Harvey Mudd College expects to start spring semester online

A sign of Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College expects to start the spring semester online alongside the other Claremont Colleges, President Maria Klawe announced Monday. (Ben Jones • The Student Life)

Harvey Mudd College expects to start the spring semester online alongside the other Claremont Colleges and will hold spring break the week of March 8-12, President Maria Klawe and other HMC administrators announced in an email Monday.

The email came after Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver announced Dec. 3 that none of the Claremont Colleges would return students to campus for the start of the spring semester. Pomona College publicly confirmed Friday that it would start the semester online.

“Given the current situation we, along with the rest of the Claremont Colleges, expect to begin the spring semester on January 25 in a remote learning environment,” the email said. 

The email came as COVID-19 cases reach an all-time high of more than 10,000 new cases a day in Los Angeles County, which recently instituted a “Stay at Home” order that requires all county residents to remain at home except for permitted activities.

HMC will apply for a waiver from the LA County Department of Public Health to reopen, according to the email. The system was made public by Oliver last week.

Under the proposed system, LACDPH would grant 10 colleges in LA County the option to reopen under strict guidelines: 500 students or 50 percent of the student population — whichever is fewer — would be able to come back to campus, abiding by safety measures such as constraints on class sizes, bans on indoor group dining and in-person events, twice-weekly testing of all students and restrictions on students leaving campus, according to Oliver. 

But for colleges to return under the waiver program, COVID-19 cases in LA County need to fall below 10 per 100,000 residents per day for two weeks, Oliver said. Currently, the county is reporting an average of 76.9 cases per 100,000 residents per day. 

HMC previously said it would announce whether students could return to campus for the spring semester by Jan. 11. However, recently, LACDPH “has indicated that it is unlikely that higher education institutions will be able to bring back students for some time,” the email said. 

The college will continue the process of room assignments for the spring semester and will keep students updated about the status of the waiver application to LA County, according to the email. As a result, room and board charges will not be included on student bills until a return in the spring is confirmed. 

“We remain committed to working to bring students back to campus as soon as we are able and as soon as it is safe to do so,” Klawe and administrators said. “The efforts of our entire community to ensure the success of this past semester are greatly appreciated, and we have no doubt that the same will be true in the spring.

Donnie Denome contributed reporting.

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