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Zoom meeting Q and A with parents May 7

May 7, 2020

Interim President Maria Pallavicini, along with Vice President of Student Life Carrie Lovelace Petr, held a Zoom meeting with parents on May 7, 2020.

My son has not received the email with info to return his book to the bookstore. He inquired by email but has not receive any instructions. How should he proceed?
Pallavicini: Well, there is a website and Dr. Carrie Lovelace Petr, will you remind everybody about the website where you can go and get all the information about how to do just this, as well as a number of other things.

Lovelace Petr: There is an FAQ that is available online and students can also go to the bookstore website. My bet is that students have tried some of that and they may not be finding the satisfaction that they would like. So what I’m going to do is to put the email address for the dean of students, it’s and I will put it in the chat to all attendees and then everybody will have that address. What I would recommend to this particular student is to do a reach out. The email is checked by a member of my staff on a daily basis and so we can forward that to the appropriate person to see if we can sort it out for that particular student if there is a concern.

Do you know if teams like water polo will be allowed to practice since pools have been considered safe?
Pallavicini: I don’t know the answer to that. There was a two-hour call this morning with the WCC [West Coast Conference], our conference, where some of the answers to some of these questions might be forthcoming. We do know that we will be following the guidelines in terms of practice, etc., that our WCC conference is also advising with, because we do want to make sure that we have equity of opportunity to practice among all of our institutions. Water polo is not officially part of the WCC, but we will be looking at that as well. We are confident that we will have answers about how we will move forward by about mid-June.

In terms of housing, our son is in Beta and living on campus. Will there be any changes to this arrangement?
Lovelace Petr: All of the Greek houses as well as the residence halls are facilities that folks are taking a look at in terms of the best way that we can offer on-campus residential housing that still meets social distancing guidelines. Not knowing very much about your particular student’s arrangement in Beta, whether or not they’re a double or a single, I think it would be hard for me to comment specifically on your student’s arrangement, but I will say that for any student who is currently in residential housing, we are aware that we will need to make some different arrangements in order to meet social distancing guidelines as they are currently being defined and Residential Life and Housing will be in touch with those students either in late May or early June depending on when the president makes some decision about when and how we can communicate about the fall semester.

For students who have opted to leave their spring refund of room and board as a credit for next semester, is any more information available yet about how the additional $500 "premium" will be applied to the student's account? Do we need to fill out an application or other paperwork for that?
Pallavicini: I do not believe you need to fill out an application, but Dr. Petr I’m going to ask you about that as well, because students did fill out an application, I believe, to get their housing and dining and parking refund. And I do believe that this is going to be automatically added on.

Lovelace Petr: The students were given an opportunity to determine how they wanted to have their refund applied and their premium should be applied to the student account. I do not actually know for sure whether or not premiums have been loaded onto the accounts or not, but I know that the idea is that they will be automatically loaded onto the student’s account. Questions about that should be directed to Student Accounts, who will be able to give some sense about your particular student’s bill and how that premium will be applied to the bill specifically.

For students moving out of freshman dorms and into the apartments across the river, how is that planning being done? Will the students be saved a spot until they do open? 
Students who were living in campus housing during the 2020 spring semester had the opportunity to select a room assignment for the 2020–2021 academic year this past February during the Priority Room Selection Process. Those room assignments are currently in place. New incoming students, as well as students who were living off campus and desire to move back to the campus will need to submit a Housing Placement Application along with a signed housing contract via the Residential Life & Housing website. Students with signed housing agreements will be notified about their fall room assignments during late June or early July. 

Individuals needing assistance should contact the Residential Life & Housing office at 209.946.2331 or send an email to   

Will there be social distancing and hand sanitizer available in all classes in the fall? Will students wear masks? Will there be temperature checks and screenings for sick students?
Pallavicini: Let me tell you a little bit about how we are doing our planning right now because I mentioned there is a lot of uncertainty about how fall is going to look and these are uncertainties that every university is feeling of course and experiencing and trying to plan for.

We have put together a task force that has students on it, faculty, administrators representing all three of our campuses, because we have programs on all three of our campuses. And that task force is considering a number of different scenarios about how we might look like in the fall and planning for a particular scenario, what would we actually need to do. There are some commonalities among some of these scenarios. We clearly will have more hand sanitizers available across the university.

Will students wear masks? That is unclear at this point. We will see where we are with COVID-19. Right now, in California, people are pretty much wearing masks when they go out in public. What will the situation look like in August? I’m not sure, but if the recommendations are to ask students to wear masks or to tell students they must wear masks, then we will do so. We are certainly following the guidance of the governor’s office in California, but also the CDC and the public health department. We have a lot of very close connections with those individuals and entities, and our Student Health Services director is actually a nurse with a lot of experience with that as well. So, I don’t know the answer yet if will we require students and employees to wear masks.

Will there be temperature checks and screenings for sick students? Well, if a student is sick, yes, we will be doing temperature checks and taking care of that student, isolating that student if need be. If you’re asking whether we’ll be doing temperature checks for everybody, I don’t have the answer to that. Part of it will be what are the recommendations at that particular time. I think we all know that the situation with COVID-19 was changing almost hourly as we were ramping up into this pandemic. So, you can rest assured that we’re paying very close attention to what’s going on a particular day, on a particular week at a particular time, because things can change. So more to come once we nail down exactly how will be offering instruction in fall. We do plan to have our students be on campus and our faculty and our staff. That is the experience that we want to have and that’s how we want to start. There are two guiding principles for us we look at moving forward: one is the health and safety of our students and the other is how do we provide the very best learning experience for our students. So those are the principles for which we are looking at all these scenarios. We will know, most likely, by mid-June; we will have made a decision, no later than end of June, about what fall semester will look like. I just want to reiterate we do not want to be an online university in fall unless we absolutely have to. That is not what the Pacific experience is, it’s not what our students want, it’s not what our faculty want either.

I received an email regarding resumption in August 2020, but no date to enable us plan for ticketing etc.?
Pallavicini: I don’t know how to answer that question because I don’t know what email you might have received on this. I can say right now, we’re planning to start on time as we have originally planned in August. I don’t have the exact date in front of me, when classes will start, but I know that there are times before that where students are going to be moving into the residence halls, and I don’t have more info. I suspect we probably should wait a few more weeks until we have a little more clarity on that unless Dr. Petr, you have some other information.

Lovelace Petr: I don’t.

Are you anticipating any significant changes in tuition or other student aid (FAFSA) arrangements?
Pallavicini: We’re not anticipating any other student aid or FAFSA arrangements. We know that our students need to fill out the FAFSA. What we do have is the COVID-19 scholarship, which is approximately $1,400-plus given to a student annually, whether that student is coming in as a freshman or whether they are coming here as a continuing student, and that can be used for anything that they need—tuition, housing, whatever. It’s very flexible. There are some constraints on it, but it’s really pretty general for undergraduate student who are starting at Pacific or who are continuing at Pacific. And if you go to the university’s COVID website, there’s a financial aid section on there and you can get more information about that COVID-19 scholarship. As well, if your student is a continuing student, other resources for possible additional assistance in aid or emergency funds due to experiences or unexpectant expenses as a result of COVID.

Students received an email about a COVID-19 grant, are all students, undergraduates and blended students, eligible for this grant? Specifically, blended students... do they have to apply for this grant or are they included in the grant automatically?
Pallavicini: This scholarship is for prospective students when they come in as freshmen, and we will give this scholarship to them for four years, because we want these students to get out in four years. If a student is a sophomore next year, they will have that grant annually for six semesters. If they are a junior, they would have it for four semesters. So, to the extent where blended students are falling in terms of that progression, it can work or it might not if they are very close to getting that grad degree.   

Do you anticipate continuing remote classroom learning and class sessions?
Pallavicini: No, we don’t anticipate being fully online. Definitely not. Might there be some courses where there might be some synchronous teaching online? Possibly, but that is not our mode of delivery for the majority of our curriculum. For some students, some courses might really lend themselves to some online teaching, so doing it provides some students some flexibility, but we are not going to be doing our entire program online.

How about contact tracing? And quarantine arrangements for resident students?
Pallavicini: Contact tracing that is something we will be considering in the implementation plan for these different recovery scenarios coming back to the president’s cabinet and the president. And at that time, we will have a lot more information about what the recommendations are from this group that’s been looking at it very carefully and looking at what other institutions are doing in making recommendations for Pacific.

Lovelace Petr: The question here is asking about quarantine arrangements for students. One of the things that we got in March, prior to depopulating the residence halls, was ensuring that we had specific locations set aside for reasonably comfortable quarantine arrangements for student who had been exposed or had been traveling previously, and it is one of the recommendations that our director of Student Health Services is bringing forward to the task force that President Pallavicini has been talking about. The director for our Student Health Services is a registered nurse as a community health professional, so she has been particularly assertive on both sides, both from a medical perspective and as well as from an administrative perspective in helping to guide us in ensuring that we are creating safe space for our students to continue to be participants here on our campus for as long as possible.

How will we be credited for dorms and food credits that we paid for January through May?
Pallavicini: Well you won’t be credited for the food and residence living from January prior to spring break, because your students were living here. But after that, we have prorated the cost and expenditures for dorms and food credit, as well as parking for the period after spring break, when the students were unable to return to campus and we had to teach online. There is I believe, Carrie, an application for that?

Lovelace Petr: Yes, there are a couple of ways that people can get some information at this point. You can contact Student Accounts or the student business office to know if there are any particulars for your student’s account specifically. I would invite you again to consider the address as one that is regularly checked by a member of my staff to see if we can suss out what has happened with your particular student’s circumstances. But I think this information has been communicated with students previously, so it’s entirely possible that a student has started to make some arrangements.

When should we expect to receive financial aid awards notification for next year?
Pallavicini: I think those should be going out relatively soon. I would say certainly in the next couple of weeks. If you would like some more specific answers, contact the financial aid office and ask if you can get the answer now or ASAP.

What suggestions do you have for students (our son will be a senior in the fall) to make the best of this summer? Our son had planned to pursue a research project in Germany, for example. Perhaps the career center?
Pallavicini: Certainly, if your son is missing any credits or maybe short of units for graduation next year, think about taking summer school classes. We have a wide variety of classes being offered in summer. They are online as like with every university this summer. It is half the price, approximately per unit, as it is during the regular school semester. So that might be something to consider, because I know many of our students who were doing projects abroad or even at other areas in the nation have had those opportunities squashed because of COVID-19.

Lovelace Petr: I think reaching out to the career center would be an outstanding opportunity. The career center advisors are folks who are continuing to work via Zoom, or certainly phone calls if students would prefer, to give some career advice, other ways that students can utilize the summer to continue to pursue some of their interest, and I would recommend it. I would also underscore what Maria has offered in terms of doing some classes. I am also the parent of a college-aged student who had her summer plans upended, and I know that my student was delighted to realize that this would be an opportunity for her, both to take classes that she needed to get completed, but also to work with one of her favorite faculty members on an independent study that she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Certainly not the summer she had expected, but it seemed to help her have something to look forward to.

In case students are getting COVID-19 from another student who has been sick with COVID-19, how are you are going to handle it?
Lovelace Petr: I would take that a little bit more broad and offer that if we have anybody on campus sick with COVID-19, regardless of the source, that we would handle all of those cases in similar ways, and continue to use the same source of standards and guidelines from the CDC and from the public health center with regards to folks who have been exposed to the virus and are sick, and provide care to them. I’m going to offer that I think it really will have to do with a student in particular with a number of factors: the first being how sick that student is and whether or not that student would like to travel home or do they need immediate medical attention, in which case what we do is talk with them about whether or not that’s feasible and possible. And then how to seek treatment will depend a little bit on the student’s particular situation. If I were a parent, what I really would be asking about here more is an outbreak. How will my student be treated if they are ill? What we would do is help them get medical attention. Put them in a place where they can be comfortable. Make sure there are medical folks who are available to them depending on their level of illness and certainly keep you involved as their emergency contact person. But then also wondering what will happen with sons and daughters and family members and faculty and staff who are nearby, and so all of those people are things that the task force is looking at from a larger scale. When we talk about one person, we can talk about what we can do with one, but thinking about how we might handle an outbreak overall on our campus is something that I know that the task force is really looking at closely.

And then, if I could Maria, I just said emergency contact, and so I’m going to do a plug right now for every single parent on the call—there’s 101 of you. If you could please talk to your student and make sure your contact information is in their emergency contact online. I personally, and my staff, would really appreciate it. That would help us a great deal in case we need to get in touch with you about your student making sure it’s up to date. Particularly some of you who have some juniors or seniors, if your phone number has changed, sometimes they haven’t updated it.

Pallavicini: Emergency contact information for your student is also very much dependent upon having a cell phone number for them that actually reaches them. So please encourage your student to ensure that his or her cellphone numbers are correct, as well. It’s really important.

Will students be able to do research on campus this summer?
Pallavicini: Right now, we’re just beginning to consider what the policies are going to be for doing research this summer. As you probably know, if your student is interested in science, the labs have pretty much shut down as they have been at other campuses. We are instituting and implementing policies and plans to bring those research labs back up. So, I can’t really say at this point if there will be research opportunities. I think the best thing for your student is to contact his or her faculty member if that was a possibility they were considering.

Need to work on test online. In the middle of physics test the system cleared all the test and I have to retest later. It should not happen this way.
Pallavicini: There was a technology problem while students were taking their finals for a period from 9:30 to 11 a.m., I think it was yesterday. It shouldn’t happen. This was a vendor issue. A vendor who works with Pacific, as well as many other universities, and there was a problem on their end. They fixed it as soon as they could. Yes, we would like to not see that happen.

Will all undergraduate students get the $750 for fall tuition or is that only for students in need?
Pallavicini: I’m not sure where that number $750 is coming from. We are talking about $1,450 or so per year, so maybe you’re diving that and thinking you might want to apply it for fall, and that is coming from the COVID-19 scholarship and all students would have that, as long as you are in good standing, etc.

The problem with Resident Life communicating with our DG student, we are the last to hear anything. Parents should be in the loop of communication. If my daughter doesn't have housing that will be a big deal for us.
Lovelace Petr: I think the nature of the question has to do more with the recipient of communication. Certainly, if any of your students have any issue or concern with housing it would be an emergency for your entire family. Communication is done with our student at the student’s address based on what the student information is. I am aware that there are times, as a parent myself, that it can be particularly frustrating if your student is not sharing some of that information with you and I don’t want you to feel that we don’t want to communicate with you. At the same time, I have to offer that unless your student has asked us to do so, we continue to communicate with your student because we don’t know what the relationships are with all students and their families, and so we wouldn’t want to send information to folks when they should not be receiving it. If you have specifics questions about housing, I will put the housing email address ( in the chat and folks are welcome to do that. You can write to both of these addresses— and They are addresses that are checked by a couple of staff folks that generally means they are responding to a little bit quicker than individual addresses.  

The UOP COVID-19 Financial Assistance FAQ says that “undergraduates are not required to apply” (at least not if enrolled full-time) but “graduate and professional students are required to submit an application.” That sounds like undergraduates get the scholarship automatically, but I thought you said earlier in this call that everyone had to apply. Please clarify?
Pallavicini: You are right. I was not very clear in my response, so my apologies on that. Undergrads, if they are fully enrolled full-time and not part-time students, will receive that grant automatically. Our graduate and our professional students are not receiving a COVID-19 scholarship award. The regents have set aside some additional funds for them and they have to apply for those funds.

What types of expenses are considered "emergency expenses" that might qualify a student for a CARES emergency grant?
Pallavicini: First, the CARES emergency funds will not be a grant to students they will just money that students will be able to receive. And these are really expenses that a student incurred that they would not have incurred had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic. They might be things like, I had to purchase a computer or I had to purchase a personal hot spot and I wasn’t planning on doing that. Or maybe I had to get home and I had to get a flight home, which was more costly than what I would have considered. This weekend, on the COVID-19 site there will be the application process for the CARES emergency funds, there will be examples of the types of expenses that the government would consider appropriate. There’s a lot of documentation that students and families and parents will have to provide, receipts, things like that because the government has incredible accountability for these funds and is paying a lot of attention on compliance with their rules and regulations. I don’t think anyone of us wants to be applying for some funds and then the government comes in and says, “Oh no, those funds weren’t the right use. You shouldn’t have gotten it” and then have to pay it back. So, there will be some very detailed information coming out either tomorrow or on the weekend, so pay attention to that. On that will be the form you need to have to fill out as well as some examples.

Will students have an option to continue online for next semester even if the school opens up if they are not comfortable attending in person?
Pallavicini: As I mentioned, we don’t want to be teaching online. We are not an online university. There may be some courses that could be taught in a synchronous online format, but that all would have to be decided based on the faculty and the major and how many courses we would be doing that with and that all has to be worked out. But unless we are unable to ensure the health and safety of our students, we do not plan to have all our courses online in the fall semester. We plan to be teaching our students, interacting with our students face-to-face.

Any update on the possibility of reimbursing for travel expenses to relocate our students back home when the campus was closed?
Pallavicini: Yes, that CARES Act that I just mentioned, where the website will be coming up this weekend, will be a place where you can go and see what is needed to access the funds through the CARES Act. I do believe that reimbursing for travel expenses is one of those, but as I said, it’s a lot of documentation that one has to have for the government. In a way, everybody, is kind of like taxes. You claim something, but you sure better have the receipt and the backup for it.

Will the amount of the grants and awards will be the same as last year?
Pallavicini: Yes, for those of you who have received scholarships or institution aid as freshman or sophomore. The amount of your aid stays constant throughout your years at Pacific, while you’re progressing toward your degree. And that has been a challenge for families, overall over these past several years, because tuition does go up, because expenses go up. So, when the amount of the award stays constant that’s very challenging. Part of the rationale for the COVID-19 scholarship was to offset the cost of the tuition increase that was slated for the forthcoming year that was approved by the Board of Regents. It basically equates very close to that 3% tuition increase and helps to offset that. I will say that the amounts of scholarships, grants and awards that your student receives will not be affected by the COVID-19 scholarship that is on top of whatever else the institution is giving.

My son's grade has dropped since distance learning started. He is a hard-working student who had a difficult time and struggled with not getting help that he needed. One of the reasons that we chose Pacific is because of the more personalized learning as was advertised. He did not receive this during distance learning. Will there be more grace allowed during this period by professors? He chose to go with letter grades as he would like to pursue graduate school.
Pallavicini: You can email me that question. I don’t know anything about your son, but I want to have him connected with someone who probably could be more helpful than I can be. I know we did allow our students to take a pass or credit no credit for their courses up until their last day of classes. So, there was a lot of flexibility that the faculty made recognizing that students were learning in a different modality. Yes, it may be difficult, but I’d really like to know if your student asked for help and did not get help and talk with you about that. So, if you wouldn’t mind emailing me,, we’ll get connected in a way that could be more helpful for you and your son.

Will fall sports take place?
Pallavicini: We certainly hope so. There’s a lot of uncertainty there of course, just like there’s uncertainty about exactly what fall semester is going to look like. Right now, students really can’t practice together as teams, competition has been stopped. We have no idea yet how that is going to take place in fall. There’s a lot of discussion going on within the WCC, with the NCAA and so there will be some more information coming out, I have no doubt, in the next couple of weeks, certainly by mid-June or there about. Right now, I can say I don’t know. I hope so. I hope we come back to some level of normality recognizing that even in that level of normality there are going to have some changes and some differences.

How long will you be doing this Zoom group chat for the school?
Pallavicini: Well, I’m doing this Zoom chat in my role as interim president and I am in this role until July. And then our new president, Chris Callahan, is coming on board July 1 and I will be returning to my role as provost. Probably many of you don’t know what provost means, but that position is responsible for overseeing all the academics, the programs, the schools, the deans, etc. and that’s a position where really my heart is because I’m very close to academics.

I will do several more Zoom chats as we move through May, June and move toward the July 1 date. And I know the president will be doing some as well, once he transitions in.

I hope this is helpful. It is good for us to hear what your questions are and it’s helpful for us to tell you whatever we can in these uncertain times.