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COVID-19 State and County Health Orders Update

 

Dear Santa Clara University Community,

As most of you know, the COVID-19 conditions across the nation and in our state have regrettably worsened to the most critical levels since the start of the pandemic. This afternoon we learned that most Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and Alameda (where the Jesuit School of Theology is located), have been ordered to abide by stay-at-home orders starting Sunday, Dec. 6, until Jan. 4 — possibly longer. These orders, recently announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom and triggered by declining capacity in intensive-care-unit beds, prohibit all but essential activity and travel in and around the affected counties. And that is in addition to county travel restrictions, which currently require anyone coming into our county from more than 150 miles away to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Today we notified those students who had applied for on-campus housing this winter that, due to these new restrictions, we are not able to bring them back as planned for move-in January 2-4, and that we will be watching conditions closely to ascertain when we might be able to welcome students back to campus. We know how tremendously disappointing this was for the nearly 1,000 undergraduate students who were hoping to live on-campus. The harsh realities of this pandemic have truly turned lives upside down including our students’ college experience. 

Classes will resume fully online January 4 as previously announced, though any in-person components that were scheduled to resume in week three of the term (on January 18) may be postponed. 

We will be sending regular updates to share what we learn about when we can restart our plans for a safe, phased return to campus, including reduced density on-campus housing. However, with all the current uncertainties, we are not able to identify a move-in date for the winter quarter at this time. The timing of our phased return to campus will continue to be guided by public health directives as well as our own faculty and staff experts on our COVID Operations team.

We know for many these uncertainties and delays are extremely frustrating.

For our faculty and staff, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara county means we must redouble our efforts to protect each other and our campus from new cases that will further stress our county health capacity, and delay our full return to campus. That means: 

  • Please re-commit to remote work and do not come to campus if your work can be done at home. The stay-at-home order requires all non-essential campus operations and activities to cease for the duration of the order. 
  • As in November, no new requests for on-campus essential access will be made until further notice. 

We will continue to carefully monitor and consult with county officials to ensure that we are in full compliance with all public health orders. As always, our priority is the health and safety of our campus community as we plan and prepare for winter quarter. Please continue to refer to our Prepared SCU website which will house the latest updates. Next week, we will send out more detailed information on winter term. 

Thank you for continuing to follow health protocols that provide our best chance at reversing this surge. We urge you to please heed county, state, and CDC guidance to not travel or mingle with other households during the holiday season. Together we will weather this critical stage of the pandemic and look forward to gathering again as a campus community, as we all so deeply desire. We wish you and your loved ones good health in these challenging times.

 

Lisa A. Kloppenberg
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

John Ottoboni
Chief Operating Officer

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