Dear Scripps College Students,
As we near the midpoint of the fall semester, I am pleased to hear positive reports about the active learning and engagement underway in virtual classrooms and in student and community programs. I continue to be impressed and proud of the many ways faculty, students, and staff are strengthening relationships, acquiring new knowledge, and building community online. So many of us are experiencing major disruptions to our lives, and I have been gratified to hear how the community is supporting one another in continuing to meet our mission and goals, while also providing flexibility and understanding of the shifting and stressful world we live in.
Our faculty are incorporating creative teaching methods and making use of digital tools to create an interactive learning environment online. Our motivated students are delving into interesting and relevant course content and maximizing opportunities for dialogue and connections with faculty and classmates. Students are also taking advantage of the many opportunities to engage outside of the classroom, attending programs sponsored by Campus Life, SCORE, the Laspa Center, Tiernan Field House, Career Planning & Resources, Scripps Presents, and even Wednesday Tea.
At the same time, we are all looking forward to resuming in-person interactions that define the many aspects of the Scripps experience as soon as possible. I know many are eager to hear when students will come back to campus and specifically if that will be possible next semester. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the College’s decision will be guided by our commitment to the health and safety of our campus and surrounding community, our educational mission, and the holistic student experience. Over the next two months, the College will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County and to participate in regular briefings with County health officials and higher education peers.
Currently, Los Angeles County Public Health Department does not permit institutions of higher education to hold in-person activities. The County will re-assess this after Thanksgiving and its revised guidance will be based on data about local case count, hospitalizations, and deaths, as well as the patterns observed in congregate living contexts in the county. Meanwhile, we are actively learning from those institutions across the nation whose students have returned to campus, tracking progress in testing, treatment, and vaccine innovations, and making plans for how to operate so that as soon as it is possible, we are ready. Given this process, I expect to be able to announce the College’s spring semester format by mid-December.
In the meantime, we are deeply engaged in planning processes to ensure a safe on-campus academic, residential, and work environment. I am appreciative of the efforts of working groups exploring multiple scenarios for testing, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine protocols, facilities modifications, and community guidelines with the hope that we will be able to resume on-campus operations in the spring.
To assist us in understanding the community’s perspectives about returning to campus, we are again seeking input on potential academic, residential, and campus life scenarios under consideration. We understand that circumstances will continue to evolve and views may change over time as more information becomes available. However, we have benefited from previous community input and we will continue to utilize survey responses to inform our planning and decision-making.
Whether in-person or remote, Scripps College will continue to provide the rigorous academic program, experiential learning opportunities, and connections to community that define our liberal arts mission as well as our civic and social responsibility. Thank you for all of the ways you are keeping Scripps strong in these unusual times.