Spring 2021

Will Pomona bring back students for spring semester?

We are pushing forward on multiple fronts to do so. Currently, we are not permitted to return students to campus under Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines. We are active in a coalition with other institutions that is publicly advocating for a responsible reopening of higher education in Los Angeles County and is meeting with health officials to make the case. On the state level, President Starr is leading the public campaign on this issue as chair of the reopening task force for AICCU, the main association of private colleges in California. 

What is the College doing right now to prepare?

We are: 1) Putting in place our protocols for testing and contact tracing, as well as making physical preparations, such as upgrading air filtering systems, installing plastic barriers and automatic door openers, and making many other improvements in residence halls and other facilities.  2) Applying lessons from other institutions that have successfully reopened. 3) Advocating publicly and behind the scenes to get approval for a phased reopening of higher education in our county.

Why are some other colleges and universities permitted to be open?

There is no single national standard for reopening higher education. What is permitted in Vermont or Tennessee may not be allowed in California, and vice versa. The situation also varies between counties within California. We are gathering practical information and learning from successes elsewhere. Our focus is on moving forward within our own governmental and regulatory environment here in the most populous county in the nation. It will require an intensive effort to make the case for responsibly returning students to campus in this region. 

Which students would be allowed to return and why?

If the county permits reopening for spring, we know that not all students would be allowed to return due to expected requirements for lowering population density on campus to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We also recognize that some students would not able to return because of health and other reasons: Please note that students will not be required to return to campus for spring. We are currently seeking input on which groups of students most need priority for return to campus. We are drawing on the knowledge and experience of our community while recognizing that all plans depend on the county’s public health decisions. 

What would life on campus look like?

To meet public health guidelines, we expect that students would live in single rooms and follow protocols for wearing masks, social distancing and COVID-19 testing to promote safety. All students would be tested for COVID-19 on arrival followed by a period of quarantine on campus. Most student gathering spaces would be outdoors. All students would be on a meal plan with extended hours. Dining halls would provide meals to go and seating areas outside. All students would be required to sign an agreement which outlines all policies related to public health. Students who jeopardize their health and, potentially, the health of others, would be sanctioned.    

Will classes be online or in-person?

The majority of spring classes will be online, with the possibility of some in-person physical education courses. Additional academic activities, such as study groups held outdoors, are under consideration. 

What about students living off campus in the area?

We are still waiting for public health guidance that will help clarify how students who live off campus will be able to interact with the campus. We will continue to allow student living off campus to come on campus for scheduled appointments at Student Health Service. They will be able to get COVID-19 testing along with a variety of regular health services. They also will have access to medical advice around the clock through 7C Health and SHS. However, they will not be able to quarantine or isolate on campus. 

How will testing and contact tracing work?

We are working with Student Health Service on plans to test students, most likely twice each week, in addition to testing them soon after their arrival on campus. Faculty and staff who are on campus to support students will also be tested regularly. SHS will be responsible for contact tracing.

Will students have opportunities to build community and to engage in student activities?

In accordance with Los Angeles County guidance, student leaders can host socially distanced activities. Most activities will be outdoors. We are still seeking guidance about limited gathering spaces in the residence halls. The track, pool and tennis courts will be available for student use. 

Will financial aid change for the spring semester?

If the college is able to return students to campus this spring, the college will use an on-campus expense budget for those students living in the college’s residence halls.  Depending on the degree of an individual’s assessed financial need, this may result in increased financial aid to cover the higher costs of living on campus. For all other enrolled students not living on campus, the college will continue to use an off-campus expense budget that assumes higher expenses than living at home and therefore provides more assistance.


Will there be athletic competition during Spring 2021?

In accordance with public health guidance and safety standards, as well as NCAA resocialization recommendations, the presidents of the colleges that compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) have unanimously agreed to cancel conference competition, including championships, for all fall and winter sports during the 2020-21 academic year.

Facilities and Campus Operations

What is the College doing to prepare the campus for a responsible return in the future?  

The College is continuing with our planning for a responsible and safe to return to in-person, on-campus instruction, in compliance and coordination with federal, state, and local orders and guidance.

To facilitate good public health practice, the College is investing in changes and upgrade to its facilities. These changes include:

  • Cleaning all duct work/coils within central systems
  • Upgrading all air filters to MERV 11/13 and replacing more frequently as determined by building usage and manufacturers recommendations
  • Revising system controls to produce a 100 percent outside air where possible to facilitate multiple air exchanges through the day        
  • Increasing humidity range within buildings to 40-60%
  • Installing plexi-glass or plastic sheeting barriers at all high traffic, front facing service areas
  • Installing one automatic door opener in 23 high use buildings
  • Installing 230 “hands free” door openers at entry doors to residence halls, classroom buildings and restrooms
  • Reconfiguring select manual light switches to occupancy sensors
  • Installing centrally located hand sanitizer stations within the common areas of residential, academic and support buildings
  • Installing soap dispensers in all residence hall bathroom facilities. 

Are there special cleaning products or procedures being employed across campus?

The College is following cleaning guidelines and protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additional attention is being given to high touch areas such as door handles, handrails and push bars on doors across campus.

The College is working to ensure that necessary supplies are on hand in the event that guidelines are expanded in the coming weeks. The College has also deployed a number of hand sanitizing stations throughout campus.

The Arts

What will be going on at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College?

Due to the pandemic, we do not plan to fully open the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College as we had hoped to this fall. Our work continues apace, however, with behind-the-scenes preparations and through new ways of reaching students remotely.

We have completed the move of our permanent collection into our new facility, and we are developing our inaugural season of exhibitions. These projects include three monographic exhibitions featuring the work of Alia Ali, Helen Pashgian and Alison Saar as well as three thematic exhibitions showcasing work from our permanent collections. In the fall semester, these installations will support undergraduate teaching through remote viewing sessions, digital gallery talks, live panel discussions and more informal student-centered programs.


Are in-person events canceled at Pomona College?

All in-person Pomona College events are canceled.

To promote social distancing as recommended by public health professionals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the College has canceled all internal and public events on campus.

We recognize these temporary measures will bring inconvenience; we are taking them as an important community health precaution.

Can I visit the Skyspace?

Pomona College’s campus is closed until further notice and therefore there is no public access to the Skyspace.

What qualifies as a public event?

A public event is any event which is open to attendees from outside The Claremont Colleges. These events typically take place outside of the regularly scheduled classroom time. Examples: Admissions information sessions or tours, orchestra concerts, faculty-invited guest speakers taking place outside of a classroom visit, publicly advertised lecture series.

What qualifies as a community event?

A community event is an event that will be attended only by Claremont Colleges students, faculty and/or staff. Examples: Speaking events, parties or concerts that are limited to 7C students/faculty/staff.

What qualifies as an internal event?

An internal event is an activity or performance happening within the context of a regularly scheduled class or within the normal operations of an academic or administrative department, and which does not include participants from outside The Claremont Colleges. Examples: guest speakers in classes, peer mentor gatherings, weekly seminars, writing groups, academic counseling or support activities, regularly-scheduled on-site tutoring activities.

How does this affect admissions events?

We are not encouraging visitors to campus at this time in order to ensure everyone’s health and well-being. Instead, please enjoy our campus tour video and contact us with any questions at admissions@pomona.edu.

When will in-person Commencement take place for the Class of 2020?

Since current public health guidelines still do not permit large gatherings, unfortunately, there can be no in-person event during the remainder of 2020. In collaboration with class leadership, Pomona College has set Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, as the date for a virtual Commencement ceremony celebrating the Class of 2020. Up-to-date information will be made available in the 2020 Commencement pages of the Pomona website.

Can I start or continue planning for 2020-21 academic year events?

Pomona College will not be holding any public or community events on campus in Fall 2020 (see definitions above). A decision regarding Spring 2021 events will be based on public health guidelines at the time.

Internal Events and Meetings

Am I still able to hold meetings for my department?

All faculty and staff are encouraged to make use of remote technologies for meetings. Please contact ITS for more information regarding the available tools for your needs.