President’s Update for COVID-19

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Dear Pitzer students, faculty and staff,

I write to update you about the activity underway by the College to protect and support our community and on the development of our emergency plans. I encourage you to bookmark Pitzer’s COVID-19 Information page for status updates and announcements relating to COVID-19. You should also visit the LA County Department of Public Health (LA DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). 

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at The Claremont Colleges.  

Our Pitzer area teams are examining every contingency as they work on your behalf. Here are some updates on near-term changes that are designed to limit your exposure to COVID-19 among our community.

Campus Events and Distance Learning

The President’s Council of The Claremont Colleges is considering whether the Colleges should transition to distance learning technology. More information will be forthcoming on this decision as soon as we can give you specific direction, likely within the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, the Dean of Faculty’s office is scheduling training courses to prepare for a transition to virtual instruction in the event that decision is made.

Similarly, campus events such as Admitted Students Day, Alumni Weekend, Rockabilly and Commencement are being evaluated and staff are consulting all parties. An announcement is expected within 24 hours.

COVID-19 Task Force

On March 4, I asked the Faculty Executive Committee to approve a special Task Force on responses to COVID-19. This Task Force will serve as a key advisory group to me as we implement any changes required to respond to the threat of COVID-19. The Task Force will be chaired by Chief of Staff Jamie Jorgensen, who has spearheaded our efforts in this regard thus far. The members of the Task Force include:

  • Paul Faulstich, Chair, Faculty Executive Committee (FEC)
  • Mita Banerjee, Interim Director, Institute of Global/Local Action and Study (IGLAS)
  • Allen Omoto, VP for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty
  • Caroline Joseph, Student Member of Faculty Executive Committee
  • Clint Isom, President, Student Senate  
  • Mike Segawa, VP for Student Affairs
  • Laura Troendle, Treasurer and VP for Finance and Administration
  • Mark Bailey, VP for Communications
  • Michael Ballagh, AVP for Study Abroad & International Programs
  • Kirsten Carrier, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life and Conference Services
  • Mark Crawbuck, Director of Facilities for Custodial, Grounds and Event Services
  • Jamie Jorgensen, Chief of Staff/Chief Legal Counsel

Pitzer’s Emergency Preparedness Committee led by Jamie Jorgensen, is adapting plans to accommodate existing and evolving risks, while also creating plans for response to unexpected developments.

Campus Planning & Preventative Efforts

  • Planning efforts are ongoing, both on Pitzer’s campus and in collaboration with our consortium and community peers. Representatives of all 7C colleges are conferring daily to keep each other informed of new developments and planning efforts, including decisions about implementation of distance learning.
  • Pitzer staff and faculty continue to monitor conditions at our study abroad sites, evaluate international travel issues and prepare for potential disruption of operations in our classrooms, residence halls and dining halls.
  • Over the past month, campus facilities staff have enhanced their cleaning routine with special attention to all public spaces and common areas. The College is stockpiling important sanitary and health supplies to add to the existing inventory of emergency supplies.
  • Student Affairs has made free soap available to all students and is encouraging good hygiene practices based on CDC recommendations. Also, the Office of Student Affairs shared pertinent information about spring break with students, including residence hall and dining options during the break.

Study Abroad & International Travel

  • Students returning from Italy and the Nepal program are back in the United States and working with the Study Abroad and Dean of Faculty’s offices to continue their course work remotely. 
  • Pitzer’s Institute for Global/Local Action & Study (IGLAS) trip to Palestine/Israel scheduled for March 13-22, 2020 has been canceled. 
  • The College continues to monitor conditions at our study abroad sites, communicate with our program partners and make thoughtful decisions on a case-to-case basis.
  • The US State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued COVID-19 travel advisories for: China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.
  • We strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to postpone international travel due to uncertainty about changing foreign and airline restrictions that may affect your ability to return to the US at the conclusion of your trip.

Information Links

Pitzer Emergency Preparedness for regular information updates https://www.pitzer.edu/emergency/
Campus Safety 909.607.2000
Student Health Services 909.621.8222
Monsour Counseling and Psychological Serviceshttps://services.claremont.edu/mcaps/
CDC COVID-19 web page https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
LA County Department of County Health http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/

We must protect those among us who may be vulnerable to this virus. Expect regular communication from the College regarding updates on this issue.

Take care of yourself, wash your hands frequently and stay healthy.

Melvin L. Oliver
President

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