: Over the last week or so, medical advisors have advised against testing the students upon arrival. The reason is twofold, one is you can get a negative test on day one and test positive on day two. If the students test negative it may cause students to be a little less inclined to follow the strict guidelines. The other reason is that if all colleges test students upon return, it will use up a lot of resources that are available in the county and medical experts feel it is inappropriate because students of this age range are less likely to have a serious case of the infection. Only symptomatic individuals will be tested.
Q: If students want to get tested outside the school administered tests, or if they have a health question, will there be a simple way?
A: Students are only allowed to leave campus and return for essential needs, that includes doctor visits.
Q: If COVID-19 vaccine were developed, would the College require all employees to be vaccinated? Would confirmation of antibodies be accepted if an employee were to refuse the vaccine?
A: Once a vaccine has been fully demonstrated to be safe and effective, the College would recommend employees get vaccinated unless they have medical or religious reasons not to do so. In regard to antibody tests, right now there is no scientific evidence that if you have antibodies you are immune from getting COVID-19 again. Therefore, the College can’t consider antibody test results as a substitute for any effective vaccination.
Q: How likely that the dining hall will reopen in any of these scenarios?
A: If we have students on campus, we will have to feed them, but there will be restrictions on things like the number of students in the dining hall at a given time, limits on self-serve options, etc. We will provide more options to pick up to-go packaged meals and then take them outdoors. We would anticipate more students eating outdoors, because it’s safer. If we are in person, we will certainly have dining staff working here, but how they’re working will be different and will require changes.
Q: What are the expectations for students to follow the health & safety protocols?
A: Students who make the choice to come back to campus this fall will be expected to follow specific COVID-19 protocols and policies for their safety and for the safety of the larger HMC community. These protocols and policies will be clearly outlined for all students prior to their return, and students will sign a document acknowledging these protocols and policies prior to being permitted to move into the residence halls or begin classes on campus.
The HMC Honor Code states that students are expected to act as responsible individuals, to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity both personally and academically and to respect the rights of others. The College considers these standards to be essential to our ability to physically reopen this fall. Students who violate the COVID-19 protocols and policies will be subject to a student conduct process. This will be true for HMC students who have been alleged to violate other 7C College policies, as the HMC Honor Code also expects that students will exhibit “responsible behavior both on and off campus”.
Students who behave in a way that presents a substantial risk of harm to self and/or others may be subject to the involuntary leave process as outlined in the Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission Policy.
Q: How will you monitor if the kids are ONLY going to grocery store not to restaurants?
A: This is an example of how our Honor Code operates and student self-reporting.
Q: What are the College guidelines for masks/face coverings?
A: Essential employees who have been asked to come to campus for work, along with a small number of faculty members and others, must wear masks/face coverings when they are on campus. In addition, we have asked students to wear masks/face coverings when they come to the Dining Hall to pick up their meals. This is in keeping with recommendations from public health officials in order to protect people from the spread of COVID-19. Employees and students may wear their own masks/face coverings or if they need one, they should contact Theresa Lauer in Facilities and Maintenance.
Q: What are the expectations about wearing a mask when you are in your office?
A: If you work in an individual office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn at all times. If you are the only person in your office with the door closed, you may remove your face covering. The College is investigating the possibility of providing face shields for those who need an alternative to the mask/face covering.
Q: Does HMC have a deadline before the school shifts to online courses if the situation worsens, or that decision has to come exclusively from the CA/LA government agency?
A: The College intends to open for in-person classes unless ordered to shift to online coursework only by the county or state. We cannot anticipate when or if that might happen, but we will notify our students, families, faculty and staff as quickly as possible should that be decided.
Q: How many positive cases among students, staff, or faculty will cause the school to shut down in the fall? Will we announce this number before we make the decision to bring students back to campus?
A: We anticipate we will receive additional guidance in this area from the state once the governor announces the guidelines for reopening higher education.
Q: How will the college and each department ensure that junior faculty and those coming up for review don’t feel more compelled than others to (1) teach on campus or (2) meet with students and colleagues in person? Beyond teaching, much of what we do happens informally outside of the classroom through meetings with students and colleagues. Junior faculty and those anticipating review will feel added pressure to say “yes” to requests to participate in these kinds of interactions and be present on campus.
A: The Academic Contingency Planning Committee (ACPC), which consists of department chairs for next academic year and many about to roll off, has been thinking about this. We’ve also thought about it in regard to thinking through tiering of our course offerings. We have asked department chairs to reach out to faculty to ask about their preferences. To the best of our knowledge, faculty members have been able to obtain their preferences. If a junior faculty member is concerned about being on campus, we encourage you to speak to your chair.
We imagine all meetings will be remote, including one-on-one meetings, office hours, committee meetings and faculty meetings, until we are advised that it is safe to do otherwise.
Q: Will laboratory research performed by staff and faculty (not students) potentially be allowed this fall even if students are not allowed back on campus?
A: A planning group comprised of Dean of Faculty Lisa Sullivan, the Department Chairs Committee; Chair of Faculty Tom Donnelly, Registrar Mark Ashley, and Senior Director for Emergency Preparedness and Safety Theresa Lauer will develop plans around these issues. That work will begin soon, and updates will be provided. There is a good chance we’ll be able to let people into their labs at some point over the summer. It’s unlikely to be in the next two weeks, but possibly sometime in the next three to four weeks, provided safety protocols are followed.
Q: What legal protections are in place to protect the College from legal issues with students who contract COVID-19?
A: We are consulting with the College’s legal counsel to try and find ways to mitigate these issues.
Q: If I live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will I be required or even able to go back to work?
A: It depends on the facts and circumstances. We’ll handle it on a person-by-person basis. We encourage you to contact your direct supervisor, the VP for your area or to the Office of Human Resources to discuss your specific situation.
Q: Does Dana’s response to the question about living with a family member that has a pre-existing condition/high risk to contract COVID-19, apply to staff with family members who are first responders and exposed every day? They may not be high risk but they could be a risk for others on campus.
A: Yes, the response is the same (see above). It would be handled in a similar way.
Q: Will Monsour be open? Will we have only online counseling available or can we have in person counseling?
A: Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) is planning to open beginning August 24, 2020, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. for appointment scheduling. Students are expected to first call 909.621.8202 to determine with MCAPS whether an online or in-person meeting is appropriate to meet the needs of the student. At this time, MCAPS is looking at solutions to have both in-person and online counseling available in the fall, and will continue to offer crisis counseling for students.
Q: If there is an outbreak or shutdown at one of the other 7Cs, how would that affect HMC, and is the “outbreak” criteria of three cases on a college campus still accurate?
A: LA County Department of Public Health has mentioned that at three cases they will come to campus to investigate and assist in contact tracing. However, they have not yet published their formal guidance for higher education, so there could still be changes. It’s important for everyone to realize that if we have people on campus, it is highly likely we will have someone who becomes infected. When that happens, it is very important that we have contact tracing available to help us identify and isolate anyone who came in contact with that person.
Q: Will a student who contracts COVID and decides to go home immediately be considered part of the 3 person limit by the LA County Department of Public Health?
A: The number of infected students is 3 per institution, so yes.
Q: What kinds of PPE will be provided to students?
A: All students will be supplied with cloth masks, hand sanitizer and digital thermometers. Cleaning supplies will be provided in residence halls and bathrooms.
Q: Have any staff, faculty, students or family members tested positive?
A: Yes. The announcement was posted on this website. It’s important to note that patient confidentiality requirements will not permit us to tell people the name of a person who tests positive, merely to inform people that someone they may have been in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19.
Q: Will staff and faculty have to use their own sick time to quarantine if there is a positive test on campus?
A: If you are sick, we ask that you do not come to campus, alert your supervisor as soon as possible, and you record your time away from campus as sick time. The response to the question of what to do if someone on campus has tested positive is nuanced. Just because someone tests positive on campus does not necessarily mean that employees should quarantine themselves and not report to work. The response depends on whether an employee has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact is defined by LA County Department of Public Health, as an individual who has been was within 6 feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes and an individual who had unprotected contact with the infected person’s body fluids and/or secretions, for example, being coughed or sneezed on, sharing utensils or saliva, or providing care without wearing appropriate protective equipment. If you believe you have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and you are otherwise healthy and not showing symptoms, you should speak to your supervisor, who as necessary, will put you in touch with HR so they can walk you through an assessment of whether quarantine is advised by HMC.
Q: For those of us teaching in-person classes, what will be the protocol when a student tests positive 1-5 days after being in the classroom? Will we need to self-isolate for 14 days? Will we have immediate access to a test? Will our family also have immediate access to tests or will they (family members) need to self-isolate for 14 days?
A: The current definition of close contact from LA County Public Health is if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for more than 15 minutes then you should self-isolate. They do not recommend you get tested unless you begin to exhibit symptoms. Knowledge about this disease is changing on a daily basis. We will revise this response as we receive additional information and guidance. Faculty and staff health insurance will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing. We continue to look for additional options for testing as well.
Q: Will the entire class then be required to self-isolate? What will be the ramifications of having groups of students (along with some faculty and staff) needing to self-isolate after students begin to test positive. How many positive cases will result in the closing of the campus to in-person classes?
A: Right now, we believe so. However, the guidance from county and state authorities is changing rapidly, and we haven’t received finalized guidance yet. Last week the LA County Dept. of Public Health said they’d do investigation of any campus that had three infections. The general planning principle is that if we can offer a course online, we should. If a course requires that we be face-to-face, then we should do that in the safest possible way, whether that means half the class meets at one time and the other half meets at another time while all wear masks, practice physical distancing, etc. All of these things are ways in which we have been planning so that we can minimize infection.
Contract Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine Procedures
14 Day All Student Quarantine
- All students will quarantine in their assigned rooms for the first 14 days of the semester. Please pay close attention to the packing list that will be sent this week.
- Students will have mail and meals (according to their meal plans) delivered. The meal types will be unrestricted, vegan, and allergen-free.
- Students will receive welcome kits that include some medical supplies such as thermometers and face masks when they move into their rooms.
- Students in quarantine will be given scheduled access to designated outdoor time & DSA will have virtual programming during this time.
- Students will not be permitted to leave campus for any reason, or have visitors of any kind. Additionally, no social gatherings of any kind will take place during quarantine. Students should expect to stay in their rooms.
- Students who become symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19 illness will be moved to isolation rooms and will be connected to Student Health Services (SHS) and the Academic Dean for support.
HMC Contact Tracing
- Mudd App & QR Codes
- HMC Contact Tracing Team will work in tandem with SHS to contact trace, provide resources and medical care for exposed and infected individuals, and communicate with the
- All Cases will be reported to County of Los Angeles Public Health, who will assist with contact tracing and guidance in the event of an outbreak
- All Cases and Close Contacts will be quickly isolated and quarantined
- HMC will rapidly communicate with the campus community
During Isolation and Quarantine
When a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- COVID-19 symptoms have improved (CDC Recommendation)
When a student is identified as a “Close Contact” they will be required to:
- to quarantine for a total 14 days after their last known contact with the Case (CDC recommendation);
- receive regular testing (LA County legally binding directive);
- they will be required to regularly check-in with a medical professional from SHS; and
- if they test positive for COVID-19 in quarantine, they are now considered a Case and will follow isolation protocol
All students will also remain in isolation/quarantine until they are cleared by a medical professional from SHS.
During Isolation and Quarantine
- All students will receive surgical masks, check-ins from SHS and On-Call Deans, and information about what to do if their symptoms worsen or become dangerous.
- Students will be encouraged to contact emergency contacts when they test positive for COVID-19, On-Call Deans will contact emergency contacts as well.
- Students will receive cleaning supplies to maintain their rooms and keep their bathrooms and common areas clean.
- Students in quarantine (not isolation) will be given scheduled access to designated outdoor spaces and reasonable requests for wellness needs will be considered.
- Meals, mail, and medications (if needed) will be delivered to all students for the duration of their isolation/quarantine.
- Students who are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 illness or exposure will be connected to the Academic Deans for support.
Suite Style Living
Minimum 2 people – Maximum 8 people
- Arrow Vista, Atwood, Drinkward, East, Linde, North, Sontag, South, West
- Students who test positive Isolate in place since that space is already considered contaminated (CDC recommendation)
- 1-7 people: Remaining roommate and suitemates (presumed not infected for now) will be moved to a designated isolation/quarantine room (I/Q room), ideally with a private bathroom.
- Arrow Vista: all students will isolate/quarantine in their assigned rooms.
Hallway Style Living
Minimum 16 people – Maximum 24 people
- Case, Drinkward
- Students will be divided into “pods” of 6 on each floor for the purpose of bathroom usage and contact
- Students who test positive will be moved to an I/Q room, ideally with a private bathroom (CDC recommendation).
- The common bathroom for the group of students sharing a bathroom (known as a “pod”) will receive deep cleaning from F&M and students will also receive cleaning supplies to sanitize after usage.
- 1-5 people: The student’s pod will be considered “Close Contacts” and will be required to quarantine in their rooms for a total 14 days after their last known contact with the Case (CDC recommendation). If a quarantine student also tests positive for COVID-19 or develops symptoms, they will be moved to an I/Q room as well.
59 Rooms are currently held as I/Q rooms on campus:
- Atwood: 8 rooms connected by Jack & Jill bathrooms (4-8 beds)
- Case: 0 rooms
- Drinkward: 4 rooms in 1 suite (1-4 beds)
- East: 8 rooms connected by Jack & Jill bathrooms (4-8 beds)
- Linde: 3 rooms in 1 suite (1-3 beds)
- North: 8 rooms connected by Jack & Jill bathrooms (4-8 beds)
- Sontag: 0 rooms
- South: 16 rooms in 3 suites (3-10 beds) & 6 rooms connected by Jack & Jill bathrooms (3-6 beds)
- West: 12 rooms connected by Jack & Jill bathrooms (6-12 beds)
Total I/Q beds available: 26-59 (5%-11% of total residential population)
Q: Are you allowing yourself the potential for things to loosen in the second semester? Would it be an advantage to those on campus that protocols might relax and clubs, sports, cross college classes, etc. might resume after winter break?
A: Wholly dependent on the virus and a vaccine and LA County allowing it.
Q: How are you bringing departments back to campus?
A: Each department and vice president is handling this issue differently given the needs of their particular area. Many areas may be working from home for most or for the entirety of the summer. For some areas, staff will need to return to campus right away to begin preparing for students possibly returning in the fall. We will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and ask staff to practice good hygiene, social distancing, and wear personal protective equipment, such as face coverings. We will also be implementing daily health screening checklists and limiting the number of people in any building and/or using any bathroom.
Q: Do we have a timeline for knowing when we will be allowed back into our offices and labs, assuming we have no students working for us?
A: Not yet. We hope the planning group being led by Dean of Faculty Lisa Sullivan will be able to develop a response to this soon. At this point, we anticipate it is highly unlikely we will be able to have students on campus this summer for in-person activities.
Q: How are we weighing the in-person reopening of our school against the possibility that someone will die as a result?
A: There are no easy answers or risk-free choices in the current situation, and we realize there could be very negative outcomes regardless of which decision we make. That is why we have involved students, faculty, staff, families, alumni and board members in our planning efforts. We are trying to optimize the best learning environment and outcomes for students while promoting safety and health of all members of the HMC community.
Q: What are the changes in campus protocol around cleaning and sanitizing residential spaces? Bathrooms? Academic spaces? Food service?
A: Using current CDC and LA County Public Health recommendations and following the manufacturer’s instructions for EPA approved disinfectants, staff will disinfect restrooms three times daily including all “high-touch” surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, light switches, restroom fixtures, toilets, showers and trash cans. Additionally, staff will be assigned to continually sanitize common use areas throughout campus such as tables and chairs in our dining facilities, handrails, stairwells, restrooms, and elevators to disinfect these high traffic high touch areas. While cleaning, staff will follow social distance protocols and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. The Facilities and Maintenance Office will continue to monitor CDC and LA County Public Health recommendations and will modify the cleaning and sanitizing process, as considered necessary.
Students, faculty and staff are highly encouraged to frequently sanitize the high touch areas within their personal residential and office spaces such as keyboards, phones and others used throughout the day. Cleaning supplies will be made available in various locations throughout the campus for use by students, faculty and staff.
Q: What does #StaySafeAtMudd mean? Can students go into the Village? Go on a run or bike ride off-campus? How will student personal travel over the weekends be limited, if at all? Will my student be able to come home to visit at all during the fall semester?
A: #StaySafeAtMudd is modeled after the California “Safer at Home” initiative and is guided by health risks and a commitment to equity on campus. Because college campuses are considered to be “high risk” environments for COVID-19, special policies and protocols will be in place to help reduce health risks for our community.
Students will be required to remain on campus except for “essential purposes” such as doctor visits, therapists, pharmacies, curbside pickup, and groceries. Students will not be permitted to visit the other 7C campuses or have visitors at HMC, with the exception of one person who can assist them with moving-in to their residence halls for a designated period of time.
Students will be permitted to go on jogs, runs or bike rides off campus as long as they adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions including physical distancing and wearing face coverings.
In addition to special policies, protocols around wearing masks, social distancing, cleaning schedules, dining operations, common spaces, contact tracing, testing, and isolation/quarantine spaces have been established to protect our community members.
Q: Our student on occasion comes home for the weekend. Will this be possible?
A: No, once they leave campus they may not return.
Q: Can you explain how it would look if living in a double room dorm and one person travels and then has to quarantine does the roommate who didn’t leave also have to quarantine?
A: Students are not allowed to travel until the end of the semester when they go home. Once a student leaves campus they are not allowed to return to live in their residence hall.
Q: Is the botanic gardens across the street an option for outside exercise/walk during quarantine?
A: Yes, students can purchase a membership and walk in the gardens.
Q: Could HMC expand the boundaries of its “closed campus” to include the facilities of the colleges who are not reopening?
A: Pomona, Scripps and Pitzer campuses are fully closed and have stated that they will not allow us to use their facilities, including their residence halls.
Q: If the situation in Los Angeles County/the state changes, will the College decide to send students home early before the end of the semester? How will the decision be made?
A: There is no way for us to predict how COVID-19 might spread or when/if the state might experience the beginning of a “second wave” of infections. As we did last spring, the College will closely follow the guidance of state and county public health officials in making any determination about closures. In the event we are forced to send students home, we would anticipate following a similar procedure to that followed last spring, pausing instruction briefly and providing students and families with as much notice as possible regarding the transition to online-only coursework and issuing room and board refunds as appropriate.
Q: What will the metrics be for sending students home?
A: LA County Department of Public Health, upon inspection, can shut the school down for cause. Or, the county or state can declare the Shelter In Place (again) and all students would be sent home at their direction.
Q: If HMC has to go back to online classes only this fall will students be able to stay on campus? If they have to move out for a period of time can they leave their personal belongings in their dorm rooms? Will everything have to be packed up and removed again?
A: if HMC has to go back to online only it will be because the state or county has deemed that necessary. In that case students will need to pack up their belongings and remove everything from their residence hall.
Q: Will SHIP cover COVID related expenses?
A: SHIP covers COVID related expenses (Aetna handout).
Q: In the case that on campus learning is not allowed by the State of California, how will that affect the school health insurance for students?
A: There is no negative effect, students can still be covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan.
Q: What will be the options for staff who cannot work remotely but still need to work?
A: I know this is an uncertain time for everyone, and I’m sorry we are going through this. We have two priorities for the college:
- Protecting the safety and well-being of all members of our community, and
- Providing a high-quality educational experience for our students.
Each vice president has been asked to develop plans that outline the needs of their particular divisions as well as the resources and procedures necessary for us to continue the College’s educational mission. If we are able to be on campus with special restrictions (cleaning, masks, sneeze guards, etc.) I am hopeful that we can avoid layoffs and pay cuts. Our strong preference is still to have students back on campus this fall with physical distancing and other safety measures in place to protect our community. Staff who cannot work remotely may reach out to their direct supervisor, to the vice president over their particular division, or to the Office of Human Resources. Since staff members’ concerns and needs may vary greatly, we can better respond once we know more about a person’s specific circumstances and needs.
COVID Testing Capabilities
Student Health Services (SHS) is attempting to secure COVID-19 testing capability and will provide such testing to any local students based on meeting their guidelines-based criteria for testing. In the event that SHS does not have this capacity, SHS will provide students with information for current public health and private testing options.
Students Living on Campus or Locally Off-campus
Student Health Services (SHS) will continue to operate during the academic year, but with a modified schedule. Medical services through SHS can be received on an appointment basis only. Walk-in appointments will not be allowed due to COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions. As a result, same day appointment availability will be expanded to accommodate most students in a timely manner. SHS can be contacted at 909.621.8222. Review the SHS website to get more detailed information about the services provided.
For those students who wish to avoid in-person visits at SHS or require non-emergent medical care outside of SHS hours of operation, they still have the option of utilizing the contracted telemedicine service, Campus.Health. This no-cost option is available to all students at The Claremont Colleges, regardless of whether they are living on campus, locally off campus or in a different part of the country. Please note that all telemedicine services will be provided through Campus.Health, not SHS.
Lastly, students may also choose to receive medical care through local community physicians, urgent cares or hospitals that are covered in their network, utilizing their private medical insurance or Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Please contact your insurance company directly to verify that a provider is covered by your insurance plan prior to obtaining services.
Students Living in a Different part of the Country
While SHS is unable to provide you services directly, The Claremont Colleges have contracted with a telemedicine service, Campus.Health. This no-cost option is available to all students at The Claremont Colleges, regardless of whether they are living on campus, locally off campus or in a different part of the country.
Students may also choose to receive medical care through local community physicians, urgent cares or hospitals that are covered in their network, utilizing their private medical insurance or Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Please contact your insurance company directly to verify that a provider is covered by your insurance plan prior to obtaining services.
Students Living Internationally
For those students living internationally, unfortunately, neither SHS nor the contracted telemedicine service will be able to provide medical services to you at this time. You will most likely need to arrange for your own medical care locally where you reside. Please contact the dean of students if you require any further assistance in this matter.
Q: Will everyone be tested before returning back to campus? Staff as well as students?
A: A lot depends on access to tests. If for example there are tests that can be done easily, then yes, we would do that. We also are investigating the use of apps for daily health check questionnaires as well as for assistance in contact tracing if necessary. We also are discussing the possibility of conducting temperature checks. As these plans continue to evolve, we will update you.
Q: Why can’t you require testing before they come back and bring results?
A: Medical records are confidential and covered by HIPAA, the college cannot compel anyone to reveal their medical test results.
Q: Will anyone be taking students’ temperature when they move in?
A: Students will conduct their own symptom checking including taking their temperatures.
Q: On a safety level for all our employees what threat level do you think we are at if we start coming back to campus full-time/part-time?
A: Provided everyone is following the appropriate safety measures (face coverings, regular hand washing, maintaining physical distancing, etc.) the threat level should be low. Anyone who is not feeling well should not come to campus and should instead contact their immediate supervisor.
Q: With all students coming back from abroad and other US states that have opened with people being more relaxed with masks and social distancing it is highly likely many students will arrive asymptomatic and possibly cause a rapid community spread. How will you mitigate that?
A: That is what the 14 day quarantine will address.
Q: My student has to fly back to California. Will he have a place on campus to stay a day or two before he can move into the dorm or do I need to get him a hotel?
A: Students will only be allowed to move back to campus on the day and time they are assigned. Those assignments will be communicated in August. If a student arrives earlier they will need to provide for their own accommodations.
Q: Do you plan to quarantine students when they return for the Spring semester?
A: Entirely dependent on the virus and a vaccine at that time.
Q: What do we do about faculty or staff who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus and do not feel it is safe to be on campus? Could some people continue to work remotely even if others do not?
A: It depends on the facts and circumstances. We encourage staff and faculty members to speak with their supervisor, department chair, with Dean of Faculty Lisa Sullivan, or Dana Nagengast in the Office of Human Resources. Staff may reach out to their direct supervisors, to the vice president over their particular division, or to the Office of Human Resources. Since faculty and staff members’ concerns and needs may vary greatly, we can better respond once we know more about a person’s specific circumstances and needs.
Q: How confident can non-essential staff feel they’ll be allowed to work from home due to either having a pre-existing condition or living with family members that do?
A: The June 18 LA County Department of Public Health Order recommends that employers offer telework or other accommodations to those age 65 or older and all employees of any age who have active or unstable pre-existing health conditions. Therefore, if an employee has a pre-existing condition and if your presence is not required on campus and you can work remotely, the College will allow you to continue to telecommute. Remote working arrangements will be approved by your direct supervisor and area vice president. If your presence is required on campus and you cannot work remotely, you can currently take advantage of enhanced paid sick leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which provides 80-hours of emergency paid sick leave (or equivalent for PT employees) if you are unable to work or telework due to qualifying reasons. These benefits are available during the period of time that the College employee count is below 500.
However, if you are living with a family member that has a pre-existing condition and if your presence is not required on campus and you can work remotely, the College will allow you to continue to telecommute. If your presence is required on campus and you cannot work remotely, please reach out to your supervisor, who will coordinate with HR, to discuss options, including ADA reasonable accommodations to meet your unique situation. This will be handled on a case by case basis, considering the various facts and circumstances for each employee.
Q: If we have a pre-existing condition that makes us more susceptible to COVID, will we be required to provide a doctor’s note?
A: As mentioned by Dana during the forum, each situation is unique and we will evaluate each situation based on the individual facts and circumstances. However, the following is our general response. The College has a policy and practice to require doctor’s notices when someone is sick and cannot come to work. Understanding the unique times we are in, including the difficulty of obtaining non-emergency medical care, when the CA stay at home order was enacted in mid-March, the College temporarily suspended the requirement that one provide a notice when someone was sick for more than three days. Since March, most, if not all medical providers began providing tele-med services that could be quickly scheduled. Recently some medical providers have begun providing in-person care. The following is the College’s approach regarding medical notes from a physician regarding pre-existing condition that makes us more susceptible to COVID:
- For individuals telecommuting, the College will not require a doctor’s certification that you suffer from a pre-existing condition that makes you more susceptible to COVID-19.
- For employees deemed to be on-campus essential employees, the College will require a doctor’s certification that you suffer from a preexisting condition that makes you more susceptible to COVID.
Q: Should staff with asthma be on campus?
A: We encourage staff with health concerns to reach out to Human Resources to discuss their individual situations as each situation is unique and we will evaluate each situation based on the individual facts and circumstances.
Illness and Academic Accommodations
Q: Will I be able to get excused absences from class if I have to isolate or quarantine?
A: We are committed to working with students to make sure they have the resources they need to succeed at Mudd, knowing that there are more obstacles to success now than ever. Students who are in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19 illness or exposure should reach out to the Academic Deans (email@example.com) for support. The Academic Deans can communicate with faculty on behalf of the student and request extensions and/or excused absences. Faculty have full discretion for granting extensions and excused absences for their courses; however, faculty will provide reasonable accommodations where possible for students with documented medical issues. If a student misses an extensive amount of class due to COVID illness, they should discuss their options with one of the Academic Deans.
Q: What if my professor becomes ill during the course of the semester?
A: Even in the pre-COVID world, professors sometimes became ill, on rare occasions severely so, so we do have familiar protocols to call upon. Generally, professors will continue to provide materials if they are able to do so. Chairs will help to arrange coverage for classes in which a professor is unable to carry on for some time.
Q: How will learning accommodations be handled during final exams?
A: As is always the case, our Office of Academic Accessibility will partner with faculty and students to recommend practices for final exams for all students with documented accommodations. The recommendations will be tailored to the specific needs of the student and the nature of the desired assessment.
Q: What if a student has accommodations that affect their abilities to attend 100% online? Can we expect some options to meet those accommodations?
A: Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can students with underlying health conditions be guaranteed singles?
A: Students with underlying health conditions should register with HMC’s Student Disability Resources through the AIM Portal. The College will work with students who have a documented disability to provide reasonable housing accommodations. However, we cannot guarantee on-campus single rooms with private bathrooms, as all HMC residence halls have shared bathrooms. If a student determines that an off-campus housing option better meets their needs, they can request to live off-campus through the Residence Life Staff (email@example.com).
Q: Are there any updates about the timing capital projects on campus that you can share with us? (e.g. Platt roof, Jacobs-Keck renovations)?
Q: When will financial aid info be available? And will payment be allowed to be delayed?
A: The Office of Financial Aid is working on revising student award letters as they make the college aware of plans to live at home and/or study remotely. Payments will not be delayed.
Q: Can Maria and Andrew, working with FEC and the budget committee, commit to a presentation in the fall semester that spells out the financial state of the College?
A: The Faculty Executive Committee moved the budget discussion to the fall semester given everything going on with the Core vote and shift to online learning for the remainder of the semester. Once this meeting is scheduled this fall, President Klawe and VP for Administration and Finance/Treasurer Andrew Dorantes will be happy to attend and share the budget information.
Q: Are the proposed cuts for a single year or are they propagating forward?
A: The budget reductions proposed in the various models would be for the 2020–2021 fiscal year only. Right now, the intention would be to return to the pre-COVID-19 funding level after the current fiscal year ends (on June 30, 2021).
Q: We’ve discussed the importance of ongoing reduction of spending; would it be helpful if we cut back on conference registrations?
A: Generally, we are referring to spending reductions realized in the operating budget, not from savings of grant support. There is the possibility that some grants would allow for operating purchases that could offset an operating budget expense. If there is this level of flexibility and you need to purchase something you would have had to purchase anyway, it could be helpful, but again, it depends on how the grant is written. If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out to Health Clark in Business Affairs.
Q: Do the budgeting scenarios change if we are required to be remote in spring?
A: If present this fall and not in spring, we will see similar kinds of cuts needed in spring. If we are online both fall and spring, then the furloughs and cuts we have modeled in the current scenarios would be more significant. Salary and retirement contribution reductions would be for full fiscal year. If we are forced to move to online instruction for the spring, we would have to readjust our models and propose additional reductions.
Q: Besides pulling from the endowment, has the College considered other options, such as taking on debt?
A: The College recently took out a significant amount of debt, and our current debt level is at the top of what our debt policy allows. In addition, there are constraints on our ability to cover the debt service from the operating budget if we go beyond the current amount.
Q: How can the individual arms of academic affairs help by reviewing budgets and considering potential cuts?
A: We are activating the Department Chairs Committee to think about budget scenarios, and we will be meeting with that group later this week to dig into that more deeply.
Q: Does any of the College’s endowment principle carry a stipulation that it may be withdrawn to cover emergencies or unforeseen hardships to the college?
A: The majority of funds in the College’s endowment are restricted—much of that by the original donors—so we cannot spend it on other things and the process to modify that would be lengthy. There is a portion of the endowment that the board controls and that can be designated. In many cases, these funds are being designated by the board for specific purposes such as to contribute to financial aid or to cover faculty salaries. Even if we changed those designations, we would still face a negative impact in areas where we would need continued support. It is important that we preserve intergenerational equity, ensuring that financial aid and other critical resources will be available for future generations of students, faculty and staff vs. addressing the current financial crisis by making short-term endowment payout changes that could have outsized impacts on future generations Mudders.
Q: Has HMC applied for and received COVID-19 aid?
A: Yes, we received some direct support from the CARES Act that went to help students. The other portion of those funds helped to offset the room and board refunds we provided to students and families last spring. We have been reviewing opportunities on an ongoing basis and believe we have taken advantage of those available to us. There are some programs to which we didn’t apply because the College doesn’t meet the criteria for various reasons.
Q: Do we have dollar amount for how much we’d need to save to avoid furloughs and pay reductions?
A: It depends on which scenario we eventually have to use. We continue to model various options with ranges of dollar amounts in the millions. As we learn more about state guidance for higher education, we hope to further develop our budget projections.
Q: What input have the trustees and board taken from staff on these various options? Has there been a two-way conversation on this?
A: We have been doing staff town halls; and each vice president has been in regular communication with members of their respective units. A lot of the approaches we have recommended have been informed by questions that have been raised or suggestions that have been made, particularly by staff and others.
Q: Would Cabinet consider polling faculty members on their desires for preventing furloughs or cushioning the blow for the staff if we are forced to move to online-only?
A: Faculty have been asked for their concerns regarding the fall semester in previous surveys and we have gotten suggestions and feedback during Town Hall meetings and via email suggestions. We do not anticipate further polling on issues related to furloughs or pay reductions. The Cabinet will make recommendations, but the HMC Board of Trustees ultimately will decide what budget adjustments to make given the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Our consortial partners include colleges with deeper and shallower pockets than us and several have committed to online fall semester—do we know what is happening with regard to staff furloughs or cuts there?
A: We have not heard details, but we would anticipate that like us, some of our sister institutions will have to consider budget reductions, furloughs and pay reductions depending on their individual situations.
Equipment (Laptops, iPads, Software)
- We plan to suspend the laptop cart program.
- The laptops from the laptop carts will be placed in the loaner program for semester long loans to students.
- No justification is required for a student to request a loan.
- The Help Desk will continue to function as it did after we left campus in spring 2020.
- Remote support will be provided during help desk opening hours.
- No one will be physically present at the Help Desk in Sprague.
- If equipment needs to be handled physically by CIS staff, drop off and pick up arrangements will be made. CIS staff will sanitize equipment before and after working on it.
- Printing will not be required for submission of class work.
- Other printing is strongly discouraged.
- The Academic Planning Contingency Committee is working on a way to ensure that lab notebooks are not passed around.
- No networked shared printers will be operational. This is to avoid transmission of infection (people gather at shared printers; printers are difficult to sanitize on a regular basis.).
- Administrative and academic departments are strongly encouraged not to use shared printers and are responsible for cleaning them if they do.
Q: Why are we dividing the town hall meetings between faculty, staff and students? If we are one community, why not have them with everyone together?
A: The only reasons we’ve separated the groups so far is because the situations and many of the concerns are different for faculty and staff. We felt it was more efficient to have sessions with the different groups separately, so we could focus on the concerns specific to each community group. There is no reason we couldn’t have a joint session if everyone preferred that. If you feel that we should have a joint session, we encourage you to reach out to your direct supervisor or any member of the Cabinet.
Move-in and Orientation
Q: Does the July 10 deadline to decide if coming back to campus mean we are required to pay room even if things change before the move-in date which would cause our student to not be able to move on campus?
- All students expected to be enrolled for FA20 already have fall semester charges posted to their student account as of July 1.
- If the student is on the monthly payment plan, their first installment is due by July 20
- If the student is on the full payment plan, their payment is due by August 20.
- If college housing is not an option later due to campus closure by county health or state mandate, the room and board charge would be credited at that time. Otherwise, students are still expected to pay under the normal contract dates specified above.
- If the student opts to cancel their housing contract after July 15, they would be responsible for the $300 cancellation fee.
- If the student is on the monthly payment plan, they are required to pay their first installment by July 20. Delinquent accounts are subject to a 1% late fee.
- For returning students, as indicated in the housing contract, the cancellation fee is applicable if the student terminates their housing contract after participating in draw and prior to the start of the contract period.
- Cancellation by the student after the contract period is at the discretion and approval of the student’s petition cancellation petition due to a documented personal hardship or unforeseeable extenuating circumstance.
Ultimately, we want students to make their housing decision based on what they are comfortable with and what is the safest for them. We are trying to balance that with our need to know that decision far enough in advance to plan a smooth and safe move-in for those who choose that option and so that we can budget the resources necessary to make this possible.
Q: My daughter has heard rumors that school might be moving students rooms who are returning to campus. She is living in a single in a suite, and is basing part of her return decision on living in that room with her current suitemates. If they decide to move students and she is not happy with her rooming situation, is she able to change her mind and stay home without financial repercussions?
A: Cancelation should occur prior to the start of the contract period: August 22 for new students and August 23 for returning students. Also, students who cancel prior to the start of the housing contract period, there is a $300 cancellation fee.
Q: If we choose to attend in person by July 10, later on find out that all classes are going to be online classes, can we change to not attend in person and get a refund on room/board?
Q: The defer date (July 10) is days away. This is not enough time for students to determine other options and make decisions. Can ED students defer? If they defer, can they take classes at a local Community college or other institution online and keep their status at HMC?
A: If you decide to defer, the only conditions are that you are not allowed to become a fully matriculated student at another college or enroll at another college. If you want to take a few classes during your deferment, contact the Office of Admission.
Change of Mind After Enrollment Confirmation
Q: What happens if a student wants to change their mind after completing the Enrollment Confirmation & Housing Reservation Form by July 15?
A: For returning students who previously signed the housing contract and went through the room draw process last spring:
If students state that they will NOT be living on campus by July 15, they will not be charged the housing deposit of $300 or they get a refund if they have already paid.
For students who indicate that they intend to live on campus by the July 15th deadline but then change their minds after that date:
If a student confirms that they would like to be on campus by the July 15th deadline, they can still decide to change that decision after and receive a full refund prior to the move-in day. The student would, however, not be refunded the $300 housing deposit in this scenario. There would be no refund of housing once a student moves in. The only exception to this policy is our one-time COVID-19 exception, which is that if a student chooses to leave on 11/25/20, they recieve a 10 day refund. Note the following refund policy:
- A 100 percent refund of charges and fees is made if withdrawal occurs before the first day of classes.
- A 75 percent refund of the tuition charge is made if withdrawal occurs on or after the first day of classes, but before the eighteenth day of classes.
- A 50 percent refund of the tuition charge is made if withdrawal occurs after the first seventeen days of classes, but before the thirtieth day of classes.
- No refund of the tuition charge is made after the thirtieth day of classes.
- Refund of board charge is on a pro rata basis.
- There is no refund of the room charges or fees.
- Refunds are made by the college within 30 days of receipt of the Withdrawal/Leave of Absence Form by the Dean of Students.
Visit Refunds for more information.
A: For students who indicate that they intend to live off campus by the July 15 deadline but then change their minds after that date:
A student may decide to indicate by July 15th that they will not physically be on campus this fall, and change their mind before the beginning of the fall semester. In this scenario, we would not be able to honor room draw selections for returning students or room/roommate requests for incoming students, but we would be able to offer rooms that would be available for students to pick from if they change their minds. We intend to do our best to help students in this scenario, but we cannot make any guarantees.
A: For students who indicate they intend to return to live on campus but the College is not able to reopen physically due to local or state-wide restrictions:
Students in this situation would receive a full refund including the $300 room deposit if we are not able to open as intended in August. If students move into their rooms but the College must close physically earlier than planned in the semester, their room and board fees would be prorated based on the date that they leave campus.
Q: When can I move in on campus?
A: Information about the fall move-in process is below. Also, we want to help you think about your travel plans should you decide to return. As a reminder, if you are in a position to let us know whether you 1) intend to live on campus and be available to participate in in-person classes; 2) study remotely; or 3) apply for a leave of absence/defer, by the original deadline of July 10, that will be incredibly helpful in making sure we can secure the necessary resources. If you need a little more time, we ask that you complete the HMC Fall 2020 Enrollment Confirmation & Housing Reservation Form no later than July 15.
Making Travel Arrangements
We recommend that you do not purchase flights or make travel arrangements until July 20 at the earliest. We will be assessing how many students will be living on campus and assigning move-in times based on this information, which we will be unable to do before July 15.
When purchasing flights and making travel arrangements, we suggest that you select options that are refundable. While HMC is making preparations to re-open this fall, the LA County Department of Public Health has not yet approved the reopening of higher education institutions. California is still in the early stages of Phase 2 of its re-opening plan, and in recent days, we have seen a concerning trend in Los Angeles County of increasing infection rates and hospitalizations. We do not have an estimate of when we will hear from the LA County Department of Public Health, and it is possible that they may tell us we are not approved to re-open later in the summer after you have already made travel arrangements.
Q: Can the College could provide a pick-up service from the airport?
A: We ask that students and families arrange their own transportation to and from the airport. Most rideshare companies (Uber, Lyft) are still operating with drivers wearing face coverings, and there also are private car services available.
As of now, here are anticipated move-in days:
- Thursday, August 20: Student Leaders (Proctors, Mentors, Head Mentors, NISSO Mentors, SI Mentors, and select members of ASHMC)
- Friday, August 21: SI students and new international students
- Saturday, August 22: New students
- Sunday, August 23: Returning students
All students will be permitted three (3) hours to move-in and may have one (1) person to help them move-in to their residence hall room. Any helper(s) will also be expected to follow COVID-19 policies and protocols and will need to leave campus at the end of the designated three hours.
Move-in Day Procedures
Q: If I arrive at the allotted time to drop my child off, and must stay with my student, how do I park the car that I arrived in after dropping off the bags?
A: We encourage families to review the instructions we send to your students on the process for checking in and to follow signage posted on your assigned day of move-in.
Due to various program designs, all new students (including SI students and new international students) will be assigned move-in times in the order of arrival of their respective programs.
Returning students will have the opportunity to sign up for move-in time slots based on reduced capacity per building. As of now, we are anticipating four (4) time periods (7–10 a.m., 11 a.m.–2 .p.m, 3–6 p.m., and 7–10 p.m.) from which upperclass students can choose. We will be determining the number of students who are able to move-in on a per building basis, with no more than 25% capacity during each time period. Additionally, if you have a roommate, we will be asking you to move-in at different times. While we are working on the details of this process still, we anticipate that we will have slightly different protocols for suites. After we know how many students will be on campus, we will communicate more details about the move-in times and process.
While we are asking you to prepare for more strict arrival and move-in regulations, we will work with people who have extraordinary circumstances (such as international students with limited flight availability) regarding move-in times. Students who have extraordinary circumstances should complete this Move-in time change request for returning students form to request a new move-in time.
Move-in Shopping by Families
Q: On move in day will families be allowed to leave campus to purchase necessities for the residence hall, and deliver them to their student?
A: Families will not be allowed to pick up last-minute items students need after they have arrived to campus. We encourage families to plan ahead and bring these items with them, or utilize our mail room to ship items to campus. On Monday, August 24th, we will begin delivering mail and packages to students in their rooms.
Q: What will the two-week quarantine look like?
A: A full quarantine in the sense that students will be in their residence halls with very limited contact with others, food delivery, mail delivery, outside scheduled exercise, no mass gatherings of any sort.
Grocery Shopping During Quarantine
Q: Students who stay on campus and do not have meal plans or have very reduced meal plans, how will they be accommodated as they will be making grocery runs (and so will have exposure to others)?
A: During the two-week quarantine, students will not be able to go to the grocery store. It will be a true quarantine and we will ask students to utilize the delivery systems available to them.
Q: Can we order from UberEats during the two week quarantine?
A: Yes, with contactless delivery.
Q: Will they be able to do laundry in the first 2 weeks?
A: No. We encourage students to bring enough clothing for 14 days for the quarantine period. Students have sinks in their rooms and can hand wash items if needed. You may want to bring detergent and consider a drying rack for this purpose.
Q: Will there be a laundry service?
A: Possibly but for a fee that the student will pay.
We have compiled a packing list of what to bring to Mudd this fall.
Please make sure to pay extra attention to what you might need during the two week quarantine period.
Q: When will New Student Orientation start?
A: Most of New Student Orientation (NSO) will take place virtually over the summer months. New students will be connected to student leaders, called Mentors, who will guide them through the online orientation program. There will be a NSO program that adheres to social distancing regulations beginning right after move-in on Saturday, August 22 and continuing through Sunday, August 23. More details will be communicated over the summer to incoming students via the Orientation Student Newsletter and the Orientation website. We hope to have a welcoming experience which can help new students get to know Mudd, while keeping everybody as safe as possible.
Q: Are you still having the on campus parent reception in August?
A: No, parent and student orientation will be online this summer, beginning in mid July.
Q: Will Summer Institute be cancelled?
A: Summer Institute will not be canceled. However, the format of the program will be modified and adjusted to adhere to our updated academic calendar and social distancing protocol. This year Summer Institute will begin in late July with online modules and mentor group meetings. The on-campus portion of the program will also be adjusted. As dates become available, we will notify participants via their hmc email so they may continue to plan their arrival to campus.
Q: Will International Students Orientation be cancelled?
A: New International Student and Scholar Orientation (NISSO) will not be cancelled. The Office of Institutional Diversity is working hard to provide an online orientation for students followed by a socially distant on-campus orientation on Saturday, August 22 after their move-in on Friday, August 21
Q: Are parents allowed to “contactless” drop off supplies or food?
A: We are allowing curbside and contactless pick up of groceries and supplies. This does mean that the contactless pickups and drop-offs done by family members should be done quickly and not be a visit.
Q: Who will take care of my ESA if I am too sick to care for it or have to isolate or quarantine?
A: As stated in the HMC Assistance Animal Policy, owners are responsible for the care and supervision of an Assistance Animal at all times. HMC is not responsible for supervising and caring for an assistance animal in the case that an owner is unable to do so. Students should work with Student Accessibility Services at firstname.lastname@example.org with regards to this issue.
Q: Can my partner visit me in my residence hall? What about other guests and family? Will 7C students be able to come to HMC?
A: For the fall, no guests will be permitted to visit on campus, which unfortunately includes fellow students from the other Claremont Colleges. However, an exception will be made for one person who may help students move-in during their assigned time slot in August.
We realize this will have serious implications on students’ social lives, and are working on ways to make sure students can still be a part of an active community. For example, there will be outdoor covered common spaces that we will create as alternatives for students wishing to spend socially distanced time together to study and work collaboratively.
Q: Can students visit each other in dorm rooms?
A: We have different outdoor spaces in the residence hall communities where students can visit. We will begin by not allowing students to visit each other in rooms and will revise that as we are able to.
Q: Can I live on campus or at the Arrow Vista Apartments if all of my classes are online?
A: Yes. Students can live in the HMC Arrow Vista Apartments or on campus residence halls even if they plan on taking all of their classes online. Read more about living at the Arrow Vista apartments.
Q: Why is the college not allowing students to attend hybrid classes if they choose to find their own housing in Claremont? You cannot realistically argue that Arrow Vista apartments would be safer from a COVID point of view than any other off campus housing. CMC and many other colleges allow students living “off campus” to participate in hybrid learning.
A: At Arrow Vista students will be supervised (student leaders and professional staff member) and are considered as much an on-campus experience and expectation. Brighton Park has no college connection or expectation of behavior, nor will students be supervised.
Q: If we change our mind half-way through the semester, would we be allowed to go back to our homes and stay there for the remaining of the semester?
A: We will permit students to return home to complete the fall semester from there, provided they do not attempt to return to campus after leaving. You will need to notify the Office of Residential Life as well as the Associate Dean for Academic Resources and Student Success as soon as possible before leaving campus so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Please keep in mind that that if you choose to return home, you will be subject to the College’s normal refund policy in regard to room and board.
Q: What percentage of first-years are planning to live on campus?
A: As of July 20, about 77% of incoming first-year students have indicated they plan to enroll and live on campus.
Q: Can I apply to live at home or off-campus while I am an enrolled student at HMC in the fall semester?
A: Students interested in living off-campus or at home and completing their courses through the HMC Remote Learning Semester should indicate their preference on the Enrollment Verification and Housing Form. These students who will be participating in Remote Learning should work with the Academic Deans (email@example.com) to review their course schedule and discuss whether courses will be accessible in an online format. Students should be aware that some required courses, including labs, may have in-person components which are not able to be offered in an online format.
Students choosing to live away from campus and participate in Remote Learning due to underlying health conditions are encouraged to register with HMC’s Student Accessibility Services through the AIM Portal or speak with Dean Amy Bibbens (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Off-campus Living and Financial Aid
Q: If students choose to stay off campus, will they adversely be impacted by financial aid or housing in Spring?
A: If a student chooses to live off campus their cost of attendance will change and their need-based financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. We prefer each student to reach out to Financial Aid directly at email@example.com as every student’s financial situation is different. Housing in spring will be available to students who live at home in the fall, however we will not be able to honor your selected room draw room on campus in this circumstance.
Q: How will HMC ensure physical (social) distancing is maintained on the residential end of campus?
A: Students will be signing a housing and enrollment agreement that makes clear the rules for physical/social distancing. The Harvey Mudd community is strongly committed to the responsibility of each member to protect the safety of themselves and others.
Q: Do residence hall rooms have connected vents and is that a cause for concern?
A: Harvey Mudd College Residence Halls each have a different configuration for heating and cooling vents.
- The Quad dorms (North, South (Marks), West and East) have dedicated units; the vents are not shared with other rooms.
- Linde Hall is suite style with 3-4 rooms and a connected common lounge area. Each of these suites is served by a common unit with vents going from the dedicated unit to each room and lounge area. Vents are shared within the suite but there is no sharing of vents with neighboring suites.
- Case Hall has dedicated units; the vents are not shared with other rooms. In some instances, some of the dedicated room units distribute air to the hallway but do not share with other rooms. DSA is working on a plan to manage the isolation protocol for students living in these specific rooms whose dedicated vents distribute air to the hallway.
- Drinkward Residence Hall does not have any shared units; therefore, vents are not shared between rooms, O’s or suites.
- Atwood Hall is suite style with 3-4 rooms and a connected common lounge area. Each room has a dedicated unit and each suite area has a dedicated unit. These units do not share vents with other rooms or suites.
- Sontag Residence Hall is suite style with 3- 4 rooms and connected common lounge area/ kitchen. Each room in the suite has dedicated units to each of the rooms with no shared vents between rooms. All common areas in suites have a dedicated unit with shared vents serving the common areas within the suite. There is no sharing of vents with neighboring suites.
Currently, all guidance from the CDC and LA County Public Health has not indicated any concerns with shared vents in living spaces. The main recommendation is to increase outside air circulation as much as possible by opening doors and windows wherever feasible. All college buildings have well maintained properly functioning ventilation systems and as long as social distancing is adhered to, we do not anticipate the spaces that have shared vents presenting health risks to our students. The WHO had previously reported airborne transmission of the virus could occur only in health care settings through aerosol generating procedures. Most recently, the WHO stated some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or fitness classes in spaces with inadequate ventilation. Furthermore, the WHO stated the proportion of exhaled droplet nuclei or of respiratory droplets that evaporate and generate aerosols, and the infectious dose of viable SARS-CoV-2 required to cause infection in another person are unknown and further testing is required. The College is evaluating and monitoring the implications of this new development. At the present time, we do not believe the residence halls fit into this category, since all residence halls have a properly functioning and well-maintained ventilation system.
Q: Do you anticipate roommates or singles for first years?
A: First year and transfer students will be assigned either single rooms or double rooms (one roommate).
Q: If our roommates aren’t returning for the school year and we are in a triple, would we be forced to have a random roommate in the spring? Alternatively, if we choose to have a single instead, would we get a say in where we live?
A: We would encourage you to reach out to our Residence Life staff to discuss your specific situation and possible solutions. All students should have received an email from Dean Leslie Hughes on July 20 that included a link to a form for students to request room relocations.
Q: Will students already placed in suites that now have empty rooms because their suitemates are not returning on campus this semester have a say in whether someone who requested a single will be be placed into their suite?
A: Most likely, not. If you have specific concerns, please contact the Office of Residential Life.
Q: If I don’t come back to campus for the fall semester, how come the room I pulled during room draw can’t be guaranteed for the spring semester? e.g. If I pulled DW 222C but decided to live off-campus in the fall, how come I can’t go back to that room in the spring?
A: You will be guaranteed housing, but we cannot guarantee the same room that was pulled during room draw. After July 15th, we have a final number of students who will be returning to campus and we will know what our housing occupancy will look like for the fall semester. In order to safely open this fall, we must have reasonable protocols and systems developed for contact tracing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 infections on our campus. Therefore, we need to examine bathroom ratios and reducing density throughout campus to safely do this. Additionally, we will be looking to hold a minimum of 3% of on campus rooms as isolation rooms when students are diagnosed with COVID-19. Therefore, we are working to identify the best ways to do this, and it is likely some students will need to be moved around a little to accomplish these goals. We will not be able to hold rooms for students who may or may not come back in the spring on top of these priorities. For the spring semester, we will reassess what our housing capacity looks like and offer available spaces to students who wish to physically return to campus. We anticipate honoring room draw numbers when offering spaces to students on a housing waitlist so that they may select available rooms based on the best room draw number at that time. We will do our best to help students find rooms that are suitable for their preferences and needs if they decide to return in the spring.
Q: If I have housing accommodations for a single for the fall and I’m choosing to live off campus, would I be able to get the accommodation if I end up returning to campus in the spring?
A: You would need to reapply for the accommodation for the spring semester.
If returning to on campus housing this fall and stored items in the HMC provided pods last spring
HMC will bring back the storage pods that were provided to students last spring in early August this year. Storage items will be delivered to student rooms before students arrive. Any items that were stored without proper labels will be unable to be delivered. There will be a storage space dedicated to these items after students arrive, that students may be able to locate/claim unlabeled items.
As a reminder based on the liability waiver signed when the HMC provided pods were assigned, Harvey Mudd College, Harvey Mudd College’s agents, affiliates, and authorized representatives are not responsible for any loss, liability, claim, expense, or damage to property related to the storage pods or delivery service provided to students.
If living in Arrow Vista and have stored items in the HMC provided pods last spring
HMC will deliver items that were stored by the College last spring to Arrow Vista residents for students to retrieve their items on move-in day (Sunday, August 23).
If returning to on-campus housing or Arrow Vista apartments but secured own storage (not HMC provided)
Students who chose to secure off campus storage (not organized by HMC) for their items last spring may retrieve their items from off campus storage locations on the day that they are permitted to move-in to their residence hall rooms. We ask that students in this situation plan ahead so that they are able to retrieve their items prior to their designated move-in times. Returning students will be able to sign up for move-in times that work with their personal needs, and can fill out this
form to request changes in move-in times based on extraordinary circumstances. If students stored items off campus in groups with other HMC students, we recommend that students sign up for similar times so that they may retrieve off campus storage items together before coming to campus.
If items stored in the HMC provided pods last spring but not returning to on-campus housing in the fall
HMC will store students’ items on campus for students who are not returning to campus this fall. Students will have the option to keep items stored until the spring semester or may schedule a time to retrieve their items from on campus storage sometime after August 24th. Students should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Life if they are not returning to campus and have items in HMC provided storage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What will be the College’s response to students who violate the “visitation” rules for HMC’s campus? What about the other campuses?
A: The College considers these standards to be essential to our ability to physically reopen this fall. The policies exist because we think it’s the only way for us to be able to open, so it’s important to make sure that they are followed.
If students feel like they cannot abide by the policies and protocols, they have the opportunity to make an active choice not to return this fall. Students, staff and faculty in our community all have different circumstances and backgrounds, and we hope to provide a stable, safe environment without putting people at risk.
If a student gets sick, the most important thing is for us to connect them with healthcare and mitigate risk to the rest of the community. Because of this, when a student tests positive for COVID-19, a member of the contact tracing committee will reach out and ask questions about individuals you may have had contact with during the incubation phase of your sickness. The contact tracing committee is not responsible for Honor Code or COVID-19 Policy enforcement, and will be focused on public health, not student conduct enforcement. This is always a public health issue first, and students will be encouraged to honestly report contact with community members, regardless of if they were following COVID-19 Policies.
Our expectation is that those who actively choose to return to the residential campus environment will keep each other accountable and safe. The Student Advisory Board and the DSA are still working together on determining how violations will be handled from a student conduct perspective. We respect the Honor Code at HMC and we recognize that it is important for students to be transparent about their social activities for the purposes of contact tracing. Thus, this sentiment will be taken into consideration when determining sanctions for students who come forward with an unprompted self report regarding COVID-19 policies. We will focus on working with the student first and ensuring everybody on campus is staying safe and healthy. However, in the case of repeated violations, the school will take action to make sure we can maintain the safety of the community. In extreme circumstances, students who continue to violate policies, despite warnings, may be subject to the involuntary leave of absence process as outlined in the Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission Policy.
Travel and Study Abroad
Q: I know that there are no HMC students studying abroad in the fall semester. Will HMC allow students to study abroad in the spring?
A: We have not made a final decision but are considering allowing participation through organizations like IES, in countries that meet HMC criteria for safety. More details will be provided later in the summer.
Q: Will I be forced to travel for any courses (e.g. Clinic)?
A: There will be no College-sponsored travel for any activities in the fall, including Clinic.
Q: Are there guidelines for distant travel which would require employees to quarantine?
A: We realize that employees will experience family emergencies that could require them to travel outside the local community. Generally, the College will not permit College-sponsored, business-related travel, either domestically or internationally. If you voluntarily travel away from your local community (i.e., visiting a tourist destination such as a beach, amusement park, etc.) know that these activities increase your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you will need to stay at home until you are no longer considered infectious. Please contact your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources for additional guidance.