La Sierra University’s leadership recently announced its plans to re-open the campus for fall quarter 2021-22 while keeping operations online through the end of the current school year.
The university’s Emergency Management Team, which last year developed the university’s COVID-19 response and re-opening plan, voted on Jan. 19, in light of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, a return of in-person, onsite operations this September. The university moved its operations online on March 16, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon the nation.
County and California state orders last year shuttered on-campus functions for higher education institutions for several months, with limited labs and studio classes allowed last fall. Since coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations soared to new records throughout Southern California during the fall and into the winter months, La Sierra’s Emergency Management Team also voted to continue online operations through the end of spring quarter, which concludes June 15. As allowed under state guidelines, some science labs and art studio classes will most likely be held on campus in the spring as has been the case since fall quarter 2020. Such classes are subject to health and safety measures, including face masks, physical distancing, cleaning, and regular testing for COVID-19.
The university will also continue through the current school year’s end a 10% tuition subsidy it first provided in the fall on combined tuition and fees for all enrolled students.
“As vaccines begin distribution, we are optimistic about the future and plan to return to our beautiful campus for fall quarter 2021,” Provost April Summitt, the university’s COVID-19 response coordinator noted in a campus message. “We will work diligently to ensure a safe return and follow the state, county, and university protocols for all spaces and will publish any requirements on our website prior to the beginning of the fall term. We will get through this challenging time, together. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our region and our country, but thanks to the diligence and perseverance of our faculty and staff, our university has remained a safe learning environment,” said La Sierra University President Joy Fehr. “So many people have endured so much hardship and tragedy—our campus family has not been unaffected—but we hold fast to our faith, the foundation of our hope. We are excited about the prospect of moving beyond the pandemic.”
By Darla Martin Tucker