Dear Scripps College Community Members,
I hope this message finds you and your families safe and healthy as we approach the final weeks of the spring semester. This has been a year of great uncertainty, challenge, and disruption, and your dedication and perseverance have been truly inspiring.
I begin my term as interim president with optimism and hope as we look forward to our students, faculty, and staff returning to campus this fall. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the power and the value of face-to-face teaching, learning, and interaction which has always been the hallmark of Scripps College’s educational community. Hence, our goal is to reclaim the vibrant campus life we recognize and cherish as we work toward restoring Scripps’ in-person academic, residential, and work environments.
The Scripps College leadership team continues to communicate regularly with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials, and we are encouraged by reports of declining COVID-19 case counts, the increased availability of vaccines, and a gradual relaxation of public health restrictions. Recently, the State of California announced that all those 16 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. This is excellent news. Consistent with our higher education peers in Claremont and nationwide, Scripps College will require vaccines for all students. Additional information is forthcoming from the Dean of Students about the process for verifying vaccinations, securing access to vaccines, or obtaining a waiver for medical or religious reasons.
The College strongly encourages everyone in the Scripps community to get vaccinated. To date, approximately 50% of Scripps employees have reported completing their COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue to urge all employees to obtain the vaccine. Currently, regular testing is required for all employees working on campus. We anticipate that those who have not been vaccinated will continue to participate in a regular testing protocol, whereas those who provide proof of the COVID-19 vaccination will be randomly tested as part of our ongoing COVID-19 screening process.
The State of California and Los Angeles County have revised public health protocols related to institutions of higher education to account for the reduction in case counts statewide. In light of these changes, the College is gradually easing restrictions and allowing limited campus occupancy over the summer for essential student employment such as select research activity, summer conferences, and campus tours. Additionally, the College has updated its travel policy to allow travel for faculty research and other essential operations over the summer.
The College is developing policies to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff upon the resumption of in-person programming this fall. More details of those protocols, including community expectations, trainings, and division-specific plans for returning to campus will be forthcoming over the next few months. Please continue to monitor the Scripps Strong website and your Scripps email for updates to College public health and safety protocols and COVID-19 information.
I am honored to have been selected as interim president of Scripps College and to have the opportunity to help sustain our momentum and progress during this time of transition. I remain encouraged and inspired by your resilience, strength, and commitment to community throughout this unprecedented academic year, and I am grateful for all that you have done to preserve and improve the Scripps College experience in spite of the trials you likely have faced.
I am excited to welcome students, faculty, and staff to campus this fall. I wish you continued success as we approach the end of the current semester and a restorative summer.