Update Regarding Fall Semester (6/11/20)

Dear Pomona College Community:

We hope that you and those you love are finding support and solace during this time of pain, sorrow and a movement for change in our nation.

We are writing to provide an update regarding fall as we prepare to provide our students with an education of excellence and depth – work that is so vital in our world today – while planning and carrying out wide-ranging steps to reduce risks from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Across The Claremont Colleges, we have 10 working groups coordinating our efforts in key areas ranging from contact tracing and quarantine protocols to space planning, housing and student life. We are procuring supplies, preparing for physical distancing and developing community norms we will all need to follow. We will be reconfiguring dining areas, installing partitions, carrying out extra cleanings and evaluating HVAC systems, to name just a few measures planned.

Although important decisions remain, the overall structure for the fall is taking shape, as we and our partners in the consortium have decided on an adjusted academic calendar for the five undergraduate institutions.

Whether classes begin in-person, online or through a hybrid approach, the first day of instruction will be Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, one week ahead of the traditional start date.

Under the new schedule, undergraduates will complete all coursework by Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Final exams and assessments will be conducted remotely and completed by Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. This early start and early end by Thanksgiving will allow those students who travel for Thanksgiving to do so and not have to travel immediately back to campus, increasing the potential for virus spread.

This schedule attempts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and the flu season on our community during the winter months.

A final decision on whether Pomona students will be able to return to campus in the fall will be guided by public health practices and government direction, decided by early July. The details of when students should arrive for move-in will be forthcoming at that time as well. We also will address winter break housing for students who need it. We are mindful of the diversity of student needs and will be considering that as we finalize plans.

When students do return, life will be quite different on campus for a time, with requirements for wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and closely monitoring your own health and symptoms. Campus likely will be closed to visitors from outside of The Claremont Colleges.

Even with the measures we take, there will be cases of infection on campus, and we will have procedures for self-isolation and quarantine. We will need cooperation from everyone to reduce risks.

Many additional decisions lie ahead, and even when students return to campus, instruction will likely be a hybrid of in-person and online education for a time.

The Dean of the College and Dean of Students offices are working to adjust dates for first-year advising, orientation, the first-year book discussion and other start-of-term events. Please watch for an updated calendar, which will be distributed shortly.

Staff members currently working remotely will begin returning to campus in gradual phases starting later this summer and continuing over the academic year, with requirements for daily self-checks for symptoms, face coverings in many circumstances and strict physical distancing, among other steps.

We are grateful for your patience, as this crisis has required extensive coordination, careful thought and concrete action in an uncertain environment. As classes resume, our entire community will need to continue to work together to help protect one another in this pandemic.

We believe it will be worth is as our students in time return to in-person instruction as part of our dynamic and innovative liberal arts education. We all change the world through each generation of students and the extended community we are all part of.

Right now, it is hard to see past the medical, social and spiritual crises our society is facing. This is where our deep intellectual engagement in a community marked by kindness, meaningful inquiry and mutual respect cannot only help get us through but propel us forward to a better future.


With gratitude,

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