LMU gives long-awaited Spring semester update, introduces four-phase reopening plan

Friday, November 20, 2020

Photo: Madison Foote

LMU gives long-awaited Spring semester update, introduces four-phase reopening plan

By Christina Martinez

LMU has announced its re-opening plan for the Spring semester, rolling back on its intentions to expand housing, classes, and campus activities in October.

In a community-wide letter, President Timothy Law Snyder wrote that it was unlikely that LMU would be able to reopen according to the plans  Provost Thomas Poon detailed in October that the university would expand student housing, add in-person and hybrid classes, and include on-campus experiences. Almost all Spring 2021 semester classes will be virtual and the university will not house any more students than they did in the fall. 

“Your health and safety remain our top priorities,” President Snyder wrote. “Each of us is ultimately navigating a path to recovery, and we must stay the course in the near term, in league with one another, to honor our sacrifices and vanquish this virus.”

Snyder’s letter comes after COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have escalated to record levels in the United States. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a mandatory nighttime curfew until Dec. 21 in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

The letter also introduced Path to the Bluff, a four-phase campus reopening plan that follows the tiered reopening system currently employed by the State of California. The first three phases retain online classes, limited operations, and limits on gatherings. Frequent social distancing and COVID-19 monitoring are required and all individuals must wear masks, complete a health check before coming on campus, and isolate if ill. LMU will move to the next phases of the reopening plan following Los Angeles County’s movement through California’s reopening tiers.

Phase I

As the current phase of LMU’s reopening, Phase I limits classes to exclusively online instruction. On-campus housing is limited to one student per suite or apartment space.

LMU is limited to essential university operations only. On-campus facilities such as dining facilities, library, and the bookstore are closed and in-person events, meetings, and gatherings of any sort are strictly prohibited.

Phase II

Under Phase II, most classes are online except for those that must be in-person as a requirement to graduate. On-campus housing will be expanded to allow 2-3 people to live in an apartment or suite, but traditional residence halls will remain closed. 

LMU will allow some operations to return at a limited capacity for individuals who live or are authorized to access campus. Dining facilities may open with outdoor seating only, and the library and bookstore can reopen at a limited capacity for individuals with on-campus permissions.

In-person events and meetings remain prohibited, but gatherings are permissible as long as they consist of individuals of “established COVID pods.”

Phase III

Under Phase III, online instruction will continue, but in-person instruction will be expanded for classes that are difficult to translate virtually. On-campus housing may expand past Phase II restrictions, allowing for students to have roommates and for traditional residence halls to reopen in some capacity.

University operations can expand but only for individuals with access to campus. Dining facilities may be able to reopen indoor seating, and the library and bookstore can increase their overall capacity.

Small in-person meetings and gatherings will be allowed as long as all individuals social distance and continue wearing masks. Some in-person events will be permitted by Conferences and Events Services as long as they meet capacity and social distancing requirements.

Phase IV

By Phase IV, LMU will return to pre-pandemic operations, which will allow the full restoration of all classes, housing, and operations at the university.

For more information on LMU’s Path to the Bluff reopening plan, students can refer to LMU Together’s reopening website. According to President Snyder’s letter, LMU’s leadership will release additional details about these plans on Nov. 30. 

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