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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Academic Calendar

Q: Will Commencement be virtual this year?

A: The classes of 2020 and 2021 have surveyed their classes and determined that each class would prefer an in-person commencement. We will plan for this some time during spring semester 2022 some time between Family Weekend and Alumni Weekend. We do plan to have celebratory events with the Class of 2021 and faculty, departments, Maria, etc., in May, but that will not serve as commencement.

Q: Are the two commencements (2020 and 2021) happening together or separately?

A: We are working on that now. Some students would like it separate and some would like it together. It will happen on the same day. We would prefer to have them together given that we will only have around 200 students in each class and not all will be able to come. We also will need to follow whatever protocols may still be in place for events at that time.

Q: Why did we compress the semester again?

A: Although we began the semester a little later than normal, the number of days is the same as in previous spring semesters. We repurposed some dates at the end of the semester that were not being used for course instruction. Our faculty are looking into adding some breaks in courses to provide moments of decompression for themselves and for our students.

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, May 7, 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.

Please refer to Departure from Campus.

Q: Can international students do CS research remotely?

A: Unfortunately, we are not allowed to pay students who are located outside the U.S. We encourage international students to speak with their faculty member who can coordinate with the dean of the faculty to determine if there are things that can be done to address their specific needs.

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 ereal@hmc.edu.

Q: Are our decisions about opening and other requirements based on county or state requirements?

A: Our decisions are based on requirements from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Q: Is there a timeline for when we’ll know about returning to campus in the fall?

A: LACDPH has told us that barring any additional surges in cases, they expect we will be allowed to have students in residence on campus this fall. We are waiting to receive additional protocols to learn what additional safety measures will be required.

Q: Is there any expectation of coming announcements from LA County that would affect us?

A: Yes. We participate in a weekly call with LACDPH. Our ability to bring students back to campus and resume normal operations this fall depends on how well vaccinations roll out and how the numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations decrease. The county has stated clearly that even when schools reopen, we should expect to continue the COVID-19 precautions we’ve been following.

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.

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: 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: Is there a mechanism for faculty to be involved in conversations about the shared academic calendar for next academic year?

A: The dean of the faculty is on the agenda for Monday’s FEC meeting to seek input on components of the calendar that are up for consideration. She will be seeking information in advance of the call for courses.

Q: Will there be a spring break this year?

A: Yes. The revised academic calendar for spring 2021 includes a week-long spring break March 8-12.

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: Can students still apply for summer research? What about first-year students?

A: Applications for summer research have been completed. Now, we are in the process of reaching out to faculty with summer research plans to determine if they need access to the in-person option. We will determine which existing projects will be eligible to come on campus. Not all experiences will be on campus. If faculty have additional slots for research, we will advertise those.

Q: For students offered on-campus research positions, will you help us figure out off-campus living?

A: Yes. We expect that based on the latest information from LACDPH, we will be allowed to offer students housing this summer if they are doing research on campus.

Q: What would Summer Research would look like if students are nonresidential?

A: Summer Research will be predominantly for students who need access to labs, shops, etc., and we do expect to have required safety precautions in place (masking, physical distancing, etc.) All of the Stay Safe at Mudd protocols will be in place throughout the summer.

Q: In welcoming students from across the country back for summer research, what measures will be taken to minimize the impact on our neighboring communities?

A: Based on the latest information from LA County Public Health, we anticipate being allowed to house students on campus for summer research. Students will be notified about the required safety protocols and will be expected to follow those.

Q: When will Summer Research start?

A: Our intention is to try to use our regular footprint, beginning Monday, May 17.

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?

A: Yes.

Q: Will on campus housing be guaranteed?

A: If Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) allows the College to open fully with singles, doubles and triples, then we will be able to provide housing to all students. If LACDPH chooses to limit us to single housing options, we will notify students as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.

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.

Catalogue Matters

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: Are internships available for first-year students?

A: Yes. We encourage students to contact the Office of Career Services. There will be some first-year and sophomore summer research opportunities offered remotely. Please review emails being sent by faculty and OCS.

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: For graduates, has hiring of the Class of 2021 been similar to that in previous years?

A: For the Class of 2020, everyone who wanted a job or who wanted to go to graduate school got a position or was admitted to grad school. The mean and median salaries for 2020 were about $4,000 more than for 2019. We typically survey students who are graduating in May, and we plan to contact every graduating senior as we did last year to see where they are and if they need additional help finding positions. From our seniors, we are hearing positive news about jobs they’ve gotten as well as about graduate school offers of admission. We continue to encourage all students to get engaged with our Office of Career Services. Companies are eager to hire our Mudders, to have them serve as interns, etc. We encourage students to contact the Office of Career Services to get support. During the pandemic, we’ve been doing career fairs with Caltech, which has allowed us to see an increase in employers.

Q: Will Clinic presentations be virtual this year?

A: For Clinic and Thesis presentations, we’ll have asynchronous virtual presentations and small synchronous virtual gatherings to celebrate the students’ achievements. Additional details on those will be shared once complete.

Q: Have students and faculty been successful in pursuing their clinic experiences this year?

A: We believe so. We recruited clinics last summer with expectation that we might have to have projects continue remotely for the entire year. As of this call, it looks like we will have deliverables for each clinic team. All clinics are on track to be completed on time with students partnering with their clinic liaisons and faculty advisors remotely.

Q: Will there be a Family Weekend in some form in February?

A: Yes, Family Weekend will be held virtually this year. You can find more information about our month-long celebration on our Family February page.

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.

Please refer to Common Spaces.

Please refer to Common Spaces.

Please refer to Health and Wellness.

Q: Have all students who needed mental health services had access?

A: We believe so. We have a new service through Timely.Md that provides 24/7 support that is free for students. We also have offered a number of wellness activities and events and have seen an increasing number of students attending those.

Q: Can parents see a list of student events?

A: We would love to have families to encourage their students to participate in events. The Division of Student Affairs has updates, and you also receive monthly emails through the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. You also can subscribe/follow the DSA social media accounts to see announcements about events.

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 communityengagement@hmc.edu.

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: Was there a conscious decision to move toward asynchronous classes? I’m curious about how first-years are feeling in general?

A: Asynchronous courses have been part of the faculty’s strategy in larger classes to make sure students who are scattered across the globe can access materials in timeframes that are best-suited for learning. We have also tried to shift using classroom time for the most interactive work including collective problem-solving, class conversations, etc. This is not necessarily the case in smaller classes because they are often better able to accommodate students in multiple time zones. In terms of how first year students are doing, it varies from semester to semester. We have heard from parents that individual students found their fall semester very engaging. We’ve also heard from students and families who found it hard to be motivated. If you have a student who is feeling disconnected, we encourage you to email President Klawe (klawe@hmc.edu) or someone in the Division of Student Affairs so that we can reach out to your student.

Q: Will courses be taught in online or in-person formats?

A: We’ve recently announced the decision to conduct all spring 2021 semester courses online.

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.

Q: If courses begin entirely online, could practical/support/lab staff be on campus to produce filmed or interactive distance learning?

A: Faculty are allowed to come to campus to conduct essential activities related to course development and delivery. Please coordinate with your department chair and/or the dean of the faculty.

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: Have you measured how learning progress has been delayed? Will students be behind in courses in the future, particularly first-years?

A: Based on our overall assessment, we believe students did well in the fall, and in some cases, they did better than we’ve seen them do in the past. Students who were enrolled in courses this fall have been hitting the same learning benchmarks as in previous years. That said, we have been working to mitigate any potential issues through added contact with faculty and the Office of Learning Programs. We also have seen greater attendance at office hours with faculty. In general, the course load for students is very slightly below what it was the same time last year, and our academic outcomes were slightly stronger.

Q: Has the relationship and dynamic between HMC and the other Claremont Colleges changed as a result of the pandemic and online learning?

A: Being part of a consortium is an incredible benefit to students, faculty and staff. As you might expect, a crisis situation is something institutions process differently and at different speeds. It has been challenging in regard to certain issues, but we remain committed to working together so that we can effectively support the needs of our students, faculty and staff during these challenging times.

Q: If only a portion of students can return in the fall, has the College been thinking about how difficult it will be for both faculty and students if classes are both in-person and remote?

A: Yes. We are looking at all these issues and options for addressing the situation. We are optimistic that with the increasing vaccine availability, we will be able to have all students on campus.

Q: What is the likelihood we will need to do hybrid instruction in the fall?

A: We haven’t talked about it yet – we are hoping to bring all students back to campus and are waiting until the situation becomes clearer before having that discussion.

Q: While we are excited about the enthusiasm for HMC from black and brown applicants, I am concerned that not much has changed since protests from earlier. How do we plan to support black and brown students recognizing that the burden falls mainly on black and brown faculty?

A: The work has continued by a number of departments on campus, but it hasn’t been the same as what could have been done if we had been allowed to be together on campus. There has been a strong partnership with OID and Professor Van Heuvelen to look at the systemic ways to address these issues. We’ve also worked on programmatic elements to address this. Some of the work they’ve done has allowed us to be named a First-Gen Forward institution. In the next few weeks, we will be developing a committee of faculty and staff who can look at this work and what we need to do strategically for the institution. The board of trustees made a commitment to try to recruit more board members of color. We acknowledge that there are issues for people of color at HMC. We are constantly trying to address those. Every step forward we make, we learn of more things we need to address. We are committed to trying to improve the situation for every person of color in our community.

Q: Has there been any progress on the issue of faculty workload, particularly, instituting a four-course load for faculty?

A: The Faculty Executive Committee would be the best place for that conversation to begin. There are two main levers for reducing the teaching load: adding faculty and/or reducing the number of courses students need to graduate. We have discussed the potential need to add faculty positions over the coming years, but the faculty would have to address the number of courses required for graduation.

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 are expected to be offered in person if we are allowed to open in the fall?

A: We anticipate that most classes would be offered in person.

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?

A: Please contact the CIS Helpdesk with your specific technical concerns. They will work with DSA staff to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

Q: What do I do if I don’t have a quiet place to study and take exams?

A: Students should contact the Division of Student Affairs or the Academic Deans if they have concerns about availability of technology to continue their coursework.

Q: What support will the students receive from Mudd faculty and how will the online learning 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 students take one or two Mudd classes online for credit?

A: No, part time online is not an option.

Q: Can the physical education (P.E.) requirement be met remotely via exercise at home, etc.?

A: Yes. We are offering virtual, online P.E. courses.

Q: Will Mudd offer economics classes in the fall?

A: We expect to offer some through visiting faculty this fall. There also will be off-campus economics courses available to students next year.

Q: Is there a possibility that differential equations will be offered during this summer session?

A: We anticipate that differential equations will be offered in the summer math program this year (outlined below).

Q: What is summer math and why students should take it?

A: Summer math will look a little different this year as we’ve adjusted the math curriculum with changes we anticipate making in the Core revisions. This year it will focus on differential equations. Students who choose not to take this will find themselves able to complete all Core and major requirements on time anyway.

Q: What has been going on with athletics?

A: Even though students have not been able to compete, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic program and our coaches have been doing a great job engaging with students. If your student has missed those opportunities, please let someone in DSA know.

Q: Can staff take summer courses or just spring/fall?

A: In terms of staff taking summer courses, let us look into this and get back to you. If you are interested in taking a summer course, please contact Brandon Ice to let him know as soon as possible of your interest.

Q: Will any summer courses be taught in person?

A: Summer will be online only. In 2021, we hope to offer a mix of both on campus and remote courses.

Q: Is the list of courses for Summer Session out yet?

A: Visit Summer Research at Mudd.

Q: Will there be early registration for summer classes for current HMC students?

A: We put the word out on our campus first, but after that, courses are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If there is something your student is very interested in, we encourage her or him to register early.

Q: Will there be internships offered on campus this summer?

A: At this point, we think it is probably unlikely given the ongoing rates of infection in Los Angeles county. While we’ve seen improvements in recent weeks, the levels are not low enough yet for the county to be able to loosen restrictions. We will continue to monitor guidance from the county, and if the situation changes, we will let everyone know as soon as possible.

Q: Can you explain the thinking behind the tuition increase?

A: Last year, given the emerging situation with COVID-19 and the need to move students off-campus, we did not increase tuition and did not give raises to faculty and staff. This year the board decided to increase tuition by what we would have increased it by last year (3.5%). This academic year’s tuition (2021–2022) will be what it would’ve been last year in the absence of the pandemic.

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 $180K 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 the end of February 2021. 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 until August 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: 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 to do 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: When students return in the fall, to clarify, will there be a limited number of students, class in person or online or hybrid? Will staff be able to continue working from home, or will we all be expected to return to campus?

A: Until we receive additional guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, we don’t know. We anticipate there will continue to be some people who will be asked to work from home to reduce on-campus density. We also anticipate that there might be some mix of remote classes and lab classes taught in person. For many positions, given the nature of their roles on campus, if there are students in residence, they will be expected to return to campus to support the students.

Q: If and when faculty and staff are allowed to return to work, will they be given an option to work remotely?

A: Cabinet will be discussing this question in the coming weeks. At the present time, we are still encouraging those employees who don’t have to physically be on campus to continue to work remotely if they can.

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: Will we be bringing back furloughed staff this summer since we’ll have students in the labs?

A: The College is working to identify which of our furloughed employees will need to return to work since we are now allowed to have a limited number of students in residence for the summer.

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 dnagengast@hmc.edu.

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 that you would keep your position and that furloughs would be temporary.

Q: Can we hire students to work for us in the spring, 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: 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: The College, through the Office of Alumni Relations, is offering a number of workshops to which staff and faculty are invited. For details, visit Online Offerings on the alumni website.

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.

Q: How will HMC support people working from home with kids?

A: The College can provide support in different ways, depending on the situation. For staff members, if you can work remotely, the 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 or department chair and human resources to look at any other option that might be feasible.

Q: If 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 President Klawe and Cabinet. President Klawe is in favor of advocating for a “progressive cut” approach.

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: If there are cuts to pay or benefits, will those cuts be shared equally between faculty and staff?

A: We do not believe we will have 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. 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: In an email regarding 2021 performance management, given the impact of the pandemic on everyone, did Cabinet consider suspending it this year to alleviate the load on staff?

A: Different from last year, the Board has signaled moving forward with salary increases for faculty and staff. Since performance reviews are a key component in the adjustment of compensation and providing timely feedback to employees is critical and necessary, it is imperative we complete the process.

Q: Has there been a change to retirement contributions?

A: There has been no change. At the present time, the College is continuing its contribution with no interruption.

Q: When will we know the final answer on whether cuts to the College’s retirement contribution for faculty and staff will be necessary?

A: We believe we will not have to make cuts to the retirement contribution. However, we are still verifying that we can redirect some of the endowed funds to make adjustments to other budget areas. Once we receive that verification, we should be in a position to provide a final update to everyone.

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 the 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. 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: The College is working with Student Health Services to provide testing to essential employees who are required to come to campus on a regular basis. Additional information is available in the College’s COVID-19 Testing Policy.

Q: If we need something from our office to bring home for work, will we be able to go to campus to get it?

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 your area vice president to request permission. If you are given permission to come to campus, please complete the symptom screening questionnaire before traveling to campus, limit your time on campus as much as possible and wear a mask/face covering at all times while on campus.

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 College follows 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 and spring semesters 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 (once they are allowed to return to campus) 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 the college test wastewater as part of surveillance?

A: We investigated this possibility and there isn’t enough separation of water from the residence halls to make it feasible to identify a specific building as having an issue. The County is satisfied with twice weekly testing, especially for this fall.

Q: Can you comment on the LA county DPH / CDC guidance that recently vaccinated individuals don’t need to be tested or quarantined in the event of exposure?

A: We asked the county for clarification on that guidance. If exposure is >2 weeks after final dose and <3 months after, then the guidance does not require quarantine/testing for fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to the virus. In all other cases, quarantine and testing are still recommended for exposed individuals.

Q: What are the plans for COVID-19 testing? Will it be mandatory and how often?

A: We plan to regularly test faculty and staff who are required to be on campus. Additional information is available in the College’s COVID-19 Testing Policy.

Q: Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?

A: Yes, through Student Health Services for asymptomatic individuals. Testing will be free to students, as well as to those faculty and staff who are deemed essential workers. All students who live on campus or at the HMC-sponsored Arrow Vista Apartments will be required to be tested twice weekly. Faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider to discuss whether testing is necessary. 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 my daughter can be vaccinated in our home state, will that be acceptable?

Q: Can we do special housing accommodations for students who are vaccinated?

A: We are not planning to offer that at this time because of HIPAA.

A: Absolutely. We encourage any student who is able to be vaccinated in their home state to do so as soon as possible.

Q: Are you mandating vaccination to students if they want to live on campus?

A: We are strongly encouraging everyone who is able to be vaccinated to do so. It’s not clear if colleges can choose to require it. If it did become a requirement, there would be exceptions for those with certain disabilities or who object for religious reasons.

Q: If we do require vaccination for fall, will we still need to do twice weekly PCR testing?

A: The current advice is that even if someone has received vaccinations and it is two weeks after the second shot, they should still be tested. That may change, and if so, we will review our requirements and adjust as warranted. We still expect everyone will follow all required safety protocols (masks, social distance, hand hygiene, etc.)

Q: We’ve heard that UCLA has given student workers access to vaccines within California, is Mudd going to be able to do that at some point?

A: At the moment, we don’t have any students working on campus, whereas UCLA has many grad students on campus. We hope that LA will soon make all students eligible for vaccines. If you are eligible to get the vaccine in your home state, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

Q: Will we be providing the vaccine on campus or through Student Health Services?

A: Student Health Services was approved to be a vaccination site, but we have only received a very limited number of vaccine doses. With the new partnership between the California and Blue Cross, we expect the prioritization to shift to larger-scale vaccination sites. Visit COVID-19 Vaccination Resources for more information.

Q: The human resources vaccination policy email requested that we provide proof along with details. Why is it necessary for the College to know which vaccine I received for the College to keep track of employee vaccinations?

A: We are predominantly interested in learning whether employees have received the vaccine so we can plan for what additional measures may be required once we are allowed to return to campus.

Q: If we are vaccinated, will we still need to be tested before going to work?

A: Yes, we will still require regular testing for students, faculty and staff living and working on campus based on the advice of public health experts.

Q: Is there a plan for campus to get all students vaccinated?

A: Students are not a priority in Los Angeles County or the State of California for vaccination right now, and given the speed at which vaccinations are occurring, it may be some time before students are even eligible to receive the vaccine. The college presidents have been discussing whether we can require vaccination for students who want to live on campus. It is more likely that we would strongly encourage students to be vaccinated if they want to live on campus, but the situation is constantly evolving.

Q: What can you say about the California COVID-19 variant and its infection and mortality rate?

A: We don’t really know a lot about it at this point. California and the United States’ genetic testing efforts have been a lot less intensive than in other states and countries. We don’t have a lot of info about variants and their spread. Even when we come back in fall, we still anticipate having some social distancing and masking measures in place.

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. 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. For additional details and requirements, visit the College’s Guide for Faculty, Staff and Student Employees Returning to Work.

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: 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 the 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: When will the LAC gym be open to staff?

A: Because of the closure of the Platt Campus Center due to construction, we have moved DSA staff to the Linde Activities Center temporarily. We do not anticipate opening the LAC for recreation this summer given the need for storage and physical distancing of essential staff housed in the LAC. We will update everyone once the situation changes.

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.

Please refer to Health and Wellness.

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 posted to the 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.

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, hand sanitizers 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.

I/Q Rooms

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: 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 is the Mudd campus?

A: The campus is completely closed to visitors, including to students, faculty and staff from the other Claremont colleges. An exception is being made for those employees who are deemed “essential” for the continuation of the College’s educational mission. There are a number of staff in Facilities and Maintenance who are on campus to help maintain facilities. In addition there are faculty members who are coming to campus to prepare for delivery of courses. We are asking all others to only come to campus as needed and with the approval of their area vice president.

Q: Will SHIP cover COVID related expenses?

A: SHIP covers COVID related expenses (Aetna handout).

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:

  1. Protecting the safety and well-being of all members of our community, and
  2. 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: 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 (academicdeans-l@g.hmc.edu) 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: academicdeans-l@g.hmc.edu.

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 (reslife@g.hmc.edu).

Misc

Q: Do you know what the other 5Cs are planning for spring?

A: The 5C campuses are remaining remote and focusing on online learning for the spring 2021 term.

Q: Are there minutes available from meetings of the Academic Deans Committee (ADC)?

A: No. The ADC does not keep minutes to share publicly.

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)?

A: As mentioned in the recent communication from the board, the Platt roof replacement and Jacobs-Keck renovations will be postponed, although the board did approve funding for some asbestos abatement and patching the Platt roof is possible. Refer to the memo for complete details.

Q: Will there be a Family Weekend in some form in February?

A: Yes, Family Weekend will be held virtually this year. You can find more information about our month-long celebration on our Family February page.

Q: Students received financial support in 2020. Are they receiving any this year?

A: The March 2021 $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was just approved includes additional funding for higher education; but we are not sure yet about what the options are within that stimulus package. We will let students know once we have additional details.

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 since students are not 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 financial_aid@hmc.edu.

Q: Will we still have a large budget reduction for 2021–2022 in our departments?

A: It depends on whether we are allowed to have students in residence this fall and if so, how many students will be allowed to live on campus. In the “business-as-usual scenario,” we don’t anticipate any cuts. If we are limited in the number of students who can live on campus, we anticipate some cuts will be required.

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.

Q: Do the budgeting scenarios change if we are required to be remote in spring?

A: Since we have announced our intention to remain online for spring 2021 and given that there will not be students living on campus, we have had to extend the furloughs of those employees in F&M and Dining Services who were already furloughed. At this point, we believe that the existing furloughs, coupled with additional budget savings, should obviate the need for additional furloughs or salary reductions. If that changes, we will notify everyone as soon as possible.

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 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: 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: Talk about the opening and the use of the McGregor Building

A: This building is amazing. There are some videos to look at on our website. Much of the furniture is in place. We expect the Makerspace to be set up this summer; student stewards will be working this summer to set it up and write documentation on how to use the equipment. Computer Science faculty members will be moving into their offices this summer as well. We are not expecting to allow others to be in the building before fall, but we expect the building to be very popular with our community as well as with off-campus majors and students.

Q: Will there be opportunities for both the incoming first-years and the sophomores who haven’t yet been on campus to have orientation this summer?

A: Yes. We are in the midst of planning and recruiting students to be orientation leaders for both the Class of 2024 and the Class of 2025. We plan to do some parts of Orientation separately and some together. We are planning to ramp up first-year and sophomore experiences to create some additional things they might do together as a group.

Q: Once it is 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.

Q: Can we make a commitment that those who delay their tenure review are not hurt financially by that decision?

A: This will need to be discussed at the Department Chairs Committee and Cabinet level.

Q: I appreciate the invitation to add pandemic disruption statements to our files. What’s missing at this stage is a clear sense of how these statements will be evaluated—that’s a discussion we need to have as a faculty. My question is about the financial impact on those who choose to delay a tenure or promotion review. I have concerns about pay equity—have we had discussions about those issues?

A: We do an analysis every year about equity within the faculty and staff with respect to race and gender. This is something we will keep close eye on. The data so far in the country is that women were disproportionately affected by pandemic. As for the discussion about how the pandemic statements are treated—because an elected faculty committee is playing the primary role in that process—it is a good conversation to have among the faculty starting with both the FEC and DCC. As to the question of how we will apportion salary increases, the DCC will discuss once we know more about the final board decision related to annual salary increases.

Q: You have alluded to the extraordinary amount of work that everybody at all levels of the institution had to put into this. As we look forward, I’m interested in your thoughts, Maria, Lisa, about how you see the College trying to help us in all the ways that we have sacrificed in this year, and I don’t just mean financial and the costs that puts on our lives and careers, all the scholarship that didn’t get done, all the things we want from our careers that we willingly or unwillingly sacrificed to rise to the moment. How can the College repay faculty for that?

A: I wish I could tell you that starting July 1 everything will be back to normal. Realistically, there are many ways that we are much more fortunate than other institutions. At many institutions, the faculty and staff had to work incredibly hard, and their enrollment numbers were down. We are moving into the quiet phase of a campaign, and assuming we’re successful at that, it’ll give us more flexibility for how we can help the faculty. At the moment, we’re trying to address the short-term needs first. Obviously, for people who are tenure-track, we want to make sure that the pandemic doesn’t prevent anyone from receiving tenure. We will be trying to find ways to help faculty return more quickly to their scholarship after having been kept out of their labs, but we know that the budget for next year will be tight. The only thing we can commit to right now is that my and the board’s top priority is taking care of our faculty.

Q: As a follow-up question, I wonder if it would help if faculty were able to articulate “here’s what I need from the institution to make up for the last year.” Would that help?

A: We discussed this with the Faculty Executive Committee—I don’t want faculty to have to take time to clearly articulate something like that until we have greater hope of being able to fulfill some of those needs. At this point, we simply don’t have the resources. As soon as I have a donor who says, “I’m willing to make a commitment of so many millions of dollars to help our faculty,” then it will be helpful to have faculty articulate their tangible needs.

Q: Has the College looked at purchasing cameras and white boards for classrooms so that we can videotape our lectures in case we have some students who cannot be on campus in the fall due to health reasons?

A: We’ve been looking into what it might take to equip rooms with video cameras, but so far it is quite expensive. As we gain greater clarity about the number of students who should be able to be in person this fall, we will be in a better position to plan what courses might need flexibility and to ensure that wherever possible, faculty are able to teach via a single modality. If we need to, we’ll pull together again a cross-constituency Planning Committee at the beginning of the summer.

Q: We received a message that the College would no longer pay for the Piazza service. Why were faculty not consulted on this decision?

A: It is our understanding that the service is still available, albeit in a contribution-supported model. We decided not to purchase a site license at this time, given the College’s current budget crisis, and instead, are waiting until we can do a more thorough review of all site licenses in consultation with faculty this summer.

Equipment (Laptops, iPads, Software)

  • The laptop cart program has been suspended for the academic year 2020–2021.
  • 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.

Support

  • 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 Protocols

  • 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.

Student Housing

Q: If there is a limited number allowed to live on campus in fall can students live off campus and still attend classes?

A: Our expectation is yes due to our commitment to do twice-weekly testing.

Q: Can my student live at home while doing on campus research if local?

A: Yes. They will still have to follow the testing protocols.

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 (academicdeans-l@g.hmc.edu) 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 (abibbens@g.hmc.edu).

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 financial_aid@hmc.edu as every student’s financial situation is different.

Q: Do residence hall rooms have connected vents and is that a cause for concern?

A: Harvey Mudd College residence halls each have a different configuration for heating and cooling vents.

  • The Quad dorms (North, South (Marks), West and East) have dedicated units; the vents are not shared with other rooms.
  • Linde Hall is suite style with 3–4 rooms and a connected common lounge area. Each of these suites is served by a common unit with vents going from the dedicated unit to each room and lounge area. Vents are shared within the suite but there is no sharing of vents with neighboring suites.
  • Case Hall has dedicated units; the vents are not shared with other rooms. In some instances, some of the dedicated room units distribute air to the hallway but do not share with other rooms. DSA is working on a plan to manage the isolation protocol for students living in these specific rooms whose dedicated vents distribute air to the hallway.
  • Drinkward Residence Hall does not have any shared units; therefore, vents are not shared between rooms, O’s or suites.
  • Atwood Hall is suite style with 3–4 rooms and a connected common lounge area. Each room has a dedicated unit and each suite area has a dedicated unit. These units do not share vents with other rooms or suites.
  • Sontag Residence Hall is suite style with 3–4 rooms and connected common lounge area/ kitchen. Each room in the suite has dedicated units to each of the rooms with no shared vents between rooms. All common areas in suites have a dedicated unit with shared vents serving the common areas within the suite. There is no sharing of vents with neighboring suites.

Currently, all guidance from the CDC and LA County Public Health has not indicated any concerns with shared vents in living spaces. The main recommendation is to increase outside air circulation as much as possible by opening doors and windows wherever feasible. All College buildings have well-maintained, properly functioning ventilation systems, and as long as social distancing is adhered to, we do not anticipate the spaces that have shared vents presenting health risks to our students. The WHO had previously reported airborne transmission of the virus could occur only in health care settings through aerosol generating procedures. Most recently, the WHO stated some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or fitness classes in spaces with inadequate ventilation. Furthermore, the WHO stated the proportion of exhaled droplet nuclei or of respiratory droplets that evaporate and generate aerosols, and the infectious dose of viable SARS-CoV-2 required to cause infection in another person are unknown and further testing is required. The College is evaluating and monitoring the implications of this new development. At the present time, we do not believe the residence halls fit into this category, since all residence halls have a properly functioning and well-maintained ventilation system.

Q: What is dorm occupancy if we have all singles imposed by the county?

A: 580

Q: If LA County allows the College to open with 580 students (singles occupancy only) can the remaining students live off-campus and commute?

A: Yes. We believe our weekly testing protocol will give us that ability, although LACDPH has recently said (following our meeting) that they will allow double occupancy in residence halls.

Q: If we do have students in singles/doubles, what part of the residence halls will be quarantine space?

A: The state/county made recommendations for 3% quarantine space, but that may change as people are vaccinated. We also may not be required to maintain all of that space on campus. We will update you as we learn more.

Q: How is room selection going to work for fall?

A: DSA is working with ASHMC, our student government, as well as the student advisory board that advises us on COVID, to move that process to a later date once we find out what county will allow in regard to on-campus housing.

Q: If we are able to offer housing next year, and if it is restricted to singles, who will have priority?

A: We hope that we won’t have those restrictions, but we will begin having those conversations and will share more information on that as soon as we are able to do so.

Q: Does our not having a timeline for reopening mean that room draw will be pushed to the summer?

A: Yes. We are working on an email with information about room draw and dorm elections.

Q: How many students are in off-campus pods and how could we hear more about what they’ve been up to?

A: We will reach out to students to see if they would be willing to share their experiences. Although our students may be in pods or living at home, they are still part of their dorm communities and participate in their dorm’s online communities and activities.

Q: What happened to student belongings left on campus last March?

A: We have kept the belongings of second and third-year students. If students need them, they should contact the Division of Student Affairs. We are working with seniors and senior class presidents to determine what to do with their items. We will figure out what to do with belongings of students coming back this fall so those are available to them when they return.

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. 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 reside on campus. 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.