IT ALL HAPPENED so fast.
The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus hit Southern California and the rest of the country with a rate of acceleration that, for a time, left colleges like Pomona announcing new and sweeping steps seemingly every day. Advisories quickly became urgent warnings and unprecedented changes. Within the period of a few days in March, the College went from limiting travel to closing events to the public to canceling them entirely to sending most of its students and employees home to work and study remotely for the duration. As this magazine went to press, many decisions about the future remained to be made. But in the meantime, here’s a look back at the pandemic semester of Spring 2020.
A Pandemic Timeline
Jan. 24, 2020
Pomona sends out the first of several health and travel advisories to the campus community about the expanding global epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus shortly after the first case is reported in the United States.
Feb. 11, 2020
The disease caused by the novel coronavirus is named COVID-19.
March 3, 2020
The Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) reaches out to faculty about contingency plans in case the College needs to switch to remote instruction. The College seeks to curtail air travel by limiting sponsorship or reimbursement to trips that are deemed essential.
March 9, 2020
ITS holds the first of many workshops for faculty on distance learning technologies. One of the last public events to take place on campus is a baseball game between Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Pomona. Pomona-Pitzer wins 9-3.
March 10, 2020
All events are closed to the public, and most are canceled. All internal gatherings are limited to no more than 100 participants.
March 11, 2020
Pomona informs its students that they must leave campus by March 18 and should not expect to return before the end of the semester. Spring break is extended to two weeks, after which the College plans to resume its class schedule through remote instruction. All spring events are canceled.
March 12, 2020
Pomona announces that all student workers will continue to be paid whether or not they are able to continue their employment by remote means. Students who cannot leave campus are asked to submit a petition to stay.
March 13, 2020
Students begin to leave campus.
March 14, 2020
The College announces a prorated refund of room and board for all students leaving campus, as well as covering all approved travel costs and other forms of emergency financial assistance for departing students.
March 15, 2020
The CDC issues an advisory calling for no gatherings of 50 or more people.
March 16, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issues an executive order urging people aged 65 and older or suffering from certain health conditions to shelter at home.
March 17, 2020
Pomona closes all academic buildings and expands its work-from-home policy. The College’s Dining Service switches to a “Grab-and-Go” system in which the students remaining on campus receive their meals in take-out containers and return with them to their rooms.
March 18, 2020
A special, two-week spring break begins. Most students have left campus by this date. Slightly more than 80 students who are unable to leave for various reasons end up staying on campus.
March 20, 2020
In response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sweeping new stay-at-home order, Pomona asks all staff members who can work from home to do so. Pomona makes Zoom accounts available to all students, faculty and staff and holds first training in using the online conferencing platform.
March 24, 2020
All students remaining on campus move into the Oldenborg Center residence, where they can all have singles and space for social distancing.
March 30, 2020
Classes resume with remote instruction. The College announces that, respecting the wishes of the Class of 2020, the year’s Commencement ceremony will be postponed until a future date to be determined.
April 13, 2020
The College estimates the extra cost, to date, of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic at between $6 million and $7 million, including refunds of room and board and financial support for departing students.
April 20, 2020
The faculty votes to grade all Pomona students for spring 2020 semester classes on a P (Pass), NRP (No Record Pandemic) or I (Incomplete) basis.
April 22, 2020
The College launches a new program for the summer of 2020 to provide multi-week fellowships for students to work on virtual research projects, either independently or in partnership with faculty. The program is called RAISE (Remote Alternative Independent Summer Experience).
May 7, 2020
The College announces a variety of contingency plans for the start of fall semester but notes that final decisions may not be made until early July.
May 16, 2020
The pandemic-disrupted spring semester of 2020 comes to a close.
May 21, 2020
With families across the nation and around the globe facing a major economic downturn, the College freezes 2020–21 tuition at 2019–20 levels.
June 1, 2020
Pomona suspends all study abroad programs for the fall semester of 2020.