Information for Students and Parents
Updated May 27, 2020
The health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty are our top priorities. Here are the measures the Institute is taking in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and our duty to the Caltech and Pasadena communities:
- We have shifted to online teaching for spring quarter for undergraduate and graduate students alike. For more information, please see the 3/13/2020 update from Caltech and our Spring Term FAQ.
- In compliance with "Safer at Home" orders from the County of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena, we are limiting campus activity to essential functions only. These include: distance learning and the operation of student housing and dining facilities; custodial, security, payroll, and student wellness services; and the maintenance and management of laboratories and facilities with unique agents and equipment.
- Caltech's infectious disease task group is monitoring the situation closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and will keep you informed via Ion Caltech emails and updates to this website.
What Caltech Is Doing to Keep You Safe
Caltech has convened an infectious disease task group that is in regular communication with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will follow any updated guidance and recommendations from PPHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they are released.
In the context of the coronavirus pandemic and our duty to the Caltech and Pasadena communities, we have moved to online teaching for spring quarter. Complying with the "Safer At Home" order from the County of Los Angeles and City of Pasadena, we have also limited activity on campus to essential functions.
With the transition to remote learning, all undergraduate students have now left campus, with the exception of a small number who have been given special permission to remain. For those students still remaining on campus, Caltech custodial staff have introduced enhanced cleaning measures, which includes using EPA-recommended antimicrobial products on high-traffic surfaces, such as elevator buttons and doorknobs, three times per day.
Graduate housing remains open, as do critical Institute services to support graduate students and the undergraduates remaining on campus. Please note that some of those services may be curtailed as dictated by staffing limitations. Visit our "What's Open at Caltech" page for more information.
Should any of the students remaining in undergraduate housing or graduate housing contract COVID-19, the Institute has plans that will provide those students with prompt medical attention while isolating them from the rest of the Caltech community to mitigate the spread of the disease. We also have plans for medical transport and hospitalization of seriously ill students.
Our approach is to be cautious and vigilant, monitor our residential community closely, follow up on any presumptive cases of infection with isolation, and notify and work with our public health authority to do immediate contact tracing and further isolation as needed.
Classes and Labs
Spring term, which is being conducted remotely, began Monday, March 30. Essential information about each class, including the syllabus and links to other resources, can be found on Moodle.
Event Cancellations and Ways to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
Caltech has canceled all in-person events on and off campus through August 31.
The Caltech community is encouraged to find ways to stay connected while social distancing measures are in effect by:
- hosting or attending Caltech events online
- joining the Graduate Student Slack channel
- taking a Student Wellness Workshop online
For Students Who Are Still on Campus
There are several simple and effective steps you can take to make sure that you are prepared for any infectious disease, including COVID-19:
- If you are taking a medication, make sure that you have an adequate (30-day) supply.
- Practice good hygiene at all times: cough and sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands with soap and water, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Practice proper social distancing, keeping a minimum of 6 feet between you and others at all times.
- Finally, misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant, and can create confusion and panic. Rely on official communications from the CDC, PPHD, and the Caltech COVID-19 information webpage.
If You Become Ill
If you are ill with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call Student Wellness Services at (626) 395-6393. Please do not come to the Student Wellness Services building unless you are directed to do so. It is important to limit your contact with others if you are ill. A healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms, risk factors, and give you further instructions regarding self-isolation. At this time, testing for COVID-19 is taking place at the direction of the Pasadena Public Health Department until commercial testing is available. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call Campus Security at (626) 395-5000.
Mental Health Resources
Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to the virus, concerns about family overseas, or your personal health may contact Student Counseling Services for consultation and support by calling (626) 395-8331.
Student Health Insurance
Caltech's Student Health Insurance Plan covers care you may need beyond what our Student Health Center and the Counseling Center can provide. The plan is provided through UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) and includes a new Telehealth benefit that allows you to connect to a U.S. Board-certified doctor via your phone, tablet, or computer, usually within an hour. Additional details are on the Caltech Human Resources webpage.