Community Update on Coronavirus Response (3/27/20)

Dear Pomona College Community,

We are writing to recap important information and provide updates at the close of a week that has seen growth in reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases worldwide, the first reported case in Claremont and our College announcement yesterday that a student, who had last been on campus March 13, had tested positive for the virus.

In line with urgent public health efforts, most students are now away from campus, and most staff members are working from home. Over the next week, a growing number of employees and students will now have been away from campus for at least 14 days, a period identified by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as a key timeline for exposure.

However, as more people across the region and nation show symptoms or are diagnosed with coronavirus, cases will likely continue to touch our community, and we want to let you know more details about our approach going forward as public health guidelines continue to develop.

If we learn from a student or employee that they have tested positive or the person tells us their doctor believes it is likely they have the virus, our first priority will be, when dictated by the available information, to notify the members of our community who have been in close contact with the person. Whenever possible, we’ll begin by gathering information on close contacts from the person with the reported infection.

Close contact is defined as being at a distance of six feet or closer to the person for more than 10 minutes. (Please note: Privacy regulations require that we do not identify the person with the virus.)

If you do receive a notification of possible exposure, please be aware that it does not mean you have the virus, but it does mean you must now follow the important public health guidelines that will be outlined in the notification. 

If you are a staff or faculty member diagnosed with coronavirus or told by a medical professional you may have it, please contact Human Resources Assistant Vice President Brenda Rushforth at If you are a student, please contact Dean of Students Avis Hinkson at

Wherever you are working or studying from at this moment, it is important for everyone to follow the urgent public health guidance to help slow the spread of the virus. Important resources can be found at:

For all members of our Sagehen family around the globe, we know you may be facing very challenging situations in your own families, networks and communities. We appreciate the caring and adaptability our community has shown in this pandemic, and we are deeply grateful to all those in our extended community who are working on the front lines during this emergency. To those in the medical field, we simply can’t thank you enough for your sacrifices in this crisis.



G. Gabrielle Starr, president
Robert Gaines, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college
Avis Hinkson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students