COVID-19 Community Update – March 23

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The EOC continues to monitor COVID-19 developments and is praying for the University community around the globe. The vast majority of staff operations are now remote, and the University is pleased to report the successful implementation of 2,672 academic courses across Pepperdine’s five schools in a remote instruction format. The Malibu campus continues to provide care and services to the declining number of students living on campus.

Pepperdine Community Case Updates

University officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 cases reported within the Pepperdine community. As of today, three reports of positive test results from the London international program (including one reported last Friday evening) and one positive test result on the Malibu campus have prompted potential exposure notifications to other members within the community. All individuals in the Pepperdine community identified as close contacts with these cases have been notified by the University. 

Weekly Chapels

In the coming weeks, faculty and staff are invited to gather online for prayer and encouragement with Soul Connection Chapel via Zoom. Led by University chaplain Sara Barton, these sessions are being held every Wednesday from 9 AM to 9:20 AM. 

Students are encouraged to join in a weekly student chapel via Zoom at 10 AM on Wednesdays, beginning this week. These sessions will include special prayers and announcements for students and will be a dedicated weekly touchpoint for the student community. As a reminder, the convocation requirement for all Seaver students is complete for the semester, and all students will receive an A letter grade.   

President’s Briefing

President Gash will hold a special online President’s Briefing for faculty, staff, and students each Monday at 9 AM while the University maintains modified operations due to COVID-19. Archived viewing for each briefing will be available on the President’s Briefing website.

Emotional Support Resources

As the University community continues to adjust to this environment, the University recognizes some community members may be experiencing ongoing feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, or isolation. As a reminder, please remember the following resources are available:

  • Students may contact the Counseling Center at 310.506.4210 or The Counseling Center provides free, confidential emotional/psychological support to all Pepperdine students and will continue to do so using an online or telehealth format and/or make local referrals when appropriate. 
  • Faculty and staff may access counseling services through their Employee Assistance Program. Details are available on the HR website or by contacting HR at 310.506.4397.
  • Pastoral support is available to the Pepperdine community through the Office of the Chaplain. Contact chaplain Sara Barton at

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.

University Actions Following Safer at Home Orders

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Pepperdine’s Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) has carefully evaluated the Safer at Home directives announced by Los Angeles County and the State of California. We understand these orders raise additional questions about what our community can and cannot do, and Pepperdine’s updated policies reflect our community’s intent to support the public health effort and comply with these orders. Your help in adhering to these new mandates reflects Pepperdine’s commitment to our family, our neighbors, and the global community.  We are grateful for your cooperation in these unprecedented times.

Based on these orders, the EOC has taken the following actions:

  1. In accordance with stay-at-home provisions, commuter students should remain at their homes and not access University campuses while these orders are in effect. If this causes an academic challenge, contact the associate dean of commuter students, Stacy Montgomery.
  2. All University library locations are now closed until further notice. Remote library services remain available.
  3. Graduate campuses are now closed to all visitors, but remain open to faculty and staff for essential purposes. 
  4. All campus bookstores are now closed.
  5. The John Tyler Drive booth entrance on the Malibu campus is now closed. All traffic on to campus will go through the Seaver Drive booth until further notice.
  6. Interim Restrictions for Campus Visitors have been updated to allow only essential invited guests on the Malibu campus using the visitor form
  7. Interim Travel Restrictions have been extended through April 19. Any essential University travel must receive prior approval by the EOC. 
  8. All in-person University events have been suspended through April 19.
  9. All faculty and staff should work remotely when possible. Faculty and staff may access campuses to facilitate remote distance learning or perform essential functions if that work cannot be accomplished remotely. Supervisors should ensure the minimum number of Critical Support Personnel are reporting to work to maintain essential University operations.

Reminder on Social Distancing

The orders reinforce social distancing measures, and the University is committed to honoring these important directives. All gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited, and gatherings of less than 10 people must adhere to strict social distancing requirements. 

President’s Briefing via Zoom on Monday at 9 AM

All faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a special online President’s Briefing this Monday, March 23, beginning at 9 AM. As always, this briefing will begin with a devotional after which President Gash will provide additional updates to the community and answer questions you may have. The Zoom link will be accessible from the President’s Briefing website.

The EOC remains on campus to lead this effort, continually addressing ongoing issues, and utilizing video conferencing to adhere to social distancing mandates. We are fully committed to you and your well-being during this time and will continue to provide updates to you in future messages. The latest information is always available on the University’s COVID-19 website and Emergency Information Page.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Community Update – March 19

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In the spirit of keeping you safe and informed, the University is sharing two important updates related to COVID-19 impacting the Pepperdine community.

Safer at Home Order

Pepperdine officials continue to work with local government leadership as they evaluate the ongoing response to COVID-19. This evening, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issued the “Safer at Home Order for Control of COVID-19,” which takes effect at midnight tonight and runs through April 19, unless extended. The order advises all citizens to stay home to the greatest extent possible except for essential activities; prohibits all gatherings of 10 people or more; closes non-essential retail businesses; and reminds citizens to practice social distancing, remaining at least six feet from all others when outside the home. This order does not prohibit outdoor activities like hiking, shopping at essential businesses, or food pickup at restaurants. Questions about the order are addressed on the county’s FAQ website

The order does not apply to colleges and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions; however, the other portions of the order, like practicing social distancing, do apply. Critical Support Personnel should continue to report to work to perform essential functions. Supervisors should use judgment to ensure the minimum number of employees are reporting to work to sustain essential University operations. 

Shortly thereafter, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced statewide COVID-19 mandates, which he noted are consistent with the Los Angeles County order described above.

Pepperdine’s Emergency Operations Committee will announce additional updates to University practices tomorrow.

New COVID-19 Cases at Pepperdine

The University learned today of two additional confirmed positive COVID-19 test results within the Pepperdine community, including the first known COVID-19 case on the Malibu campus. The student did not live in University housing and is now in isolation. The second new case is a London program participant who recently returned home. 

Out of an abundance of caution, Pepperdine has notified those who may have had close contact or potential exposure with the infected individuals and asked them to quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms. If you have not been notified, you have not been identified to be at risk of developing symptoms. 

For the latest information, visit the University’s COVID-19 website and Emergency Information Page.


A Message from President Gash: Coming Together

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Although we are presently separated for important reasons, it is our deepest desire to assure you that the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) is fully functioning, closely monitoring all local and national developments, and making decisions to further the health and well-being of our beloved community as our highest priority. As we all adjust to this temporary new normal, University leadership continues to appreciate the empathy and responsiveness faculty, staff, and students have shown one another. We are grateful for the outpouring of prayers, support, and encouragement we have been receiving from you every step of the way. We encourage you to continue praying for our community, our nation, and the entire world.

To update you, Seaver College began online instruction today following the departure of most students from the Malibu campus over the weekend. Each of the graduate schools began online instruction earlier this week. The University has also fully implemented its critical support personnel staffing this week with all departments working remotely except for those performing essential tasks that need to be handled on site. We encourage employees who have additional questions or ongoing needs to reach out to their supervisors for additional guidance. 

The EOC, the Student Health Center, and University leadership are actively monitoring our community for any additional COVID-19 cases. At this point, we are not aware of any positive test results at any of our domestic campuses. We will inform you if this changes. Interim restrictions on campus visitors announced previously remain in place through at least March 31. Non-essential visitors to campuses are, unfortunately, not permitted, and for individuals remaining on or traveling to any campus, social distancing of at least six feet is required. As the Malibu campus population continues to shrink, campus services will be modified accordingly.

The COVID-19 public health situation remains dynamic, and University officials continue to follow guidance from governmental and health agencies during this period. Information is updating quickly, which may prompt responsive decision-making from the University. You will be updated by the University when conditions change.

As the community learns and works in a new remote environment during this time, it is important for you to stay informed with the latest information. Frequently asked questions for the University community are being updated daily on the University’s COVID-19 website.

Let’s rest together in the truth found in Psalm 62:1-2 NLT:

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.”