Graphic By Ashley Mowreader
In an April 12 email to Seaver students, Seaver Dean Michael Feltner shared Pepperdine’s plans for the summer and fall, with on-campus classes, in-person events and reopened housing for all students in sight for Malibu.
As COVID-19 cases decline in LA County, Pepperdine predicts more in-person capabilities, with commencement plans for May and summer in-person class offerings. The University continues to expect a fully reopened fall for Malibu.
“Things are improving,” Feltner wrote. “The reasons for optimism continue to increase. They provide hope that soon the pandemic will be behind us and we will be together as a community at Pepperdine University.”
Under LA County guidance, Pepperdine is unable to offer an in-person commencement with out-of-state visitors but is petitioning for the restriction to be lifted, Feltner wrote.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we will receive updated guidance that will remove the residency restriction for commencement ceremonies in the near future,” Feltner wrote.
Seaver will continue to delay a commencement announcement until April 26, Feltner wrote, when administration will finalize plans. Tentative commencement dates remain scheduled for May 21 and 22 at 3 p.m., on Alumni Park for the Class of 2020 and 2021 respectively.
“Delaying a decision regarding the commencement ceremonies enhances the likelihood the May commencement ceremonies may occur, but it also limits the time graduates and guests will have to plan for their attendance,” Feltner wrote. “We ask for your understanding as we explore every possible avenue to provide our graduates the ceremony they deserve at the earliest date possible.”
The majority of summer international programs are suspended, with London, Lausanne, Buenos Aires, Florence, Heidelberg and Uganda suspended today as of Feltner’s email in addition to the faculty-led programs suspended April 2 —Madrid, Jordan and Kenya.
“We are deeply disappointed that these decisions were necessary,” Feltner wrote. “Many factors resulted in this outcome including the inability for travelers to gain entry to most countries; restrictions on gathering size, room occupancy, and essential program activities; mandated quarantine periods; guidance from the CDC; increasing COVID-19 case rates; and slower rates of vaccination progress abroad.”
The Washington, D.C., program will run as planned for summer 2021, the only program to do so. All students enrolled in a summer study abroad program can expect emails later today or tomorrow, according to Feltner’s email.
In-Person Classes in Malibu
Seaver resumed in-person classes the week of April 5, with a variety of labs and lectures open to students at 25% capacity on the Malibu campus. The University will continue to provide in-person classes and potentially expand capacity as the county enters new tiered phases of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
For summer sessions, Pepperdine will offer in-person and remote summer classes and will increase offerings to accommodate the students of suspended international programs.
“Seats remain in most summer classes,” Feltner wrote. “The college also will be adding several new courses to the summer schedule in the coming weeks and students are encouraged to check the schedule of classes frequently.”
For the fall, Pepperdine plans to be fully reopened, on-campus and vaccinated, according to Feltner’s email.
“It is our expectation that the fall semester on the Malibu campus will be enlivened by an overwhelmingly vaccinated group of students, faculty, and staff, who through their actions greatly enhance the safety of the University and surrounding communities,” Feltner said.
With decreasing COVID-19 cases and increased eligibility for vaccinations, the University expects to offer in-person class and full capacity housing, but none of this is finalized yet. Students can continue finalizing their housing assignments and contracts for the fall.
“The room sign-up process for the fall semester began on March 10 for returning students and will continue as long as space is available,” Feltner wrote. “Students with questions on the sign-up process or any housing-related matter may contact HRL at email@example.com. Students are also encouraged to review frequently asked questions on the HRL website.”
For international students, Pepperdine is working to help secure visas for the summer and fall.
“As reported in previous updates, there have been no updates to SEVP’s regulatory guidance since fall 2020,” Feltner wrote. “The college and OISS will continue to provide updates if more information becomes available.”
The University continues to encourage social distancing and safety compliance from the community, Feltner wrote. More communication can be expected as the situations develop; the next scheduled Seaver update will be May 12 regarding summer sessions.
“Let’s finish this race strong and remain diligent—wear a mask, practice social distancing, visit with friends and loved ones outdoors, and get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity,” Feltner concluded his email. “In doing so, we enhance the safety and well-being of ourselves and our neighbors while taking additional steps toward normalcy.”
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