Brief Update - Fall Planning

A message from President Elam about the planning process for the Fall 2020 semester

Dear Oxy Community,

As we head into the holiday weekend, we want to provide you with a brief update as to where we stand with planning for this fall. When we announced our intention to reopen campus on June 15, we also made it clear that our planning has been and will continue to be based on applicable public health guidance and that our plans are subject to change.

We are not announcing any changes today, but we do want you to know that we continue to review and reassess our plans. As you know, the situation nationally and here in Los Angeles is not improving. The number of cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate have all increased over the past two weeks, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has intervened to temporarily halt or even reverse reopening measures for businesses and other indoor activities. Oxy, like other local colleges and universities, is taking these developments seriously. We do not have clarity today as to whether LA County officials will move into Phase 3 and give colleges and universities the approval to resume normal operations.

What does this mean for Oxy? Health and safety have been the highest priority in our planning. At the same time, we are confident that no matter the format of instruction, students will continue to enjoy one-on-one interaction with their faculty and a personalized academic approach--the fundamental basis of the Oxy educational experience.

There are obvious, pressing questions to consider. How much of the curriculum will be remote or in-person? What the implications are for College employees? Our plan for our next comprehensive update to the Occidental community is July 15th. We also will be meeting in webinar discussions with faculty and staff next week.

To be sure, the uncertainty brought about by this global pandemic is challenging for everyone. Our fundamental commitment is to maintaining the health and well-being of our community. Accordingly, we understand well the importance of the decisions ahead of us, and are committed to being timely and transparent in our actions.

We will continue to be in communication with you as we reach decision points and as the conditions of COVID-19 continue to evolve.

All the best,
President Elam