Latest Event Updates
The City of Malibu issued the following notice. Pepperdine’s Malibu campus is not expected to be impacted in any way.
“A tsunami advisory is in effect for the Southern California coast. Expected arrival time for the Los Angeles region is 7:50 a.m. Strong currents that may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures are expected. Widespread inundation is NOT expected. If you are located in the coastal area, move off the beach. Do not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Be alert to instructions from local emergency officials
* FORECAST TSUNAMI START TIMES…
Port San Luis California 0740 AM PST on Jan 15
Santa Barbara California 0745 AM PST on Jan 15
Los Angeles California 0750 AM PST on Jan 15
Tsunamis often arrive as a series of waves or surges which could be dangerous for many hours after the first wave arrival. The first tsunami wave or surge may not be the highest in the series.”
The University continues to prioritize the health and well-being of its community members and the academic excellence required of our mission in all of its decisions. Pepperdine promises a transformational experience for our students, and neither well-being nor excellence can be compromised if we are to fulfill our mission during the ongoing pandemic. Decisions are made carefully and with every community member in mind. Accordingly, the University has implemented a comprehensive list of guidelines to protect our community from serious illness, and will continue to evaluate conditions and adapt our approach appropriately.
In accordance with our commitments to the community and students, based upon a thorough assessment of a wide range of data, and consistent with our previous announcements, all schools and programs which did not yet begin on-ground instruction earlier this week will do so, effective Thursday, January 13. Programs designed to be online will remain online.
Determining Academic and Community Guidelines
The University made this decision (like other decisions throughout the pandemic) while considering a number of factors including, but not limited to:
- the goal of delivering in-person academic instruction for programs scheduled to be on-ground;
- the mental health of our students and the quality of their educational experience;
- the COVID-19 testing positivity rate within the Pepperdine community in relation to Los Angeles County;
- the avoidance of severe illness and hospitalizations within the Pepperdine community;
- vaccination rates within our community;
- the impact on operational capacity within our faculty and staff communities;
- isolation and quarantine capacity;
- county, state, federal, and CDC public health mandates and guidance; and
- varying needs of our community members.
We know this semester will be different, and there is no environment in which we will be without COVID-19 cases. We also recognize there are varying degrees of risk tolerance in our community. While we cannot eliminate all cases, our multi-layered approach to infection control best positions us to minimize virus spread, respond to community concerns, and keep our transformational education experiences in place.
Our approach includes health and safety guidelines which go above and beyond those which are required by the L.A. County Department of Public Health (one of the most cautious jurisdictions):
- L.A. County requires upgraded masks for faculty and staff. The University is also requiring and providing upgraded masks for students during this period as well.
- L.A. County requires testing for those not fully up to date on their vaccinations. The University is continuing to require weekly screening tests for all community members, regardless of vaccination status.
- The University also required all students to complete an entry test prior to returning to any of our campuses.
- The University established an additional one-time requirement for students to provide negative test results from Pepperdine-administered PCR testing prior to attending their in-person classes for the first time this semester.
- The University made available take-home tests free-of-charge for community members prior to the holiday break.
- The University verified all HVAC systems for every academic and administrative space meet or exceed COVID-19 related guidance from (i) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (ii) Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and (iii) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements Prior to Attending First In-Person Classes
As indicated above, all classes scheduled to meet on-ground will resume in-person academic instruction beginning Thursday, January 13. Before attending their first in-person class, all students must receive a negative PCR test result from a Pepperdine testing site (unless exempt due to a documented positive test for COVID-19 within the last 90 days). Faculty class rosters will include a column indicating compliance with this one-time requirement. To account for any lag in the upload of received results, students may show their Pepperdine-administered negative PCR test result to their faculty member if their compliance status has not yet been updated.
Individuals are eligible to receive a booster five months after their second dose of Pfizer/Moderna or two months after their original dose of Johnson & Johnson. The University strongly encourages students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated and to receive an mRNA booster shot (Pfizer or Moderna) as soon as eligible. Numerous studies demonstrate the booster’s effectiveness to drastically reduce instances of serious illness due to COVID-19.
In accordance with new LACDPH guidelines, those exposed to someone with COVID-19 and identified as a close contact will be required to quarantine unless fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible for the booster dose. Please take a moment to review the University’s quarantine and isolation guidelines.
The University will host several upcoming vaccine and booster clinics this month. RSVP using the following links:
- January 13: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4aa4ac2ba5f5c43-rite4
- January 14: https://kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/1618591555769
- January 27: https://kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/1618591555769
Boosters and vaccines are readily available at many local pharmacies as well. After receiving a booster, students should immediately upload proof of the booster dose through the Student Patient Portal by following the instructions found on the COVID-19 Community Response Plan website.
The University remains attentive to the current pandemic conditions and is confident in our ability to deliver academic excellence with appropriate safety measures. The University’s COVID-19 screening test positivity rate is significantly lower than testing positivity in the wider Los Angeles County. Our campus has comprehensive, layered infection control measures in place and continues to respond to changing conditions.
While the rise in cases due to Omicron has been steep, some modeling suggests that California’s COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant will peak within 1-2 weeks. If California follows the same progression as other areas which experienced earlier Omicron spikes, the case rates could decline as quickly as they rose. Additionally, unlike the winter COVID-19 surge in 2020, where most hospitalizations occurred because of COVID-19 complications, LA County reports the majority of patients at LA County hospitals infected with COVID-19 were admitted for reasons unrelated to COVID-19.Pepperdine is resilient and well-prepared to address the challenge in front of us. So many of you have been heroic in your service. Thank you for your dedication to Pepperdine and our students. As always, the University will continue to evaluate the incoming data and evolving best practices to prioritize the health and safety of our community. If you have any questions, please contact the COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Safety officers spotted a mountain lion yesterday afternoon at approximately 2:30 PM near the Brock House. The sighting was reported to the local sheriff’s department and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and it was determined the animal does not represent a threat to the campus community.
Pepperdine officials share confirmed mountain lion sightings near the Malibu campus to ensure the University community is informed of, but not alarmed by, the wildlife with whom we share the Santa Monica Mountains.
- Do not hike, bike, or jog alone, especially from dusk until dawn when mountain lions are most active.
- Remember Public Safety security escorts are available on the Malibu campus 24/7 by calling Public Safety Dispatch at (310) 506-4442.
- If you see a mountain lion on or near the Malibu campus, please report the incident to Public Safety at (310) 506-4441.
- If safe to do so, please take a picture and/or video and send it to Public Safety via the LiveSafe app.
As a reminder, if you encounter a mountain lion:
- Respect the animal.
- Maintain eye contact and move away slowly.
- Do NOT run. Running will trigger the mountain lion’s instinct to chase you.
- Appear as large, loud, and powerful as possible.
- If there are small children or pets present, pick them up immediately. Additionally do NOT leave them unattended outside.
- Do not approach the mountain lion; leave space for the cat to escape.
- In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Do not fall to the ground or roll into the fetal position.
We pray that you have been able to spend time with loved ones during the holiday period. We miss you and look forward to being together again this spring. The University leadership has been meeting regularly while closely monitoring COVID-19 conditions in Los Angeles County, at Pepperdine campuses, and at other institutions. Based on these discussions and an assessment of the current situation, employees should return to campuses after the holiday break on January 3 unless operating under an approved remote working arrangement or otherwise directed by a supervisor. Pepperdine’s schools have varying start dates, with some graduate school programs beginning January 3, while other graduate school programs and Seaver College begin on January 10.
In recognition that Omicron cases are anticipated to continue to increase, the University is putting in place additional protective measures, while limiting disruption to campus activities and reducing the risk of serious complications from infection. Throughout the fall semester, the Pepperdine community consistently maintained a markedly lower positivity rate than the County population in general through our rigorous testing, masking, and contact tracing protocols. In many ways, the demonstrated success of our participation in these processes and procedures has prepared us well for the start of the spring semester.
The health and safety of our community and the quality of the educational experience continue to remain paramount. It was for this reason the university-wide communication on December 10 announced all students would be required to test negative within 72 hours prior to returning to any of our campuses. As detailed below, that requirement remains in full effect. Additionally, in light of the current trends every student must – prior to attending a class in person at a Southern California campus – also receive a negative test result from a Pepperdine screening testing site.
Accordingly, the University is adapting our spring semester start as follows:
- International Programs departures will proceed as scheduled. Further information will be forthcoming from the International Programs Office.
- Graduate courses scheduled to meet in person beginning January 3 will proceed remotely for the first week to allow for appropriate testing as described above, which cannot be provided to these participants prior to the start of the semester. These programs will resume in person instruction the week commencing January 10 based on individual school directives communicated by graduate school deans. Only students who have tested negative may attend in person class,
- Seaver New Student Orientation for those joining our community this spring will require all participants, including family members, to take a rapid antigen test on campus and receive a negative test result before joining activities.
- Classes scheduled to begin in person during the week of January 10 will be conducted remotely on January 10, 11, and 12 to allow students to take a PCR test at a Pepperdine testing site on campus and receive results. We anticipate that classes will resume in person on January 13.
To join in person classes on January 13, students must plan accordingly and test at a Pepperdine testing site on Saturday, January 8 or Monday, January 10. Only students who have tested negative may attend in person class. Detailed information will be sent from each school dean shortly.
Upon returning for the Spring semester, students should take appropriate precautions such as masking and distancing. It is imperative that all safety protocols be followed closely, especially as students await initial test results. To limit close contacts during this time period, the University’s dining service venues will provide meals in a grab-and-go format.
Additionally, we are informed that in a few days, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“LADPH”) will announce an updated health order for Institutions of Higher Education that will continue to authorize in-person learning and living, even anticipating a rise in cases due to the Omicron variant. To mitigate this anticipated increased transmission, LADPH will likely create several new requirements. LADPH has indicated it may require weekly testing of all individuals regardless of vaccination status – a measure Pepperdine already has in place. LADPH will also likely encourage upgraded masking, utilizing surgical or N95 masks. In order to ensure that faculty, staff, and students have easy access to these masks, Pepperdine is securing an ongoing supply of these masks for our community, adding to an existing inventory of nearly 30,000 pieces. While the CDC has changed quarantine and isolation guidance, California and LADPH have not yet adopted these updates; the University will notify the community when these agencies announce their final guidance.
For in-person programming – including classes, residential living, athletics events, etc. – the University’s ability to remain together depends on the collective effort of all of our community members. While Pepperdine enjoyed a high level of compliance with testing, masking, and contact tracing protocols in the Fall, a renewed commitment from our community is necessary in order to meet the challenges posed by the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
In line with the announced LADPH health order, the University directs our community to carefully comply with the following protocols, so the community may remain together and continue in-person instructions during the spring semester.
- Entry test. All students must complete a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before arriving either on campus or for their first in-person University event. Students may take a PCR or antigen test at a healthcare provider or testing site, or use an at-home test. After testing, students must enter their test results into the Spring 2022 Entry Test Reporting Form. The form contains further instructions based on whether the test result was negative or positive.
The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff to complete an entry test as described above. Faculty and staff do not need to report their negative results.
- Prior to attending any class in person, every student must receive a negative PCR test result from a Pepperdine testing site, as described above.
- Weekly Screening Tests. Pepperdine will continue to require weekly screening testing for all faculty, staff, and students regardless of vaccination status, as recommended by the current Los Angeles County guidance. The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff members to complete the first week’s screening test within 24-48 hours of arrival back on campus.
Masking Requirements: It is imperative all community members adhere to the LADPH masking guidance. Face coverings will continue to be required for everyone regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status in indoor public settings, on public transit (University shuttles, buses, vans, ride shares), and in healthcare settings. As described above, LADPH may announce changes to the type of face covering for these uses.
Booster Shots: The University strongly encourages all eligible students, faculty, and staff to receive an mRNA booster shot (Moderna or Pfizer) before arrival back on campus or as soon as possible thereafter. The University will host vaccine clinics on January 7 and January 13. These clinics will run from 8AM to 12PM, and each will offer both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and booster doses. Click the links below to RSVP for one of these clinics.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, with your help, the University is adapting to this next phase, which is likely to include higher case counts with less severe illness. This pandemic continues to be unpredictable; therefore, we will remain flexible, and re-evaluate plans whenever necessary. Whatever is to come, Pepperdine will approach this in faith and in solidarity with our community, ensuring we are as prepared as possible and confident in God’s continuing grace.