COVID-19 Executive Director's Message

March 18, 2020

To our International House Community -

During these unsettling and rapidly changing times, our first priorities at International House Berkeley are the health, safety and well-being of our residents, staff, and the campus community, and our commitment to provide and maintain critical services to our residents. Here at Cal, and at International House, every day brings new and more urgent considerations regarding "social distancing" and related measures.  We at International House are doing our utmost to be supportive of current residents, to remain flexible in responding to unusual challenges, and to keep the I-House dream alive. 

I-House continues to remain open during this crisis and is continuing to serve those residents who are staying with us despite the campus’ move to remote instruction.  I-House's senior management has been meeting regularly to deal with ongoing issues and to define the critical services needed to provide the best customer service we can to our residents while ensuring that we also keep our staff and residents safe and healthy.

We are looking towards progress in the face of the pandemic, and wish to thank our global network of alumni and friends for your expressions of interest, concern, and support. Please visit our website for updates on mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 here at I-House, and responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

These responses provide highlights regarding our current situation and policies and procedures that are being implemented within the House to minimize the potential for person-to-person spread.  Our efforts are being implemented in accordance with the guidance of global health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state and local officials, and UC Berkeley in response to the outbreak. 

As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly, I encourage you to regularly visit our website: for current updates and information. UC Berkeley updates can be found at

We are most grateful for the tremendous support and compassion being conveyed by the extended I-House global community.  The outpouring of support is tangible evidence of the resilient spirit embodied in the International House mission of fostering intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills for a more just and peaceful world.  We look forward to the passing of this viral cloud so that we return to regular operations as soon as possible, and hope that your own lives will regain a semblance of normalcy before too long as well.

Stay well!


Hans C. Giesecke, Ph.D.

Hans Giesecke signature

Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley