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: Are there any graduation plans for class of 2020 and class of 2021?
A: It is too early to make definitive plans for in-person graduations—it depends on the state of the pandemic and vaccine delivery. We are still planning to hold in-person celebrations for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, we just don’t know when it will be possible. In the meantime, DSA will be working with the class presidents to plan celebrations appropriate to whatever constraints are in place in the spring, as well as on events such as 100 days before graduation that are usually held for seniors in spring semester. We will start off virtual until we can hold in-person events.
Q: When will classes begin and end in the spring semester?
A: Classes will begin for the term on Monday, January 25, 2021, and end on Friday, April 30, 2021. Finals will occur and final assessments like papers will be due in the weeks following, with the semester ending on time so that students may continue to pursue internships and other opportunities as needed.
Q: Are fall finals still starting the Monday after Thanksgiving?
A: Yes, we set that schedule in order to send our students home by Thanksgiving yet preserve the number of weeks needed in the semester for accreditation. If you have a question about a scheduled final, please reach out to the dean of faculty.
Q: I am an International student. What happens to my visa if I choose to take a semester or year off?
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: For questions about your specific situation, please email Evelyn Real at 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 spring 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 spring term. Students are encouraged to contact the associate dean of academic affairs or the associate dean of academic resources and student success with questions.
Q: What is the likelihood that the College will be allowed to bring students back to campus for all or part of the spring semester?
A: Given the high infection rate this winter in LA County, we expect to begin the spring semester remotely. We will apply for the pilot waiver program for higher education institutions, but that program will allow up to 500 students to return to campus only once L.A. county moves to the lowered red tier per county and state standards and remains there for at least two weeks. We hope that we’ll be able to bring students back at some point during the spring semester, but it’s impossible to know at this point.
Q: Is there anything that families can do to help with the College’s effort to petition the county supervisors to grant HMC a waiver to reopen?
A: The College is in regular contact with county supervisors and health officials, so we aren’t in need of extra petitioning.
Q: How many students have expressed interest in returning to campus, if allowed, for spring semester?
Q: If we are not allowed to bring students back to reside on campus, is there a possibility that we could consider some model to bring seniors to campus to work on Clinic or Thesis?
A: Right now, we are only allowed to have essential employees on campus. We would love to see our seniors be able to complete their capstone experiences on campus. We will have to wait and see we are allowed to do.
Q: If students are able to return to campus after the March break, will students who did not sign up to live on campus have another chance to choose to come back?
A: We don’t know yet how many students who already signed up would, if allowed, be able to return for sure. The numbers are fluctuating. We had 315 students signed up for our residence spots, and if we get a waiver, the maximum number we could have is 500. LA County has stated that schools that receive waivers can bring “up to 500” students back. We will take this question to Cabinet and to our advisory board to discuss.
Q: If students can return mid-semester, how will the College handle moving in? Will there be extra days off to mitigate the stress of moving?
A: The most convenient and least disruptive time would be during the week of spring break, but we don’t have enough information to make a prediction at this point.
Q: What metrics and evidence are being used to decide what the College will do in the spring? 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 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 spring will be up to state and county public health officials.
Q: Will there be any classes held on Saturdays?
A: The spring semester plan adopted by The Claremont Colleges does not include Saturday courses.
The revised academic calendar for spring 2021 is now available.
The first day of the semester is Jan. 25. The calendar now includes a week-long spring break held March 8–12. The last day of classes will be May 7, and finals week will be May 10–14.
Q: Will the College hold Projects and Presentations Days in some form?
A: Yes, we are working on a plan to incorporate Projects and Presentations Days into the spring schedule in some format.
Q: Would it be possible to delay the start of the semester to the end of February and have the semester go until June?
A: Because the academic calendar is shared by all five undergraduate Claremont colleges and was determined after detailed discussions that balance each college’s needs, the final spring calendar is now set. (link to calendar).
Q: If the first on-campus semester for the class of 2024 is in the fall, would there be any consideration given for pass/fail for fall semester for that class?
A: We are still hoping to have the class of 2024 on campus at some point in the spring. We will wait to see if that is possible before we consider making any changes to the grading plan for the fall.
Q: If we are not returning in the spring semester, can sophomores wait to choose their majors in the fall semester, or will they still need to choose in the spring?
A: To date we have not altered the calendar. We will carry that question back to the Faculty Executive Committee and once they’ve discussed it we will post here.
Q: Will there be a spring break this year?
A: Not in the traditional sense. To provide for sufficient instructional days, The Claremont Colleges will choose three days during the term, in addition to the existing Cesar Chavez holiday observance, to not hold classes so that students and faculty can rest and recover. The expectation is that there will be no meetings, assignments or exams on these dates so that they may truly be breaks from the semester’s activities..
Q: If the spring semester is remote, can the College make an attempt to have a spring break?
A: The Academic Deans Committee of the five undergraduate Claremont colleges jointly determined the academic calendar taking into consideration a number of different concerns from each college. The Consortium continues to meet and talk about spring break and we will update you as soon as final decisions are made.
Q: If there are three days of break that are spread out, will profs give a Friday off, but still have homework that’s due on Monday, in essence negating a break?
A: We intend to continue our existing policy that professors do not assign homework over breaks.
Q: How will the compressed schedule work in the spring, and what is the College doing to reduce student stress levels?
A: To the extent possible, we are moving courses out of the first slot in the day and the last slot in the day, and moving toward more asynchronous options for students to try to take some of the difficulty out of very early morning and very late afternoon class schedules. This is especially important for the students who are participating in courses from across many different time zones. Right now, faculty are listening to students by doing some midterm outreach about workload in this semester, to get a sense of the homework schedule. Some of the extra work that we imagined might need to take place this fall has already been taken out of the schedule.
Q: Will there be summer research on campus? Will students be able to live on campus during the summer?
A: We are already planning to have remote research opportunities available to students as a default, as we want to make sure that faculty and students have the opportunity to conduct whether or not students can be on campus. It’s too early to make a decision about in-person summer research, though that is of course our preference. If LA County allows us to have students on campus, we anticipate doing so.
Q: Is summer research available to graduating seniors?
A: Our process for providing student funding for summer research is for students who are going to be enrolled in the fall, so rising seniors, not graduating seniors. However we typically have some graduating seniors each summer who are involved in continuing research projects.
Q: Will there be summer internships?
A: Our Office of Career Services is working on remote summer internship opportunities in case in-person internships are still not possible.
Q: Can students still take a leave of absence for the spring?
A: A student can take a voluntary leave of absence through the academic dean’s office. Our default is to suggest that any student who wishes to take a leave of absence consider a year-long leave because of the way our semester tends to work in balanced requirements. However every student’s situation is unique and if a student is considering this, we encourage them to reach out to the academics deans who can review their courses and discuss the impact.
Q: Is it possible to take a spring and then fall leave of absence?
A: That would fit within our guidelines, but we would strongly encourage any student who is considering that option to talk with one of our academic deans and look at the scheduling implications. We want to make sure that when students think about something like that, they are also looking at their trajectory toward graduation and the way in which their capstone experiences as a senior will occur. We do not want students to take that kind of leave without recognizing any potentially negative downstream effects.
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.
Q: Will students who take a year-long 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: 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 spring 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: Students interested in deferral should contact the academic deans to discuss their specific situation.
Q: Given that more students may defer this academic 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?
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 any 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 spring 2021.
Q: Is the College considering Pass/Fail options in the spring for first years?
A: The FEC and DCC are looking at this option. Once we have gathered data from the fall semester, we will discuss how to best proceed.
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.
Co-Curricular Life on Campus
Q: Will seniors be able to get help on job hunting?
A: Career Services is actively hosting events and programs for seniors and all students looking for jobs, internships, research opportunities and help on graduate school applications. They will host two spring career fairs, one of them in partnership with Cal Tech. We encourage students to engage in these opportunities or contact Career Services for help in navigating post-graduation plans.
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.
Q: How are HMC graduates in 2020 doing in terms of finding employment during this difficult time? How did this year compare to recent years?
A: We are incredibly proud of our 2020 grads. Of our graduates who had job offers when the semester finished, all but three of those offers came through for working remotely. The three whose offers were withdrawn found other employment. We will be sharing the data report soon but we know that the average salary, median salary and bonuses for the Class of 2020 were higher than in previous years. Our students also were very successful in terms of grad school acceptances. This year, we are already hearing from students that they have job offers and are in the process of negotiating. It’s a testament to our students, as well as our faculty who continue to provide them strong educational experiences.
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: 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: Will there be a Family Weekend in some form in February?
A: Yes, Family Weekend will be held virtually this year. A save the date will go out to parents soon followed by details and registration in early January. So hopefully, all of you will be participating in that and connecting with the campus through that weekend
Q: Will we have a food pantry this year?
A: The DSA Food Pantry will be closed for the spring 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 spring semester.
Q: Will meals be eaten in outdoor settings or in residence hall rooms?
A: Both. Students can eat meals inside their rooms, and we also will have three large tents with individual tables and chairs outdoors where students can eat in a physically distanced setting. LA County is currently limiting indoor dining based on the state’s tiered system for reopening.
Q: Will meal plans be mandatory?
A: All students in residence are required to be on the meal plan. Non-first year students living in the Atwood Efficiencies, Linde Apartments or in the Sontag Residence Hall may elect to be on or off the meal plan. Students staying in the Harvey Mudd College-run apartments at Arrow Vista Apartments also may choose to be off the meal plan. Students who are not on the College’s meal plans may go off campus to grocery stores as part of the Stay Safe @ Mudd or they may use contactless drop-off services such as Instacart deliveries.
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: We are not sure what the plans are for use of Roberts Pavilion for the spring semester. Once we know more, we will update this information.
Please refer to Events and Gatherings.
Q: Connecting socially has been a challenge for first year students and other students. Will there be any initiatives or efforts to support social interaction? What is ASHMC planning?
A: DSA is continuing to increase its virtual programming, so there will be more events in spring semester. The first-year class presidents will be working with ASHMC and the other class presidents to organize the events we usually have in spring semester, such as the first-year-senior social, where so the first-year and the seniors can mix together, and major panels where first-year and sophomores can talk with juniors and seniors about majors and what kinds of academic opportunities they should look into. If a first-year has an idea for an event, let ASHMC know and we can work with the class presidents on it.
Q: What are ASHMC’s plans for spring 2021?
A: ASHMC is reducing its student fee to 80% for all students, as it did in the fall semester. ASHMC event organizers have gained a lot of experience hosting virtual events this fall and will be incorporating new ideas and hosting more events in the spring. If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see, feel free to reach out to any ASHMC representative, your dorm president, class presidents or club presidents.
Q: How can I volunteer for off campus community agencies if we are not allowed to leave HMC except for approved essential activities?
A: For the spring 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 early spring depending on each initiative’s timeline. Please contact us or student leaders for more information on how you can help during the spring 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: Beyond course evaluations is there a way to provide feedback regarding remote learning to help shape spring semester?
A: We will be sending out a second round of the technology survey that we issued during the summer, which includes opportunities to provide feedback on remote learning to date. You can also reach out directly to faculty members, department chairs, academic deans and dean of the faculty with any feedback.
Q: How have fall classes and research worked from your perspective? Will there be any reports to families about how academics went in the fall and lessons learned? Any changes for spring?
A: Over the winter break, faculty will be looking at the assessments we’ve gathered about how classes went in the fall. We’ll look at teaching evaluations, which provides some feedback from students. We’ll look at the second technology survey. After the scholarly standing committee meets early in the break, the academic deans will have an opportunity to reflect on the data and synthesize what we know, and make recommendations regarding the spring. We’ve already sent faculty some provisional recommendations from the Student Advisory Board. We are always looking to improve our teaching and learning.
Q: Will the new Core changes planned for fall impact the Class of 2024?
A: It’s not clear yet whether there will be an impact on the class of 2024. Faculty will be discussing whether there are any modifications of the core that can be introduced for the sophomore class, but up till now the planning of the faculty has been largely devoted to managing the transition to remote education. The Core implementation committee continues to meet and we’ll have a better understanding of how the changes will impact the Class of 2024 later this spring.
Q: Are courses going to be graded, pass/NC, or something else?
A: We will be using our regular grading practices this spring just as we did during our fall semester. If there are changes to this practice, we will inform all students as soon as possible.
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. We will not allow students to leave the Harvey Mudd College “bubble” to attend courses in person on the other campuses.
Q: Which courses will not be online only?
A: A small number of laboratory, workshop, and studio courses are likely to have an in person component.
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: How will the cancellation of E80 affect other engineering classes that usually rely on that course as a prerequisite?
A: Engineering is restructuring to enable E80 to be delivered in a subsequent semester. There are a number of 80-level courses that are required in the engineering major. The department feels strongly that E80 should have a hands-on component, so they’re going to hold on that course and offer additional sections in the other 80s to make that possible. E80 will be available downstream, and they are adjusting progress through the major to allow for it.
Q: What is the expected status of fine arts, music, and performing arts classes on the HMC?
A: Please consult the published schedule to see which courses in the arts and music will be offered in the spring term.
Q: What percentage of classes will be offered in-person in the spring?
A: Only a small number of courses will be in-person, with an emphasis on first-year Core labs and senior capstone experiences—research and Clinics. We’re intending to serve students who are resident on campus, as well as students who are living off campus, international students and students cross-registered from the other campuses. That skews our curriculum heavily toward remote modalities. Once we find out who will be on campus and who will be in different sections, we will be able to determine what in-person activities will be possible.
Q: Will there be a higher percentage of in-person classes offered in the spring than would have been this past fall?
A: We have posted the lists of courses on the portal. If we are allowed to have students in residence on campus, we plan to have more in-person courses than in the fall. We will aim to hold in-person courses where it is really critical that students have in-person, hands on opportunities—at the beginning of their career, as they’re shaping and understanding what it means to be in a lab and fabricating and prototyping. And also, at the end of their Mudd experience, when their research requires it. Beyond that, we need to wait and see what students are enrolled in what sections.
Q: Will all students living on campus be able to attend the in-person classes?
A: Students who are resident on our campus, inside of our “bubble,” will have access to any in- person academic experiences offered on our campus.
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: What do I do if I have terrible internet at home?
Q: What do I do if I don’t have access to a computer at home?
Q: What do I do if I don’t have a quiet place to study and take exams?
A: Students living on campus will have access to reliable internet, computing resources, and quiet spaces. Students who remain at home to continue their studies should contact the Division of Student Affairs or the Academic Deans if they have concerns about availability of technology to continue their coursework.
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: 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 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 95% 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: 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.
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: 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: 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.
Q: Why will student athletes not be allowed to live on campus, and why must they choose between residing on campus or participating in their sport?
A: As a safety precaution for faculty, staff and students living and working on campus, as well as the surrounding community, we must create a bubble on campus. Unfortunately, competing in athletics means that students would practice and compete with students from other campuses, in other geographic areas of the country, putting them at higher risk for coming into contact with infection. It’s not an ideal solution, but we’ve heard from our student athletes that they understand the situation, and we will support them in whatever way we can if they choose to live off-campus.
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. Student athletes who compete with CMS will be allowed to participate in varsity sports if they are enrolled in courses, but they will not be allowed to live on the HMC campus or in HMC-sponsored apartments at Arrow Vista Apartments. Student athletes have been invited to a number of Zoom sessions to share information and will receive additional communications from CMS Athletics regarding which sports will compete this spring, what the testing and other public health requirements will be for student athletes, etc.
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: Has all the money currently in the EERF been spent? Will we need to raise more to support employees whose furloughs will be extended into spring semester?
A: The College raised $160K in the first round of fundraising for the EERF, both cash in hand and voluntary salary reduction contributions committed through August 2021. With available funds, we have been able to provide financial assistance to our furloughed employees and cover their portion of health insurance contributions through December 31, 2020. Since furloughs will need to be extended into 2021, given current LA County orders. We are doing another round of fundraising for the EERF in order to reach our initial goal of $200,000. Additional contributions will allow us to continue the health insurance subsidy into 2021 and to increase the amount of the EERF-139 awards. Please see the email from Andrew Dorantes for more information and for ways to donate.
Q: Is the Community Emergency Aid Fund meant to help us prevent furloughs if we cannot be in residence in the spring? 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? What is the EERF?
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 cover unforeseen budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic. The College also has created an Employee Emergency Relief Fund to provide direct support to employees who were furloughed as a result of students not being allowed to return to live on campus.
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: If students are allowed to return to campus, will the College also bring staff who are telecommuting back to campus?
A: Los Angeles County expects that most employees will continue to telecommute as much as possible in order to reduce density on campus.
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: If students aren’t allowed to return to campus in the spring, will the College need to furlough additional employees or cut salaries?
A: Due to the excellent work departments across the college have done to reduce spending and additional financial aid savings, salary cuts for FY 20/21 will not be necessary. If HMC is not approved for the pilot program unfortunately, we would need to continue with all of the current F&M and dining services employee furloughs. If approved for the pilot program, approximately two thirds of the dining and F&M staff furloughs will continue since we will only house one third our students on campus.
Q: Will the College accept more voluntary furloughs? If so, what is the process for interested employees?
A: Yes, the College will accept additional voluntary furloughs. For those employees interested in voluntary furloughs, the first step is to speak with your supervisor and then reach out to Dana Nagengast, AVP for human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: Health benefits (medical, dental and vision), will continue. However, no other benefits, such as dependent scholarship or retirement contributions, will be provided for furloughed staff.
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: Is the College still considering reducing or eliminating retirement contributions in 2021 to help meet the budget deficit?
A: In Scenario 4, where students are not allowed to return campus, the elimination of all 12% retirement plan is modeled. However the College is working on various strategies to attempt to generate the $3.2m needed to obviate the need for any retirement plan cuts in 2021. The strategies include: 1) additional anticipated financial aid savings in spring 2021; 2) identification of $1.6m in academic and presidential endowed discretionary funds as well as other academic departmental funds; 3) counting on academic startup fund budget not yet awarded to faculty; and 4) increasing non-salary expense reductions from 38% to 45%. We will keep faculty and staff updated.
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: Due to evolving government guidance, it is necessary for the College to implement a COVID-19 Telecommuting Policy beginning December 2020, which includes a taxable allowance to help cover costs associated with cell phone, internet, utilities and the use of non-HMC owned peripherals, such as printers and other devices. If you did not complete the COVID-19 Telecommuting Agreement, please do so at https://hmc.formstack.com/forms/covid19_telecommuting_agreement. 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. For any further questions, please contact Human Resources.
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: Do we anticipate any staffing changes on campus with the post-Thanksgiving rise in Covid cases in L.A. County?
A: No, during our planning for the fall semester we determined which employees need to be on campus when students are not in residence and we do not need to make changes at this point.
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 HMC make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory if a vaccine becomes available?
A: The College is requiring that all students who plan to live on campus get both the flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination once it becomes widely available. Requests to be exempted from this requirement for medical or sincerely held religious reasons must be submitted to (in the case of students) the AVP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Anna Gonzalez, via email by Jan. 11, 2021.
For faculty and staff, we recommend they consider getting both the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination (once it is widely available) if possible. We encourage students, faculty and staff to refer to CDC Flu Vaccine Guidance for medical/allergy considerations.
Q: If a vaccine comes out, is that something that Mudd will arrange for students to have or will families have to do that themselves?
A: That would be arranged by Student Health Services. The first vaccines will likely go to essential health workers so we don’t know how long it will take to make its way to our community. We don’t anticipate vaccines being available to the wider community in the near future.
Q: What are the plans for COVID-19 testing? Will it be mandatory and how often?
A: We plan to test everyone on campus twice a week. We are hoping to have a saliva test available through the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Testing would be mandatory, and the College will cover the cost. Regular testing can help prevent the spread of infection, and the colleges that have had biweekly testing available have had the fewest COVID-19 outbreaks.
Q: Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?
A: Yes, through Student Health Services. Testing will be free to students. All students who live on campus or at the HMC-sponsored Arrow Vista Apartments will be required to be tested twice weekly. We also 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: Will Student Health Services charge a fee for COVID-19 testing?
A: Student Health Services will not charge students to test for COVID-19.
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: Will students, faculty and staff be required to take the Covid-19 vaccine if we resume residential living? Is Mudd one of the priority places to receive it?
A: We want as many students, faculty and staff as possible to take the vaccine and will strongly encourage all members of our community who are able to do so to receive it. Mudd is not a priority vaccine recipient; the first vaccines will go to frontline medical workers and nursing homes. As an educational institution, we are on the list of essential services but we don’t know the time frame yet for receiving the vaccine.
Q: Will students be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations through Harvey Mudd?
A: As far as we know at this point, we will not be able to administer the vaccine.
Q: Will Mudd still require masks in fall 2021? Safety protocols in 2021?
A: We will require masks throughout the spring semester; decisions about safety protocols for the fall semester will depend on the availability of vaccines and rates of community transmission.
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: Will the flu shot be mandatory for students?
A: The College is requiring that all students who plan to live on campus get the flu vaccination. Requests to be exempted from this requirement for medical or sincerely held religious reasons must be submitted to (in the case of students) the AVP for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Anna Gonzalez, via email, by Nov. 17, 2020.
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: 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. Announcements of results will be Coronavirus Information home page. 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 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.” 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: Besides masks, has there been a consideration of students wearing face shields while on campus?
A: Most research has shown that face shields are not effective at reducing the spread of either airborne particles or droplets. The current medical advice is to use masks, so that is what we are planning.
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
Please refer to 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 prior to move-in.
- 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 and 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 and QR Codes. The HMC campus app will be used for symptom screening and to scan QR codes in buildings around campus (to manage building capacity and assist with contact tracing).
- 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:
- Isolate for 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 to 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 to 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 and Jill bathrooms (4–8 beds)
- Case: 0 rooms
- Drinkward: 4 rooms in 1 suite (1–4 beds)
- East: 8 rooms connected by Jack and Jill bathrooms (4–8 beds)
- Linde: 3 rooms in 1 suite (1-3 beds)
- North: 8 rooms connected by Jack and Jill bathrooms (4–8 beds)
- Sontag: 0 rooms
- South: 16 rooms in 3 suites (3–10 beds) and 6 rooms connected by Jack and Jill bathrooms (3–6 beds)
- West: 12 rooms connected by Jack and Jill bathrooms (6–12 beds)
Total I/Q beds available: 26–59 (5–11% of total residential population)
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: How closed will the Mudd campus be?
A: The campus will be completely closed to visitors, including to students, faculty and staff from the other Claremont colleges. The campus community will form a bubble. Students living off campus will not be able to come to campus, with the exception of those living in the College-run rooms at Arrow Vista Apartments. Students living on campus will only be able to leave for necessary purposes such as medical appointments and grocery shopping. This no-visitors policy is part of LA County’s regulations for the residential re-opening of higher education institutions. Students will not be allowed to leave campus for extended periods of time or for overnight trips. All students will be expected to follow the College’s Residential Requirements.
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 two people 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: 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 another wave of infections. As we did in spring 2020, 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: If HMC has to go back to online classes only this spring 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 you send students home mid-semester if there are large outbreaks?
A: No. All the campuses that have used mandatory twice-weekly testing have been able to stay on top of cases. If we do reopen, we’ll be in a bubble. And we’ll have mandatory testing. The evidence from the other colleges across the country that have done this shows that we can expect to have very few cases.
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.
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: We will expect students to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to campus.
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 date and time they are assigned. Those assignments will be communicated. If a student arrives earlier they will need to provide for their own accommodations.
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: Do you know what the other 5Cs are planning for spring?
A: Each campus is making its own decision and its own plans. Several have posted information on their plans via their websites. We encourage you to review that information.
Q: Is the McGregor Center construction continuing despite the budget issues?
A: Yes, the McGregor Center is separate from the operating budget. The board made the decision last May to complete the McGregor Center. Construction is currently on schedule and on budget.
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: Will there be a Family Weekend in some form in February?
A: Yes, Family Weekend will be held virtually this year. A save the date will go out to parents soon followed by details and registration in early January. So hopefully, all of you will be participating in that and connecting with the campus through that weekend
Q: Is the College still covering housing expenses in aid packages for students who need to live in off-campus housing?
A: Adjusted room and board costs for students living off campus are still considered when determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid.
Q: Will financial aid awards be recalculated if students are allowed to live on campus?
A: Yes, the financial aid office will recalculate awards.
Q: How can students change or appeal their financial aid? Particularly a change to their work study?
A: Students who wish to appeal their financial aid package should reach out to the financial aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: How many in the class of 2024 took a gap year? And will you be increasing your transfer students in order to add to the class?
A: Thirty-seven first-year students chose to defer. We don’t plan on increasing the number of transfer students.
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: When will the McGregor Center open?
A: The construction is going well and should be completed by March. We don’t expect to actually move in until the summer, simply because we don’t do move-ins to academic buildings in the middle of the semester.
Q: Will the current first-year class attend future orientation events and new student events since they missed all of these events this past year?
A: Yes, we will organize new student events once students can return to campus and will continue to hold orientation events for this class as well as for different groups. We will continue to hold virtual orientation events in the meantime.
Q: Once it safe to do so, will the College resume the overnight adventure trips for new students?
A: We would love to have the overnight adventure for new first-year and transfer students. The overnight adventure program is a two-to-three night event where we take students off campus and bond together and do activities and events. We plan to bring that all back as soon as the state and county deems it safe and we are allowed to do so.
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)
- The laptop cart program has bee suspended for the academic year 2020–202.
- 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.
Q: Do we anticipate a tuition increase for the 2021–2022 academic year?
A: We are not in a position to make that decision yet.
Move-in and Orientation
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 receive 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 spring move-in process is below. Also, we want to help you think about your travel plans should you decide to return.
Making Travel Arrangements
When purchasing flights and making travel arrangements, we suggest that you select options that are refundable if at all possible. While HMC is making preparations to re-open this spring, the LA County Department of Public Health has not yet approved the reopening of higher education institutions. Parts of California, including LA County, are still seeing a concerning trend of increasing infection rates and hospitalizations. We expect to hear from the county in late November, and it is possible that they may tell us we are not approved to re-open.
Q: Can the College 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, January 21: student leaders
- Saturday, January 23: first year students
- Sunday, January 24: 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.
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. 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 on campus. We encourage families to plan ahead and bring these items with them, or utilize contact-free delivery services from stores such as Target if there are items that students need
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 outside their pods, 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 two 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.
Q: Are parents allowed to “contactless” drop off supplies or food after the two-week quarantine period?
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 email@example.com 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 spring semester, 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 two people who may help students move-in during their assigned time slot in January.
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 revisit that policy as we are able.
Q: When will students find out if they will have a room?
A: December 4.
Q: Will January 11 still be the go/no go date for on-campus students?
Q: When is the move-in date?
A: Move in will begin a few days before the first day of classes, which is scheduled for January 25. Student leaders will move in on Thursday, January 21, first-year students will move in on Saturday, January 23, and all other returning students will move in on Sunday, January 24. We will be sending you more information about move-in day. We are still planning to allow parents to accompany their student to move in—up to two people can accompany a student.
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? CMC and many other colleges allow students living “off campus” to participate in hybrid learning.
A: At Arrow Vista, students will be supervised by a professional staff member and are considered as much an on-campus experience and expectation. Other off campus housing in Claremont or the surrounding cities 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 spring 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 if you choose to return home, you will be subject to the College’s normal refund policy in regard to room and board.
Q: Can I apply to live at home or off-campus while I am an enrolled student at HMC in the spring semester?
A: In order to apply for spring housing, students must read and complete the HMC Spring 2021 Housing Reservation Form by 11:59 p.m. November 30, 2020. Students who wish to continue to study remotely for the spring semester do not need to complete the form. Students who will be participating in remote learning should work with the academic deans (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com).
Off-campus Living and Financial Aid
Q: If students choose to stay off campus, will they adversely be impacted by financial aid?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org as every student’s financial situation is different.
Q: How will HMC ensure physical (social) distancing is maintained on the residential end of campus?
A: Students will be signing a residential requirements document that contains the COVID-19 policies and procedures for those who will be living on campus. 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 Ccollege 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: Will room draw still happen for those students who signed up to be on campus in spring semester?
A: Yes, students completed the room selection process Dec. 14–16.
Q: If students are able to return to campus after the March break, will students who did not sign up to live on campus have another chance to choose to come back?
A: We don’t know yet how many students who already signed up would, if allowed, be able to return for sure. The numbers are fluctuating. We had 315 students signed up for our residence spots, and if we get a waiver, the maximum number we could have is 500. LA County has stated that schools that receive waivers can bring “up to 500” students back. We will take this question to Cabinet and to our advisory board to discuss.
Q: Why did the College prioritize first-years and seniors for residential life in the spring?
A: LA County and state requirements mandate that institutions of higher education house students in singles only. We made the decision to prioritize our first-years and seniors because of the types of academic courses and experiences these students need to have in the curriculum and at Mudd. We have also prioritized international students, because we have a number in the U.S. who need housing. After that, we will proceed with room draw numbers, which give juniors priority. We have a total of 574 single rooms, and not all students want to return to campus mid-year; some are currently in pods with other students or have year-long leases or other circumstances.
Q: If sophomores or juniors have labs that are being offered in person, could they be prioritized to live on campus? For those who don’t get a room on campus, will all classes, including labs, have an online virtual component?
A: For those sophomores and juniors who believe that they should be prioritized because they have a course which would qualify them for an exception, we ask that they fill out the housing form that was sent to them and explain their situation. The academic deans will review the request, and if it merits an exception, the student will be prioritized to live on campus.
We will ensure that every student is making progress toward graduation, regardless of whether they are on campus or not. Many of our labs will be available remotely. Our students get valuable hands-on experience in labs, and we want to make that happen for them as soon as possible. But all students who choose to be off campus will make good progress toward graduation through our remote offerings.
Q: Will students have roommates?
A: All rooms on campus will be single occupancy rooms for spring 2021.
Single Rooms and Social Pods
Q: Are the single rooms connected to common spaces?
A: LA County mandates all students live in singles. However, almost all of our rooms share a bathroom in a hall or apartment-like or suite-like areas. We will form pods based on the shared spaces. Students will have their own bedroom, but will have a suitemate or community mates, who they can be with, without masks, in certain common indoor spaces. Some students had been worried about living alone on campus and being isolated, but that won’t be the case. Students will have a pod of other students. Outdoors, students will still be required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Q: How can my student find out about off-campus pods?
A: The off-campus pods were student-organized. If your student wasn’t able to attend their meetings, email Reslife@hmc.edu and we can connect you to the student organizers.
Socializing Within the Mudd Bubble
Q: What are the rules for socializing outside of your pod?
A: There will be limits on the number of people who can gather outside. Students will always wear masks, and keep 6 feet of distance. LA County is also firm about no visitors, and they made it clear that this means that students cannot visit other dorms or rooms outside their pod. We have to abide by that. But students can visit outside, they can study and work together outside as long as they maintain appropriate distance and wear masks. We are planning different events that will allow safe socially distanced gatherings and will share information about that soon.
Q: Has HMC adjusted the model based on the experience of similar-sized residential colleges that currently have students this fall?
A: Yes, we’ve been looking at what is working at other colleges with students in residence and have adjusted our plans accordingly, while still abiding to the very strict LA County guidelines.
Q: What are the logistics and costs for shipping storage items?
A: Please contact Dean Marco or Residence Life, ResLife@hmc.edu, who will work with you on shipping items.
Q: What will happen with students’ personal items that are still in their rooms on campus or in storage pods?
A: All student items are still in their original rooms or in storage. College staff will move student belongings into the spring semester rooms. We will also be able to move the belongings of students currently in Arrow Vista apartments who choose to live on campus in the spring.
If returning to on campus housing this spring and stored items in the HMC provided pods
HMC brought back the storage pods that were provided to students in spring 2020. 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 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 in spring 2020 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 the move-in time change request for students 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 spring 2020 but not returning to on-campus housing
HMC will store students’ items on campus for students who are not returning to campus this spring. 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 January 25. Students should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Life at email@example.com if they are not returning to campus and have items in HMC provided storage.
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 spring. 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 spring. 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: Will there be study abroad in 2021?
A: We have already made the call on the spring semester and notified students that there will be no study abroad. Most colleges are not providing study abroad this spring. We have not made a decision yet about fall semester 2021 study abroad.
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 spring, 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.