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Notice from the President re: Transition to Online

From: Joseph Cambray <JCambray@pacifica.edu>
Date: March 13, 2020 at 12:03:00 PM PDT
Subject: Notice from the President re: Transition to Online

Dear Pacifica Community,

Many of you were present at yesterday’s community meeting regarding Pacifica’s evolving response to COVID-19. At that meeting, it was announced that we would be transitioning to online learning. As of the evening of March 12th, Pacifica began the transition towards an online platform. Effective Monday, March 16th, Pacifica will deliver all courses via online methods. This will remain in place until we have clear word it is safe to resume on campus classes.

This morning, the below email was sent to all enrolled students, including those on leave and in dissertation.  This communication provides some of our decision-making rationale and Institutional approach moving forward.

Pertinent information from academic programs will be communicated to their program faculty and staff by Chairs.  Oral defenses will be conducted via Zoom unless both the chair and the student are local and wish to hold the defense on campus.

During this unprecedented time, we are extending flexibility to work from home if an employee is mildly ill  and capable of performing their duties, or has an urgent coronavirus related matter, such as childcare needs due to school closures. All decisions to work from home must be processed by the employee’s supervisor; as of the current time staff are still expected to work on-campus unless approved by a supervisor.

The Safety Team will continue to keep the community updated as the situation continues to unfold.

Warmly,
Joe

=======================================================

Letter sent to all students on Fri, March 13, 2020:

Dear Pacifica Students,

Over the past several weeks Pacifica’s administration, faculty,and staff have been monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health crisis in the world. During this unprecedented time, filled with a multitude of concerns and uncertainties, the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, have been paramount in our decision-making process. Considerations have also included our communal, ethical responsibility to prevent the spread or acceleration of this virus.  Amidst all the associated complexities and challenges, your patience and goodwill are appreciated as an important component of our path forward as an institution.

In charting Pacifica’s course through this global health crisis, we have been closely following the expert advice of our public health officials. In addition to CA Governor Newsom’s announcement restricting mass gatherings, last night the COVID-19 crisis came more immediately to Santa Barbara County. Although we do not have any documented cases of illness due to the coronavirus in Santa Barbara County at this time, our Public Health Department has declared a Local Health Emergency. This will help mobilize resources in the eventuality of confirmed cases.

Our preparations for the emergency have included exploring various alternative course delivery methods and their possible ramifications. To assist in optimizing the method,we have obtained the recommendations of our governing bodies, accreditors, local health authorities, and community members–they have all been very helpful and supportive. Our goal is to provide the highest quality education possible to students within the constraints of the crisis.

With this summary, I would like to provide an update on the decisions and measures Pacifica is currently implementing.

As of the evening of March 12th, Pacifica began the transition towards an online platform. Effective Monday, March 16th, Pacifica will deliver all courses via online methods. This will remain in place until we have clear word it is safe to resume on campus classes.

Details and specific structures of each course will be relayed to you by your Program Chairs and faculty in the upcoming days.  In the meantime, be assured that Pacifica’s faculty, staff, and administration will spare no effort to make this transition as smooth as possible. We are well-prepared and will continue adaptive measures to ensure courses deliver meaningful experiences with highest quality academic contents in alignment with our mission. Our goal is to sustain maximum support and resources to our students and faculty throughout this time.

We hope you and those around you are well and maintaining good health. We continue to echo the advice of experts regarding optimal hygienic practices, especially hand-washing for 20 seconds or more with warm water; to avoid touching one’s face, to disinfect surfaces that might harbor viruses, and to respect social distancing when and where possible.

It is a time of great challenges, where care and compassion for others is of utmost importance and potentially a deep source of meaning. Together as a community of soul, embedded in our various locales, let us work together to learn from these experiences and restore balance and harmony in our world.

Together forward,

Joseph Cambray, Ph.D.
President/CEO, Pacifica Graduate Institute

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