Spring Semester Plans Announced
Dear LMU Community,
Following my Oct. 9 message to you, I now share further details and plans for spring 2021. We all yearn to return to our beautiful campuses to learn, teach, work, live, and be in community with one another. LMU is planning to provide limited, low-density, in-person classes and campus experiences in the spring as soon as public health authorities allow. For now, we are scheduling courses online until we receive appropriate clearances.
I am confident that we are ready to welcome you back to our campuses because we have been planning for your safe return with care. Regardless of modality, we are undeterred and we are researching, ideating, creating, and interconnecting now more than ever. We are also actively advocating with public health officials to reopen higher education as soon as possible, a decision they intend to announce around Thanksgiving. L.A. County conditions must improve from its current Tier 1 status for our campuses to reopen, and we are making progress. For those of us who currently reside in the L.A. region, I remind you that your behavior drives positivity rates down: persistent adherence to safety protocols, our accountability to each other, and our continued resilience and patience are essential.
Health and Safety
We look forward to offering in-person instruction and on-campus housing centered around your wellness, including enhanced sanitization, surveillance testing, contact tracing, and other protocols. LMU has partnered with medical experts and industry providers, which includes adherence to excellent infectious behavior controls (EIBC), strict physical distancing, face coverings, self-reporting of symptoms and at-risk activities, and a sense of responsibility for each other’s wellness. We are showcasing our successes in EIBC this semester within our essential workforce community, with our limited on-campus residents, and with our students living in the local community. With your diligence, we will continue keeping all Lions safe and healthy.
Classes will begin on Jan. 11, 2021. Please review the spring academic calendar and note that we moved spring break to coincide with an extended Easter holiday. I recognize our renowned faculty for their excellence and innovation throughout the pandemic. Until we are able to flip the switch to on-campus courses, our faculty continue developing engaging and innovative remote courses, utilizing cutting-edge approaches, and exhibiting the extraordinary care for our students, for which we are known. I know many of us desire a change of scenery from our current Zoom locations, but until that is possible, our collective determination and focus will ensure we deliver on the LMU experience.
In-Person Components and Registration
As previously indicated, we will work with seniors to ensure they graduate on time by offering a selection of hybrid (a combination of remote and in-person modalities) and in-person courses in programs with special requirements. We will specify these courses in the spring schedule that we publish on Oct. 30. Students should consult with their academic advisors when selecting spring classes. We will schedule appointments with students prior to registration on Nov. 13 (please be on the lookout for more information soon).
Faculty have also identified courses that require hybrid or in-person modalities for which non-seniors may be eligible. As state and county restrictions ease, we will transition these courses to hybrid or in-person format and update the spring schedule accordingly. Please note: we will offer all required in-person classes in a flexible format or offer options for students to participate remotely.
Protecting International Students
We acknowledge that some international students face challenges accessing required course resources for a variety of reasons outside of their control, and the university is working to support their needs. We will ensure new international students can enroll in the required amount of instruction in a hybrid format for spring 2021 (and beyond) to remain eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 visa status as needed. Resources that support at-risk and international students will be modified to ensure that appropriate communication and support structures are available.
Study Abroad Alternatives Coming Soon
We will continue suspending study abroad in the spring and redirect our efforts to support remote global-local programming and plan for next year’s programs. Study Abroad will soon reach out to students who applied for study abroad programs in the spring to discuss alternative options.
LMU will continue to provide responsive student support, engaging co-curricular opportunities, inspiring faith-based and spiritual experiences, and impactful career and professional opportunities to keep students involved and engaged outside of the classroom. As soon as we are permitted, we will announce opportunities for students to return to campus and participate in in-person programming.
We are delaying on-campus housing decisions and assignments until further guidance is received and finalized from public health authorities. We have created a process and plan to assign approximately 1,100 bed spaces on campus for the spring, and we are working to identify additional off-campus housing options. Student Housing will share more detailed information regarding these options soon.
Student Support Services
We continue to enhance academic support services to ensure students can easily access these essential functions regardless of modality. We also continue to provide a variety of online support services to students, including wellness and self-care.
I invite you to visit lmu.edu/together for the latest updates. With enthusiasm, I look forward to the time we will all be back on our campuses. I hope you and your families remain well, and I extend my profound gratitude as we overcome the challenges of the pandemic #LMUTogether.
Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost