A usually crowded Seaver Drive sits almost empty as campus remains closed for the fall 2020 semester. Photo by Kayiu Wong
With the announcement of a completely remote fall 2020 semester, most Pepperdine students faced the decision to stay home or find off-campus housing if possible. Some students, however, will still live on campus in Malibu this fall.
Campus housing is closed for the upcoming semester to Pepperdine students — except for around 150 students. About 5% of the typical on-campus student population will live in campus housing this fall, President Jim Gash said in the Aug. 11 President’s Briefing.
These students have exhibited hardships that qualify them for on-campus housing this semester, Director of Housing Operations Robin Gore said. These difficulties include issues with international travel due to COVID-19, toxic home environments, immunocompromised family members in their households and homelessness.
In addition to students with hardships, some student-athletes plan to live on campus this fall. One such athlete is senior swim team member Audrey Camarillo, who is excited to return to a changed campus but anticipates the difficulties of doing so.
“The most challenging part is going to be social distancing,” Camarillo said. “You can’t have anyone in your apartment or your room, and [Pepperdine is] basically expecting us to be six feet away from anyone at any time. That’s really hard for me as an athlete, because I want to socialize with the other athletes and hang out with my team.”
In light of the pandemic, Housing and Residence Life staff have implemented new measures within campus housing to help mitigate the spread of the virus among those remaining on campus, including placing all students exclusively in apartment-style housing.
Gore said students will be staying alone in single rooms, so apartments normally housing four people will only be holding two to reduce contact between students. Custodial staff will clean students’ bathrooms twice per week, a task apartment residents are usually responsible for, as another new measure against virus spread.
Students are also to be provided with a “cleaning kit, so that they can clean on the days custodial services are not in their apartment spaces,” Gore said. These kits are to be used to sanitize high-touch points such as doorknobs, light switches, handles and anywhere else within the apartment that requires frequent sanitation.
One fixture of on-campus housing is the Resident Adviser (RA). With a greatly reduced student population and the implementation of special measures against the spread of the virus, this position will be conducted much differently than it would be in a typical semester.
“We are not having any undergraduate RAs,” Gore said. “We do have a number of graduate students who in the past have served as student affairs interns, and so they will be working as graduate Resident Assistants this fall.”
The number of RAs on staff this semester will be proportional to the on-campus student population, Gore said.
Gore also said many of the campus facilities normally frequented by students will be either completely restructured or closed to maintain social distance.
The Waves Cafe will be open three times per day, two hours for each meal, and it will serve only grab-and-go dining. Shuttle services are still available to transport students back and forth between their apartments, and the cafeteria and both the TCC and TAC remain open. Outside of these two buildings, all main campus facilities are closed, but Gore said the library could open soon pending county approval.
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