Caltech Ends Classes Until March 30 Due to Health Concerns

Caltech campus entrance. – Courtesy photo / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Covid-19 tests results confirmed the student is not ill with COVID-19

The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) notified Caltech Wednesday that the results for the graduate student who was tested Monday for COVID-19 were negative. The student has been self-isolated in off-campus housing since the weekend and is recovering.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases on the Caltech campus. PPHD did confirm its first positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but has said that the case is unrelated to Caltech’s graduate student.

The Institute has established an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that is operating in collaboration with the infectious disease group in planning for and implementing the Institute’s preparedness efforts. Through this operation, the Institute is in regular communication with the PPHD.

According to an announcement issued Wednesday by the school’s Office of the President, “In the eventuality of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in [Caltech’s] community, [the school] will work with the local health department to communicate this to the campus as quickly as is possible, and to conduct a full investigation that includes contacting individuals who might have been exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their campus routines.”

After consultation with local experts, Caltech ended the instructional term at the end of Wednesday.

Undergraduate students have been asked to complete their final exams and assignments for the quarter remotely. Faculty will communicate by email to students regarding exams and any outstanding assignments, which will need to be submitted electronically.

As of Wednesday, on-campus instruction is scheduled to resume with the start of the spring quarter on March 30. Given the rapidly evolving situation, campus leaders are actively planning for all instruction to shift online in case the need for these plans arises. If such measures are to be implemented, the school will notify the community.

Undergraduate students are being strongly encouraged to return home for the duration of spring break. Students who need to remain in Caltech undergraduate housing during break must register with Student Housing and should be prepared for the eventuality that the school may need to implement reduced or alternate dining service as the situation evolved, according to the announcement. The school also warns it may need to shift room assignments if isolation measures are required.

Public health officials have advised that students who are currently displaying flu-like symptoms or are otherwise reporting illnesses should remain on campus and not travel until they have recovered.

All public events on campus have been canceled, postponed, or made virtual through April 6. No new events can be scheduled before May 1. Further cancellations will be considered on a rolling basis.

March 12, 2020

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