Art by Samantha Miller
Students can return to campus, but not all are able to.
The California Department of Public Health guidelines granted the University permission to partially open campus because the case rate of LA County hit 20.0 per 100,000 residents, according to an email from the Public Relations Office on Feb. 23.
Students cannot control the campus gates. What students can control, in particular, is how they act if they do choose to enter the Malibu campus.
It is true the campus reopening mostly benefits those in the Malibu area — those who are privileged enough to live there. Payson Library, outdoor practice facilities, outdoor seating with socially distanced groups and Alumni Park are among some of the areas now accessible, according to the Feb. 23 email. The reopening also benefits those who need physical resources only offered on campus, such as fine arts performance spaces and science labs.
If students choose to go onto campus, they will need to have prior arrangements. In terms of safety, the University requires those entering campus to fill out a Daily Wellness Check form, also known as the “green dot,” certifying that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with anyone with COVID-19.
The green dot is mandatory, and individuals who do not receive the green-dot clearance will need to call the Student Health Center to enter, according to the Feb. 23 email.
Once granted permission to enter, students have a choice between outdoor seating and Payson Library study areas, which are socially distanced.
Whether a student comes to campus is an individual choice, but that person should be mindful of other people and be prepared to uphold a great amount of responsibility to ensure the safety of others. Just because students are able to do something does not mean they should.
The last thing Pepperdine, Malibu and LA County need is another spike in COVID-19 cases. As of March 1, LA County has reported 1,193,531 COVID-19 cases and 21,467 deaths, according to The New York Times.
“With almost six months until the start of fall classes on Aug. 30, updates for the fall semester will become more specific and detailed after the conclusion of the spring semester,” Dean Michael Feltner wrote in an email to Seaver College on March 1.
College students are adults and should be considerate of the community by following all guidelines the University and the county sets when deciding whether to enter campus.
This is a step toward campus reopening — students want to come back to campus within the solidarity of Pepperdine’s community. It will not just open up altogether; this is the first step in a wider, less-restrictive reopening of the Malibu campus, per the University’s website.
For such a fractured community, this can be a moment of hope or a moment of concern. However, students should view this announcement as an advancement in science and controls as we have learned what it means to be apart from each other.
Pepperdine preaches resilience, and we have been resilient for the better part of a year. Should widespread vaccination efforts and campus safety protocols continue as expected, this pattern of reopening should continue for the coming fall semester with in-person classes, dining options, housing and on-campus events.
“Similar to all summer 2021 sessions, Seaver College is planning and preparing to deliver its fall semester classes in-person on the Malibu and international program campuses,” Feltner wrote.
Most important, returning students need to be respectful of the Waves who were on campus before the Feb. 23 reopening. From student-athletes to those with special circumstances, these students should not feel more restricted than they already are by the presence of off-campus students.
Student-athletes are asked to get tested once or twice a week and live under stricter guidelines. Non-student-athletes do not have as easy of access to frequent testing but still face the same level of strictness. Waves should be respectful of the green-dot process to ensure its success.
Many of us have anticipated this moment for so long; be respectful of each other and our campus.
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