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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions are updated regularly as Pepperdine's Emergency Operations Committee continues to manage the University's COVID-19 response. Students from each school can find additional information, including school-specific FAQs, on their School Updates page, and Human Resources is providing additional guidance to employees with faculty and staff FAQs.

General Information

About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What is the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a coronavirus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The virus can spread person-to-person, causes flu-like symptoms, and has no treatment (doctors are simply treating the symptoms).

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

Individuals who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 are at risk.

Those at elevated risk for COVID-19 include individuals over age 60, pregnant, whose autoimmune system is compromised, or are listed as being at higher risk by the CDC.

Is COVID-19 contagious?

Yes, COVID-19 is highly contagious and is known to spread from person-to-person. Additional details of the virus, such as how it spreads and its incubation period, are still being investigated.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include, but are not limited to, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Am I required to wear a face covering?

Yes, the Los Angeles County Safer At Home Order has been updated and extended. Under the new order, all employees of essential businesses are required to wear a face coverings when they will be in close contact with other employees or the public. Los Angeles County is now also requiring the use of face coverings anytime individuals may be in contact with other individuals outside of members from their households, for example, when grocery shopping and engaging in essential business. Pepperdine community members are encouraged to follow the University's Interim Face Covering Protocol.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

No, but you should wear a face covering in public to protect others. The CDC is now advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Additionally, the WHO recommends the use of masks (N-95 and surgical masks) for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever. The use of masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone (at home or in a healthcare facility).

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary waste of precious resources and mis-use of masks. Use a mask only if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing), have suspected COVID-19 infection with mild symptoms, or are caring for someone with suspected COVID-19 infection. A suspected COVID-19 infection is linked to travel in areas where cases have been reported, or close contact with someone who has travelled in these areas and has become ill.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of your elbow or tissue and maintain a distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Is the COVID-19 outbreak a global public health emergency?

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern and declared it to be a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

What should I do if I think I am beginning to develop symptoms of COVID-19?

The CDC recommends individuals who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, take the following actions:

  • Seek medical care right away, but call the doctor's office or emergency room before going, and tell them of your recent travel and symptoms. If you are an enrolled student, call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316 and select option 3.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not go to class or work until you have been evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (and not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • If someone reports to you that they are feeling sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and they have recently traveled to China or any other area with ongoing transmission of the virus reported by the CDC, encourage them to seek medical care using the steps listed above.

How do I care for myself or someone in my home who has a mild respiratory infection?

Please follow the advice from L.A. County Public Health for those in these situations.

Why is the disease causing the outbreak now being called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, 'CO' stands for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' and 'D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV."

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the WHO best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases.

Pepperdine's Response

Are the Malibu and graduate campuses safe for students, faculty, and staff?

Yes. The University is in regular communication with local and state authorities and continues to follow guidance administered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to promote social distancing, the University transitioned to remote alternative instruction on March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.

Are athletic facilities open for use?

No, all Pepperdine athletic facilities including the pool, tennis courts, gymnasium, and weight room are closed until further notice. 

Are face coverings required when using Stotsenburg Track?

Individuals using the track should have a mask available at all times. Masks may be removed while exercising alone, or when more than 6 feet away from another person. Masks must be worn while interacting with others, including passing others in the track lanes.

Please note that Stotsenburg Track is currently closed to the public and Pepperdine community members residing off campus; however, it is available to current residents of the Malibu campus and Malibu Country Estates.

Are there any COVID-19 cases on a Pepperdine campus?

Pepperdine is aware of 32 reported cases of COVID-19 within the University community of students, faculty and staff. These are individuals who reside in a variety of locations in the Los Angeles area and beyond. The University has received the reports of positive COVID-19 test results either through testing at Pepperdine's Student Health Center or self-reports of those tested elsewhere, or reports of presumed positive cases.

  • The University is aware of no cases of individuals currently living on Pepperdine's campuses who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Thirteen reported cases prompted a potential exposure notification from the University to other members within the community. Pepperdine officials, working closely with the Student Health Center and public health officials, notified those in the Pepperdine community who may have had close contact or potential exposure with the infected individuals and asked them to quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms.
  • Seventeen additional individuals reported positive tests or presumed positive diagnoses of COVID-19 to the University but have not had contact with the Pepperdine community during their contagious period.
  • Sadly, the University also learned that a retired faculty member Professor Emeritus Wayne Strom passed away following complications from COVID-19.
  • Sadly, the University also learned that Caruso School of Law Professor James M. McGoldrick passed away following complications related to COVID-19.

The University intends to provide periodic updates on this webpage as new COVID-19 cases are reported. This count should not be considered comprehensive due to the University's significant reliance upon self-reporting and the quickly changing nature of the outbreak.

What is Pepperdine doing to protect its community?

The University's Emergency Operations Committee is working closely with University stakeholders, as well as an outside infectious disease expert; consulting with International SOS regarding international programs and risk travel assessment; and following advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The University also has a well-developed pandemic emergency response plan in place, updated to reflect current COVID-19 circumstances. The plan is comprehensive in nature and addresses many possible scenarios at all of our campuses with the ultimate goal to best protect our community.

If I am on campus and feel sick, what should I do?

Regular, pragmatic advice still applies. If you are sick, you should not go to class or work until you have been evaluated by a medical professional. The CDC recommends individuals who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, take the following actions:

  • Seek medical care right away, but call the doctor's office or emergency room before going, and tell them of your recent travel and symptoms. If you are an enrolled student, call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316 and select option 3.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not go to class or work until you have been evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (and not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • If someone reports to you that they are feeling sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and they have recently traveled to China or any other area with ongoing transmission of the virus reported by the CDC, encourage them to seek medical care using the steps listed above.

Where can I find additional information from Pepperdine on COVID-19?

This site is being updated regularly as the University learns additional information. Updates from the EOC including their latest decisions are posted to the University's Emergency Information Page.

Reporting a Case

I think I may have COVID-19. Where can I get medical care?

If community members become ill with a fever, sore throat, cough, or have difficulty breathing, they are advised to contact their primary care physician, the Student Health Center, or a local urgent care facility. If seeking care outside of the SHC, individuals are advised to contact Rebecca Roldan, SHC clinic director.

International Programs

Please scroll down for information pertaining to the Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 terms.

Has Pepperdine suspended any international programs?

Yes. Pepperdine has suspended operations for all Seaver College international programs which includes its Shanghai, Florence, Heidelberg, Lausanne, London, Buenos Aires, and Washington DC campuses for the Spring 2020 term. Trips run by the University's four graduate schools have also been impacted and either re-routed to alternate locations or canceled.

How does the University make a decision to suspend a program?

Placing the highest priority on the safety and well-being of the University community, the University's Emergency Operations Committee and Infectious Disease Task Force work with numerous internal departments and outside authorities and to come to consensus on a case-by-case basis for each trip or program. Pepperdine has been using and will continue to utilize a comprehensive analysis based on all available information at this time, including the spread of COVID-19, travel warnings from national and international organizations, continued commercial flight availability, health care and other support infrastructure availability, programming needs, feedback from program directors, and our care for the overall experience. The continued safety and well-being of all participants is our highest priority.

How is Pepperdine addressing the CDC’s guidance to institutions of higher education regarding study-abroad programs?

Pepperdine has been following all guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including its guidance for international programs. That guidance suggests Institutes of Higher Education consider cancelling upcoming international programs and returning students home from existing overseas programs, or, if continuing programs, evaluating risks and taking appropriate proactive measures.

From the onset of this outbreak, Pepperdine’s evaluation process matched the elevated level of scrutiny suggested now by the CDC. Pepperdine has been using and will continue to utilize a comprehensive analysis based on all available information at this time, including the spread of COVID-19, travel warnings from national and international organizations, continued commercial flight availability, health care and other support infrastructure availability, programming needs, feedback from program directors, and our care for the overall experience. The continued safety and well-being of all participants is our highest priority.

What university services can I offer to students who have returned home from IP campuses?

If you believe a student would benefit from counseling, you may refer the student to the Counseling Center at 310.506.4210. Students may make a remote appointment with the counseling center. For all students, the counseling center will provide crisis support by phone on nights and weekends at 310.506.4210.

  For Seaver International Programs Participants - Summer 2020

What is the status of summer 2020 Seaver International Programs?

The University has cancelled all summer 2020 programs due to COVID-19.

Now that my summer international program has been cancelled, can I still take the courses that I was planning to take in summer 2020?

Seaver College is offering many of the courses originally planned for summer international programs during the Malibu summer sessions, either online or in person. If a course was specific to a location or had extremely low enrollment, the Division offering the course has made alternate plans to fulfill those course requirements. If you have a question about a specific summer IP class, please contact the Divisional Dean who oversees that course.

  For Seaver International Programs Participants - Fall 2020

What is the status of fall 2020 Seaver international programs?

Conditions in many of our host countries are improving. Safer-at-home orders are expiring and economies are reopening. As a result, Seaver College is preparing to deliver its 2020–2021 academic year classes in person at six international program locations in a campus environment that is safe for all students, faculty, and staff. As of June 5, 2020, the Shanghai program was suspended for the fall 2020 semester.

There are a number of factors that influence the decision to offer an international program including the spread of COVID-19, travel restrictions, advisories from national and international organizations, commercial flight availability, academic and non-academic programming realities, feedback from host country staff, and our ability to respond to health and safety concerns. With these factors in mind, the University is currently assessing each program location to determine which international programs can be delivered both safely and effectively this fall. Decisions on your program status will be communicated to you in early July, likely on or before July 6, 2020.

Program specific information has been shared with fall international programs students through webinars and emails.

 

What are anticipated program dates and class schedules?

The University is planning to alter the Seaver College academic calendar in the fall semester. To align with the revised calendar, we will begin our fall 2020 international programs in mid-August and adjourn before the Thanksgiving holiday. Program dates will be communicated to students in July after each program's operational status has been determined. At this time, students should prepare for a departure sometime in mid- to late-August and a return on or before November 24.

As a result of this change to the academic calendar, you should not purchase flights until the University has finalized program dates. Additionally, due to immigration restrictions, students cannot arrive early or remain in the host country outside the planned program period. Immigration requirements will also limit personal travel options during the holiday break. Students should also expect a Monday through Friday class schedule throughout the semester at all IP campuses.

What COVID-19 health measures should I expect abroad?

Like campuses throughout the US, our international campuses will be required to meet public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while abroad. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing masks, increased cleaning, adjusted housing arrangements, limited gatherings, and social distancing. These are prudent and necessary steps to protect students, faculty, staff, and our host communities. Additionally, students should plan to conduct a mandatory, 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival in the host country to comply with local government regulations or as imposed by Pepperdine University for health and safety. Self-quarantines will be strictly enforced. IP staff members are currently working to secure facilities and make arrangements for quarantines. Educational activities will be integrated into the quarantine period to help students build community and begin their coursework.

How are International Programs campuses preparing for COVID-19

Each international program location is putting protocols in place in coordination with Pepperdine health and safety personnel as well as local public health officials to safeguard our Pepperdine communities abroad. Preparations include facility adjustments to account for social distancing and cleaning standards, personal travel restrictions, and ensuring adequate health services.

Will I be required to quarantine when I return to the United States?

Quarantine requirements upon return to the U.S. vary and may change over time as determined by the U.S. government. As a precautionary measure, all fall 2020 study abroad students that are U.S. passport holders should expect to quarantine for 14 days at their home upon U.S. reentry.

Should I continue to prepare for fall 2020 and spring 2021 study abroad programs?

As the University plans for fall 2020 international programs, International Programs staff recognize that students may have already incurred personal expenses for passports, immunizations, visas, personal travel, and other items. At this time, we suggest that fall 2020 international program students wait before incurring additional personal expenses until the University has finished exploring program scenarios for the fall semester. Since students are financially responsible for personal expenses incurred in association with program participation, the University asks that students please wait to make personal travel-related purchases until decisions are finalized. Students may trust that the University will communicate final decisions in a time frame that provides you sufficient time to complete all required pre-program activities and purchases. One action students can take at this time is making appointments with their health care professionals for after July 6 in order to have a health professional sign a student's health clearance form.

Due to the adjusted academic calendar, U.S. passport holders are no longer required to obtain a visa for their fall 2020 program. Students should retain their visa materials in case they are needed for a future term. Students who have shipped visa documents or their passport to the IP Office will be sent instructions on when and how those items will be shipped back to them.

Information on the health clearance process and other health-related items is available on our health and safety page. You may contact International SOS for health consults at any time including how to manage prescriptions or other health needs abroad.

Students that plan to study abroad in spring 2021 only should continue to prepare for their study abroad experiences.
 

I have already confirmed my study abroad program for this fall and plan to participate. Should I purchase my flights and what are important things for me to know about personal travel and immigration?

If you are not planning to travel on the group flight, do not purchase flights for your program yet. As stated previously, the academic calendar for all programs may need to be altered and immigration restrictions may constrain your travel dates. Please wait until the University has made and communicated final decisions before purchasing your flights.

Program-specific flight, personal travel, and immigration communications were sent to students on June 26. Students may access these documents by clicking on the name of their program: Buenos Aires, Florence, Heidelberg, Lausanne, London, & Washington, DC.

Should I continue to pursue a student visa for fall 2020 programs?

Due to the adjusted academic calendar, U.S. passport holders are no longer required to obtain a visa for their fall 2020 program. Students should retain their visa materials in case they are needed for a future term. If you previously submitted visa materials to the IP Office, we will retain the materials in a locked fireproof safe until final program plans are announced in early July. If your program will run, we will return your items using the envelope you provided or through a UPS shipment. If your program is suspended, you may choose to pick up your items when you return to campus this fall, or you may request that we return your documents by mail.

Non-US passport holders should refer to the guidance sent to them by IP.

When should I turn in health clearance and 'flight exempt' flight itineraries?

Deadlines for vital documents and health clearances have been adjusted due to fluctuating program dates:

Deadline to submit health clearance Form: July 31, 2020
Deadline to submit exempt flight itinerary: August 7, 2020
Deadline to submit visa copy (Non-U.S. passport holders only): IP staff will communicate directly with students

We will provide revised deadlines for visa copies in the coming weeks. Additional information on the health clearance process and other health-related items is available on our health and safety page. You may contact International SOS for health consults at any time including how to manage prescriptions or other health needs abroad.

How will Seaver College manage my housing and academics in fall 2020 if my program is cancelled?

In the event that your program is suspended before departure, you will have the opportunity to take courses in person at the Malibu campus. We know that many of you are concerned about the availability of course schedules in the event that your program is suspended. To help students feel more secure about their options, Seaver College has agreed to allow students to enroll in equivalent Malibu classes while preserving a record of their IP course enrollment. This enables you to secure a schedule in Malibu while retaining your IP course registration until final decisions are made for fall 2020 IP programs. More information about this option was emailed to you from Seaver College in early July. As a reminder, fall semester add/drop is currently closed and will reopen with priority access granted to fall semester IP students on July 15. Additionally, University housing is required for all first and second year students. As we plan for all possible fall semester scenarios, please know that the IP office is working closely with HRL to ensure that University housing is available for all IP students. Please contact the housing office with your questions at housing@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.7586.

If my fall 2020 program is suspended, can I switch to another fall 2020 program? If I am an academic year student, will I still be able to go abroad in spring 2021 if my program is suspended?

All fall 2020 programs are full at this time, so we are unable to accommodate new students in any of our locations. If there is a change in our capacity that will allow new students to be accepted, we will communicate options to students whose program was suspended. At this time, students whose programs are not suspended for fall 2020 should prepare for the possibility of resuming their studies in Malibu.

Academic year students whose fall 2020 programs are suspended will have the opportunity to sign a new contract for spring 2021 programs. Students that sign a spring 2021 contract are subject to all conditions in the contract including withdrawal fees. Students must sign a new contract in order to confirm their space in spring 2021. Students should carefully note all related deadlines to ensure they sign their new contract by the dates communicated by IP.

Do I have to register for classes on the Malibu campus?

Yes. Seaver College is providing the opportunity for all IP students in the event your program is suspended. We will capture all current enrollment information and all IP students will be removed from IP classes. On July 15th, or the date communicated to you by the University, you should register for classes in Malibu.

When and how do I register for Malibu classes?

More information about this option will be emailed to you from Seaver College in early July. Currently, it is planned for all IP students to be given priority registration on July 15th. You will register for classes the same way you have done so for previous semesters. Identify courses you would like to take, put them in your shopping cart, and enroll at the date and time designated for you. If you need a refresher, you can find instructions here.

How do I know what classes will be offered on the Malibu campus?

Seaver College is currently making updates to Fall 2020 offerings in Malibu and classes should be finalized by July 10th. Additions and room changes may be made after this date. Your registration may not be identical to your IP course registration but there will be sufficient options for you. If you need academic advising or assistance, you can contact your major advisor who is listed on your Wavenet homepage, a OneStop advisor, or Beverly Cawyer Nuehs in the IP Office.

I want to defer my IP enrollment to Spring 2021. What classes should I take in Malibu in fall 2020?

To determine which classes to take, look at your degree audit report to see which GEs or which lower-division major courses are remaining. Make sure to enroll in any required prerequisites for your planned Spring 2021 courses at your IP location, such as HUM 212 if you plan to take HUM 313 abroad. You do not have to take a language course as long as you have completed the 151 level of the applicable language before going abroad. However, we recommend that you continue with your language sequence on campus so that you can maintain your language skills before you go abroad.

May I withdraw from my fall 2020 or academic year 2020-2021 programs at no charge?

University leaders know that the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and its possible effects on your planned international program participation are challenging. Further, University leaders understand that despite their best efforts and assurances, you may be considering resuming your studies in Malibu instead of abroad. To ease some of your anxiety, should you decide to withdraw in advance of the University's final decision regarding fall semester and academic year international programs, you may do so prior to July 1, 2020, without incurring penalty fees. You may also request to defer your study abroad program to the spring 2021 semester prior to July 1, 2020. Deferments for students who previously signed a contract for the full academic year are guaranteed. Deferral requests for students who have signed a contract for fall 2020 only will be considered on a space-available basis. We are committed to supporting as many students as possible, and we are exploring ways to expand our capacity in future terms. Please note that students who choose to defer to spring 2021 and sign a new IP contract are subject to all provisions of the contract, including withdrawal fees. Please contact the International Programs Office for more information about these options.

I am a fall 2020 only student. Can I join a waitlist for a spring 2021 program?

Yes. Please contact IP for more details. Please note that our spring 2021 programs are currently full and spring 2021 acceptances will be sent on a space available basis. We are committed to supporting as many students as possible and we are exploring ways to expand our capacity in future terms.

Can I defer my IP enrollment to summer 2021 or academic year 2021-22?

While the university is creating opportunities for more summer 2021 study abroad opportunities, there is no special application process for fall 2020 or academic year 2021 students. Students who wish to apply for a summer 2021 or academic year 2021-22 program may do so when applications open on August 17, 2020. Students will need to complete the normal application process to be considered for one of these programs.

Please note that students studying abroad in spring 2021 will need to consult with IP prior to applying for a summer 2021 program to ensure that immigration restrictions will not restrict them from attending their program of choice.

Students should consult with IP and an academic advisor to determine which programs would be the most beneficial for their academic plans.

Can I study abroad during my junior year?

Possibly. Because of course sequencing requirements, students should work individually with their academic advisors to determine whether or not studying abroad during their junior year is a possibility. Students should ensure that they can take at least 12 units per semester while abroad after reviewing the course schedule for the 2021-2022 academic year and that they can complete major courses during their sophomore year in order to stay on track to graduate as planned.

What happens if I decide to withdraw after the July 1 deadline?

After July 1, the withdrawal penalty fees as stated in each student's fall 2020/academic year 2020-21 contract will be reinstated. This means that students who withdraw, become ineligible, or who request to defer after July 1, 2020 will be charged 100% of the IP Charge. The IP Charge consists of the room and board charge for the fall 2020 term, plus the IP fee for the fall 2020 term. Please refer to the chart below to understand your withdrawal fee.

TermFlight StatusWithdrawal Fee
Academic Year 2020-21,
Fall Only 2020 (All Programs)
Group $12,360
Academic Year 2020-21,
Fall Only 2020
(All Programs Except Washington, D.C.)
Exempt $11,140
Academic Year 2020-21, Fall Only 2020 (Washington, D.C.) Exempt $11,860

Students have the right to appeal for withdrawal fees to be reduced on their student account. A University committee led by the Seaver Dean's Office regularly reviews and makes decisions on a case-by-case basis

I am an academic year 2020-2021 student. What happens if I decide to withdraw after my first semester abroad?

Students who request to withdraw from an academic year program after July 1, 2020 will be charged withdrawal fees specified in their international programs contract. Any changes or adjustments to this policy will be communicated to students directly.

What will happen if I attend my program and it is suspended mid-semester?

In the event that a program must be suspended mid-semester students will not return to Malibu but will instead complete their IP courses remotely.

Can family and friends visit me while I am studying abroad?

Family and friends are welcome to visit with students during the fall semester as long as they follow all institutional and governmental public health regulations. To safeguard the health and safety of our community, only Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff are permitted to enter IP facilities this fall. Please be aware that all visitors will be subject to self-quarantine requirements upon arrival. In order to adequately support students throughout their experience, the University is not able to provide quarantine facilities or support to family and friends this fall. Furthermore, students will not be able to visit with family or friends who are not enrolled in the program during the quarantine period. Family and friends may be subject to quarantine restrictions upon their return to their home country.

Can I travel during the winter break?

Due to immigration restrictions, students will need to carefully plan any travel taking place before and after each term. Immigration requirements vary by country, and students should conduct research to ensure they can travel to their intended destination and remain eligible to re-enter their host country in a subsequent term. Students can consult with their local program staff or the IP Malibu office for additional details.

What will my personal travel and Educational Field Trip look like in the fall?

Pepperdine's international campus sites were specifically selected for their rich cultural heritage. Programs are designed to provide students with valuable opportunities to explore their surroundings, engage with the local community, develop language skills, and appreciate the vibrant host cultures that welcome our students each year. In light of the evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, local travel and flight restrictions at each IP site are likely to be in place throughout the fall semester. As a result, Educational Field Trips will take place in the program's host country. This will give students the opportunity to have an in-depth cultural experience in the local culture during the semester. Additionally, a fall travel break will not be included in the IP class schedule. This is consistent with the scheduling models of many other US institutions and ensures that students will have sufficient class time to earn academic credit during the program. Personal weekend travel outside of the host country may also be restricted according to guidelines set forth by host country agencies and Pepperdine University. Such restrictions will be strictly enforced. These restrictions enable students to have high quality experiences locally while safeguarding the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and our host communities.

How will I be oriented for my program?

Orientation is a critical part of the IP experience. Once we have finalized decisions on each program, IP will send a schedule of virtual orientation sessions that provide students with the opportunity to ask questions, interact with ambassadors and alumni, learn more about their program, and prepare for the IP experience. In addition, you will receive and in-depth orientation at your program site.

Will Washington D.C. students be able to intern in the fall 2020 semester?

Most organizations in DC have indicated that they plan to offer internships in the Fall term, but some may start later than normal or may switch to remote (or partially remote) internships.

DC program staff are available to help students secure Fall internships and will be sharing internship opportunities throughout the summer. However, due to the unusual circumstances, IP will waive the internship requirement for any Fall 2020 students who are unable to secure an internship. Students who do not complete an internship will not receive internship credit, but they are able to register for any other DC program course (students must maintain at least 12 credits). Students with internships will still participate in the internship course (WAIN 495).

Contact Beverly Cawyer Nuhs at beverly.cawyer@pepperdine.edu to discuss your options.

I was enrolled in the Shanghai fall 2020 program and it was cancelled. What are my next steps?

Students that were enrolled in the fall 2020 Shanghai program should take the following steps:

  • Create an Alternative Course Plan - You will be automatically withdrawn from your program and your fall IP courses. Please allow 10 business days for this change to take place on your online course schedule. Seaver College is committed to ensuring your continued progress toward degree completion by providing course offerings that fulfill degree requirements in both general education and academic major programs for all international program students on the Malibu campus. The add/drop period will reopen for students on July 15 and students whose IP program has been suspended for the fall will receive a priority for class registration. Prior to that date, we encourage you to reach out to your faculty advisor, your academic division, or onestop@pepperdine.edu for academic advising assistance.
  • Sign Up for On-campus Housing - University housing is required for all first- and second-year students. As we plan for all possible scenarios regarding the fall semester, please know that the IP office is working closely with Housing and Residence Life (HRL) and University leadership to ensure that University housing is available for all IP students. HRL will contact you to discuss housing options. Additionally, you can begin the room reservation process by accessing the housing portal. Please contact housing@pepperdine.edu for further assistance.
  • Consider Deferring Shanghai Enrollment to Spring 2021 - At this time, Seaver College plans to move forward with all Spring 2021 IP programs. Please note that a final decision on spring 2021 programs will be made late this calendar year. As a result, a deferment to spring 2021 is contingent upon University decisions. Students may only defer to the spring 2021 term and not to summer 2021 or future academic years.

    • If you enrolled as an academic year student in the Shanghai program and would like to defer enrollment to spring 2021, you must sign a new spring 2021 IP contract no later than July 30, 2020. This contract will be available to sign in the WaveNet International Programs module on June 10, 2020, and must be signed no later than July 30, 2020, in order to confirm your space. Please note that students who choose to defer to spring 2021 and sign the new contract are subject to all provisions of the contract, including withdrawal fees.
    • If you were a fall-only Shanghai student, you may be interested in switching to the spring 2021 semester. While the spring 2021 program is currently full, we are committed to supporting as many students as possible, and we are exploring ways to expand our capacity in future terms. Please contact our office for additional information on deferring or reapplying to spring 2021.
  • Consider Applying for a Future IP Program - Applications for summer 2021 and academic year 2021–2022 IP programs will open on August 17, 2020. If you need help selecting or applying for a future program, please contact international.programs@pepperdine.edu.
  • International Students - Please notify OISS personnel of your adjusted plans for fall 2020.
  • Visas - If you are a fall-only 2020 student and do not plan to reapply to spring 2021, no further action is required. If you are an academic year 2020–2021 student and choose to sign a new contract to defer to spring 2021, or if you are a fall 2020 student and wish to reapply to spring 2021, we will retain your visa submissions and will move forward with obtaining your Fudan materials at a later time.

Whom does Pepperdine contact with updates?

Pepperdine staff members will contact students directly via email with enrollment and study abroad preparations information as well as updating this page with information.

  For Seaver International Programs Participants - Spring 2021

Should I continue to prepare for spring 2021 study abroad programs?

Students that plan to study abroad in spring 2021 only should continue to prepare for their study abroad experience.

Whom does Pepperdine contact with updates?

Pepperdine staff members will contact students directly via email with enrollment and study abroad preparations information as well as updating this page with information.

  For Graduate International Programs Participants

How has COVID-19 impacted graduate international programs?

International trips at each of Pepperdine's schools have been impacted by COVID-19. For questions about a specific graduate program trip please contact your graduate school.

Travel Plans

Should I notify Pepperdine of current or future travel plans?

Yes, the University is monitoring travel and subsequent return to campus. Please alert your supervisor of any planned travel, complete this form, and contact the Office of Emergency Services with any questions. Note all non-essential University international and domestic travel for employees has been cancelled or postponed through June 30.
 

Has COVID-19 resulted in any additional travel restrictions from Pepperdine?

Yes, Pepperdine is restricting all non-essential international and domestic travel for employees through June 30.

Additionally, the University has adopted additional Interim Travel Restrictions in addition to its International Travel Policy for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to COVID-19, any University international or domestic travel requires the trip to be specifically reviewed and approved by the EOC.

Pepperdine community members should be aware that the CDC has issued several Travel Health Notices for various countries and the US State Department has issued a global Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory.

What travel restrictions have countries put in place?

Travelers should be aware that many countries have implemented strict screening procedures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and that upon re-entry to the US after travel, they may be placed under a 14-day quarantine. Restrictions for those traveling to the US are available from the CDC here.

How are travel restrictions affecting Pepperdine employees?

Pepperdine is restricting all non-essential international and domestic travel for employees through June 30. In the event of personal travel abroad, the University will not provide assistance to community members trying to reenter the U.S. and, upon return, will restrict returning travelers from coming to campus for 14 days. Employees should coordinate vacation days or telecommuting options with their supervisors in advance. Exceptions to the restriction will not be granted. Please contact the Office of Emergency Services at 310.506.4996 for questions or assistance.

Returning to Campus After Traveling

Should I visit a doctor when I arrive back in the United States?

Out of an abundance of caution, due to the higher risk of individuals who have recently traveled to countries with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice for COVID-19 having exposure to COVID-19 compared to the current risk of a family member having some other form of exposure, community members may want to take certain measures for the first 2 weeks after return to decrease risk of exposure within the family or with friends in the remote case that the recent traveler was exposed or becomes ill. The extent to which you follow the suggestions below depends on your own circumstances.

  • The recent traveler has their own room if possible.
  • The recent traveler has their own bathroom if possible (or doesn't share with an immune-compromised family member).
  • Do not share food/drinks or items such as towels.
  • Consider that individuals who have recently traveled should not prepare food for the rest of the family (note: taking out the garbage would still be fine!)
  • Recent travelers(and others) wash hands frequently, especially before eating.
  • Cover cough/sneeze with tissue or elbow, not hands. Throw the tissue away immediately, then wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces, e.g. computer keyboard, doorknobs, light switches, railings, with any common household disinfectant or bleach and water solution. Note that the virus is not thought to survive long on surfaces. The exact time it survives is not known since this is a new virus and time varies by surface material, temperature, humidity, etc. However, note that cleaning surfaces several times per day has been shown to decrease other viruses in an area, including other coronaviruses.
  • Limit the recent traveler's contact with large numbers of people or crowded public places. (This is why students are not allowed on the Malibu campus, even if they live nearby, for 2 weeks after their return).
  • Keep some distance (6 feet) between individuals who have recently traveled and any immune-compromised family member. 

Individuals who have recently traveled to a country with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Advisory for COVID-19 or any community member who becomes ill with fever, sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing should call their doctor or nearest Urgent Care for advice and let them know the travel history. Ill recent travelers should not go to a medical facility without calling first. To limit the chance of becoming ill with some other virus, follow instructions above about handwashing and not sharing food, but also get adequate sleep, drink adequate fluids.

For Pepperdine Community Members in Southern California

What university services can I offer to students who have returned home from IP campuses?

If you believe a student would benefit from counseling, you may refer the student to the Counseling Center at 310.506.4210. Students residing near the Malibu campus may make an in-person appointment with the counseling center. For students away from the Malibu campus, the center will provide a list of in-person resources in the student’s area and a referral to a provider when necessary. For all students, the counseling center will provide crisis support by phone on nights and weekends at 310.506.4210.

What is the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health saying about COVID-19?

For the latest information about Los Angeles County's "Safer At Home" public health order and details about the county's COVID-19 response, visit the Los Angeles County COVID-19 website.

Is the University complying with Los Angeles County Public Health’s Social Distancing Protocol?

Yes. The University is complying with all measures required by the Social Distancing Protocol, including those that protect employee and student health, prevent crowds from gathering, keep people at least six feet apart, prevent unnecessary contact, and increase sanitization.

Staying Healthy

What steps can I take to stay healthy?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and immediately throw the tissue in the trash. Then go wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils with others, even when neither of you are showing symptoms.
  • Get your flu shot if you have not already done so this flu season.
  • The CDC does not recommend individuals wear face masks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people exhibiting symptoms and medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. However, the CDC is advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
  • Travelers should take precautions such as avoiding contact with sick people, animal markets, and products from animals such as uncooked meat.

You can also share this flyer for tips on staying healthy during the cold and flu season.

Anyone with concerns about their health or symptoms they are experiencing can call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316, option 3. The Student Health Center continues to offer risk assessments for those with recent international travel or who have had close contact with someone who recently traveled internationally at no charge to all members of the Pepperdine community. Call the health center to make an appointment.

Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Resources

What other resources are available?

More information and regular updates about the coronavirus can be found on the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and L.A. County Public Health websites.

Who can I talk to for support at Pepperdine?

Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff benefit from a community of care and compassion. During these times please remember the following resources are also available to you:

  • Anyone with concerns about their health or symptoms they are experiencing can call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316, option 3. The Student Health Center continues to offer risk assessments for those with recent international travel or who have had close contact with someone who recently traveled internationally at no charge to all members of the Pepperdine community. Call the health center to make an appointment.
  • The Seaver College Student Care Team (SCT) can provide materials and other kinds of support to students in need. If you need assistance, contact La Shonda Coleman, Andrea Harris, or Cassie Horton.
  • Students seeking counseling may contact the Counseling Center at 310.506.4210. Students residing near the Malibu campus may make an in-person appointment with the counseling center. For students away from the Malibu campus, the center will provide a list of in-person resources in the student's area and a referral. For all students, the counseling center will provide crisis support by phone nights and weekends.
  • For pastoral care, students may contact our chaplain Sara Barton at sara.barton@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.427557. The chaplain's office is happy to offer remote care for students who are away from the Malibu campus.
  • Students who need accessibility accommodations may contact the Office of Student Accessibility by email or at 310.506.6500.
  • Faculty and staff may access counseling services through their Employee Assistance Program. Details are available on the HR website or by contacting HR at 310.506.4397.

 


 

School-Specific FAQs

Each school is updating information, including frequently asked questions for its students, faculty, and staff, on its School Updates page. Questions not answered on these pages should be directed to each school's dean's office.

 


 

Faculty and Staff FAQs

Human Resources is updating frequently asked questions for University faculty and staff as new information becomes available. Questions not answered here should be directed to the employee's supervisor or department head.

Employees

  Business Continuity

When will staff begin telecommuting?

Pepperdine is currently in a critical support personnel staffing model in which departments work remotely except for essential tasks that must be handled on-site. All employees who can perform their work from home should work remotely. All designated critical support personnel should contact department supervisors directly for instructions. It is expected and presumed that all supervisors will maintain the level of service needed for their departments to remain operational. All employees are reminded to coordinate work schedules and logistics with their supervisors moving forward.

How do I know if I am identified as Critical Support Personnel (CSP)? What if I am identified as CSP and cannot report to work?

Supervisors should communicate with all Critical Support Personnel to ensure they are aware of their role and responsibilities. If you are unsure if you are designated as CSP, please ask your supervisor. CSP may be personally impacted by the outbreak (for example, self-isolation due to travel, caring for children during school closures, elderly family members, and those at risk with weakened immune systems, among others), in which case they should speak with their supervisor and discuss the possibility of working remotely or reassigning CSP responsibilities to someone else (please reference the University's Interim Telecommuting Exceptions).
 

What if I cannot perform my job duties remotely?

Supervisors are tasked with ensuring an appropriate workload for their employees. If employees are unable to perform all or part of their duties remotely, supervisors are expected to reassign work from the department or major area and notify Human Resources if some of their team members have bandwidth to potentially help other areas of the University. Human Resources is available to speak further and help facilitate this.

How do I retrieve mail while telecommuting?

Employees who need to have timely mail forwarded to their home via USPS may complete a Mail Forward Request form with Mail Services.

Will I receive a telecommunications allowance for the time I am working remotely at home?

As of April 1, a monthly COVID-19 technology stipend of $38 will be provided to full-time employees working remotely to cover a reasonable portion of cell phone, internet, and other technology costs of working remotely. Eligible employees may not already be receiving a telecommunications allowance and may not be paid by emergency pay for any time during the period. Employees should work with their supervisors to determine their eligibility. If an employee is deemed eligible, the Covid-19 Technology Stipend request form in Etrieve must be completed and signed by the employee, supervisor, Budget Manager, and Vice President.

If employees have not been diagnosed with Coronavirus or asked to quarantine/isolate by a medical professional, but express concern about reporting to work, do they still have to report to work?

Employees should speak with their supervisors about their concerns, including those who are personally impacted by the outbreak. Because the University has not determined that there is an imminent threat to the Pepperdine community and in order to maintain essential operations, some departments maintain limited on-campus presence.

What resources are available if I have concerns about working either on campus or remotely?

Faculty and staff are encouraged to speak with their supervisor about concerns working on campus or remotely, first to determine if the concerns may be addressed through an alternate work arrangement (such as, staggered work shifts on campus, remote work, or alternate shift hours), while still meeting the needs of the department. Faculty and staff may also submit medical documentation with requests from their doctor, which leads to an interactive discussion. If an alternate work arrangement or requests cannot be met, then employees may request a Faculty COVID-19 Leave or a Staff COVID-19 Leave effective August 1, 2020.

What do I do if I need to self-isolate for 14 days due to business or personal travel?

All faculty and staff should follow the University's guidance on travel and the return to campus. Please speak with your supervisor regarding expectations and the possibility of remote work during a period of isolation.

When will I be expected to return to campus? When will I be told and will I receive advanced notice?

Due to the fluidity of this situation, the University will keep faculty and staff apprised of new developments. While employees should remain flexible due to Pepperdine's changing needs, the University plans to provide advanced notice before all employees are expected to return to work so that faculty and staff can make the necessary adjustments.

Can I still come to campus to work?

Faculty and staff are not restricted from entering campus. However, to promote social distancing, all employees who are able to work remotely should work from home. Only employees completing essential tasks that must be done on site should enter campus.

Can we continue to work with and employ our student workers?

Potentially yes. Per a message to supervisors from Student Employment, all in-person student employment has been suspended for the remainder of the spring term effective March 16. If student workers can complete their tasks remotely, they may continue to work remotely for the remainder of the spring term. Please contact Student Employment for information on exception requests for in-person employment and/or financial needs and concerns related to student employment.

  For Faculty

Can faculty members teach online classes from their classrooms on campus?

It will be up to the individual professors where they will teach their online courses. If they teach from a classroom, it will be via their laptop computer, not the classroom computers. Please note all graduate campuses are closed but faculty and staff have access to these campuses to complete their essential work. 

  Health and Well-being

What should I do if I am not feeling well or may have been exposed to COVID-19?

Any person who is notified that they may have been exposed to an individual who may have or has COVID-19, or any person who is exhibiting symptoms (such as a fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing), should contact their primary care physician or local urgent care facility immediately and not report to work. The employee should also notify the Student Health Center (SHC) by phone at 310.506.4316, option 3.

If you are experiencing symptoms unrelated to COVID-19, please do not come to work. Contact your primary care physician or local urgent care facility rather than the SHC.

Is it unsafe for employees to report to campus?

National, state, and local public health agencies have not stated that it is unsafe for employees to report to work. However, to help prevent the spread of the outbreak, the University encourages all non Critical Support Personnel (CSP) to work remotely. CSP are encouraged to practice healthy habits, including: maintaining a distance of six feet from others; utilizing phone and video conference features as alternative methods of communication when possible; and limiting in-person meetings to no more than ten people.

Should I work remotely because I live with a vulnerable family member?

Potentially yes. Employees are given flexibility in either taking time from work or working remotely due to being personally impacted by COVID-19, such as living with a vulnerable family member. Speak with your supervisor about the possibility of performing some or all of your duties remotely.

I am scheduled to go on medical leave in the next month. Will I be affected in any way?

No. You may continue working with your doctor regarding all medical needs.

  Pay

The "Determining Employee Pay Codes" flowchart outlines appropriate payment and timecard instructions regarding various scenarios affecting faculty and staff during the outbreak.

How am I paid if I cannot work because I do not feel well?

  • If you are unable to work due to the testing, isolation, or treatment of COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you may file a Disability Insurance claim for lost wages. Please contact Human Resources for additional information and instructions on completing your timecard.
  • If you are unable to work due to illness unrelated to COVID-19, you may use sick accruals as appropriate; vacation accruals are available when sick accruals are depleted.

What if I am unable to report to work because I am self-quarantined?

  • Speak with your supervisor about the possibility of performing some or all of your duties remotely.
  • If you are unable to report to work due to self-quarantine at the direction of the University and state (certified by a medical professional), please file a Disability Insurance claim for lost wages, which you may supplement first with sick pay and then donated sick pay up to 160 hours. Please speak with Human Resources for additional information and instructions on completing your timecard.

What if I am unable to report to work because I am caring for an ill family member?

If you are unable to work remotely due to caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), please file for Paid Family Leave (six weeks of paid time per twelve months), which you may supplement first with sick pay, then donated sick pay up to 160 hours, and finally vacation pay. Please contact Human Resources for additional information and instructions on completing your timecard.

What if I am unable to report to work because my child's school has closed?

  • Speak with your supervisor about the possibility of performing some or all of your duties remotely.
  • If you are unable to perform your duties remotely, you may first use sick pay, then donated sick pay up to 160 hours, followed by vacation pay, and finally Emergency Pay through July 31, 2020. Please contact Human Resources for additional information and instructions on completing your timecard.

What if I am willing and able to work, but some or all of my normal duties cannot be performed remotely to compensate for my normal number of hours?

  • Speak with your supervisor about the possibility of temporary alternate assignments for the University.
  • If you cannot complete your normal duties remotely and, after your supervisor verifies that there are no alternative assignments for the University for you to complete, you may use Emergency Pay through July 31, 2020.

How do I complete my timecard during this time?

  • Non-exempt (hourly) employees should record their actual hours worked on their time cards. For hours that cannot be worked remotely, either all or a portion of a regularly scheduled shift should be appropriately coded with sick accruals, vacation accruals, or Emergency Pay. For example, an employee who is regularly scheduled to work eight hours, but is only able to work five hours remotely, may record five hours of regular work pay and three hours of Emergency Pay to complete the eight-hour shift.
  • Exempt (salaried) employees should only use the appropriate codes (for example, sick and vacation accruals) for full days of missed regularly scheduled work due.
  • Speak with Human Resources about completing your timecard when filing a claim for Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave.

How do I fill in my timecard if I need to self-isolate due to business or personal travel?

  • Non-exempt (hourly) employees should record their actual hours worked on their time cards. For hours that cannot be worked remotely, either all of or a portion of a regularly scheduled shift may be coded with the appropriate sick or vacation accrual codes from the drop-down menu in Kronos. For example, an employee regularly scheduled to work eight hours, but only able to work five hours remotely, should record five hours of regular work pay and three hours of sick or vacation time to complete the eight-hour shift.
  • Exempt (salaried) employees should only use the appropriate sick or vacation codes for full days of missed regularly scheduled work due to the outbreak.

Can I donate sick time to another employee?

The Major Disaster Donated Sick Pay policy is currently available for faculty and staff. Employees may donate up to 40 hours (with restrictions); and employees may be eligible to receive up to 160 hours of donated sick pay due to hardship caused by COVID-19. Please visit the Human Resources website and contact Human Resources to learn additional details about this policy. 


Supervisors

  Business Continuity

When will staff begin telecommuting?

Pepperdine is currently in a critical support personnel staffing model in which departments work remotely except for essential tasks that must be handled on-site. All employees who can perform their work from home should work remotely. All designated critical support personnel should contact department supervisors directly for instructions. It is expected and presumed that all supervisors will maintain the level of service needed for their departments to remain operational. All employees are reminded to coordinate work schedules and logistics with their supervisors moving forward.

How can I determine Critical Support Personnel and telecommuters on my team?

Because the University is in Critical Support Personnel Mode, supervisors must determine those needed to report to campus to maintain essential business functions and those who can work remotely. The University encourages all non Critical Support Personnel to work remotely. Please review The Supervisor's Guide to Essential Work and Telecommuting to help determine Critical Support Personnel and telecommuters on your team.

Can I continue the hiring process for my open position during this time?

Potentially, yes. Supervisors are encouraged to use discernment in the hiring process during this extraordinary time, during which students are engaged in distance learning and only critical support personnel are on campus. Supervisors should contact Human Resources if they would like to proceed in the hiring process during this time.

  Tips for Supervisors

While telecommuting allows business continuity and employee flexibility in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, it also disrupts team dynamics, normal communication, and social connection. Especially during periods of high stress, social connection is vital for good health and important for productivity. Though we may not be engaged in face-to-face encounters, the Pepperdine community must still remain strong and connected, known for its high-touch service and concern for each person.

Below are suggestions on how to adapt your supervisory style in a telecommuting situation. Based on a recent Harvard Business Review article, these suggestions are meant to help us remain accountable, connected, and in relationship with one another.

Normalize the new work environment

  • There may be new and unexpected challenges from working at home, which can result in potential misunderstandings. Without taking time to educate one another on their new work environment, team members can make malevolent assumptions about their colleagues (the Fundamental Attribution Error is the tendency to negatively attribute someone's behavior as a personality trait, without taking into consideration the impact of situational factors). Speak with your team about the importance of maintaining benevolent assumptions and recognizing biased stereotypes.
  • Consider taking a virtual tour of people's workspaces to understand their context, such as barking dogs or noisy trucks. Acknowledge non-traditional workspaces and accompanying distractions (such as children coming home from school or working with roommates in the house). Develop understanding and empathy for team members' personal context (without feelings of privacy invasion) to be sensitive and accommodating to one another's constraints.

Humanize communication

  • Many employees are used to working around people, meeting with people, and speaking with them on an ad-hoc basis throughout the day. They may feel an abrupt transition as they work from home without consistent human interaction.
  • Instead of relying solely on email communication, ensure that you also communicate via phone and video-conferencing. This added human connection will help alleviate potential feelings of isolation, boost morale, and read people's emotions. Additionally, real-time interaction can improve decision making by allowing for debate, conversation, and increased participation.

Schedule regular meetings

  • It is important to dedicate time to meet consistently, both with your direct reports and your entire team, and perhaps more regularly than normal. Especially as employees transition to a telecommuting assignment, ensure that you are available to answer questions, provide insight, and connect with each person. Regularly scheduled meetings also help ensure that people are not accidentally excluded or are out of sight, out of mind.
  • Give employees regular feedback on their performance and behavior. This can establish some normalcy in the new work environment, as well as help resolve unidentified challenges during telecommuting. In addition to setting clear expectations, it is important to patiently guide employees as they acclimate to new work routines.

Create interactions through the virtual water cooler

  • Employees who are not used to working remotely may feel isolated or lonely, which can decrease productivity and undermine team cohesion. Increasing communication during this time is crucial not only for work efficiencies, but also to care for the needs of each person.
  • Increase communication by having daily team check-in meetings and sending regular status updates on projects. At the beginning of team meetings, make time for small talk and personal updates. Consider remote bonding activities to keep team camaraderie intact.

Tend to the needs of each of your team members

  • Ensure that you communicate when you are available for questions and assistance, apart from regularly scheduled meetings.
  • Take the time to connect with each person so that no one feels left out or unduly isolated.
  • Monitor the workload of each team member. If staff are unable to complete all of their duties remotely, help identify work from within your department or major area that can be reassigned to them. Human Resources is available to discuss opportunities and provide clarification.

 

Support Resources

  Can I still access spiritual support resources during this time?

Yes. Beginning, Wednesday, March 18, the Office of the Chaplain will host weekly gatherings for online prayer and encouragement. Pepperdine employees are invited to come together for Zoom Chapel Wednesdays from 9 AM to 9:20 AM.

If you are interested in reading scripture, praying, or offering reflections please contact University chaplain Sara Barton.

  I am seeking spiritual counseling. Who can I contact?

You can contact University chaplain Sara Barton at sara.barton@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.4275.

  I would like to speak with a licensed counselor. How can I do so?

The University acknowledges the emotional impact the COVID-19 situation might have on those in our community. The Health Advocate EAP+Work/Life program is a core benefit available to all participating employees through your benefit package. HealthAdvocate gives you access to licensed professional counselors who can provide short-term phone, video, or in-person counseling to help you better cope with personal, family, and work issues. Work/Life specialists are also available to help you locate the right support service, from childcare and eldercare to legal help. Visit the HealthAdvocate website or call 866.799.2728 for assistance.