COVID-19 Community Update – March 16

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As President Gash shared at this morning’s President’s Briefing, the state has released an accelerated plan to reopen in response to positive trends in statewide COVID-19 vaccination and case rates. Therefore, on Monday, March 15, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the county has moved into Tier 2 (Red Tier) on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Red Tier Allowances

Under the Red Tier in Los Angeles County, institutions of higher education are now allowed to resume the following:

  • Indoor lectures at 25 percent room capacity or 100 people, whichever is less
  • Indoor specialized classrooms used as labs, art studios, or for vocational skill building with physical distancing of six feet between students and instructors
  • Indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less, in addition to continued outdoor dining
  • Limited in-person prospective student experiences

At this time, higher education institutions will not be able to increase residential student populations beyond hardship exceptions. Students can review the hardship guidelines or request an exception by submitting a Spring 2021 On-Campus Housing Hardship Petition.  

Spring 2021 Class Updates

Seaver College expects a select group of classes will resume with optional in-person instruction on or after April 6, 2021. Seaver students will receive additional information from Dean Feltner and their instructors. Leadership at each graduate school is examining current academic calendars to assess when it is appropriate to resume on-campus classes.

Expected Summer and Fall Allowances

Assuming case rates remain stable or continue to improve through the summer, the county intends to allow student single occupancy housing for unvaccinated students or double occupancy housing for vaccinated students. Overnight camps may also be permitted in compliance with the Institutes of Higher Education and Overnight Camp protocols. Beginning in the fall, no limitations on student housing occupancy are anticipated.

Seaver College Summer 2021 International Programs

At this time, Seaver College hopes to deliver all summer 2021 international programs and a final decision will be made by April 9 for Summer Session I. However, many international travel restrictions remain in place and further updates will be provided as more details become available.

Commencement and Outdoor Gatherings

Based on the current and anticipated allowances, each school is considering multiple scenarios for commencement ceremonies. Students should anticipate communications from their dean in the coming weeks. As President Gash shared at this morning’s briefing, the University plans to host commencement ceremonies once in-state restrictions are lifted. We strongly advise community members to avoid incurring non-refundable expenses until final decisions regarding commencement are issued. 

Moving Forward

University leadership is encouraged by the trajectory of the conditions in the state and remains optimistic that Los Angeles County will reach the Tier 3 (Orange Tier) within the next month. As some students are welcomed back to the Malibu campus, the University reminds the entire community these new developments do not yet indicate a full reopening of any Pepperdine campus. The University’s ability to fully resume in-person classes remains informed by the requirements set forth in the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy and by the protocols put in place by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The latest information is available on the University’s COVID-19 website and Emergency Information Page. If you have questions, please contact Pepperdine’s COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at