Coronavirus Information for the PLNU Community

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about PLNU operations for students, faculty, staff, and parents. These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available. (Last update: August 5, 2020)

PLNU Dates

What are the Fall 2020 semester dates?

The Fall 2020 semester will begin Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Final assignments and final exams will be completed the week after Thanksgiving break. The fall semester will conclude Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.

Winter break will be Dec. 5, 2020-January 10, 2021. There will also be the addition of a Spring Mini-Term that will take place Jan. 11-Feb. 12, 2021.

See the 2020/2021 Academic Calendar

*The Graduate and Adult Degree Completion academic calendars will remain the same.

What is the Spring Mini-Term?

The Spring Mini-Term is an optional and free opportunity for students to more evenly spread their course load or finish a class in a month, similar to summer term. The term will be held from Jan. 11-Feb. 12, 2021. See a full list of courses that will be offered over Spring Mini-Term.

What is the purpose for an extended Winter Break?

The extended winter break is designed to ensure the safest possible return for students during the following spring semester. The hope is that this elongated break gives us the best chance for returning to campus face to face in the spring.

What will NSO look like this year?

New Student Orientation (NSO) is an important milestone for students and their families as they begin their journey with PLNU. While NSO may look different this year than others, PLNU is committed to making this ceremonial rite-of-passage as important and relational as ever. NSO sessions will be hosted virtually, either filmed in advance and posted online or hosted live via Zoom, such as Dr. Brower’s opening session, general sessions with faculty, parent sessions, and chapel and covenant ceremonies. PLNU’s NSO app will be available to download in July. By Aug. 1, it will be your guide to all things for you as a new Point Loma student.

Once a decision has been made how to proceed, how long will that decision stand for?

In short, we want to be back on campus as soon and as safely as possible! But our decision to transition to remote learning stands until we receive alternative guidance from the county or the state. 

If we are able to return, we will give ourselves a two-week window to affect the transition back to campus. 

  • October 19 would be the last possible start date on campus.
  • We would announce the transition no later than October 5.
  • If by October 5 we cannot come back, we will complete the fall semester remotely.

Will the new academic calendar change based on the move to online?

No, the 2020/2021 academic calendar remains unchanged.

What is the guidance for student athletes?

The PacWest has postponed intercollegiate competition for PacWest fall sports until after January 1, 2021. PacWest fall sports include men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball. The action was taken due to rapidly changing information and guidelines from the NCAA, as well as the states, counties, and areas where the 11 PacWest institutions compete. While this decision postpones Fall 2020 sports competition, institutions will still be allowed to conduct organized team activities at their own discretion, including workouts, practices, strength and conditioning, and access to their athletic training staff, as local, county, and state guidelines permit. Options for moving fall sport competition schedules into the winter/spring are being developed and reviewed. A decision on the start of the 2020-21 winter sports season, as well as the non-championship segments of spring sports, is expected to be made by October 1.

Why wouldn’t you just move the academic calendar back instead of starting on Aug. 17 virtually?

We did consider a delay to the fall semester. But as we considered that option, it reinforced our ultimate goal which is to not impede the academic progress of our students. We understand the amount of uncertainty and change — we do not want to introduce more flux with a limited increase of the chances of being able to be face-to-face with two additional weeks of hope. Judging from the number of cases and trends in California, we do not think a few weeks will change much about the current landscape.


What will virtual instruction look like?

When we move to virtual instruction and learning, the only things that will change regarding the academic experience are the different modalities that will be blended and used to engage the content with students. Faculty will still actively engage students both in the classroom (through new smart classroom technology) and within the online Canvas course (which face-to-face classes are normally built within). 

In some cases, students will need to complete some online work in advance of the face-to-face/synchronous class sessions so they can follow the professor’s teaching or productively engage in the classroom discussions — this work ahead of class and often submitted online also happens in the face-to-face environment. Quizzes and tests may be given online using the Honorlock proctoring software or assessments of student learning may be accomplished through other papers or assignments.

Remote learning provides an opportunity for faculty and students to remain engaged with one another while working through the content of their classes across different locations. Many of the same classroom strategies used in a face-to-face environment can translate well to the virtual classroom. This includes live lectures, discussions, group work, testing, and Q&A.

Will PLNU be implementing a Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) option for this virtual Fall session?

No. Credit/No Credit was implemented for the spring 2020 semester because of the disruptive nature of that term. Credit/No Credit is not ideal for students making strong academic progress, transferring, or getting into graduate school.

How will labs and clinicals work?

All labs for the fall will either be transitioned to virtual instruction or postponed until we can return to face-to-face instruction. Nursing students' face-to-face clinical needs will be met by in-person placements in San Diego. All other clinical, internship, practicum, and field experience needs will be conducted according to the host organization's guidelines.

How will PLNU shape the academic experience for students in other timezones or for international students in other countries?

International students or students living in different timezones can expect to have 25-50% of synchronous class material. This means that you will learn live and side-by-side with students and your professor in Zoom while building in flexibility for where you are learning from. Professors will also reach out to individual students if they live in another timezone to ensure each person has access to course materials and resources.

Will classes be held live over Zoom or be pre-recorded (synchronous or asynchronous)?

You can expect 25-50% of class material will be synchronous (or live learning) with the remaining amount done asynchronously or own your own time and schedule.

Would PLNU consider modifying to a face-to-face option later in the semester if the COVID situation improves in our state and region?

Yes. As soon as is safely possible, we hope to shift to on-campus instruction during the fall semester. If we are able to return, we will give ourselves a two-week window to affect the transition back to campus: 

  • October 19 would be the last possible start date on campus.
  • We would announce the transition no later than October 5.
  • If by October 5 we cannot come back, we will complete the fall semester remotely.

Will students have the option to choose distance learning even if the campus opens up at some point?

Yes. When a shift to on-campus instruction during the fall semester is possible we will accommodate those students choosing to remain remote with remote instruction for the entire semester.

How will support services like the Disability Resource Center be delivered?

In addition to our usual offerings delivered virtually, we have added additional support services for our students while they cannot be on campus.

  • LomaCare, on-demand, 24/7 access to thoughtful telehealth, will be available to all traditional undergraduate students (
  • Wellness Center counselors will be available to provide services for students experiencing COVID-related anxieties and other mental health concerns. 
  • Feel free to reach out if you have any needs

What classes will be offered for the Spring Mini-Term?

Tuition and Admission

Will students receive a tuition reduction in the case of virtual instruction? How much?

We believe in the academic progress of our students and we want to do what is within our power to help you make it here. That’s why we decided that, in the event that PLNU moved to virtual instruction:

  • We will activate a 10% reduced net tuition for traditional undergraduate students for the fall semester.
  • If your room and board has been charged, it will now be refunded.
  • Additionally, if a student is enrolled full time in both fall and spring, they will receive one free Spring Mini-Term course in either January or February 2021 (a $1,500 value).

On average, this will be a 20-25% reduction in tuition, room, and board, depending on the net bill and financial aid package.

Can I defer to the Spring? Will that impact my scholarships or financial aid package?

Before considering deferral or leave of absence, please read closely these policies, as they carry various consequences — financial, academic progress, etc. Academic progress is particularly important in these times, as there isn’t a wide variety of academic alternative options as community colleges are very impacted. ALL of higher education is adjusting to the realities COVID presses upon us. These are not unique to any one student. Our approach — and significant investment — has been in preparation for the possibility of disruption this fall. We are ready to accommodate all of our students in their effort to continue (or begin) their academic journey at PLNU. We will pivot back to being on campus — which we all want — as soon as we are able.

In addition, taking a semester away is not as simple as it sounds. Programs are architected across an assumed eight-semester rhythm across four years. Courses you need are available now, and may not be available in spring, which means you might not be able to graduate in four years.

Deferrals for first-time freshman students:

Granting a deferral of admission is up to the office of admissions. Deferrals are meant to accommodate life circumstances (such as a death in the family), not to take courses elsewhere. A student runs the risk of losing their “freshman status” if they take too many credits. They must have less than 16 units in order to be treated — and aided — as a freshman (this would not apply to students who defer for one semester - they would keep their financial aid). Otherwise, they will be processed as a transfer student — including financial aid. A deferral can be no longer than one semester.

Deferrals and leaves of absence for continuing students:

If a continuing student defers, they lose their merit scholarship. Merit scholarships require “continuous, full-time enrollment.” If a continuing student is given a leave of absence, they can retain their merit scholarship. Leaves of absence are to be granted for unique circumstances only. Also, a maximum of 8 units can be taken by a student during a leave of absence.


A withdrawal will result in the loss of all merit aid. A student who withdraws would need to reapply, and admission would not be guaranteed.

Can I defer to next Fall? Will that impact my scholarships or financial aid package?

No. Deferrals can be no longer than one semester. Read more about Deferrals, Leaves of Absence, and Withdrawals.

Can I move to part time in Fall? Will that impact my scholarships or financial aid package?

While it may seem appealing to have fewer courses in the Fall, full time enrollment is required for nearly all forms of Institutional aid. Dropping to part time (less than 12 units) puts your aid at risk in that specific term. Also, by policy, Merit scholarships require continuous, full time enrollment; moving to part time would jeopardize merit scholarships both in that specific semester and all future semesters. For more details on these policies, click here.

When will tuition be due?

Tuition will be due on August 17, 2020.

Chapel and Spiritual Life

How will chapel requirements work?

Chapel will still be required. However, given the uniqueness of navigating the complexities and challenges of a global pandemic, Chapel requirements will be reduced to 16 units for the Fall 2020 semester only, and will be able to be earned through a variety of different opportunities. More specific details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Will there still be chapel or spiritual life opportunities available virtually?

Chapel will continue to be available through a variety of experiences and formats this year, including:

  • Live-streamed services:
    • Monday Spiritual Life Practices led by campus pastors and student interns.
    • Wednesday Community Chapels exploring the Love Embodied Chapel theme.
    • A new first-year student-focused offering called Fresh Fridays, which will include short compelling messages and breakout groups with Discipleship Ministry student leaders.
    • Timeout Chapels highlighting faith stories and student experiences.
  • A menu of options for spiritual growth and engagement through our new Chapel "class" on Canvas. 
  • Small group discussions, breakout sessions, and Bible studies.
  • Other opportunities to worship, pray, and connect through @plnuchapel on Instagram.

Residential and Community Life

Can students with special circumstances still apply for housing on campus?

We will accommodate as many students in on-campus housing as possible, given our limitations by county and state guidelines. If you need a housing exemption, please email for more information.

  • We will give priority to students with insecure housing situations.
  • We will give priority to international students.
    • ICE states that a new international student cannot be enrolled entirely online; it must be hybrid or face-to-face.  
  • We will give priority to non-San Diego-based students in programs requiring a presence in the area:
    • Nursing
    • EMT students
    • Pre-med students requiring in-person labs. It was previously noted that pre-med would be included in these exemptions. We received further guidance on lab requirements while we also built the capacity and ability to move all of these lab courses online.

Can you provide more information on housing availability for international students?

If you are an international student under the age of 24 who needs living accommodation, please email We also recommend contacting Sam Kwapong, Director of International Student Services as soon as possible to check housing availability and eligibility.

The U.S. government has currently granted all international students from Europe exemption to enter the United States. Since we are not sure how long this exception will last, we are advising all PLNU international students to travel to the U.S. for the fall semester.

International students who are planning to return to the United States but have not yet obtained a visa should work on acquiring one right away. With this new exemption, students from Europe without visas will be able to get an appointment to obtain one. 

If you prefer to stay in their home country and attend PLNU virtually that is absolutely okay. However, there is a chance that the current U.S. exemptions may change or might not be granted at a later time as the situation unfolds within the United States and within your home country.

Those who have been approved by Residential Life to live on campus will have until August 14 to arrive and provide a negative COVID-19 test. If any international students cannot be at PLNU by August 14, they should contact Sam Kwapong right away. 

All international students at PLNU are eligible to maintain their F-1 visa status with the current format of classes. Although the government has relaxed the number of online units a student can enroll in, all international students must still adhere to a full course load (12 units for undergrad and 6 units for grad students)

The Office of Multicultural and International Student Services is open during the Fall semester. In-person appointments will be by reservation only.

How does this impact the ability for students to get student employment and PLNU internships?

Given the current health guidelines student employee positions will be limited to those positions identified as essential to university operations in areas such as Public Safety. You can contact Student Employment for more information on any openings that may be available.

If students are not able to live on campus will they be reimbursed for housing and meal services?

If your room and board has been charged, it will now be fully refunded. If you have not yet been charged, you will not receive a bill for room and board.

Where are some resources PLNU has available to stay connected to others during this time?

While we’re all waiting to return to campus, we have created a way for our freshmen students to develop real-time, face-to-face connection and conversations with one another in small groups, similar to how you develop tight-knit relationships within your residential hall or floor. 

The focus will be on giving first-year students an opportunity to meet PLNU staff, create friendships with their fellow freshmen, and have greater ease in transitioning to campus life. 

In addition to digital connections, these Loma Launch Groups will have opportunities to join in on regional gatherings that will be arranged for throughout the semester while we are remotely living and learning. We will be following distance practices when we gather and obeying any guidelines provided by the local jurisdiction.

We also have other connection opportunities for our entire student community being led by ASB, Chapel, Spiritual Development, and others. These events and resources are focused on helping you develop relationships with others, get involved, cultivate your interests, and simply have fun:

Can PLNU offer me any help if I signed an off campus housing or apartment lease?

We apologize for any inconvenience related to leases. If it’s still possible, we would recommend asking for a COVID clause in your lease agreement or asking for a break of lease based on special circumstances.

If the COVID situation changes mid-semester would you allow students to come back and live on campus?

Yes. When possible, we hope to shift to on-campus instruction during the fall semester. If we are able to return, we will give ourselves a two-week window to affect the transition back to campus. 

  • October 19 would be the last possible start date on campus (announcement date: October 5). If by October 5 we cannot come back, we will complete the fall semester remotely.


Why should I study at PLNU vs. other options?

PLNU is one of the most academically prestigious Christian universities in California, if not the country, and is committed as always to providing our students a holistic academic experience. Through student and parent interviews, survey feedback, and best-practice standards as our benchmark, we have made many necessary changes to ensure an innovative and exceptional academic experience moving forward. No matter what the modality of learning may be — face-to-face, hybrid, or online — you will receive the same caliber of education you’ve come to expect from PLNU. This fall will be one of our best and strongest, and we will do what we’ve always done: journey together toward who we are called to be.