Brief Update on Coronavirus Planning (7/1/20)

Dear Pomona College Community:

As we head into the holiday weekend, we are writing with a brief update regarding fall semester. We are continuing to evaluate the urgent and concerning public health situation in Los Angeles County, the state of California and nationwide.

The coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the U.S. and in Southern California, as a hoped-for summer slowdown in transmissions has not materialized. Instead, the number of cases continues to rise, nationally, statewide and here in Los Angeles County.

At the start of this week, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported the largest single-day case count since the pandemic began and pointed to “alarming trends of community spread.” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer warned that immediate action is needed: “Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death.”

As for the national picture, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, on Monday told the Journal of the American Medical Association: “We are not even beginning to be over this,” adding that “there’s a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so. These increases are in so many places.” And just yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress the U.S. could reach 100,000 cases per day.

We will evaluate next steps through the lens of public health, and also through our liberal arts values that lead us to response to new data and craft creative answers to the world's great challenges. We expect to announce our plans for fall semester within the next two weeks, as we consider the most up-to-date information available and consult with experts and stakeholders in our community.

Whichever path we take, we are committed to continual innovation in how we teach, for the benefit of our students and the wider world we know they will go on to change. We are grateful to our faculty for their work this summer in adapting their teaching and courses to engage students in new ways for the world we are in right now.

We also know this uncertainty creates challenges for our entire community. We are committed to coming through this with strength, compassion and love. 

 

Sincerely,

G. Gabrielle Starr, president
Seth Allen, vice president for strategy & dean of admissions and financial aid
Christina Ciambriello, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees
Robert Gaines, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college
Robert Goldberg, vice president, COO and treasurer
Avis Hinkson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Mark Kendall, assistant vice president for communications & strategic content
William Morse, vice president and chief information officer
Maria Watson, vice president for advancement