Cal Poly Pomona is engaged in a comprehensive and strategic effort to reopen campus safely, according to presentations by campus leadership at the spring Campus Conversation. Broadcast via webinar on April 8, President Soraya M. Coley and senior campus leadership shared the latest information on the breadth of campus preparation and laid out the campus’ strategy for robust in-person activity on campus, with a particular emphasis on the Fall 2021 semester.
Over the past month, Los Angeles County has moved from the most restrictive tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy to the second least restrictive category, and on April 6, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that if the state’s vaccine supply is sufficient and hospitalization rates remain low, the state will be ready to completely reopen on June 15.
Noting this progress in her opening remarks, President Coley said, “This is indeed outstanding news and reinforces the importance of our determined planning that has taken place since the very beginning of the pandemic. Each step of the way, we have employed a data- and science-driven approach and adhered to guidance from public health officials. And we’ve been able to do this while keeping our students on the path to their goals.”
Key highlights from the Campus Conversation presentations include:
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, prioritizing the health and safety of the campus community and protecting Cal Poly Pomona’s mission of academic excellence and students have and continue to remain paramount.
- As the next phase in the campus’ efforts to respond to the pandemic and prepare for in-person activity, a working group framework organized around core university operations has been established. Coordinated by a steering committee, these six working groups will determine the key issues for attention, develop the scenarios for a phased reopening and identify the necessary tools, services and training.
- To ready the campus for a safer return, the university is conducting spatial planning analyses of campus buildings to address risk areas, determine traffic flow and placement of hygiene stations; reviewing HVAC systems to ensure good working order; improving ventilation; and scaling cleaning and disinfection protocols.
- Academic Affairs plans for roughly 50 percent of class sections to have in-person teaching and learning components.
- Plans are underway for a limited reopening of University Library and computer labs during Summer Session.
- Over the summer, Student Affairs will pilot projects related to athletics, dining, housing and study spaces that can then be ramped up in time for the fall semester.
- Similarly, the working group on Employee & Organization will test readiness for staff to return through focused pilot groups, and Employee and Organizational Development and Advancement is in the midst of considering a new telecommuting framework as part of the strategy to reopen campus.
- On the budgetary side, the Conversation included an accounting of Cal Poly Pomona’s use of the three tranches of federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF I, II and II). These funds have been used to provide direct relief to students as well as account for revenue lost due to the pandemic, costs associated with the transition to virtual learning and expenses necessary to prepare for reopening.
A recurring theme expressed throughout the presentations concerned the role played by individuals in protecting the campus community’s collective safety. As noted by multiple presenters, a safer return to campus requires that all members of the campus community take personal steps to protect one another, especially the wearing of masks, getting vaccinated and social distancing as needed. As President Coley shared, “Seeing ourselves as a community has never been more important, and I’m confident that we will continue to push forward together.”
Video of the Campus Conversation can be found at: https://www.cpp.edu/president/campus-conversations/planning-update-on-cpp-safer-return-2021.shtml. Answers to all questions asked by the campus community at the webinar and the presenters’ slides will be added to the same site as they become available.
President Coley launched the Campus Conversations in fall 2018 as an opportunity for the campus community to consider important university matters.