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Announcement on Campus Reopening & Status for Spring 2022 Quarter

 

Dear Pacifica Community,

Before addressing the latest developments in the status of our reopening, we must first acknowledge the developing situation with the invasion of Ukraine.  The Institute is formulating a more substantive response to be posted for the community shortly, but we must express our sadness for the Ukrainian people and stand with much of the world in denouncing this unjust and illegal war.  Our hearts go out to those lives affected, including those within our community who have family and friends in that region.

In regards to reopening, when it was announced in January that campuses would remain closed for the duration of the winter quarter, we stated the intention to make a determination about the status of spring quarter by the end of February or early March. To make a secure decision, we needed to assess the status of the pandemic, especially the Omicron surge, which only recently crested in Santa Barbara, before committing to reopening the campus and the type of course delivery.   During this time, we have continued our practice of careful analysis of all health/safety matters and collaborating with faculty and staff leaders regarding the needs and considerations related to reopening.  We are now ready to proceed with reopening campuses on April 1.

Spring quarter sessions will be conducted in the concurrent classroom method that we had originally planned for the winter quarter.  As a reminder, the concurrent delivery allows students to join live classes in-person or remotely.  The complete details about the policies that will govern how students are able to attend and the on-campus health/safety protocols, will be sent early next week.  Our intention today is to notify you of the decision to reopen and prepare for the timely, clarifying information that is forthcoming in the days ahead.  At this time, we have permission from WASC for a concurrent model for spring quarter only. We will let students know about plans for the summer quarter at a later date.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO STUDENTS IN COURSEWORK: The Guest Services Office will be sending out Guest Services Registration forms early next week, in conjunction with the spring policies and protocols on vaccination, masking, and the concurrent classroom. This form is where all students who are currently registered or plan to register in coursework for spring 2022 must state their chosen mode of attendance: either in person or remotely. The selected mode of attendance that students note on the form is the method by which they will be expected to attend for all sessions of the 2022 spring quarter. In order to adequately plan for classes, housing accommodations, and meals, your immediate attention and response to this form is essential – please assist us by giving this your highest priority once sent.  ALL FORMS ARE DUE BY MARCH 10.

We appreciate your attentiveness to the forthcoming communications.  Work to successfully re-orient all of us to campus life and prepare for the concurrent classroom has been underway for some time and will be a primary focus for us in the coming weeks.

We look forward to realizing the opportunities ahead in reopening this spring and engaging in this new and dynamic classroom format; however, the commitment and demands required of all of us to continue our important work together, regardless of our role at Pacifica, remain essential. Our personal and institutional challenges and transitions are embedded in the context of a world still managing an ever-present virus and increasing instability and uncertainty across the globe.

Please look for additional communication next week regarding our spring reopening and other community developments and statements.

Sincerely,


Joseph Cambray, Ph.D.
President/CEO

Additional Information for Faculty and Staff

Following up on the announcement sent at the end of last week that campuses are being reopened for the spring quarter with concurrent class delivery, below are some additional details related to policies and plans that affect faculty and staff.  Please read through the below bullets carefully and follow up with the appropriate department or your supervisor if there are any questions.

An updated set of spring reopening FAQs have also been posted – SPRING REOPENING FAQs.  The information in the FAQs is largely directed to students, who received this in a separate communication today, but it is helpful for all to read through for general understanding and clarifying details.

Here are some key points for faculty and staff around our return to campus:

  • We are reopening campuses and delivering courses in the concurrent delivery for the spring quarter.  All winter quarter sessions will finish remotely, including the Mythological Studies program’s third session of winter quarter beginning April 1.  The first on-campus spring session will be the MA Counseling – C track at the Ladera campus (Apr 1-3).  All spring sessions will be held according to the dates on the 2021-2022 Academic Calendars.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination requirement remains in place, with a booster shot strongly encouraged.  You can review the full policy here: COVID-19 vaccination policy.
  • Faculty are encouraged/expected to teach on campus this spring.  Staff positions that require on-campus presence during sessions are expected to be on campus during those times to support sessions and students.

o   Faculty and staff who are not vaccinated may apply for a religious or medical exemption through HR (if they have not already).  Faculty wishing to teach remotely for health/safety concerns, may petition their program to do so by MARCH 10.  Programs, in conjunction and support of the Provost, should ensure the majority of courses are taught by in-person faculty and efforts should be made to have an in-classroom presence (TA or other representative) when a faculty is remote.

  • Even with the state and county partially lifting their mandates, we will keep the Pacifica’s existing masking requirement in place for the time-being as an additional safety measure.  Faculty may utilize Pacifica supplied draped face shields in conjunction with or as an alternative option to a mask while teaching if they wish.  We shall continue to monitor this situation as the quarter progresses.
  • As with winter, the Guest Services Registration Form is how students will state their commitment for how they’ll attend spring quarter, in-person or virtually.  The deadline for students to submit the forms is March 10.  For course, housing/dining, and billing reasons, it is imperative we have as quick of a turnaround as possible from students on the forms.  Any assistance and reminders from programs and departments is appreciated.

o   The Guest Services Office will communicate with Program Chairs and Administrators around student numbers for each attendance method so that information can be relayed to faculty to assist in course planning.

  • Dissertation defenses can be scheduled on campus or in the concurrent format beginning in April, as long as all attendees adhere to the vaccination, face covering and other policies.  The fully virtual option for defenses also remains in place.
  • This decision and format for reopening applies for spring quarter only at this point.  There have been no decisions made about summer quarter or beyond, as we do not have institutional approval for any distance learning beyond spring, as it stands now.  We are continuing to monitor the situation and guidance from accreditors.

While much time and effort have already been invested in preparing for reopening and the concurrent classroom delivery, March will be busy to get us ready to deliver sessions in a way we never have, on top of the demands we all face in our regular, daily work.  Let us know continue to lean on each with trust, openness, and understanding.

Planning is underway with faculty training on the concurrent classroom, student orientation to campuses and concurrent learning, and fine-tuning our communication systems to ensure smooth and safe operations.  Please continue to monitor communications for further details on these areas in the coming days.

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