As I write this message, I am painfully aware that many in our community are grappling with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and our nation’s reckoning with the consequences of centuries of institutional racism. I hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy in this challenging time.
I understand that you are eager to learn more about the College’s plans for the fall, and I am writing to you today to share some updates. Scripps College has not yet determined whether fall classes will take place in-person, but we are putting substantial effort into creating a safe and healthy campus environment so that students may return to campus. We also know that the consortium provides opportunities for our students that are an important component of the Scripps experience. We have been working closely with our consortium colleagues on a number of the challenges we all face in this context.
As one instance of the collaboration amongst the colleges, below, please find a communication from the presidents of Claremont’s five undergraduate colleges announcing a modified calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. In summary, at all five undergraduate colleges, classes will begin on Monday, August 24, 2020, one week earlier than the traditional start date. Coursework will be completed by Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Final exams and assessments will be conducted remotely following Thanksgiving and completed by Friday, December 4, 2020. In order to make up for lost instruction time that would normally occur after Thanksgiving, we will not have our traditional Fall Break in October and classes will meet on some Saturdays during the semester. This calendar will allow us to maximize our time on campus while minimizing the potential for disruption and/or virus spread due to travel. Although many aspects of the upcoming academic year remain under discussion, this joint decision reflects the presidents’ shared goal to welcome students back to campus and to deliver the consortial experience as fully as possible and as soon as we are able.
We are developing plans about the other domains of campus life that adhere to state and county health department requirements and follow the advice of public health experts. Based on our work to date, it is abundantly clear that when we resume in-person instruction, the campus experience will differ substantially from our traditional context. We can expect that members of our community will be wearing masks, that the residence halls will be less densely occupied than in the past, the dining hall will offer more to-go options, and that there will be restrictions on gatherings. We believe that many classes will meet outside. There will also be protocols for screening, testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine.
To assist us in understanding how students and families feel about returning to campus, we have developed a survey to ask for input on some of the scenarios we are considering with respect to academic and campus life. We understand that circumstances will continue to evolve and views may change over time as more information becomes available. However, we would like to gather as much information as possible about our community’s perspectives to inform our decision-making process. Click to complete Scripps student survey. Survey responses will augment the work of student, faculty, and staff advisory committees who will continue to examine issues of academics, safety, and campus life and student experience over the summer.
I know that we are all keen to make plans for the fall, so I will announce the College’s decision about in-person, remote, or hybrid instruction in July. I also hope to receive definitive guidance from state and county public health officials in the coming weeks. I am confident that our rigorous planning process, commitment to collaboration, and reliance on public health and medical professionals will enable me to develop a recommendation to the Board of Trustees that assures we will continue to deliver the best possible educational experience for our students this fall.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your flexibility, resilience, and dedication to the Scripps community.