Community Update Regarding Coronavirus and Travel (3/3/20)

Dear Pomona College Community:

Amid rapid developments regarding the coronavirus, we need to take community health precautions that help us protect one another and carry forward our core educational mission. This will, on a temporary basis, require some adjustments in our typical practices.

Our immediate focus is on travel. Effectively immediately, the College will not sponsor or reimburse travel to countries designated at a U.S. State Department level two or higher travel advisory for coronavirus risk.

Beyond that, during this period, the College will only sponsor or reimburse domestic and international air travel for faculty and staff if it is deemed essential, based on the approval of the academic dean for faculty, and the appropriate department VP for staff.

The aim is to curtail travel while allowing core activities of the College to continue. The situation continues to evolve, and our approach may need to change further in coming weeks and months depending on circumstances.

For students currently on study abroad, the College will continue to closely monitor the situation, working in coordination with our onsite program providers. We have procedures in place in the event State Department and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisories change for a particular location. As events unfold, we will continue to evaluate study abroad for fall 2020.

For students planning summer internships, research or academic programs abroad, the College will follow the same guidance governing international travel, discontinuing further college-funded travel to countries designated by State Department travel advisories for level two or higher for coronavirus risk. Students preparing for internships in other domestic and international locations can proceed, in consultation with program administrators, with the understanding that the College’s guidance is evolving and may change.

As spring break approaches, we also ask that you carefully consider this guidance from The Claremont Colleges regarding personal travel abroad, noting the many potential issues you may encounter:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) may spread in countries with identified cases or to new areas. Please check for any new travel restriction updates before departing the U.S. The State Department and CDC are the best resources for the latest information.

  • Please stay actively alert to changes and developments that may affect your plans.
  • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings or closed borders. Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
  • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region.
  • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries.
  • Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted.
  • Prior to your return to campus, CDC guidelines may require you to self-isolate depending on your travel.
  • International students and foreign nationals should check their immigration documents before leaving the U.S. If you are unable to return to the U.S. for the start of the semester, your visa status may be impacted.

Looking further ahead, we also are evaluating the challenges international students may face in summer if travel restrictions and flight cancellations continue, and we will address these summer issues in a future message.

Thank you for your help in taking health precautions to protect our community. Pomona-focused information on the coronavirus outbreak will continue to be updated at pomona.edu/coronavirus.

Best,

Bob 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