Return to Campus & COVID-19 Safety (9/13/21)

Dear Pomona College Community,

I’m writing to share an update on our return to campus and COVID-19 safety as we settle into fall semester. At this point, case rates are still on a good course for Pomona.

Last week, the second week of classes, we had no COVID-19 positive test results after testing more than 1,800 students, faculty and staff. Though transmission in the region is still too high, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports a 50 percent decrease in case rates since the peak in mid-August.

This is encouraging news, as vaccination, testing and masks help form our multi-layered strategy to promote safety. (Details are found on our COVID-19 website.)

Let me express my gratitude to our academic, facilities and ITS staff, who responded with speed and diligence to set up outdoor classrooms around campus as the delta variant of COVID-19 surged. These spaces make excellent use of our Southern California setting, and priority for their use goes to subjects such as language instruction where masks can pose an obstacle to teaching.

Comprehensive safety measures are allowing many activities to continue on campus amid the pandemic.

In the academic realm, first-year students are taking part in a range of new Critical Inquiry courses this year. I also want to recognize the many grants for compelling research faculty and staff members continue to receive and note a special honor for Dean of the College and Geologist Robert Gaines, who now has a new species of fossil named after him.

Fall sports are underway for football, volleyball, soccer, cross country and men’s water polo. Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer is ranked No. 3 in the nation, as is men’s cross country.

With the new athletics, recreation and wellness center under construction, Athletics Department offices are temporarily housed in the old Montgomery Art Gallery. Use of that space became possible with the opening of the new Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, with visits arranged by appointment.

With some colleges around the nation dealing with significant outbreaks, we have been fortunate at Pomona to this point. We must continue to be vigilant, work together and follow the safety protocols to protect our community and preserve in-person instruction. Thank you to all for your continued engagement and support in the extraordinary time.


With best wishes,