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Pepperdine Announces Fall 2020 Restoration Plan Following Months-Long Campus Closures

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In an email message shared with faculty, staff, and students on May 15, 2020, Pepperdine University president Jim Gash (JD ’93) announced and outlined the Pepperdine Restoration Plan, a comprehensive COVID-19 strategic preparedness plan developed in consideration of the University’s current intention to restore in-person classes to campuses beginning no later than the start of the fall term in August. Built upon research, benchmarking, industry guidance, and official mandates, the Pepperdine Restoration Plan prioritizes the health and safety of the University community and the University’s commitment to the student experience while appropriately mitigating the risks presented by COVID-19.

In accordance with local public health guidance, the Pepperdine Restoration Plan includes a series of key elements that consider health and safety protocols for the Malibu campus, all Southern California satellite campuses, and all international campuses. A more extensive set of these protocols, which include virus testing and treating, contact tracing, campus operation modifications, physical distancing practices, and cleaning of communal spaces, will be provided to the entire community in advance of the fall semester.

When classes begin on Pepperdine’s domestic and international campuses this fall, on-campus housing will be provided in a manner consistent with the health, safety, and distancing recommendations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, as well as those of the countries where the University offers international programs. Health and safety measures will include appropriate isolation and/or quarantining of individuals who may have been exposed to or contracted the novel coronavirus and specific protocols for COVID-19 testing, tracing, and treatment. The University is currently in the process of procuring kits for onsite rapid testing and will also be adding additional medical personnel to its existing full-time medical staff.

In consideration of vulnerable and high-risk groups, the University has made a substantial investment in classroom technology in an effort to equip all classrooms at each campus with the capability of capturing the in-person instruction via recording and/or live streaming to accommodate those who are unable to participate in traditional classroom environments. The University will also modify classroom configurations, which will reduce the capacity of each classroom as well as other common spaces, including libraries, dining halls, lounge spaces, and work areas.

The Pepperdine Restoration Plan will also implement the enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas and modified cleaning and disinfection protocols for workplace and classroom spaces. The interim face-covering policy requiring campus community members to wear face coverings when in proximity to others will remain in place until the Los Angeles County Public Health modifies its face-covering guidance. Hand sanitizer will also be made readily available throughout each campus.

In anticipation of a predicted second COVID-19 wave late this fall, Seaver College is exploring the possibility of beginning its fall semester two weeks early on August 17, 2020, and is considering delaying by a few weeks the resumption of in-person classes in Malibu. At this time, each graduate school is proceeding with its previously announced schedule for the fall.

With guidance from the NCAA and L.A. County Public Health, the University is also developing plans and protocols to protect the health and safety of all student-athletes and will continue to update the community as more information is available. Other large events and gatherings, including fine arts performances, conferences, and symposia will not be held until the state and county modify their guidance.

For more information about the Pepperdine Restoration Plan, and the many ways Pepperdine is safeguarding the health and safety of its campus community, visit the University’s COVID-19 website.