How COVID-19 Policies Come Together at Pomona (7/29/22)

Dear Pomona College Community,

Looking ahead to the fall semester, we want all members of our community to know how COVID-19 policies for our campus come together. Below, we outline the three connected areas that shape the pandemic public health measures at Pomona. They are:

  • State and county public health guidance and regulations
  • Guidance from our own public health experts
  • Claremont Colleges and Pomona-specific decision-making groups

Throughout the pandemic, our goals are constant as we seek to carry on our vital academic mission and promote safety for our community. Specific policies, however, may adjust in response to the state of the pandemic and these interlocking factors:

State and County Public Health Guidance and Requirements

Both state and county public health regulations guide the pandemic response at Pomona. In California, individual counties may impose more restrictive public health measures beyond the baseline rules of the state. (As an example, Los Angeles County has at some points in the pandemic enacted indoor masking requirements that were not in place statewide.)

The county creates broad-based regulations (such as public health orders) as well as advisory guidance for specific settings such as higher education.

As an employer, Pomona College also is subject to the state’s Cal-OSHA workplace regulations regarding COVID-19 safety.

Additional Guidance from our own Health Experts

In the medical realm, The Claremont Colleges receive expert guidance from Dr. Prateek Jindal, assistant vice president for health and wellness. Overseeing Student Health Services, he is in contact with county public health officials and offers input on their guidance.

Pomona also turns to Dr. Rekha Murthy, professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Cedars-Sinai, for public health guidance. Finally, the team for Hamilton Health Box, the medical provider that handles staff and faculty COVID-19 testing at Pomona, is an additional source of on-the-ground information and expertise.

These experts assist with implementation of public health requirements and help tailor measures to our own campus situation. For example, at times when a significant outbreak persists on campus, the college may be advised to take temporary measures that exceed county-level requirements in order to bring cases down and maintain continuity in the most essential in-person elements of our liberal arts education. Other ongoing measures may be due to our specific needs as a college residential community.

Claremont Colleges and Pomona-specific Decision-making Groups

Policies applying to all members of the Claremont consortium typically address areas such as aligning academic calendars, cross-campus dining and other decisions that will reach across multiple campuses. These policies are created through agreement of the presidents, academic deans and/or deans of students, depending on the area.

For Pomona specifically, the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) coordinates information and some day-to-day operational decisions, while bringing wider policy recommendations to the larger COVID-19 Planning & Response (CPR) Group.

The COVID-19 Planning & Response Group, comprised of Pomona faculty, administrators and students, is the central advisory group. In the course of the academic year, this group will take on matters such as vaccine and testing requirements, mask rules (within county requirements) and other campus measures.

The College’s executive staff sets Pomona’s overall COVID-19 policy framework, updates the Board of Trustees and consults with the Faculty Executive Committee on academic matters.

Day-to-day implementation of many policies is handled through the Dean of Students Office for students, Human Resources for staff and the Academic Dean’s Office for faculty.

Students are provided with a written community agreement to read and sign at the start of each year. Student disciplinary cases for COVID-19 safety violations are heard by a subcommittee of the Student Affairs Committee made up of faculty, staff and students.

Looking Ahead

In the days ahead, the College will reconvene the COVID-19 Planning & Response Group for the new academic year, and we will provide an update introducing the membership at that time. Additional information on matters such as start-of-semester COVID-19 testing will be coming as well.

We recognize the challenges for everyone as the pandemic reaches into a fourth academic year, and we are committed to transparency and ongoing communication as our community works together to advance our academic mission.

As the semester draws closer, we will schedule Zoom town hall meetings to keep our community up to date on the latest COVID-19 developments. Updates will continue to be posted on our COVID-19 web.

We hope the summer is offering you some rest, and we look forward to the start of a new academic year.

 

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
Avis Hinkson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Mark Kendall, chief communications officer
Robert Robinson, assistant vice president, facilities
José Rodriguez, vice president and chief information officer
Maria Watson, vice president for advancement
Mary Lou Woods, assistant vice president & associate treasurer
Yuqing Melanie Wu, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college