Institutional Update on Campus Reopening & Status for Fall 2021 Quarter
A message from Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., President/CEO
Dear Pacifica Faculty and Staff,
Since we last provided an institutional update about the status of Pacifica’s campuses and methods of course delivery, the Institute has been engaged in careful analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the diverse needs of our community. The great complexities and demands the pandemic has imposed on all of us has created a significant challenge as to when and how to safely and optimally reopen our campuses.
Based on all available information and considerations at this time – not the least of which are the quality of education, health, and safety – Pacifica has decided to continue with the remote delivery of all academic programs through the fall 2021 quarter. We are committed to reopen and resume our regular on-campus class schedules beginning in winter 2022 quarter, provided no further health or safety edicts prohibit this. Our decision was formulated after consultation with and mindful input from all sectors of the Institute, including our Board of Trustees and permission from our accreditation agencies to continue providing remote content delivery. We recognize the varying perspectives on reopening that exist among our students, faculty, and staff, and understand this is a decision that will result in a broad spectrum of reactions.
This is also a moment different from that of our last message, marked, thankfully, by fallen COVID-19 numbers, increasing vaccinations, and large-scale reopenings now taking place across society and higher education. While California and Santa Barbara County may now permit in-person gatherings on campus, the reality is that Pacifica is a school with a broad demographic that is not restricted to a single locality. The valued uniqueness of Pacifica’s student and faculty body dispersed across the globe, supported by our low residency models, would result in large groups coming into close proximity from diverse locations for short stays. Though we are grateful for the improved circumstances in California and elsewhere, we are mindful that evolving conditions of COVID-19 and its variants still have an impact on other states and regions that are home to our students and faculty.
Additionally, in preparation for a full and successful winter reopening, Pacifica strongly encourages all of its community members to get vaccinated unless medical or religious reasons supersede communal health concerns. We recognize, however, that while proven safe and effective in reducing the spread of the virus, the vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization. We shall monitor their FDA approval status and all the developing conditions related to health, planning, and educational equity over the coming months so we can secure a smooth and safe path for a winter 2022 return to campus.
The impact of the pandemic on the Institute and society as a whole has been significant and lengthy, and we miss the lively presence and treasured aspects of having students, faculty, and staff on campus. Despite the absence, the ongoing, collective resiliency and commitment to your work, the students and one another continues to be valued deeply. Currently, we are exploring ways to facilitate a well-ordered transition to our planned January 2022 full reopening by soon expanding campus staffing, as well as potentially limited access to campus for students this fall. Employees should continue mapping out work plans with their supervisors/program chairs, for both the immediate future and the longer-term when students return, as we prepare to reinvigorate the campus experience. The upcoming summer and fall quarters also provide opportunities to further refine and enhance how we deliver courses and support services in the virtual environment, as well as preparing the campuses for reopening as a part of our institutional evolution. Therefore, we ask that you remain mindful of how we can continue to optimize the remote learning experience of our students during this transitional time.
Please look for further communications over the coming weeks with more details about reopening and associated institutional developments, along with specifics about resuming our on campus schedules in January 2022. In the meantime, continue to take good care and reach out for any support needed.
Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., President/CEO
Pacifica Graduate Institute