Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about PLNU operations for students and parents. Faculty and staff can find additional updates here. These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available. (Last update: March 12, 2021)

Intake Testing & Move-In

What will NSO look like this year?

Spring 2021 NSO will take place over three days in February with identical programming each day to allow for a healthy and safe move-in. Students will be able to select the date and time for move-in by scheduling their COVID-19 test with the Wellness Center. 

New students, including all freshmen and transfers from Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021, will test and move-in between February 23-25, 2021 as a part of New Student Orientation (NSO).

When can new students move-in?

New students, including all freshmen and transfers from Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021, will test and move-in between February 23-25, 2021 as a part of New Student Orientation (NSO). Students received this information at their pointloma.edu email on January 26, 2021 in updates from Residential Life and the Wellness Center.

When can returning students move-in?

Returning students who are upperclassmen can move-in on February 26 or 27. Students received this information at the pointloma.edu email on January 26, 2021 in updates form Residential Life and the Wellness Center. 

What is a pre-quarantine?

Starting February 19 we ask that all students start a "pre-quarantine" or self-quarantine prior to the Spring 2021 semester start. What does this mean? 

  • Limit unmasked activity to your household
  • Do not travel outside of your home county
  • Wear a mask and keep a minimum of 6 feet of distance from others
  • Practice frequent hand hygiene
  • Avoid indoor socialization, exercise, and eating with people outside your immediate household
  • Begin daily symptom monitoring of yourself to increase awareness of any COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Review PLNU on-campus COVID-19 practices

Once students arrive on campus, we are going to ask that they comply with distancing and appropriate mask use at all times - particularly in the first week back as we wait for the results of all intake testing.

I’m a commuter student, do I need to schedule a COVID-19 test?

Yes, COVID-19 testing is required to participate in on-campus learning, move-in, dining, or using campus facilities. Returning commuter students received this information at the pointloma.edu email on February 5, 2021 in an update from the Wellness Center.

Why was I not assigned a move-in time?

Students were not assigned a specific move-in time. Rather, all students received a specific sign-up link from the Wellness Center with detailed instructions based on their status.

A scheduled test will determine the date and time of their subsequent move-in on campus. Students do not need to schedule a move-in time, only a testing appointment.

We will be offering testing on the main campus on top of the Ryan Library in our new testing hub. Students will be given a color-coded bracelet after they complete testing to gain access to campus. Students will be required to wear this bracelet through Friday, March 5.

We recognize there may be conflicts with the provided testing dates due to travel, work, or family considerations. Students are encouraged to first review the options provided to them in their email and then reach out to the Wellness Center with questions at covid19wellness@pointloma.edu.

Can my family help me move-in?

Parents/guests are invited to assist with move-in. However, Public Health guidelines limit the size of gatherings, so parents/guests may leave campus after move-in and are unable to participate in NSO activities.

What happens if a student tests positive upon moving back to campus?

Students will be provided with an isolation space on campus, meals will be provided, and they will receive daily check-ins by phone from the C19 clinic.

I’ve already had COVID-19. Do I need to sign up for a test?

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the last 90 days contact sdwellnesscenter@pointloma.edu by February 19 and you will be provided directions on the next steps. Specifically, to provide a certified positive result.

These students WILL have to come to the PLNU C19 testing hub on top of Ryan Library when they arrive on campus to receive a wristband indicating they are approved to be on campus. 
They WILL NOT need to schedule a testing appointment to get a wristband, simply arrive at the testing hub to present name and ID.

Previously positive students will be removed from surveillance testing until they are 90 days post infection at which point they will be added into the surveillance testing.

Academics

How will courses be delivered this spring?

Classes will be offered in a variety of formats including; outdoor face-to-face, indoor labs, clinicals, and studios, hybrid, and entirely virtual. This variety will allow 25% of courses to be offered completely face-to-face beginning March 1, 2021. Synchronous components of hybrid courses will move to face-to-face on Monday, March 22.

San Diego County is in the red tier. What does that mean for instruction?

San Diego moved into the Red Tier on Wednesday, March 17. This tier move allows PLNU to transition certain operations in line with the state’s guidelines.

Moving to the Red Tier allows us to transition the synchronous components of our hybrid courses to face-to-face (masked and distanced) sessions for traditional undergraduates. The transition to F2F/hybrid teaching will begin on Monday, March 22.

  • All face-to-face instruction will continue to be masked and distanced in line with public health guidelines and PLNU policy. 
  • All other courses will continue meeting in their original modality throughout the semester
    • This includes face-to-face labs, clinicals, and undergraduate classes meeting in the outdoor Hill classrooms. 
    • Those courses that are fully remote for pedagogical reasons or faculty health concerns will remain remote regardless of tier change.
    • Students can expect additional information from their individual faculty.

PLNU prepared for the spring with the knowledge that labs, clinicals, and studio courses could operate indoors with appropriate masks and distancing.

PLNU has constructed seven outdoor classrooms which each accommodate 43 students at distance. These seven outdoor classrooms, known as the “Hill classrooms” currently host over 60 separate courses and other student events.

Why are some classes outdoors? How were these courses identified?

With outdoor classes allowed at any capacity, in any tier, PLNU constructed seven outdoor “Hill” classrooms which each accommodate 43 students at distance. These seven outdoor classrooms host over 60 separate courses throughout the semester and have allowed the majority of PLNU students to have some face-to-face courses as soon as the semester began on March 1.

Faculty were surveyed on their desire to teach outdoors and courses were evaluated for size and success in the outdoor classroom space.

Why are labs, clinicals, and studio courses allowed indoors?

Per state guidance, labs, clinicals, and studio courses are allowed inside with appropriate masking and distancing, regardless of tier.

How will I know what format my classes are?

Course information, including location (i.e. outdoor or hybrid) will be available in the “course notes” in Workday.

What does “modified face-to-face” or “hybrid” mean?

There will be asynchronous (not happening in real-time) virtual classwork with some synchronous (education that happens in real time, with a set class schedule) teaching online, with ability to meet in person beginning on Monday March 22, with San Diego’s move to the Red Tier on March 17. (The reduced classroom capacity will depend on what tier the state of California is in).

What will hybrid courses look like? Will the synchronous portions meet on zoom or in-person?

The San Diego region moved into the Red Tier on Wednesday, March 17. This tier move allows PLNU to transition certain operations in line with the state’s guidelines.

Moving to the Red Tier allows us to transition the synchronous components of our hybrid courses to face-to-face (masked and distanced) sessions for traditional undergraduates.

The transition to F2F/hybrid teaching will begin on Monday, March 22.

Students will be provided specific detail from their faculty ahead of the transition.

Why are some classes virtual the entire semester?

Due to pedagogical reasons and individual health considerations, there will be some courses that will meet virtually this semester regardless of tier change.

These courses are primarily language courses that benefit from students and faculty easily being able to see the others’ mouths in order to improve the teaching and learning process. There are also some limited exceptions for courses taught by those faculty needing to remain remote for health reasons.

For the portion of virtual learning, 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.

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 (lomacare.care).
  • 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 wellness@pointloma.edu.

What support will be available to ensure that students have access to reliable internet connections during remote instruction?

During these unprecedented times and the possible personal challenges with accessing the Internet, PLNU is providing a list of internet/WiFi resources that might be of help to you. For more resources and information, please visit the PLNU ITS Knowledge Base.

I’m uncomfortable returning to campus for in-person and hybrid classes, can I take the spring semester remotely?

We recognize that some students whether for personal health or family reasons have chosen to continue learning remotely and these modalities, with some limited exceptions, will be able to support remote learners. Yes, even outdoor classes will be equipped with appropriate technology to allow remote participation by students as needed.

Students were able to request a change in the modality of their Spring 2021 course(s) during the first two weeks of the Spring 2021 semester, from March 1 – March 12. The modality change request period is now closed.

Will outdoor classes meet outside the entire semester?

Yes, courses meeting in the outdoor classrooms will meet outside through the entire semester. There will be appropriate technology support, heating, and cleaning measures at these outdoor sites.

What will change now that San Diego County has moved into the red tier?

San Diego moved into the Red Tier on Wednesday, March 17. This tier move allows PLNU to transition certain operations in line with the state’s guidelines.

Moving to the Red Tier allows us to transition the synchronous components of our hybrid courses to face-to-face (masked and distanced) sessions for traditional undergraduates. The transition to F2F/hybrid teaching will begin on Monday, March 22.

  • All face-to-face instruction will continue to be masked and distanced in line with public health guidelines and PLNU policy. 
  • All other courses will continue meeting in their original modality throughout the semester. 
    • This includes face-to-face labs, clinicals, and undergraduate classes meeting in the outdoor Hill classrooms. 
    • Those courses that are fully remote for pedagogical reasons or faculty health concerns will remain remote regardless of tier change.
    • Students can expect additional information from their individual faculty.

PLNU prepared for the spring with the knowledge that labs, clinicals, and studio courses could operate indoors with appropriate masks and distancing.

PLNU has constructed seven outdoor classrooms which each accommodate 43 students at distance. These seven outdoor classrooms, known as the “Hill classrooms” currently host over 60 separate courses and other student events.

Our campus teams have established classroom capacity for the 6-foot distancing as classroom assignments are finalized.

Chapel and Spiritual Life

What will the chapel experience look like this spring?

Chapel will continue to be available through a variety of experiences and formats as we prepare to return to Loma, including:

  • Monday: Morning Community Chapels, livestream from Brown Chapel and available through the Canvas Chapel Course
  • Wednesday: Morning Community Chapels, in-person gatherings in the Greek Amphitheatre with livestream attendance available through the Canvas Chapel Course
  • Thursday: Evening Chapels, in-person gatherings in the Greek Amphitheatre
  • Friday: A menu of options and formats will be available, both in-person and virtually through Alternative Chapel Engagements (A.C.E.) listed on the Canvas Chapel Course

How else can I get involved spiritually on campus?

With a return to campus, all Alpha groups for freshmen will re-launch in person. D Groups, PLNU’s small groups for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, will be offered as well.

Community Ministries and Ministry with México will offer both virtual and select in-person, socially distanced engagement opportunities.

Campus pastors will be available for meetings by phone or outdoors.

Opportunities to worship, pray, and connect will continue to be available through @plnuchapel on Instagram.

Will chapel still be required?

Chapel will still be required. However, given the uniqueness of navigating the complexities and challenges of a global pandemic, Chapel requirements will be reduced and will be able to be earned through a variety of different opportunities.

Residential and Community Life

Can students apply for housing on campus?

Housing for the Spring semester is currently full. Students interested in living on campus can be added to the waitlist by contacting Residential Life at reslife@pointloma.edu.

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 reslife@pointloma.edu. 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.

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.

If I’m approved to live on campus will I need to be tested before I arrive?

Yes, all students who plan to live, learn, or work on campus are required to take an initial COVID-19 test and will be enrolled in PLNU’s periodic follow-up testing program.

  • Residential students have received specific information from the Wellness Center and Residential Life regarding testing sign-up through their PLNU email address.
  • Commuter students who live off-campus will receive specific instructions for testing opportunities from the Wellness Center through their PLNU email address.

What other health and safety guidelines will I need to follow on campus? How often will I have to wear a mask?

If you are approved, we will cover the on-campus guidelines in detail. For now, here is a basic overview of our guidelines for living on campus during this pandemic: 

  • Everyone must wear a mask, except for the following reasons:
    • If you are outdoors and six feet away from others.
    • If you are in your room with no visitors.
    • Always stay six feet away from others. 

Any student conduct violations may result in the loss of PLNU housing.

Will students living on campus have access to the athletic fields and facilities?

Beginning Monday, September 7, students will have limited access to the athletic facilities. All rules and entrance to facilities will be monitored and enforced by PLNU Public Safety.

Golden Gym, the baseball field, and locker rooms are closed and not available at this time.

Soccer Field / Track

What is Allowed

  • Non-contact athletic-related activities

Who is Allowed

  • PLNU students/faculty/staff only (must have Campus Clear verification)

Who is NOT Allowed

  • External (non-PLNU) groups or individuals

Max Capacity

  • Maximum capacity of 100 people at any one time as long as proper social distancing and facial coverings are being recognized congruent with current state and local health & safety guidelines

Hours of Availability

  • Sunday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m.

Social Distancing Rules

  • Six feet apart in seating areas and anywhere else on/around field
  • Face masks at all points of human interaction within six feet of another person

General Use Rules

  • Water only (no soft drinks, coffee, etc.)
  • Not allowed - food, chewing gum, sunflower seeds, alcohol, tobacco products
  • No high-heeled shoes
  • No group activities of more than four individuals
  • No bikes, scooters, skateboards
  • No dogs

Tennis Courts

What is Allowed

  • Non-contact athletic-related with intended use of tennis activities only

Who is Allowed

  • PLNU students/faculty/staff only (must have Campus Clear verification)

Who is NOT Allowed

  • No external (non-PLNU) groups or individuals

Max Capacity

  • Maximum capacity four per court (total of 24) as long as proper social distancing and facial coverings are being recognized congruent with current state and local health & safety guidelines

Hours of Availability

  • Sunday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m.

Social Distancing Rules

  • Six feet apart in seating areas and anywhere else on/around courts
  • Face masks at all points of human interaction within six feet of another person

General Use Rules

  • Water only (no soft drinks, coffee, etc.)
  • Not allowed - food, chewing gum, sunflower seeds, alcohol, tobacco products
  • No black-soled shoes, leather-soled shoes, or high heeled shoes
  • No group activities of more than four individuals
  • No bikes, scooters, skateboards
  • No dogs

Does PLNU have a threshold in place where, if reached, students living on campus would be sent home?

There is no single indicator, circumstance, or threshold that will alone lead us to change the state of campus operations, or housing. Rather we are looking at a host of data including, state and county guidance, testing capacities within higher education, health and safety challenges and experiences at other institutions, and the impact of these factors on the health and safety of the PLNU community. We will make these decisions in close consultation with the county and our community, but at this time we do not have specific thresholds.

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.

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:

Do I have to come back to live on-campus if I don’t feel comfortable?

No, if a student would prefer to remain remote, they can. If you have any questions regarding remote learning, please reach out via the Spring 2021 Remote Request Google Form or contact Vice Provost, Dr. Holly Irwin.

General FAQs

What is the purpose of eliminating breaks, including the Easter Recess?

When PLNU changed the academic calendar last summer, we intentionally delayed the start of the Spring semester to provide our students with the best chance for returning to campus face to face in the spring. We purposefully built it so that there were two extra days in the semester in case circumstances would drastically change and we could reinstate the Easter break.

Given how early the Easter Holiday falls in the spring semester, we have decided to not reinstate this break. However, one of the lessons learned from the fall semester, both from feedback at PLNU as well as across the country, was the need to build in some Mental Health breaks into the semester. View the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar.

Easter is one of our most important Holidays at a Christian university so this decision was not made lightly. In order to acknowledge this important time in the Christian calendar, we will be doing additional programming to make this a special time for our entire community as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will there be a Spring 2021 Commencement?

Yes, PLU is committed to providing an in-person commencement experience to Spring 2021 graduates as well as graduates from Winter 2020. These events will take place beginning the afternoon of Friday, June 11, and will continue over the course of several days. Additional details will be made available by April 1, 2021.

Our plans will continue to be informed and governed by national, state, and county-level guidelines as we work closely with the County of San Diego and public health experts to inform our planning.

Please reach out to commencement@pointloma.edu with questions.

Why PLNU?

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.

COVID-19

If I feel sick, what do I do?

Call the C19 Hotline at (619) 849-2280.

If I think I’ve been exposed, what do I do?

Call the C19 Hotline at (619) 849-2280.

Do I have to be tested before the start of Spring 2021?

Yes, all students who plan to live, learn, or work on campus are required to take an initial COVID-19 test and will be enrolled in PLNU’s periodic follow-up testing program.

  • Residential students have received specific information from the Wellness Center and Residential Life regarding testing sign-up through their PLNU email address.
  • Commuter students who live off-campus will receive specific instructions for testing opportunities from the Wellness Center through their PLNU email address.

How often will I be tested?

All students, faculty, and staff who are on campus will be tested every other week and you will get an email for the week you need to get routinely tested.

Do I have to get vaccinated?

No, you don’t have to get vaccinated but it is highly recommended when the appropriate tier is available to you.

Can I get vaccinated on campus?

Yes, you will be able to get vaccinated on campus when it is your turn. The Wellness Center is a licensed vaccine site and will be administering COVID-19 vaccines beginning in March according to the tiers identified by the State of California.

What happens if a student tests positive upon moving back to campus?

Students will be provided with an isolation space on campus, meals will be provided, and they will receive daily check-ins by phone from the C19 clinic.

Do I still need to wear a face covering and watch my distance if I’ve already had COVID or have gotten the COVID vaccine?

All of our health and safety practices (such as face coverings and distancing) are required for ALL students and employees in the PLNU community. One reason is because it is possible to become reinfected with COVID-19 after a period of time. Another reason is because we do not yet know for sure if the vaccine prevents someone from transmitting the virus unknowingly to others. Finally, it is necessary that we utilize all the tools we can to fight this pandemic until it no longer serves as a threat to our entire community.

What is self-quarantine and what is self-isolation?

In regards to COVID-19, self-quarantine is used to keep those who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. If you are living on campus, this will entail staying in your current dorm room until given further instructions by Wellness Center staff.

Isolation is used to separate those who are infected with the virus from those who are not infected. Follow guidelines given by the Wellness Center on when to return to normal activities.

What is a “close contact”?

The CDC defines this as a person you have interacted with for more than 15 minutes with less than 6 feet of distance between you over a 24-hour period. If you have a roommate, this person would be considered a close contact. If you live in an off-campus household, all individuals in your household would be considered close contacts. This definition is what compels us to follow recommendations for wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing around others not in our household.

What will self-isolation look like if I am living on campus?

PLNU has reserved several dorm rooms on campus to house students who need to be in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test. Students in isolation are not allowed to leave their assigned isolation area without PLNU staff supervision. They should expect to remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days, and will be followed closely by Wellness Center healthcare providers. Students in this category will be personally cared for regarding their medical, academic, and everyday living needs.

How will I attend classes if I am asked to self-quarantine or self-isolate?

Faculty have adapted their courses to allow for students to attend virtually, either in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. Students will be excused from attendance for a medical issue on a case-by-case basis through the Wellness Center. Students should also contact their professors and the office of the Vice Provost of Academic Administration. Additionally, professors may need to teach virtually if they are required to self-isolate or self-quarantine.

Should I get the COVID vaccine when I am eligible?

Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. We recommend that all members of the PLNU community get vaccinated when eligible to help increase our community health. Helpful vaccine FAQs can be answered here.

How do I “live my life” in a way that I can manage my mental health while also being safe?

While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. So, think about:

  • How many people will you interact with?
    • Interacting with more people raises your risk.
    • Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
    • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
    • Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
    • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
    • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who have an increased risk for severe illness.
    • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
    • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
    • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.
    • Learn more about how to decide on your social activities and how to conduct them as safely as possible. 

If I have traveled outside of California within the last 14 days, do I have to quarantine?

Yes. Quarantine is mandatory for 10 days after returning to California.

If I didn’t fly for travel, do I still have to quarantine?

Yes, quarantine is still mandatory upon return from travel.

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