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

Payson Library Outdoor Study Spaces and COVID-19 Vaccine Update

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Payson Library Outdoor Study Spaces Now Available

As the University continues to implement allowances for limited on-campus activities currently permitted by Los Angeles County, Pepperdine Libraries is pleased to announce the opening of the outdoor study spaces at Payson Library. Spaces include the Payson Library courtyard and the Starbucks patio (Starbucks remains closed), which are available for both undergraduate and graduate student use and can be booked through the Payson Library reservation system. Hours of operation will be the same as those for Payson Library. Individuals must reserve a seat for outdoor study space and, depending on the location of their seat, check in with staff at either the front door of Payson Library or near the Starbucks entrance before occupying their seat.

Vaccine Update

Ventura County and Orange County have now authorized employees in the education sector to book appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees residing in these counties are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to receive the vaccine in their county. The University understands employees may be asked to provide proof of employment in the form of a Pepperdine ID and a current 2021 pay stub at the time of vaccination. If any additional documentation is requested, please contact Human Resources for assistance. 

In addition, the University anticipates Los Angeles County will authorize those working in the Education sector to begin receiving the vaccine next Monday, March 1. Once county officials release specific guidance on vaccine distribution for the education sector, the University will continue to share the latest updates about COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning, including if any additional proof of employment documentation is necessary. 

If you have any questions, including about accessing the state’s vaccine eligibility MyTurn system, contact the COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at

Limited On-Campus Activities Beginning Tomorrow, February 24

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As the University shared last Friday and in yesterday’s President’s Briefing, the California Department of Public Health announced last week an adjusted case rate of 20.0 per 100,000 residents in Los Angeles County. With the falling case rates, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued new guidance yesterday afternoon permitting universities in the county limited allowances for some on-campus activities. Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, students, faculty, and staff may participate in the activities described below. Community members who choose to participate in these activities should review the detailed questions and answers for each activity, which can be found on the COVID-19 FAQ page.


Libraries on the Malibu campus will reopen by reservation only for students, faculty, and staff at a maximum of 25 percent capacity. Payson Library will reopen tomorrow morning, and the Harnish Law Library, which will host February bar exam candidates this week, will reopen more broadly to the law school community on March 1. Pursuant to NCAA and state guidelines, the Drescher Graduate Campus Library, at this time, will be reserved for use by student-athletes. All other graduate campus libraries currently remain closed.

Outdoor Recreation

Students, faculty, and staff may use some outdoor sports facilities for non-contact sports and recreation at a maximum of 25 percent capacity. The following facilities will be available for use:

  • The intramural field outside of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center
  • The intramural field across from the Facilities Services office
  • Stotsenberg Track (when not in use by student-athletes pursuant to NCAA and state guidelines) 
  • Alumni Park
  • The Crest Tennis Courts adjacent to the John Tyler Drive entrance

No reservations will be needed to use any of these facilities. 

Fine Arts

Art design, theater art studios, and music practice rooms will be available by reservation for eligible students to fulfill academic requirements. Usage of these spaces is limited to groups of four or less. Any activity requiring participants to remove their face masks, such as practicing a woodwind instrument, is only permissible alone in a studio or practice room. Seaver College will contact eligible students with further instructions.

Film, Video, and Music Production

Film, video, and music productions will be allowed by reservation for the purpose of developing academic projects or content for eligible students. Use of indoor space for post-production and editing activities is limited to groups of four or less. Productions must follow the county’s higher education protocols for smaller productions and, if more complex, also the county’s film industry protocols. Seaver College will contact eligible students with further instructions.

Outdoor Study Spaces (Coming Soon)

The University is seeking further guidance on the written guidelines for the use of outdoor study spaces and will update the community as more information is available.

Campus Access and Hours of Operation

The Malibu campus will be available weekdays from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM and 8 AM to 5 PM during the weekend. Please refer to the FAQs for specific hours for open facilities. Students who have never been to the Malibu campus before should let the Public Safety officer at the entrance gate know they are a new student. The Public Safety officer will provide directions to new students to get their ID card and parking permit. 

Daily Wellness Check

The guidance requires all individuals coming to campus to complete a symptom check.  Pepperdine’s Daily Wellness Check has been created to facilitate this requirement, and all students, faculty, and staff will receive a daily email link to access this feature. Community members should complete this symptom check on a mobile device before arriving on campus and then screenshot the resulting completion dot to display at the campus entrance booths for access. 

Individuals who are cleared to come to campus will receive a green dot. For any other color dot, individuals should contact the Student Health Center before attempting to come to campus to discuss their specific situation. Completion of the Daily Wellness Check is required to access campus

Additional Requirements for On-Campus Activities

With these activities, all students, faculty, and staff should be aware of the following:

  • All health and safety protocols still apply as set forth in the Pepperdine Restoration Plan, including maintaining a distance of six feet from others and wearing a face mask at all times. 
  • All residential areas are open only to current residential students. No guests are permitted in residential areas at this time.
  • Only facilities serving the activities listed will be accessible for use. All other facilities will remain closed.
  • Students needing an ID card will receive instructions on how to obtain one when they arrive on campus.
  • If coming to campus, community members should have a plan to isolate and/or quarantine should they test positive or be in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If an individual tests positive, they should immediately report the positive result to the Student Health Center by phone to begin the contact tracing process.

While these limited on-campus activities are a positive and encouraging development, they do not yet indicate a full reopening of any Pepperdine campus, nor do they suggest that classes may begin to operate in-person. Los Angeles County is still in the “widespread” or “purple” tier according to the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and the University’s ability to resume in-person classes will be informed by the requirements set forth in that plan. As updated guidelines are considered by the county, including those that may permit additional on-campus activity at a later date, information will be shared by the University as it becomes available. 

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

COVID-19 Community Update – November 30, 2020

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Pepperdine Community Case Update

In accordance with NCAA, conference, and state testing protocols, all basketball players and coaches receive regular surveillance testing. Yesterday, two members of the women’s basketball team and staff tested positive for COVID-19 using an antigen test, which prompted the cancellation of yesterday’s game against UCLA. As an additional precaution, both were isolated. However, because neither individual had tested positive during the University’s regular testing protocol, which uses more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, the University suspected the antigen tests may have yielded false positives. Both individuals were tested again on Sunday using PCR tests and those results arrived this morning showing both individuals were negative for COVID-19.

As Pepperdine continues with remote operations for faculty, staff, and students, the University will continue to provide potential exposure notifications to impacted community members and update the Pepperdine COVID-19 dashboard as cases are reported within the community. 

Los Angeles County Safer At Home Order

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Los Angeles County, effective today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a new Temporary Targeted Safer At Home Order, which remains in effect for the next three weeks. The order contains several new restrictions applicable to members of the Pepperdine community residing on campus and in the county, including the following: 

  • Prohibiting all public and private gatherings and events with people from more than one household except for outdoor faith-based services and outdoor protests
  • Closing shared public playgrounds, pools serving more than one household, and non-residential hot tubs
  • Closing restaurants for on-site dining, either indoor or outdoor 
  • Encouraging all persons who can work remotely to continue to do so as much as possible during the pandemic

California COVID-19 Updates

In a briefing today, California governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is closely monitoring the recent acceleration of COVID-19 cases and their corresponding impact on hospitalizations and intensive care unit occupancy. To ensure the state does not run out of hospital capacity, the governor indicated counties currently categorized as Tier 1 (Purple) in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, may be put under stay-at-home orders if hospital capacity continues to shrink.   

As always, the University encourages all students, faculty, and staff to stay informed and follow the guidance and direction of local authorities. 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