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Seaver College Spring 2021 | March 16 Update

March 16, 2021

As we enter the sixth week of the spring semester at Seaver College, I continue to offer my best wishes to our students and their families. As you are likely aware, we continue to receive positive news related to the pandemic, local conditions in Los Angeles County, and vaccination progress. Consequently, I am hopeful that the updates provided in this message provide you a sense of optimism for the future and an assurance that Pepperdine University and Seaver College are doing our very best to restore all permissible activities at each University campus as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Conditions

Since my last communication on March 1, COVID-19 infection rates have continued to decline nationally and in Los Angeles County. Currently, L.A. County has an adjusted case rate of 4.1 new cases per 100,000 residents. Based on declining case rates and increased vaccination progress, L.A. County moved to the "substantial," or red tier, of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Monday, March 15. In the red tier, Seaver College will begin the following new activities.

Limited In-Person Lecture Classes

In consultation with faculty, Seaver College has determined that a select group of classes will resume with in-person instruction on or after April 6, 2021. Students enrolled in lecture classes that will transition to optional in-person instruction will be contacted by the course faculty member with specific instructions beginning as early as March 18. Most notifications will occur between March 18 and March 23, and they will conclude by March 26. As further explained below, all classes that offer optional in-person instruction will continue to provide simultaneous online or remote instruction.

Laboratory, Art, Studio, and Similar Classes

Also in consultation with faculty, Seaver College has determined that a select group of laboratory, art, studio, and similar classes will resume with optional in-person instruction on or after April 6, 2021. Students enrolled in laboratory or similar classes that will transition to optional in-person instruction will also be contacted by the course faculty member with specific instructions beginning as early as March 18. Most notifications will occur between March 18 and March 23, and they will conclude by March 26. In line with lecture classes, all laboratory or similar classes offering optional in-person instruction will continue to provide simultaneous online or remote instruction.

Safety and Compliance

For all classes that transition to an optional in-person instructional modality, the University will make all necessary preparations to ensure full compliance with state and county guidelines. The measures will limit the maximum number of individuals present in each learning space, require the wearing of face coverings at all times, and maintain a six-foot social distance space among all present. All learning spaces have been configured to support compliance.


At this time, Seaver College expects that approximately 15 to 20 percent of all courses offered in the spring 2021 semester will transition to optional in-person instruction beginning April 6. Each class that transitions will use either the Classroom Variable (CV) or Mixed Variable (MV) modality (see October 16 message for a description of each modality). Both instructional modalities allow for simultaneous in-person and online student enrollment. These flexible teaching modalities permit all currently enrolled students to continue in their current classes. Students who choose to attend in person may do so; students who either choose not to attend classes or are unable to do so will continue to participate using remote or online learning.

There is a possibility that some classes may transition to in-person instruction after April 6 and later in the spring semester. Should this occur, all students enrolled in the class will be contacted by the course faculty member with updated information and instructions.

All classes that do not transition to an in-person instructional modality will continue to be delivered exclusively using the Online Variable (OV) instructional modality.

Required Student Action

The college's decision to offer some spring semester classes using in-person instructional modalities does NOT require students to return to campus. Students currently living on or near the Malibu campus may avail themselves of this new opportunity at their discretion. Students not currently living in the Southern California area may wish to consider returning to an area near campus or seek a hardship exemption to reside on campus (see the section on Housing below for more details). International students should review the section on International Students late in this message and contact the Office of International Student Services with questions regarding their ability to enter the US. All classes will continue to be offered with an online option to support students who choose not to attend in-person classes or are unable to do so.

Students receiving an email from their instructor informing them that a class will transition to in-person instruction need only follow the instructions provided by their faculty member. No additional actions are required. Students should not alter their course schedule; the add/drop date has passed and no changes to course schedules, other than withdrawal with a W, are permitted.


Despite the transition to the red tier in L.A. County, the county continues to require that campus housing is closed with limited exceptions. All students received a message from Connie Horton, the vice president for student affairs, on last Friday, March 12, with details about the hardship exception process. If you are facing academic challenges due to remote instruction or you believe your current living situation is impacting your well-being, please carefully review the message from Vice President Horton and consider applying for an exception.

Housing information for both summer 2021 sessions will be provided in a future update.

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. Students with questions on the sign-up process or any housing-related matter may contact the HRL office at housing@pepperdine.edu. Students are also encouraged to review frequently asked questions on the HRL website.

Future Communication

Pepperdine continues to closely monitor conditions and remains in discussion with L.A. County Public Health officials. Should there be a future change in status that allows the University to further increase the number and type of permissible activities on the Malibu campus, Seaver College will update the community as soon as reasonably possible. The college's next scheduled communication regarding the spring 2021 semester will occur on or before April 12. Until then the college will continue to use all communication channels including email, the Navigate app, mobile text messaging, and Student Government Association platforms.

May 2021 Commencement Ceremony

Seaver College and Pepperdine leadership recently received updated guidance related to outdoor events in L.A. County after April 1. We anticipate specific guidance regarding university commencement ceremonies shortly. We are presently reviewing all scenarios related to the spring 2021 commencement ceremony and plan to distribute a detailed communication to all prospective Class of 2021 graduates on or before March 26. We encourage all students and families to delay making non-refundable travel arrangements until reviewing future updates.

Summer 2021 Sessions

Late last week, Pepperdine University received positive forward-looking guidance that on-campus residency will likely be permissible in the June and July summer sessions. For this reason, Seaver College is planning for in-person classes in both sessions and possibly some online classes during the July summer session. Students interested in enrolling in one or both of the college's summer sessions are encouraged to check the course schedule frequently in WaveNet as new courses are being added regularly. Students with questions concerning summer school enrollment should reach out to OneStop or their academic advisor.

Fall 2021 Semester

Last week the University also received forward-looking guidance that on-campus residency will likely be permitted without restrictions in the fall 2021 semester. While we await definitive guidance later this summer, we fully expect to have all students back on our Malibu and international program campuses this August. Further, we are preparing to deliver Seaver College classes in person during the fall semester at every campus site.

Throughout the spring and summer, we will continue to keep returning and new students updated on our plans.

International Programs

After months of careful consideration, Pepperdine University made the difficult decision to permanently close the Shanghai international program effective July 31, 2021. The decision was announced on March 10.

The Office of International Programs continues to monitor the health, safety, and regulatory conditions at each of our six international campus locations. At this time, we continue to plan to deliver all summer 2021 international programs. However, we strongly advise students to avoid incurring non-refundable expenses—medical exams, immunizations, visa, or elective travel—until a final decision is made regarding each program. For June session programs, participants can anticipate final operational decisions to be issued no later than April 9, eight weeks before the start of the program. Students enrolled in July session programs can expect a final decision no later than May 7. In all cases, we will issue updates or decisions earlier, if possible.

Consistent with the college's practices since the onset of the pandemic, if summer 2021 programs cannot be operated, enrolled students will not be assessed the IP withdrawal fee.

The college continues to prepare to deliver all fall 2021, spring 2022, and academic year 2021–2022 international programs at each global campus. We will keep students and families updated on these programs and communicate final-decision timelines in future updates.

The latest international program updates are available on the COVID-19 FAQ website.

International Students

As communicated on March 1, there have been no updates to SEVP's regulatory guidance since fall 2020. The Office of International Student Services and the college will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available, especially for the summer 2021 sessions and fall 2021 semester. International students seeking information about eligibility, SEVIS statuses, and travel information should review the International Student FAQs on the Seaver College COVID-19 Updates website. Students returning to the US should monitor the CDC website as travel guidelines continue to change.

2021–2022 Academic Calendar and Fall Semester Registration

To aid your planning for next year, the finalized 2021–2022 Academic Calendar remains available on the Seaver College website. Registration for the fall 2021 semester will begin on April 6, 2021. All students are encouraged to complete advising appointments and clear all registration holds before their registration period.

Support Resources and Community Programming

It's been a year since students were last fully occupying Pepperdine campuses. We miss having you here. Further, we realize stress is cumulative and that being apart from friends and classmates is difficult. For these reasons, please continue to reach out for support whether that be for academic success or your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Seaver College faculty and staff are ready to support you.

I highly encourage you to continue to utilize all University resources regardless of your current location. These include faculty office hours, Payson Library, the Student Success Center, the Career Center, OneStop, Academic Advising, the Student Care Team, Hub for Spiritual Life, Student Health Center, Counseling Center, and Intercultural Affairs. All of these offices, functions, and support services are open and eager to support students regardless of their location. I especially encourage you to take advantage of the coaching and support available through the RISE program and our spiritual life areas.


Things are improving. We've moved into the red tier, and many faculty and staff have received their first vaccination and will be fully vaccinated by mid-April. Just last week, President Biden announced that all Americans, including college students over the age of 18, will be eligible for a vaccination no later than May 1. There are tangible reasons for optimism and hope that soon we can resume our lives fully, including being together at Pepperdine University.

We can see the finish line, but we are not there yet. For that reason, I implore you to remain diligent - wear a mask, practice social distancing, visit with friends and loved ones outdoors, and get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity. In the remaining days of the pandemic, whether they number 50 or 150, let's act to protect the safety and well-being of ourselves and our neighbors.

I wish you well as we approach the midpoint of the semester. Most importantly, I pray that the hope and promise of our risen Lord gives you joy and comfort in this season of Easter. May God continue to bless you.