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University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211

Pacific's fall reopening plans

June 11, 2020

Dear Pacific community members,

We know how eager all of you – our students, faculty and staff – are to return to our campuses for the fall semester, and how excited our new students are to start their Pacific careers. We are, too. We all miss the deep, personalized learning experiences that are the hallmark of a Pacific education as well as our sense of family and community. But, of course, we want to make sure we can create an environment where we can return safely.

Since shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to create plans that would allow us to safely return to our campuses for the fall semester. There are many details that are still being planned, but we now have a strong framework that we are confident will allow us to return safely for the start of the new academic year. These plans, of course, are predicated on the state of COVID-19 later this summer. We are closely following – and adhering to ­– the guidelines and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state, county and local health officials.

With that, please allow us to outline some of the most critical elements of our Pacific Returns plan:

  • Safe Classroom Design: Our classes are being redesigned to ensure CDC-recommended social distancing of at least six feet between students. Most classes will be taught in larger rooms than normal to reduce density. Additionally, students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in class (either university-issued or personal face coverings may be used).

  • Flexible Courses: To ensure a safe environment and to provide maximum flexibility for our students, most of our classes will be taught both in-person and remotely at the same time. Under this configuration, most students will be physically in class – as they would pre-COVID-19 – on most days. But to achieve proper social distancing, students in many programs will participate in some classes remotely on designated days in coordination with the faculty member. Students will rotate between in-person and remote class sessions, although they will have the opportunity to attend most of their class sessions in person. This design also gives students maximum flexibility; if a student wants to take some – or even all – classes remotely, that option also will be available in most programs. Our teams are working to provide the necessary technology and faculty training to deliver top-quality courses to our students in this dual-learning environment.

  • Class Schedules: To reduce the density of our classes, and to provide our students more flexibility, we plan to offer more evening classes during the week on our Stockton Campus (although, unlike some other U.S. universities, we do not plan to expand classes into weekends). This expansion will alter the schedules of some individual courses. We are designing those schedules now to limit disruption while providing students more flexibility. Details on the revised schedule of classes will be ready later this month.

  • Academic Calendar: Some universities are moving up their start dates, but we wanted to avoid that disruption for our students and faculty. We will start and end the semester as scheduled. But to reduce density and provide our students and their families more flexibility, the final week of undergraduate classes after Thanksgiving, along with Finals Week, will be delivered all remotely. This way, students do not have to return to campus after Thanksgiving break. However, students will have the option to stay or return after Thanksgiving if they want. The residence halls, cafeterias, library and other university amenities will remain open through the end of the semester.

  • Housing: Our Stockton Campus residence hall system has been redesigned to eliminate the traditional configurations of two and three students sharing one bedroom. Unlike most U.S. universities, Pacific housing has been reconfigured so residents will have their own private bedrooms. Importantly, the reconfiguration of the residence halls will not increase costs to our students. The Department of Residential Life and Housing will communicate with students directly regarding housing arrangements in the coming weeks.

  • Dining: The dining area in the DeRosa University Center will be reconfigured to ensure proper social distancing. We also will have additional dining spaces to comfortably reduce density. The full menu will be available. All meals will be prepackaged to encourage takeout dining. Carryout also will be the lone option for the Sacramento and San Francisco campuses.

  • Cleaning, Sanitizing and Density: The university is installing new and intensified cleaning and sanitizing protocols across all three campuses and acquiring the necessary supplies. Additionally, limitations will be placed on public gathering spaces, and Plexiglas shields will be installed in reception areas. Directional signage also will be installed for pedestrian traffic to reduce density, and office spaces and work areas will be reconfigured to create appropriate social distancing.

  • Screening, Testing and Tracing: We will have a mobile screening app for all students, faculty and staff to use each day prior to arrival to ensure they can come to our campuses safely. Our San Francisco Campus already has plans in place, and we are developing plans to conduct COVID-19 testing and tracing as needed for our Stockton and Sacramento campuses. Details on screening, testing and tracing will be available later this summer.

  • Student Life and Extracurricular Activities: A robust array of student life activities is a central part of the Pacific experience. Our teams are designing exciting activities for our new and returning students, but they will be different from traditional events on our campuses, adhering to all of the new health and safety protocols.

  • Pacific Athletics: The NCAA and the West Coast Conference continue to work on policies and planning, and our Athletics Department is working on various contingencies for the fall semester. This is still in the development stage and we hope to be able to share more about fall sports soon.

  • The Pacific Pact: All Pacific students will be asked to sign the Pacific Pact, agreeing to adhere to the university’s health and safety protocols for the sake of all members of our community. Training materials are being developed and will be available in August.

We will be able to reopen in large part because of the many advantages already in place at Pacific. Our class sizes are already small. Our largest student population is on our Stockton Campus, which spans 175 acres in a region that does not have the population density of major urban cores. But what has been most important is the tremendous work of dozens of Pacific faculty and staff over the past few months, working in four groups across all three campuses to develop plans and contingencies for all scenarios.

More details will be coming over the next few weeks leading into the fall semester. As always, our decision-making during the COVID-19 recovery period is rooted in our core principles for the health and safety of our students and university community and the continuation of our extraordinary teaching and learning experiences.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Pacific!

Maria Pallavicini
Interim President

Christopher Callahan
President Designate