Office of the President

Update from President Coley on Fall Planning and Commencement

March 1, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

With the release of the Fall 2021 class schedule today, I wanted to take this moment to provide an update on our campus-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our ongoing planning for the fall semester. I also include an announcement on our commencement ceremonies.

First and foremost, thank you all for your patience and perseverance over the past year. It was this time last year that we announced our transition to primarily virtual instruction. The response from the entire campus community over the months that followed exemplifies the shared commitment to our campus values of academic excellence and student success. Please know that we acknowledge the hardships you face and that we are taking all necessary measures to push the work of this university forward.

We continue to hold the safety of our campus community as our highest priority, followed closely by a concerted effort assuring that our students stay on the path to their academic goals and receive an engaging and inclusive polytechnic experience at Cal Poly Pomona. We continue to pay close attention to directives issued by the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the CSU Chancellor’s Office. And while the decline in positive cases in LA County and the ongoing vaccine rollout provide hope, we will continue to rely on the resilience and flexibility of our students, faculty and staff in what continues to be a fluid environment.

Fall 2021 Schedule

Students may now access the Fall 2021 class schedule. The advising period for registration begins on March 22, with registration starting on April 5. We built the class schedule taking a measured approach that balances our desire to offer more in-person courses with the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Therefore, we are planning several hundred hybrid and face-to-face class sections in the fall schedule, with the hybrid classes featuring both virtual and in-person components. If circumstances allow prior to the start of the fall term, the instructor can increase the number of in-person meetings, and enrolled students will be notified about any changes. At the same time, if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases, instructors teaching hybrid classes can reduce or eliminate the in-person component. Additionally, priority for in-person instruction goes to laboratory and activity classes.

Campus Life

Recognizing the importance of campus life and in-person experiences, we hope to increase the number of students living on campus as well as activities for students, and plans to offer more students the opportunity to live on campus are underway. We also recognize the importance of continuing to offer a range of virtual options for student engagement and enrichment. As part of this effort, Student Affairs is reviewing potential study spaces and similar resources for fall. We also anticipate providing updates on our athletics program soon.

State public health officials expect to provide updated guidelines for colleges and universities later this month, which will further inform our plans, along with local guidance from LA County. We anticipate that by the time the summer orientation sessions begin, we will have a much better sense of how much in-person activity we can pursue in the fall.

Commencement Update

From the moment we made the difficult decision to postpone graduation last year, we began working on a solution for duly celebrating our graduating students while also protecting the health and safety of everyone involved. Thousands of students provided extensive input on their preferences through a focus group and multiple surveys. Following consultation with LA County Department of Public Health on the feasibility of our plans, we are excited to announce drive-in graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 and 2021 at the Pomona Fairplex during the third week of May, and additional virtual ceremonies taking place online the following week — more details to come. I am also pleased to announce that the Class of 2021 will be our largest ever graduating class, a clear testament to the resilience of our entire campus community.

Your collective persistence during this uniquely challenging time continues to inspire me — I have never been more proud of our Bronco Family. For the latest information and regular updates, visit our Safer Return website. Of particular note, starting today faculty, staff and student employees are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. As always, please continue to care for yourselves and those close to you and please take every possible measure to stay safe and healthy.


Soraya M. Coley, Ph.D.