In response to the rapidly-unfolding COVID-19 public health emergency last spring, Scripps moved quickly in March 2020 to conduct classes remotely. Students, faculty, and staff have continued to find new ways to fulfill our mission while physically disconnected from one another and our beloved campus, but the void left by our inability to gather in person cannot be denied.
Over the last eight months, we have consulted with infectious disease and public health experts and learned from institutions elsewhere, and we are now ready for a responsible return to limited on-campus activity during the 2021 spring semester or as soon as permitted by the County. We are confident that our comprehensive plan, in combination with Scripps College’s setting and culture, will enable us to invite students back to campus while retaining low levels of the virus, even when surrounding communities experience surges. Learn more about spring planning in a community update from President Lara Tiedens.
Key Elements of Our Safe Reopening Plan for Spring Semester
Return of students to campus in as safe a way as possible will require us to undertake some key actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 as we await the widespread availability of effective vaccines. Our plans include:
- All students will be in single rooms.
- Students will be assigned to specific bathrooms to maintain specified ratios of handwashing, showers, and toilets as required by LA County Public Health and may not use any other bathroom. Bathrooms with multiple sinks have had plexiglass dividers installed.
- Students will only have access to the residence hall they are assigned. No guests will be allowed in residence halls.
- Students will not have access to kitchens or lounges in residence halls. Students living in apartment set-ups will have kitchens private to their living pod.
- We have leased apartment space in two buildings adjacent to our campus. Scripps will manage the spaces as we manage our fully owned residence halls.
- Scripps students will have to abide by the College’s rules and systems.
- All residents will be required to purchase a meal plan so that they will not need to visit neighborhood grocery stores.
- All residents will be tested twice weekly and follow Scripps behavioral expectations.
- All dining will be “grab and go” and distributed at multiple campus locations in a safely distanced way.
- Outdoor seating will be available, with tables arranged to allow physical distancing.
- Implementation of a mobile phone app which will allow students to select their meals in advance and decreasing time spent at pick-up locations.
- Many classes will continue to be offered online.
- The College has created outdoor classrooms. Any in-person class time will be held in these outdoor classrooms. The outdoor classrooms space all individuals at least six feet apart.
- Areas in outdoor classrooms include equipment for displaying visual material and enhancing audio experience.
- Face coverings will be required in these classrooms.
- Open-air tented areas for small group study will be available.
- Face coverings will be required at all times for all faculty, staff, and students on campus. They can only be removed when alone in personal space or when actively eating outside.
- Gatherings will only be outside and limited in size.
- A physical distance of six feet will be maintained. Six-foot distance markers have been placed in higher traffic areas.
- Students will sign a pact agreeing to these rules and will be subject to Scripps disciplinary code if they do not comply.
The Claremont Colleges has contracted with Shield T3, the COVID-testing services of the University of Illinois, to manage a certified laboratory on the site of the Claremont Colleges to conduct twice-weekly testing of all students, faculty, and staff who come campus. Shield T3 will administer a saliva PCR-test with a rapid turnaround of a maximum of six hours for results.
- Students, faculty, or staff who test positive will be informed by the Safer App. Their badge will indicate that they will no longer be allowed on campus. It will be required that they immediately go into isolation.
- We further anticipate requiring that all students take a test at their homes shortly before returning to campus, test immediately upon arrival, and that they quarantine for several days upon arriving at campus (to be determined in adherence with County guidance).
- We have reserved rooms to isolate or quarantine students who test positive or are identified as close contacts of those who do.
- All students who test positive will be immediately moved to isolation quarters (single rooms with single bathrooms) in a building separate from other residents.
- All students identified as close contacts through the contact tracing process will be required to quarantine. This includes all students in the social pod of someone who tests positive.
- Quarantining and isolating students will not be allowed to leave their locations until they are cleared to do so.
The College has contracted with a third-party supplemental health care support team who will provide the following services:
- Assigning isolation and quarantine spaced to students who test positive or are close contacts;
- Immediate contact tracing interview with anyone who tests positive and follow-up with all close contacts;
- Advice and triage for anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
- Daily (remote) check-ins for all students in isolation or quarantine;
- In-person check-ins for any student who does not respond to remote check-ins;
- A robust IT system that provides tracking, monitoring, and notification processes to be automated;
- Monitoring of isolation space;
- Clearing students from quarantine or isolation when conditions allow.
The College has taken extensive measures to prepare the campus and mitigate virus spread through several facilities enhancements. These include:
- Cleaning all duct work/coils within central systems;
- Installing deionizing equipment and UV lights in all HVAC systems where practical;
- Upgrading all air filters to MERV 13 and replacing on a quarterly basis as required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health or more frequently as determined by building usage and manufacturers’ recommendations;
- Revising system controls to produce maximum outside air where possible to facilitate multiple air exchanges through the day;
- Installing plexiglass or plastic sheeting barriers at all high traffic, front facing service areas;
- Installing automatic door openers in high-use buildings;
- Utilizing existing automatic door openers at entryways to residence halls and classroom buildings;
- Reconfiguring select manual light switches to automatic occupancy motion sensors;
- Promoting hand hygiene by providing hand sanitizer and installing handwashing sinks in areas of public access throughout the campus.
We anticipate—and returning students should expect—that the County will require Scripps to keep students on our campus in a “bubble” in order to minimize the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. A second but less likely scenario is that several of The Claremont Colleges will be able to form one larger bubble, allowing students to visit those colleges which agree to participate. Either way, students will be required to limit their interactions with the surrounding community. To achieve a Scripps bubble, we will:
- Require that anyone on campus has a cleared badge on their Safer App. People who are not part of our system or who may not be healthy will not be able to come on campus.
- Prohibit students from bringing cars to campus.
- Students will only be allowed to leave campus for essential reasons such as medical appointments that cannot be addressed on campus.