Claremont McKenna College

Dear CMC Community:

As we write with an important update, we hope this finds you all well and healthy.

After a rigorous, community-wide three-month process, the College has finalized its plan for the fall 2020 semester, CMC Returns.

Given the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and recent, concerning trends here in Southern California, the Plan is fully conditional on both the announcement of L.A. County Public Health guidelines that allow an on-campus program and a favorable, independent assessment of our health and safety capabilities. We will communicate the final determination of these necessary conditions no later than July 24.

Over the next few weeks, please keep two important points in mind. First, if these necessary conditions are not satisfied, CMC will be fully prepared to offer a strong virtual program in the fall. Second, in order to maximize the opportunity to reopen our on-campus program, we must continue to work hard to implement the Plan.

CMC Returns presents a strong blueprint for an adaptable restoration of on-campus residential and academic life in the fall. Effective implementation requires each of us to face the material health risks and make inventive, disciplined, and mutually supportive adjustments in how we teach, learn, live, socialize, work, and operate. The College is here to provide the necessary guidance and resources.

Key features of the Plan include:

Robust health and safety measures. Required face coverings, physical distancing, greater use of the outdoors, frequent hand washing, and enhanced cleanings of campus facilities. On-campus medical staff and database technology for daily screenings, as well as testing and contact tracing. Required quarantine and isolation protocols and capabilities, developed and implemented with guidance from medical professionals.

Reimagined campus life. Reduced residential density, increased singles, some off-campus apartments, and reduced student-to-bathroom ratios. Daily symptom screenings. An emphasis on the outdoors for studying and socializing. Carefully designed on-campus dining options in multiple locations, including food trucks and fresh food vending machines. Limited athletics, events, and gatherings. Only essential, approved travel off-campus. A signed agreement by students, to ensure a commitment of individual and social responsibility for community health, CMC Returns: The Agreement.

All courses designed with a virtual backbone. Universal flexibility for both on- and off-campus learning. In-person elements incorporated for those on campus. Increased reliance on larger classrooms and outdoor spaces, including under tents. Revised scheduling to accommodate classroom cleanings and expanded meal distribution. Amended academic calendar to begin August 24, with no fall break and classes ending by Thanksgiving. No return to campus for students who leave campus for the holiday; remote finish for the semester.

Multi-phase return for faculty and staff over the summer. Daily screenings and symptom checks for entering campus. Remote work options and limited visitors to decrease density.

Full financial mitigation and support of the Plan. Significant investments in preparing the campus, including medical care, testing, virtual and database technology, mobile and accessible dining accommodations, and advanced instructional support. Responsible limits on hiring, salaries, and spending, and other mitigation efforts for all scenarios. No increase in tuition, room, board, or fees.

Ongoing review and vetting by medical experts. Communication early and often about emerging public health conditions. Frequent consultation with health and safety experts, community members, and peer institutions. Continuous community communications during the fall semester.

CMC Returns emerged from the engaged contributions of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and parents, in collaboration with College leadership and the Board of Trustees. That community-wide collaboration, for which we are all very grateful, will continue. Sharon Basso, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dianna Graves, Dean of Students, will be reaching out immediately to our students. Peter Uvin, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, will continue to work with our faculty. Coreen Rodgers, Vice President of Business and Chief Operating Officer, will be in continuous contact with our staff. To learn more about the details of the Plan, please visit our CMC Returns website. For all other inquiries, please email us at

We will be in constant touch, take all necessary steps to implement the Plan, and, as promised, make a final call on the fall no later than July 24.

Until then, be well, and take great care. We hope to see you all again soon.

Very best,