Scripps and CMC will resume some in-person courses outdoors

White chairs sit on a grassy field underneath a white tent.
Scripps and CMC will allow faculty to teach in outdoor classrooms next week, with administrative approval. (Justin Sleppy • The Student Life)

In-person, outdoor classes may resume at Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College as early as Monday, a thaw in the colleges’ decision to delay in-person instruction to the third week owing to a spike in COVID-19 cases amid the omicron variant surge. 

Faculty can choose whether to shift classes to an in-person, outdoor-only setting with approval from the dean of faculty, emails from the colleges’ administrators said Friday afternoon. They must also accommodate students who are unable to attend these in-person classes due to COVID-related issues, the administrators said.

Pomona College, Pitzer College and Harvey Mudd College will continue remote instruction for the second week of classes. Officials affirmed in community messages that the schools intend to return to in-person instruction for the third week of classes Jan. 31, as originally planned. 

Pomona Dining Services will also discontinue its grab-and-go service and resume regular operations when in-person classes resume, President G. Gabrielle Starr said. Pomona and Scripps will bring food trucks on campus to support dining offerings, according to Starr and Scripps interim Vice President for Student Affairs Adriana di Bartolo-Beckman, a step CMC has regularly taken.

Beginning Monday, Scripps will allow students access to residence hall common spaces and indoor dining at Malott Commons with 40 percent capacity, both of which were previously unavailable to students throughout the first week of classes.

The relaxed restrictions came even as some of the 5Cs began reporting significant case counts after many students returned to campus. Starr said Pomona was reporting a 3.1 percent positivity rate, which would mean about 39 students have tested positive so far. The college’s previous weekly record for students testing positive was 11.

At Scripps, 15 students had tested positive in the week ending last Sunday. December and January have also brought increased cases among faculty and staff. 

Each of the 5Cs continue to require eligible students to receive booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, although some have extended their deadlines closer to the end of the month.

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