Pomona plans ‘limited campus population’ for summer, mandates COVID-19 vaccinations

Pomona College students living on campus this summer must be vaccinated against COVID-19. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

A limited number of Pomona College students will be able to live on campus this summer ahead of an anticipated in-person fall semester, President G. Gabrielle Starr and administrators announced in a wide-sweeping email to students Wednesday. 

The email, divided into six sections, also confirmed that all students — in summer and fall — will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, “with exemptions for documented medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.” It also mentioned pandemic-related financial aid, updates on use of recreational facilities and the Benton Art Museum, the return of furloughed staffers and the promise of future updates on the college’s plans for a full return of students. 

Students are eligible to live on-campus this summer if they are participating in hands-on research “directly sponsored by faculty or by staff supervisors” or working full-time jobs that must occur on campus, such as tour guides or resident assistants.

Participating students will be allowed to reside in single-occupancy rooms and must undergo  twice-weekly COVID-19 testing. Oldenborg and Gibson Halls on Pomona’s campus will be offered for on-campus living while those that test positive for COVID-19 will be moved to Wig Hall, according to an FAQ linked in the email. 

While the residential program for on-campus students will begin July 6, participants working on campus but living off campus can begin work June 7. Students residing on campus over the summer can move into their fall 2021 housing in the first week of August.

Furloughed staff members — of which there were hundreds in 2020 — will work to facilitate the phased return of students to campus in early June, with all employees back by July 1, according to the email. 

Pomona follows Harvey Mudd College and Claremont McKenna College, which both announced similar summer residential programs mid-March and earlier this month, respectively.

The email reiterated the college’s plans to bring all students back to campus in the fall.

“Beyond the limited campus population​ we are expecting this summer, we are preparing and planning for the full return of students in fall, with on-campus living and in-person classes,” the email said. 

In the coming weeks, students will be asked to upload their COVID-19 vaccination information into The Claremont Colleges’ Student Health Services system.

The college also said that although the Student Health Services has been receiving some COVID-19 vaccine supplies, they “urge everyone not to wait for that one path to vaccination if they have other options available.”

Pomona is the fourth Claremont College to mandate vaccines for the fall, following Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College and Claremont McKenna College’s announcements earlier this month.

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