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Updates and information about Biola University's continued preparedness, action and response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Below is a running log of updates and information about Biola University's response to COVID-19. The updates will be time stamped with the most recent appearing at the top. 

If you have any questions, please call (562) 903-6000.

November 20, 2020: Update on LA County

Biola’s leadership has been waiting to hear back from LA County on its request to repopulate the campus for the spring semester.

President Corey has heard from the LA County’s Board of Supervisors officials this week with an invitation to meet with the directors of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday, November 23. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss campus repopulation options for Los Angeles County colleges and universities. This is in response to a petitioning letter Dr. Corey and Pomona College president, Gabrielle Star, co-wrote to the County Board of Supervisors.

If President Corey receives any pertinent news in his meeting on Monday, Biola’s Cabinet will process that information as it relates to the spring semester. With next week being a short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, administrative offices will be closed November 25 through November 27. As a result, we may not have a further update for students until December 1, if we know any new information at that time.

We invite the Biola community to continue to pray for Dr. Corey and the key meeting taking place next week with the county officials. 

 

Office of University Communications

November 17, 2020: Update on Wellness Days and Advocacy Efforts

Dear Biola students,

As we approach the end of the fall semester, we would like to provide a few updates to you about the spring semester.

Advocacy Efforts for Reopening Campus

In the last month President Corey and Pomona College’s president co-led an advocacy effort to petition LA County to allow colleges and universities in the county to repopulate their campuses for the spring semester. Twenty-four college and university presidents and leaders in LA County co-signed this letter, including those presidents from Claremont-McKenna, Cal Tech, LMU, Occidental, Pepperdine, Scripps and Harvey Mudd, to name a few.

Last week, President Corey and others met with teams from several members of the LA County Board of Supervisors to make two requests:

  1. Allow colleges and universities to gradually reopen campuses in the spring by following the state tiered guidelines without additional restrictions imposed by LA County.
  2. Notify colleges in the month of November of what is permitted for the spring semester in order to give colleges time to prepare our campuses, notify our students and assist our faculty in their hyflex teaching model.

After these meetings, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday to request the Department of Public Health — which is under the Supervisors’ purview — to provide feedback by today on any rationale for additional restrictions for colleges over and above the state’s existing guidelines. We hope to receive an update from the county on this closed meeting by the end of the week. We will send an update to the Biola community on Friday, Nov. 20 with what we learned, if anything, from the county and how it impacts Biola’s spring plans.

Spring 2020 Wellness Days

As shared by President Corey in his October 29 letter, spring break 2021 will be replaced with five wellness days throughout the semester. We understand the importance for students to take time for mental health and wellness during the semester. For this reason, traditional students will observe February 8, March 2-3, April 22-23 as the five wellness days in which classes will not meet. In addition, Biola will be closed for Good Friday on April 2.

Flu Vaccine

A friendly reminder that the flu vaccine is an LA County requirement for all students accessing campus to help reduce the burden of the flu season in the midst of COVID-19. Students are required to submit vaccine records by December 15, 2020 online. If students want to apply for one of the two waivers — medical or religious — that are available, please visit the coronavirus website for details.

Lastly, Biola’s leadership continues to work toward resuming in-person classes using a hyflex model in the spring semester, which will allow students to take classes remotely.

We expect to have more students on campus in the spring. However, based on current virus trends and positive cases in LA County we will have a capacity lower than 100%, which is still to be determined. We will work to accommodate students who prefer to take their spring semester courses remotely.

We appreciate the Biola community’s patience and forbearing through this uncertain season when things are always changing. We will provide updates in the Student Life newsletter sent to undergraduate students on Mondays and to the rest of the community via the mobile app.

Please continue to pray for Biola’s leadership, slowing the spread of the virus and the county’s leadership.

Office of University Communications

October 29: Message from the President about Spring Semester

Dear Biola students,

Let me start by saying how much we miss you on campus. You are now more than half-way through the fall semester! I want to tell you how proud I am of you for your stamina, even though I know some dimensions of remote learning are hard. You represent one of the most resilient groups of students we’ve ever had at Biola, and I encourage you to keep persevering through this challenging season with your digital classes. Be encouraged! We will get through this.

This letter is to update you on the evolving plans for the Spring 2021 Semester.

Much work has taken place over the past few weeks in order to assess different scenarios for the beginning of 2021. For the remainder of this semester, as you know, county health restrictions prevent us from resuming any on-campus activities. We have been informed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that they are anticipating college campuses will have some level of repopulating for the Spring Semester. We are communicating regularly with our local health officials and the LA County Board of Supervisors to advocate for a flexible and phased plan to bring students back in January as we continue our plans to resume in-person living and learning. As chair of the L.A. Education Sector Reopening Work Team, I have been working with other college and university presidents speaking up for campus reopenings. Based on what we have been told by the LA County Department of Public Health, we intend to share with you by the middle of November a more specific set of guidelines for the spring. In the meantime, we’d like to share what we know to date and the decisions we have made.

Changes to the Spring Semester

First, the official start of the Spring Semester will be on January 25 for the majority of students taking traditional and graduate classes, which is two weeks later than originally scheduled. This will provide a two-week window during the flu season, and it will afford faculty and staff the additional weeks to prepare for their Spring Semester classes. It will also allow time for a staged move-in process. There are some exceptions of classes (e.g. some online programs, session A classes) that will begin on January 11. Students in those classes will receive follow up communication next week. Students from the approved on-campus programs this fall (e.g. clinical nursing) will also receive further information next week about their start date. Classes will end as scheduled on May 8, 2021, with the final exam week May 3–7. Spring Commencement is planned for May 7–8, subject to health requirements. View more key semester dates.

Second, in order to minimize the risk of the virus spreading due to extended travel, there will be no spring break. We know, however, it’s important for our students and faculty to have time for mental health and wellness during the semester, so we created five wellness days to replace spring break. More details about the dates will be released mid-November.

Third, our 91st Annual Missions Conference (March 17-19) will not be delivered in its traditional 3-day format. We know this will be disappointing to many students because of the rich connections students make with mission organizations and they get to hear our heart and soul for the Great Commission. The days for Missions Conference will need to be used instead for instructional days. The Student Missionary Union is working to create conference content that will be delivered through Canvas for students to watch throughout the week.

Fourth, in light of the financial challenges students and families are facing due to the pandemic, Biola is providing an additional COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant to students, ranging from $150 to $1,000, based on their spring enrollment status and program level. There are some exceptions for those students whose tuition is already covered or will be fully covered by institutional aid and/or other tuition-based scholarships. Visit the COVID-19 tuition and financial aid page for more details.

Academics

We are moving forward with our Spring Semester plans to phase in a more robust on-campus experience and expect to offer more in-person classes, house more residential students and provide campus co-curricular activities. As we experienced in the summer, it is difficult to say with certainty what will happen in the weeks and months ahead. Our plans will remain flexible to meet the unpredictability of the pandemic. For students returning to campus, they may experience that some of their classes will be in-person and some delivered virtually. This will depend on state guidance and county orders on classroom occupancy levels as well as faculty teaching decisions and other relevant factors. For students who may prefer to take their Spring Semester courses remotely, we will work to accommodate them. You will be hearing more on the classes that will be offered remotely for the Spring Semester by mid-November. In the meantime, please initiate your registration process based on your assigned time on or after Monday, November 2. (Please note that start dates on the class schedule are still being revised to reflect the correct start dates for all classes.)

Health Requirements

The success of our opening and staying open throughout the spring semester will be a direct result of the community’s adherence to Biola’s health and safety measures, which are required by local and state authorities. We care about the health, safety and well-being of our community to foster a caring community, putting the health of others first by wearing face coverings and physically distancing. In addition, in compliance with county requirements, the flu vaccine is mandatory for all students accessing campus to help reduce the burden of the flu season in the midst of COVID-19. Students will be required to submit vaccine records by December 15, 2020. You can read more on the coronavirus website.

In the coming weeks, students will receive updates from various departments including housing. We will continue to be guided by health and safety measures as we prepare to provide in-person classes in the spring. We hope and pray that 2021 will be better than 2020, but regardless of the outcome God is still sovereign and we will get through it together as one community. May God’s grace be with us all.

Blessings in Christ,

Barry H. Corey

September 17, 2020: Spring 2021 Semester Update

At this time, the university is intending to resume in-person classes for the spring semester. We remain hopeful that the conditions will continue to improve so that the county provides the clearances for colleges and universities to welcome students for in-person classes in spring 2021.

Additional information will be provided later this semester.

September 17, 2020: Update from Los Angeles County Public Health Department

Last month, President Corey shared that the existing Los Angeles County health order for colleges and universities would be in place for up to six weeks. At that time the county would assess local health conditions and determine if modifications would be made to its orders. We have now received an update from Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, on health orders for the county’s colleges and universities.

Dr. Ferrer shared that the number of cases has decreased in Los Angeles County compared to early August. This is good news and heading in the right direction. The transmission rate among college aged students, however, has remained elevated. In light of that data point and the influenza season, the county has decided not to review or modify orders for colleges until after Thanksgiving. For the balance of this semester Biola will not be able to welcome back any more students on campus or make modifications to on-campus services. We are obviously disappointed by this news, as we had hoped to phase students on campus this semester.

With the exception of students approved to be on campus and essential employees reporting to campus, Biola’s physical campus remains partially closed. The university’s leadership will continue to stay in regular contact with the county for ongoing updates and will keep you informed. As Biola continues to remain remote for the fall semester, all offices will continue to be fully operational and available remotely. Above all, we are committed to serving our students and families with excellence during this remote season.

At this time, the university is intending to resume in-person classes for the spring semester. We remain hopeful that the conditions will continue to improve so that the county provides the clearances for colleges and universities to welcome students for in-person classes in spring 2021.

In an effort to be transparent with our community, we will publish a dashboard on biola.edu/coronavirus next week with information about any positive COVID-19 cases among faculty, staff or students who are accessing or living on campus. At this time, we do not have any positive cases among our residential students. We encourage our community to visit the dashboard once it is available for the most up-to-date information. 

We are grateful for the Biola community’s patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions, please email internal.communications@biola.edu.

August 19, 2020: Fall Semester Update

Biola’s leadership has been preparing since April for a number of fall semester reopening scenarios in light of COVID-19. In the absence of state guidelines, on July 27 we announced five decisions regarding the fall semester which included allowing students in two programs to return to campus even though we hoped it could be more. The state on August 7 finally released guidance for colleges and universities, instructing us to confer with local county health departments. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued its Order of the Health Officer and Protocols for Institutes of Higher Education on August 12. Biola’s leadership thoroughly reviewed the order and protocols, and Friday afternoon LA County’s higher education leaders received further clarification from public health authorities. The LA County order states:

  • "Colleges and universities in Los Angeles County will not be able to resume all in-person academic instruction, at this time. Institutions may continue to offer in-person training and instruction for essential workforce for required activities that cannot be accomplished through virtual learning. All other academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning."

We worked hard to examine the language of the order and the clarifying comments made by the county to see if there were ways we could invite a larger group of students back to campus, but the expressed words from the county did not permit us or other colleges and universities in the county to do so. This was abundantly clear. Outside of rare exceptions, the county’s institutions of higher education must begin the semester remotely and limit significantly any housing density on campus.

Exceptions have been granted by the county on a limited basis for “activities required for training of essential workforce…that cannot be carried out via distance learning” if that activity “entails coursework or training that is essential for completing certification, licensure, or educational requirements” for those programs. In other words, for a course to be eligible for in-person instruction, it must meet three requirements: 1) it must support a major that is considered training for essential workforce, 2) the course must be one that cannot be delivered remotely, and 3) the course must be part of a student’s program required to finish a degree or certification.

The “essential workforce” language was defined by the governor in March to allow exceptions to his stay-at-home order for those in certain “essential” infrastructure sectors who were needed to maintain operations during the shut-down. The purpose of this was to ensure continuity of functions critical to public health and safety.

Given the parameters of the county’s order and what constitutes essential workforce, we have expanded our initial list of programs eligible for in-person instruction (clinical nursing and doctoral psychology) to also include undergraduate seniors enrolled in clinical practicum in the communication sciences and disorders program and all students in the master’s in speech pathology program. Students in these programs will also be able to live on campus if they have no other viable local housing options. These students will be emailed further housing information later today. 

As it relates to housing for students outside the four programs eligible for in-person instruction, we are able to provide on-campus housing to students who either have an unsafe home environment or who are homeless. The state and county have also specifically stated that student athletes engaged in intercollegiate sports may be offered on-campus housing. Students who are currently living on campus based on earlier exemptions are allowed to remain as well. Students who fit these categories are encouraged to fill out the “Request to Live on Campus” form, found on MyHousing Self Service, by 6 p.m. Thursday, August 20. Those students will be informed by 12 p.m. Saturday, August 22 if their request has been approved or not. If you have already been approved for an exception to live on campus, you do not need to complete any additional steps. 

Students living on campus will take the majority of their courses remotely with the exception of those labs or courses that cannot be taught at a distance, as described above. 

In addition, the county’s order for its colleges and universities includes clear restrictions on campus activities and residence life for those who are eligible to live on campus based on the criteria above. All public spaces such as kitchens, lobbies and study areas will be closed. Access to residential buildings will be limited to residents only. No campus events or gatherings will be allowed until further notice. Dining will be “grab and go.” With rare exceptions, the county’s campuses will be closed to all visitors coming from outside the county with the exception of curbside services. For Biola, curbside services include pick-ups from the library, bookstore and the CMA production center for film equipment. 

This county order will be in place for up to six weeks at which time the county will assess local health conditions and determine if modifications will be made to its order for colleges and universities. 

The county is concerned that the highest case rate of COVID-19 transmission in the county is among those who are between the ages of 18 and 25. County public health officials underscored that colleges don’t exist within their campuses alone. They are a part of larger communities with populations outside of the college-aged students, including faculty, staff, neighbors, families and others with whom they are in contact. Since community transmission in LA County is currently high, county officials do not at this time want to repopulate college campuses with large numbers of students and risk outbreaks in college communities. In fact, in recent days colleges around the country are experiencing these outbreaks, forcing some to send students home as they shift from in-person to remote learning. 

LA County is requiring its colleges and universities to keep on-campus numbers low in order to move forward in reopening sooner rather than later. 

Biola University continues to hold as a priority not only the highest levels of educational quality but also the ongoing health and safety of our community of students, faculty and staff. We are committed as well to honoring the authority of our state, county and local government leaders, and will seek to comply with their safety protocols and operational directives.

July 28, 2020: Message from President Corey on Fall 2020 Reopening

Dear Biola community,

I know the COVID-19 pandemic has created a long season of uncertainty, especially for new or returning students and for their families. Many have been waiting for news on how we will begin the fall 2020 semester in light of the recent surge in coronavirus cases in California. I am truly thankful for your patience during these past few weeks. I am also grateful for the fortitude of Biola’s own 1,000-member community of faculty and staff who for weeks have been working on a number of scenarios for the fall in case the state issued guidance with tighter restrictions than we expected or kept our existing prohibition from opening.

On April 30, I shared that absent any restrictions from California’s state or county authorities, we would be prepared to have on-campus instruction this fall. We have planned extensively with dozens of leaders covering with precision every imaginable detail for hyflex on-campus education. Our decision in April as well as our reopening plans in the intervening months were made with good data, a lot of input and with prayerful discernment. They were also always pending state and county guidance.

Unfortunately, we are still waiting as no updated guidance has been issued by the state, and we are not alone in waiting for it. The state has released guidelines for almost every type of business in California to reopen, but nothing on higher education.

Now, with the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state and L.A. County, the state has focused its efforts on mitigating the spread of the virus and rolling back reopening plans across the state. California is still in Stage 2 of its reopening plan, and higher education is allowed to reopen when we are into Stage 3. We don’t know when we’ll move to Stage 3, but I hope that comes soon.

In light of the fact there has been no further guidance issued by the governor for higher education, we need to make our decisions based on already-existing guidance. Because of this and with full support from the Cabinet and approval from the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, I am announcing today the following decisions.

Our first decision: We will begin the fall semester August 31 remotely in all of our undergraduate and graduate programs with the high level of academic excellence and student support services distinctive of Biola University. For our continuing students, we recognize that the quick pivot to remote learning this last spring was challenging for all. We have focused considerable effort over the last few months in preparation to deliver an exceptional remote classroom experience this fall. Students will notice the difference!

Most of our courses will be taught from our Biola classrooms aided by the significant infrastructure investments we have made over the summer in new educational technologies. We are even launching new remote ways to walk with students through programs in spiritual formation, prayer and worship, academic advising, career guidance, faculty mentoring, specialized learning, internship networking, personal counseling, clubs and organizations and all of the other student services characteristic of Biola. We are also launching a brand new university mobile app during the fall to enhance the student experience at Biola. We have a wide array of plans underway that will support students until they come to campus.

Our second decision: If at some point we are granted permission by state and county authorities to reopen in the fall semester for on-campus learning and living — consistent with Biola’s high level of educational and safety standards — we will assess when and how to welcome students to return to campus. We will make our decisions based on government guidance at that time, county health authorities, healthcare experts, best practices in reducing risks and our own safety assurances. We will do so with an unwavering care for the health of our students, faculty, staff and neighbors. We wish we knew more about when we could do this, but again we will follow the guidance of the state and government for the go-ahead to return to campus this fall.

Our third decision: In the event we open our campus at any point in the semester for students to join for in-person living and learning, students will have the option to continue the semester in a remote learning mode. Maybe the digital learning option will suit some students for the fall. Maybe because of health, distance, job or comfort level, students would rather complete the semester remotely. That is perfectly fine. We will be flexible. We want to accommodate what works best for students, serving them and adapting our academic courses and co-curricular programs in a way that meets their needs during this COVID-19 disruption.

Our fourth decision: To provide students with a COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant toward the fall semester. We know how difficult COVID-19 has been for so many. Some students have not been able to work this summer, or their families had to tighten their belts financially, or it’s just been a long season of hardships. To help a bit with these challenges, we are providing our students with a relief grant (with some exceptions for those students whose tuition is already covered or will be fully covered by institutional aid and/or other tuition-based scholarships).

Full-time students will receive a one-time Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant for the fall semester that is based on their program, in accordance with the table below. Part-time students will receive a prorated amount based on their program enrollment level.

Program
(full-time status)
Grant Amount
(to be applied to fall semester tuition)
Traditional Undergraduate$2,000
Master’s$450
Doctoral$300
Teacher Certification$450
Online Bachelor’s$450

This will be in addition to the financial aid package students were given. (The Financial Aid office will follow up with students later this week.) Students will not have to pay this back. It’s not a loan, and they are not going to lose it when they return to campus. It’s meant to be a way of standing with them in the hardships they have faced, and I know there have been many. We want students here! And for prospective students who have not yet committed to Biola and are still interested in attending, they should connect with an admissions counselor. If admitted and they choose to enroll, we will offer these potential students this grant as well.

Finally, our fifth decision: Current state guidelines allow for limited exemptions based on students who are being educated to support the essential healthcare infrastructure. We are confident our clinical nursing and psychology doctoral students qualify for this exemption. They will be welcome to on-campus learning and living at the beginning of the fall semester. We are still waiting for further guidance as to whether students with extenuating circumstances who are not already living on campus will also be part of the exemption.

So those are our decisions.

  1. We are planning to begin the semester August 31 with remote learning.
  2. If we get the green light from the government, and consistent with Biola’s high level of educational and safety standards, we are open to welcoming students to campus during the fall semester.
  3. We want students to feel no pressure to return if we open the campus, and they will still receive a quality education if they choose to remain remote for the semester.
  4. To help students, we have set aside grant money as a way of standing with them financially.
  5. The campus will be open for clinical nursing and psychology doctoral students to take program-specific courses and live in on-campus housing when we start the semester at the end of August, and this exemption may also extend to others.

I understand these decisions are certainly not what our students and their families--not to mention our faculty and staff--imagined when thinking of Biola this fall. And we all have had more than a few setbacks and hardships these past four months. This unanticipated pandemic seems to have altered all of our best-made plans, and yet we are fully committed to making this a worthwhile season for all at Biola. It is going to be a different semester for all of us, but it is going to be a strong semester.

We still believe that the quality education students will be experiencing remotely will be distinctively Biola, both in academics and co-curricular student services. Faculty members have been fine-tuning their courses for the fall. We are developing new ways through technology to connect with our students until they return, going above and beyond to make our educational experience truly transformative.

There could be no better time than during this COVID-19 pandemic to be part of Biola University where students are encouraged to live into their passions, to bolster their faith, to mature their biblical worldview, to examine current culture through the lens of Scripture and their academic discipline, to sharpen their minds and to learn to live for Christ. The world needs a generation of Jesus followers to emerge from this disturbing season of suffering in order to serve the church and society with new creativity, more courage and a heart of compassion for the world.

Students and their families will see that Biola is not compromising our mission one iota. Not at all. We are as committed as ever to provide a biblically centered education for our students to grow in mind and character in order to influence the world for the cause of Christ. This is why we are so confident that Biola University is a place where students develop, especially during this challenging season. This is what gets us up every morning, even during this temporary season of remote learning.

What a time for students to be stretched and grow into the incredibly mature, wise and godly person Christ is forming them to be. Throughout history, Christians — many of them young adults like our students — persevered and matured profoundly in the midst of tough times. This is why we are so confident in the strength of a Biola education.

Thank you for taking the time to read our decisions for the fall. We look forward to seeing students on the screen and then in person. I encourage you to reach out to let us know how we can help. Feel free to call the main Biola number at (562) 903-6000 if you have any questions about the fall. Visit Biola’s Coronavirus Response site for FAQs or to learn more about other financial support available for the fall semester.

In closing, we invite incoming and returning students and families to a town hall next week. Details will be forthcoming. If you have specific questions, please submit them via this form. We will respond to your questions and provide as much information as we can.

We are here for you. We are praying for you. We love you. Rise up with wings like eagles!

Sincerely,

Barry H. Corey

President

July 31, 2020: Update to Students on Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your patience as our office diligently worked to add the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant to every student’s financial aid package. We are happy to be able to serve our students in this way. We trust that the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant along with cost savings from not living on campus will be a help to you as you finalize your financial plans for the fall.

The process of awarding the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant has gone well and this grant should now be reflected in your financial aid package. Your student bill will reflect your financial aid, but may not reflect the credit for your room and board, if applicable, as that is still being processed. It will be processed next week.

Please note that if you are a continuing student, the grant will be added to your aid package once you have registered for classes.

Below are some important points to keep in mind as you plan for the Fall Semester.

  • Students whose tuition is already or will be fully covered by institutional aid and/or other tuition-based scholarships may not be eligible for the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant.
  • The addition of the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant and/or the adjustment of your federal cost-of-attendance budget may impact your federal loan and private loan eligibility. Any changes to these types of aid will be reflected in your financial aid package.
  • If you have not yet completed your financial aid file, please do so as soon as possible. Any additional requirements needed to complete your financial aid file can be found on your MyAccount portal under the Student Financials tab.
  • If you would like to reduce your loan because of your lower school bill, please select the applicable Loan Change form on our website.
  • If your family has experienced financial difficulties due to COVID-19, you can complete the COVID-19 Financial Impact Questionnaire which will assist our office in determining if there is additional assistance available.
  • If you need financial assistance to purchase a laptop, you can use federal and private loans, providing you meet their eligibility requirements. Note that the loans would have to create a credit balance on your bill to be able to be used. You may request credit balances beginning September 21.
  • If you plan to take a gap semester, you can find more information under the Gap Year/Withdrawing heading on our Coronavirus FAQ page.
  • If you are not enrolled at least half time for any term, you must request a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program. Details for how to request a leave of absence can be found on the California Student Aid Commission website.
  • If you are not enrolled at least half time for more than six months, and have not already used up your grace period, your federal loans will enter repayment after the grace period the government provided due to COVID-19. For more information regarding your federal loans, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

We understand that this is a challenging season while you change plans from being on campus to Biola at Home. We are here to serve you with your financial aid needs and questions. We hope that this final month of summer will be a good one for you as you prepare for the coming remote semester. If you have questions regarding any of this information, please contact us at finaid@biola.edu.

Sincerely,

Geoff Marsh

Senior Director of Financial Aid

July 24, 2020: Update on the State’s College Reopening Guidelines

Last Friday, California Governor Newsom gave guidance for K-12 schools on reopening this fall. He stated that K-12 schools in counties on the state’s “watch list” would most likely be required to start the year providing “distance learning only” until their COVID-19 metrics improve.

Though these guidelines were for K-12 schools, some are speculating that he might take a similar approach on reopening guidance for colleges and universities. We are awaiting the guidelines specifically for colleges and universities to make our decisions with more certainty. Though the expected release date for the state’s higher education reopening guidelines have been postponed, we have reason to believe the Governor will release them tomorrow, Friday, July 24. If he does, Biola's leadership will spend time reviewing the guidelines over the weekend, and we will announce early next week decisions on our fall plans.

If the Governor does not release the guidelines tomorrow, Biola’s leadership will still move forward on the same timeframe. For the planning purposes of our students, their families, our faculty and staff, we look forward to making an announcement in the coming days on Biola’s Fall Semester plans assuring our students we will provide them the highest possible educational quality and co-curricular experience.

Please visit Biola’s coronavirus website for the latest updates.

July 24, 2020: PacWest Conference Delays Fall Athletic Season

Due to the concerns arising from all the challenges surrounding COVID-19, the PacWest Executive Board voted unanimously Thursday to postpone intercollegiate competition in 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.

“We continue to be committed to the health and safety of all members of the Biola community,” said Dr. Bethany Miller, senior director of athletics. “This decision was made following careful consideration of several different options for fall sports. We are glad to be able to still have a competitive season for our fall sport student-athletes, albeit at a later date.”

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 schedules into the winter/spring are being developed and reviewed.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes is our top priority. We remain committed to giving all of our student-athletes a positive competitive experience as much as possible,” PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue said. “This was a very difficult, but well-thought-out decision and one that so many individuals worked together on over the past several weeks. We’re appreciative of everyone’s efforts and look forward to a time when we can all be safely out on the field of play again.”

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.

Biola Athletics will host a virtual town hall with President Barry Corey, Vice President of Student Development Dr. Andre Stephens, Senior Director of Athletics Dr. Bethany Miller and the rest of the Athletics Leadership Team for student-athletes, families and supporters on our YouTube channel at 6 p.m. August 5. All student-athletes will receive communication with more information on the town hall and a link to a survey to submit questions prior to the livestream for our panel to answer live.

As more information becomes available it will be communicated as quickly as possible. For updates from the university, please continue monitor to this coronavirus response updates page.

July 10, 2020: Homeland Security Changes for International Students

Dear Biola students,

On Monday, July 6, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) — a branch of the Department of Homeland Security — released updated guidance indicating that F-1 visa students who are attending a school operating entirely online this fall may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. This Fall, Biola is planning to re-open with in-person classes through a hybrid model. This will make it possible for students studying on F-1 visas to remain in the country as long as the student is not taking an entirely online course load during the fall semester and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.

We are committed to the success and well-being of our students as we celebrate the richness of culture that international students bring to the Biola community. Our international students have always been and will continue to be an important and significant part of Biola.

Departments across the university including Biola’s Student Immigration Services and Global Student Programs & Development are working together to support and care for international students and advocating for them by communicating with our elected officials. We are staying apprised of the evolving situation and will update our international students as soon as more information is available.

If you are an international student and have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to fitsum.mulat@biola.edu. Your ability to fulfill your dreams of earning a Biola degree is of utmost importance to us.

Sincerely,

André Stephens

Vice President for Student Development

May 29, 2020: A Safe Return to Campus

May 29, 2020: Safe Return to Campus in Fall 2020

May 29, 2020

Dear Biola community,

As I shared at the end of April, Biola is planning to be open for on-campus, in-person undergraduate and graduate studies for the Fall 2020 semester. I couldn’t be happier. From what I can tell, this has been met with relief and anticipation.

Our commitment throughout this entire COVID disruption has been to make our reopening decisions based on two criteria and two alone. First, we will assure you as students that we will provide the continued level of excellence Biola University is known for in our academic programs and student services. And second, we will do all we can to ensure the safety of those who study and work on our campus. These pledges have been at the heart of all our planning.

Today I want to share with you some additional details on decisions we have made since my April 30 announcement with research-based recommendations from the Biola University Reopening Team, which was made up of health professionals, faculty, campus safety leaders, administrators, and a student leader. The BURT team utilized both internal and external resources to develop strategies for addressing areas across campus, including reviewing the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization and the American College Health Association.

Academic Calendar Changes

For students who will be living on campus, we will open our residence halls and apartments in August. Students, sometime in July you will be assigned the date and time you can move in, with first-year students arriving in one of the earlier groups. Move-in dates, orientation and student leader arrival dates will be staggered to allow for appropriate physical distancing. More details will be shared over summer.

On-campus courses will begin as planned on Monday, August 31 and continue through November 24. This means we will complete our on-campus instruction the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The final two weeks of the semester will include a week of remote learning after Thanksgiving and then a week of remote final exams. The semester will officially conclude on December 11. In order to accomplish this, we will modify the Torrey Bible Conference in October to preserve and maximize the number of instructional days. December Commencement will most likely be rescheduled for some time in 2021.

The schedule I am communicating today will enable us to end on-ground instruction Thanksgiving, and most students leaving campus at that point with some exceptions made for certain academic majors and those with extenuating circumstances who will need to remain on campus past Thanksgiving. This schedule minimizes the challenge of students leaving for Thanksgiving break, possibly getting exposed to the virus, and returning to campus and possibly spreading it to others. Additionally, it minimizes the risks of COVID-19 symptoms being commingled with flu symptoms in what is already considered flu season.

Because of this modified on-campus schedule, we want to help students and families with an average 13 percent credit for room and board fees for the Fall semester. (Please note that in some cases the credit may impact loan eligibility and in rare instances other aid eligibility. The Financial Aid Office will notify you of any changes at the time the credit is processed.) For students who may be thinking about commuting from home, this might be a great semester for you to move on-campus. 

Our Fall schedule configured this way will result in less travel, less potential virus spread and will hedge against a second wave of the virus should that come later in the calendar year. We believe that this is a wise and prudent stewardship of the semester.

Instructional Model

When students return to campus in late August, the way in which they experience Biola will be different than what has been typical for us. For one, all of our classes will be offered in a hybrid-flexible model or hy/flex with the exception of our current fully online courses. In addition, post-traditional students will not be affected by the hy/flex model.

The hy/flex model means though students will experience the best of classroom learning, all of our courses will also be adaptable for students who cannot be present for some or all of the semester. This hy-flex option will be accommodating for a variety of students such as global students whose visas may not allow them to start the first of the semester or for students whose health situation may mandate a temporary on-campus quarantine. This added benefit of hy-flex gives all students options that suit their learning situations and schedules and will allow our professors to accommodate any number of situations posed by this COVID disruption.

Classes may include students who are simultaneously, in the classroom, connected via live web conference from their dorms and across the U.S. or abroad. Recordings may be utilized for student populations that experience significant time zone differences or limitations in accessing live web conference events. The faculty from the various academic programs will be working over the summer months to determine which classes will be offered in which format. As faculty prepare for fall classes using the hybrid/flex model they will be ready to pivot their courses away from in-person instruction to online or remote delivery if a resurgence of COVID-19 occurs during the semester. If we need to return to remote instruction and ask our residential students to move out of the residence halls, we will credit our students for housing and meals based on the time of the semester.

Health and Safety Measures

We will be taking extraordinary steps to assure Biola is safe and healthy across our campus. This will be evident in our policies, processes and systems I believe will be among the most thoughtful and safe in higher education.

Earlier this month I was asked by LA County to chair the County Work Team framing the best-practices for the County’s 80 colleges and universities to open for their nearly 700,000 students. In this role I have had a front row seat with County supervisors and public health administrators, participating in frequent conversations and planning meetings. Through this we have learned much about a safe and healthy reopening of Biola, though most of the work of our planning has taken place through an amazing internal Biola task force. Let me share with you a few things you can expect, and I want to thank our Biola University Reopening Team chaired by Dr. André Stephens and vice chaired by Dr. Tammy Anderson and Chief John Ojeisekhoba.

What will this look like here at Biola in the Fall?

  • Everything we do will be within strict adherence to Los Angeles Department of Public Health guidelines, and we will report to LADPH as necessary.
  • All faculty, staff and students will be given a thorough orientation to Biola’s COVID-19 culture of safety and health practices, behaviors and priorities.
  • Residence halls will have rooms configured to maintain appropriate distances and rooms and community bathrooms will be sanitized frequently.
  • We will be limiting residential room occupancy to no more than two students per room.
  • All common and high-touch areas will be routinely disinfected by increased custodial support, and hand-sanitizing dispensers will be placed throughout campus.
  • Dining venues will not offer self-served meals but will staff-serve our diners and will offer to-go service and honor dining density protocols in all eateries.
  • Classrooms and other spaces such as the library and outdoor spaces are being reconfigured to meet physical distancing guidelines. There will be fewer students in classrooms. Even though the vast majority of our courses have fewer than 25 students, we will be ensuring that all classrooms maintain a six-foot distance between students.
  • This physical distancing protocol will also be true for chapels, lectures and social gatherings.
  • NCAA DII intercollegiate sporting events are still planned to take place, though spectators will be limited and most all competition will be accessible through live streaming.
  • Highly trafficked pedestrian ways will be designated as one-way sidewalks to prevent over-exposure.
  • On-campus COVID testing will be provided for symptomatic students in cooperation with CDC and LA County guidelines.
  • Safety policies will be in place to accommodate high risk and vulnerable students and employees, including options to study or work remotely.
  • Policies will be in effect for the wide use of cloth face coverings, and an ample supply of personal protection equipment (PPE) will be on hand for Biola’s medical professionals and those who are symptomatic. Every student will receive a cloth face covering.
  • Students who exhibit COVID-like symptoms can be evaluated and tested by the Health Center.
  • Residential students who exhibit COVID-like symptoms will be moved to on-campus quarantined rooms where they will receive support, including meals, remote coursework and health services.
  • Processes and training programs will be set for contact tracing and a response team will be established to make sure we are limiting contagions.
  • Access to campus will be monitored 24/7 to ensure safety and health protocols are known and followed.

These are the guidelines currently in place, and we will be adding to these and adjusting these over the summer months. As you can see, we are working hard and non-stop to make sure the Fall semester provides students all they expect from a Biola University education, and more. We will continue forming our students in all of our educational delivery to live into their calling and be the best at who God has called them to be. This will happen through faculty mentoring. This will happen in our co-curricular programs in leadership, in service, in the arts. We will do this through internships and intercollegiate athletics. We will continue to develop our students to be part of a learning community where conversations happen over meals and in residence halls. We will commit to nurture the life of the mind through academics and research opportunities. At Biola, vibrant worship will continue to happen and lifelong relationships will be fostered. And as we have for generations, we will do this in community.

And above all, this historic moment will enable us to see the sovereignty of God at work on our campus and in our world. And our students will rise up through this setback to live more courageously, lead more confidently, love more contagiously, and learn more collaboratively. And we do this in a biblically centered university equipping our students in mind and character to influence the world for the cause of Christ. No virus will rob Biola of these virtues.

I so look forward to seeing you in late August. Please keep in touch with us, as we are eager to help you. Visit our COVID-19 website. We are here for you, and stay tuned for additional virtual town halls throughout the summer when we will be updating you on more developments toward our August reopening. May the peace and joy of Christ fill your hearts today.

Blessings in Christ,

Barry H. Corey

May 5, 2020: CARES Act: COVID-19 Student Financial Assistance

Dear students,

We understand how difficult this semester has been with the disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, especially when it comes to your finances. We want to help you by sharing important information about financial assistance available to you. Please read the following information on the financial support that is available to Biola University students.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress in late March. Biola has submitted the necessary paperwork and is hoping to receive its funding by early June. Biola is committed to using the CARES Act funds, within the parameters set by the government, to help those students with the greatest needs while meeting the needs of as many students as possible.

If you have incurred expenses, beyond what you would have typically, as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, there may be funding available through the CARES Act if you are eligible for any type of federal Title IV (FAFSA) aid including federal loans.

To find out if you are potentially eligible for CARES Act funding, please do the following:

  1. Determine if you are eligible for federal Title IV (FAFSA) aid, including federal loans, by:
  • Reviewing your most recent official financial aid award notice (not an estimated notice) to see if you were awarded Federal Direct Loans or Pell Grant.
  • Visiting the FAFSA website if you did not file a 19/20 or 20/21 FAFSA and reviewing the eligibility criteria.
  1. If you are Title IV eligible according to the website, please submit your request for funds via the online form below by May 18, 2020.

Complete the CARES Act Application Form

Students who fill out the above form will be notified if they qualify. Students who have expenses covered by the CARES Act will be issued a payment which will be mailed to the address indicated on the application.

For additional details about the CARES Act and other financial resources, visit Biola’s Coronavirus Financial Resources website.

COVID-19 Financial Resources

If you or your family have experienced a loss of income that is impacting your ability to pay your school bill next year, please complete the COVID-19 Financial Impact Questionnaire. The Office of Financial Aid will review this information to determine if there are potentially other available resources to assist you.

Sincerely,

Geoff Marsh

Senior Director of Financial Aid

April 30, 2020: Message from President Corey

April 30, 2020: Biola University is Reopening in the Fall

Dear Biola community,

I am announcing today that Biola University plans to open for on-campus, in-person undergraduate and graduate studies for the Fall 2020 semester. Adhering to commonsense health standards and permissions set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the State of California, the university is intending for new and returning students to begin classes in early September, preceded by New Student Orientation.

As Governor Newsom shared in his briefing on April 28, California is working on moving from the “stay at home” order to reopening with adaptations. Though no clear date has been set on when the “stay at home” orders will be modified, State authorities are monitoring six key indicators that will relax the current orders. As the state moves toward lifting the orders, we are now planning for the Fall semester.

To ensure a well-planned transition back to campus life, I have commissioned a Biola University Reopening Team of qualified academic, health, logistic, counseling, science, safety and communication leaders. This task force is currently underway planning in detail a multi-tiered process in preparation for students to join us on campus this Fall. Safety, flexibility and quality will be the hallmarks that define our reopening. Among the many priorities, our faculty and staff will be working on our academic offerings, campus security and safety, risk mitigation, cleanliness standards, distancing protocols and the protection of the health of each member of this community—physically, and emotionally. This is what we do as a Christ-centered and caring Christian educational community. These are the ways we love our neighbors on campus.

In making this decision, the Cabinet and I are committed, throughout the university, to follow prudent cautionary measures to protect our students, faculty, staff and neighbors as well as extended family members. We have not taken this charge lightly. Through this global disruption new challenges have arisen, challenges we will address with wisdom, timely data, creativity and innovation. Among the many precautions we are taking both to protect our community and to provide a life-enriching on-campus Biola experience, we will establish protocols on how we will gather together, monitor health, house students safely and prepare flexible course delivery options to be able to pivot seamlessly.

Though Biola University over recent years has developed and will continue to develop strong digital learning programs, we also know the value of a campus-based college education. As a New York Times op ed said Monday, “The reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority.” I agree. Our students are formed to live into their calling through faculty mentoring, co-curricular programs in leadership and ministry, experiencing the arts, research in labs, the richness of our library, deep conversations over meals, residential housing, vibrant worship, intercollegiate sports and through building lifetime relationships fostered in community. These are virtues of Biola for which we have longed to return since transitioning abruptly to remote academic delivery six weeks ago.

For weeks now, university leaders charged with strengthening Biola through this unprecedented season have been meeting tirelessly. I have seen in them and throughout the university our already stellar faculty and staff rising to the occasion. From this extraordinary work, I believe we will emerge through this COVID-19 crisis as a better, stronger, more educationally effective, missionaly energized, more compassionate and collaborative Biola equipped for a greater and more faithful global influence.

What we offer at Biola is distinct and needed now more than ever. Through this season, I believe God is preparing us as never before for a renewal of our Kingdom mission to educate a rising generation called to be culture-shaping, gospel-loving, truth-telling, grace-exuding little Christs, as C.S. Lewis names them. Imagine the good these Biola graduates will offer with excellence to the world of healthcare, public policy, education, commerce, research, the arts, media and the Church. Imagine the strength these diverse students with a Biola degree will bring to non-profits, to families, to neighborhoods, to congregations and to cities across the nation and around the world.

For these reasons and absent any government restrictions indicating otherwise, we plan to be open for business come the fall semester with careful preparation to ensure health and safety. We look forward to experiencing again this life-giving dimension of our campus community.

Blessings in Christ, 

Barry H. Corey

President

April 24, 2020: Update on the Credit/No Credit Grading Policy

All of us at Biola are thinking of you and praying for you as you near the end of the semester. As I think about you, it saddens me to realize this is not the end of the school year you were expecting when the semester started. I am inspired by your resilience and willingness to persevere during this time, and we want to do whatever we can do to care for you well and close out the semester. We can’t wait to have you back in the fall! Or, if you are graduating, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for you in the days and years ahead and see you at your commencement ceremony sometime in the future.

A few weeks ago on April 9, I sent communication about the temporary grading policy that provides students the option to change their grades to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) this spring 2020. As a reminder, the decision to allow this temporary grading policy option for students was made in direct response to the unprecedented situation of COVID-19. Details of the policy are available on the coronavirus website. As we said in the communication, we have developed a series of FAQs for you as you consider the implications of your decision. You may receive more specific guidance from your academic program.

The CR/NC grade change form will be released in MyAccount on Wednesday, May 6 and you have until May 30 to submit the form for any course you wish to change to CR/NC. As in any other semester, faculty will submit course grades at the end of the spring 2020 semester. You will then be able to request to change one or more of your courses using that form. Please review the policy, guiding questions and answers, read any communication sent by your academic program, and consider consulting an advisor before you make a final decision about whether or not to change to a CR/NC grade. You will not be able to reverse the Credit/No Credit option once selected, so these decisions should be made carefully.

I’m hopeful that this option provides some breathing room for you. I’ve heard stories from many of your faculty members that you are pressing in and working hard up until the end. President Corey and I are establishing a regular opportunity for students and families to hear updates from us and answer your submitted questions. We invite you to a virtual town hall on Thursday, April 30 at 5:30 PST. Here are the details for how to submit your questions and a link to watch the virtual event.

I’m so grateful for your demonstrated commitment to your learning, our community, and Christ during this time.

With appreciation,

Deborah Taylor

April 9, 2020: Academic Decisions Announced by the Provost

Dear Biola students,

We know that you, students, have been burdened and overwhelmed by the disruption COVID-19 has caused. This second half of the semester has not been easy for you. We have heard your concerns related to your grades and we have made adjustments to support you during this time keeping in mind what’s best for your college career. In collaboration with different curricular and co-curricular departments across campus, two decisions have been made that will impact your academic experience.

First, a temporary grading policy option has been approved for students to choose, if they desire. Through our transition to remote delivery formats, we have been committed to providing remote education that maintains the highest quality instruction possible. We trust that you have fully engaged in your courses. However, we know that some students have faced extraordinary circumstances beyond their control during this transition, but more specifically with the circumstances created by the pandemic. In response to our students’ needs, we are providing you with a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option for Spring 2020. We encourage you to seek counsel from faculty and staff advisors on what is best for your college career in the short- and long-term.

This temporary policy provides an option for students to petition to convert one or more of their course grades for the spring 2020 semester to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) after final grades have been submitted at the end of the spring semester. As in any other term, faculty will submit course grades at the end of the spring 2020 semester. Specific information outlining the temporary grading policy for Credit/No Credit is available on the coronavirus website. Details of the petition process for students will be emailed to students on or before April 24 and posted on the website.

Second, we have decided to move all campus-based courses to online and remote delivery for summer sessions A and B. This decision was made independent of decisions around summer conferences and events in June in order to give faculty who teach summer courses ample time to prepare to move their courses to remote delivery formats, if needed, and offer the best online experience. Currently, 70 percent of summer courses are already taught online. The remaining 30 percent of courses will move to remote delivery formats for Summer 2020. This decision does not affect any post-traditional programs that are already fully online.

If things improve and social distancing restrictions are lifted, the university could consider whether or not to allow a group of students to meet on campus for support activities. However, all courses will be taught online for the entire summer.

Finally, we want to provide clarity on the appropriate use of requesting Incompletes (INs) for Spring 2020. The Incomplete (IN) grade provision gives students 5 weeks beyond the

Friday of finals week to complete assignments. According to Student Handbook, the purpose of the Incomplete (IN) Grade process is to meet the needs of a student facing unforeseeable emergencies beyond his/her control and are serious enough to prevent completion of course assignments before the semester ends (e.g., extended illness, mental health crisis, critical family emergency). Our goal is to help students complete their coursework this semester and move forward to their next semester. However, Incompletes may be used in extreme circumstances and faculty will follow the stated policy if they determine a student’s situation warrants it. A quick reminder, graduate students will need to work with the Dean of the School and submit a Student Incomplete (IN) Grade Policy Form electronically to the dean’s office for processing. Undergraduate students will need to work with the Associate Provost office and submit the IN Grade form to associateprovostacademicadmin@biola.edu.

If you have any questions about Incompletes, registration for summer session or the temporary grading policy, please email internal.communications@biola.edu.

We know you are in different places in coping with this crisis and the impact it has had on your lives. We will continue to find ways to support you and make accommodations for the best interest of your educational careers. We will continue to pray for you as you navigate these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Deborah Taylor

Provost and Senior Vice President

Grading Policy for Spring 2020

In direct response to the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, the decision has been made to allow this temporary grading policy option for students. We are committed to providing remote education that maintains the highest quality instruction possible and we trust students to continue to fully engage in their courses. Advisors are ready to assist students in determining what is in their best interest in the short- and long-term regarding Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) decisions. The following information outlines the temporary grading policy regarding a Credit/No Credit option for Spring 2020.

  1. This policy provides an option for students to petition to convert one or more of their course grades for the spring 2020 semester to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) after final grades have been submitted at the end of the spring semester. As in any other term, faculty will submit course grades at the end of the spring 2020 semester.
  2. Students will have until May 30, 2020, 10 business days after the date on which final grades are due from faculty, to move their courses to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading if they so choose.
  3. Any course in which an undergraduate student has earned a C- or above (B- or above for graduate students) is eligible to be converted to “CR” based on student petition (with the exception of courses outlined in item 6) [1]. A “CR” grade indicates a passing grade. The credit is earned, but has no effect on the student’s GPA.
  4. Students who have earned a D or F may petition to convert their grade to No Credit “NC” who indicate extenuating circumstances due to COVID-19. An “NC” indicates that credit is not earned, and has no impact on the student’s GPA.
  5. Students will not be able to revoke the Credit/No Credit option once selected, so this decision should be made carefully.
  6. Certain program-specific course requirements may not be eligible due to external accreditation or degree requirements. More specific information will be published as details of the petition process are made available on or before April 24.
  7. The policy for request for Incomplete grades is still in place, however, grades of Incomplete for Spring 2020 will not be eligible for conversion to Credit/No Credit.

Details of the submission process will be emailed to students on or before April 24 and made available on the coronavirus website.

Notes: 

[1] CR includes C-/B- grades only for spring 2020 due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.

Biola’s Campus to Remain Closed Through at Least May 8

In light of President Trump’s announcement on March 29, encouraging social distancing across the country through April 30, Biola will be extending the date for employees to work from home to May 8. Hence, Biola’s campus will remain closed through at least May 8 to visitors and anyone other than approved essential employees and students who were approved to live on campus.

Biola’s Chief Human Resources Officer Dave Grant shared on an employee call on Friday, April 3 that employees will be asked to work remotely through the end of the semester — May 8. All employees will continue to be paid through May 8 including those employees who currently are unable to do their jobs remotely. While organizations cannot guarantee employment during this time of COVID-19, Biola’s leadership is doing all they can to preserve jobs at Biola.

March 20, 2020: How “Safer at Home” Affects Biola University

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County officials announced a “Safer at Home” ordinance for all residents to stay at home starting today and running through April 19 in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Schools and colleges are exempt from this ordinance as they are considered essential businesses. In order to do our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our community, however, Biola will comply with the order and suspend all on-campus operations with the exception of those who are needed for essential on-campus tasks that cannot be conducted remotely. This will be effective 11:59 p.m. on March 22, 2020 through at least April 19, 2020.

As local and state governments continue to respond rapidly to the virus, we continue to adjust our response efforts to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Each government announcement brings new challenges for our campus community. We appreciate your flexibility and continued commitment these past couple of weeks to care for the health and well-being of our entire community and our neighbors.

During the next month, Biola will operate remotely with a limited number of staff working on campus. These staff members are those who either 1) need to deliver remotely the quality education our students deserve who cannot do so off-campus or 2) need to be on campus to operate basic functions and support our students staying in university-owned housing.

Although not an exhaustive list and not all personnel delivering these services will necessarily need to be on campus, the following is a list of the services we currently anticipate needing to be performed on campus:

  • Health Center services and corresponding support
  • Student housing and food services with delivery only
  • Facilities management at reduced levels
  • Campus Safety personnel
  • Custodial services at reduced levels to care for the limited number of students remaining on campus and focused on sanitizing common areas
  • IT services associated with onsite support and remote learning
  • Human Resources and the Finance Department at reduced levels
  • Faculty who are unable, either due to technical issues or because of the nature of the course, must be on campus to deliver their courses remotely.

In an effort to help guide you through the foreseeable future, the following is a summary of decisions from Biola’s administration. We expect faculty, staff and students to comply with these emergency measures. They include:

  • Residential students are to vacate campus by Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m. Only students who were approved to live on campus by the Housing and Residence Life department will be able to live on campus in the designated residence halls. Approved students are also permitted to utilize long-term parking.
  • Biola’s campus will be closed through at least April 19. The gatehouse entrances at Biola Ave. and La Mirada Blvd. will be staffed 24/7, and the gate arms will be down. The gates at all other entrances to campus will be closed. Current students and employees will need to scan or show their Biola ID to enter campus. Visitors will need to check-in at a gatehouse prior to entering campus and will be strictly limited to guests of students residing on campus.
  • Building access will be locked down. Academic and administrative buildings will be locked at all times and access will be limited to authorized individuals who need to access them for pre-approved work or study.
  • All classes will be offered by remote delivery. Starting Monday, March 23, 2020 remote teaching and learning will resume and continue through the end of the spring semester. Professors will be communicating with their students about next week’s class schedule and expectations for the remainder of the semester.
  • Do not come to campus if you have been asked to work remotely. Though some personnel assigned to the essential task functions noted earlier will likely need to continue coming to campus to work, we ask that they first seek approval from their supervisor.

We encourage you to visit Biola’s coronavirus website as updates are posted regularly and watch this video to learn more about misconceptions about COVID-19 from Biola’s Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Health Science Danielle Walker. If you have further questions please contact the coronavirus hotline at (562) 906-4501.

Your understanding and cooperation during this challenging time is greatly appreciated as, together, we work to curb the spread of COVID-19.

March 19, 2020: Urgent Notice of New Move Out Date

Dear students,

In light of Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent executive order for California residents to stay home, the Department of Campus Safety is strongly recommending that students who were not granted permission to remain on campus leave campus for home by 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Since this order will take effect tomorrow, Friday, March 20, we want to ensure students are able to get home safely as soon as possible.

Many of you have already moved out, but there are still nearly 800 students who remain on campus yet to check out. We are emailing all residential students so you can help spread the word that the deadline has moved up by a day.

If due to pre-arranged travel plans you are unable to leave on Saturday, we ask that you try to adjust your plans to leave as soon as possible. Many airlines are offering the opportunity to change flights at no additional cost.

Please complete the Express Check Out process by putting your key and Express Check Out sheet in a sealed envelope and leaving it under your RD’s office or at the Housing Services desk, and completing the final step form. It is critical that you fill out the Express Check Out Final Step form when you leave campus so that we can process your housing and meal plan costs and maintain an accurate headcount. If you have already left campus and didn’t complete the express check out, please contact undergrad.housing@biola.edu

We apologize for the inconvenience this change might cause you and your family. Unfortunately, the situation changes daily and we want to make sure students get home safely and quickly.

Sincerely,

André Stephens

Vice President for Student Development

March 19, 2020: Remote Learning Resources Available to Students

Dear Biola students,

This is a different time for Biola and for you as you finish the remainder of the spring semester remotely. As you transition to remote delivery formats on Monday, March 23, 2020, departments across campus will be available to support you for the remainder of the semester. We want to share how Biola will support you through the next seven weeks.

Your success during this transition is our priority. We’ve put together a page on the coronavirus website that includes resources for remote learning to assist you during this time:

Our faculty and staff are still available to connect with you virtually. See this information to find out how to set up an online meeting or phone appointment with academic departments and services.

Continuing students are still required to complete academic advising in order to prepare for Fall 2020 registration, and will still need a PIN to register. Your academic advisor or program will be reaching out with more details!

Your overall well-being is most important to us during this time. If you are experiencing challenges financially, emotionally, physically or spiritually, there are resources to support you! Some examples include:

As we transition to remote learning formats, please remember that students are still expected to adhere to the Community Standards and the Title IX/Sexual Misconduct policy. In this unique season, our hope is that whether you are on campus or hundreds of miles away, you will be empowered, transformed and thriving. We ask that you continue to commit to living with integrity, accepting responsibility for your actions and words, living in reconciled relationships, submitting to biblical instruction and walking with the Holy Spirit.

In the midst of all of this, we continue to keep the Biola community in prayer. We invite you to visit the coronavirus website for a list of prayers written by Campus Pastor Todd Pickett. Join us in praying for each other.

Sincerely,

André Stephens

Vice President of Student Development

March 17, 2020: Presidential Update on Coronavirus

March 17, 2020

Dear Biola community,

This is a hard season for so many at Biola University, not to mention nationally and globally. I have heard stories from some of you about your anxiousness and heartaches. And as our nation and state continue to impose new guidelines and restrictions, the burdens seem heavier. We are people of faith and hope, yet we are also people who share in each other’s sorrows and bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). These struggles may go on for a while to come before the burdens lessen.

In this rapidly escalating COVID-19 environment, our desire is to stay ahead of where we see the situation moving. Our first priority is our campus community. We are receiving continuous information from county, state and federal officials. In light of this information, we are making decisions we believe are best for the university and the health of so many, especially those who are most vulnerable. As a result, each of us is being asked to step up in new ways and do things we haven’t done before for the good of the nation and world. Life has temporarily changed. I appreciate our community’s patience and vigilance as we all navigate these unprecedented times. As I shared with you last week, we remain committed to ongoing communication through our website, FAQs and messages from me.

In consultation with the good and thorough work of the COVID-19 University Response Team (C.U.R.T.), the President’s Cabinet has made a number of decisions. These decisions were fully supported last night by the Board of Trustees Executive Committee. As we considered the impact they would have on our community, our overriding desire was for the health and benefit of our students, faculty, staff and others. These decisions were made seriously, and please know that as a Cabinet we have prayed, are praying and will continue to pray for divine wisdom and Spirit-led discernment in all we do. The following are our decisions as of March 17:

  • We are instructing students to vacate Biola’s residence halls and university-owned apartments, so that they may return home as soon as possible but no later than Sunday, March 22. We believe this is in students’ best interest as President Trump has hinted at restricting travel to and from California. We don’t know how federal and state regulations might ramp up in the coming days. We also understand that students may have real and significant reasons why they cannot return home. Students who believe they must stay on campus and continue meals here due to extenuating circumstances should fill out the form Request to Stay. As all students are now being asked to return home, students no longer need to complete the “Plans for the Rest of Spring 2020” form. For students moving home, Biola will fully credit their student accounts for housing and meals on a prorated basis. This supersedes previous communication regarding housing cancellation costs. Housing and Residential Life staff will follow up later today with residential students via email to provide additional details on the move-out process as well as to provide support to students who need to remain on campus.
  • While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Biola, we want to minimize the risk of members of the Biola community contracting the virus. Beginning tomorrow, with their supervisor’s approval, any faculty or staff with non-essential “on-campus” tasks will work remotely until at least April 3. Similarly, all business meetings should transition to an online environment, with additional support as needed from IT. We will continue to assess and update staff and faculty if this return date changes. Divisional vice presidents will determine who on their teams will need to be present on campus to continue serving the community. We are asking those employees who do come to work to practice strict hygiene, social distancing and health consideration protocols.
  • The campus will be closed to outside visitors effective March 23 through at least April 3 with the possible exception of certain vendors and contractors. The university will no longer host in-person visits to campus, but instead campus visits will be managed virtually or by phone. This visitor restriction timeframe will be evaluated on a regular basis.
  • Our 2020 Spring Commencement May 8-9 will be postponed with more information coming as contingency decisions are made. This honors the input of graduating students whose feedback we solicited. All other in-person campus events through the end of the spring semester are canceled or will be reconstituted virtually.

In the past 48 hours, we have learned of many new restrictions issued by L.A. County, the State of California, the White House and the CDC pertaining to COVID-19. In addition, the City of La Mirada reported two confirmed cases last night. They are not, however, connected to Biola. These have led to Biola’s stricter standard on housing and employment, resulting in the above decisions.

Let me reiterate again that Biola University is not closing. On Monday, March 23, classes and chapels will resume remotely for the remainder of the spring semester. Other student services will be available remotely such as academic advising, faculty office hours, library services, the Learning Center, pastoral care and counseling services, among others. Regardless of where our students reside, we remain committed to care for them through this unprecedented time of social distancing.

Biola’s faculty members are embracing this moment and delivering through creative and innovative ways their courses and student care. I am delighted and encouraged by the ways in which they continue to educate our students in their intellectual, professional and spiritual development. They do this out of love for their students. These hundreds of professors are receiving outstanding support from the Office of Digital Learning to serve our students and minimize the disruption to their academic experience.

As I said in the opening sentence, this is a hard season. Yet we refuse to live in fear or lead by fear. We are determined to live and lead as Christ has called us, and that is by love. As we care for our own wellbeing — which we all must do — we are also loving our neighbors. As we exercise these precautions, we are protecting the health of our community and those with whom we come in contact. In all we do, we continue to live into our Biola mission as a biblically centered university to educate men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. This disruption will not change who we are and what we do.

I was reminded on a phone call this morning with a dear friend and Biola dad of God’s promise. This brother has assured me that we do best when we lead and live into Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

On behalf of the Cabinet, I want to thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We will continue to keep you posted on new developments all the way through until this COVID-19 challenge recedes. We serve a sovereign God who is more than capable of protecting and providing during this season.

God bless you.

With great appreciation and love,


Barry H. Corey

President

March 15, 2020: Biola University Cancels Spring Competition, Team Activity

Following new reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continued discussion with health officials and campus and department leadership, Biola University Athletics will cancel all remaining spring competition and team activity, effective immediately.

The school and PacWest Conference had announced previously a suspension to all athletic events through at least March 30. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress and expand, a full cancelation has been deemed most prudent.

This includes all team practices and strength training sessions, effective immediately.

“With the new recommendations from the CDC and health experts, we must use an abundance of precaution and cancel all athletics activities for the good of our students and our community,” said Dr. Bethany Miller, senior director of athletics. “This is heartbreaking, in particular for our spring season senior student-athletes, however, we are confident it is the right call.”

The PacWest Conference will have continued discussion on its official response to COVID-19 on Monday afternoon, but Biola is taking proactive steps to ensure the well-being of its student-athletes, staff and extended community.

For more information on Biola’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, view Biola’s Coronavirus webpage. This provides information and resources available to Biola’s campus community.

March 14, 2020: Update on Housing Refund

Dear students,

Last evening you were notified that at this time, Biola is intending to keep residence halls and university-owned housing open for the remainder of the spring semester and that students have the option to remain on campus or return home. The communication last night also stated that there would be no refunds for housing although there would be prorated refunds for meal plans.

We have been receiving questions from students and parents about a housing refund. After considering the input from these groups, we have decided to provide a refund in compliance with our housing handbook. We will provide refunds in the form of a credit to the student’s account. The amount of the refund will be the prorated room rate minus applicable cancellation fees (e.g. equal to one month’s housing charges). The terms of cancellation are found online. At this point in the semester, the approximate range of the housing refund per student would be $340 - $550 after cancellation fees.

If you choose to return home, complete the “Plans For the Rest of Spring 2020” form by Thursday, March 19, 2020 and complete the Express Check Out process no later than 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the Check Out process, contact Housing & Residence Life at undergrad.housing@biola.edu.

For questions related to the Contract Cancellation policy, please contact Beth Braley in Auxiliary Services beth.braley@biola.edu, 562-944-0351, x5813.

Sincerely,

André Stephens

Vice President for Student Development

March 13, 2020: Message from President Corey

March 12, 2020: Coronavirus Update on Classes

March 12, 2020

Dear Biola community,

As was mentioned in President Corey’s briefing yesterday, the university is taking careful steps to best serve our community in these challenging days by moving towards a remote class environment in light of COVID-19. We have engaged in extensive conversations and sought expert advice and counsel in order to arrive at the best protective options possible. I would like to announce three important decisions and provide an update on housing, commencement and students taking part in international study programs.

First, we will transition to a remote delivery format for all “in person” classes for the remainder of the semester effective Monday, March 23, 2020. Students will be receiving communication from their professors or academic administrators by Friday, March 20. Faculty will continue to provide academic advising and hold office hours to support our students through the end of the semester. University living areas will continue to remain open and food services will be available through the end of the academic year.

Second, in order to adequately transition the university to remote delivery, classes will be suspended on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 for all students. The campus will remain open on those days as the faculty and administration test and transition courses to remote delivery formats. This will include working on courses that are more suited for in-person instruction such as art, film, music, science and others. Our aim is to ensure that our remote courses are offered with the highest quality possible. We want to maintain academic continuity for our students and research activities to the greatest extent possible as we complete the spring semester.

Third, Missions Conference and chapels have been officially canceled for next week and conference credit will not be required this semester. We want to acknowledge the hard work and planning that has gone into this conference. We will instead be integrating the planned content of the conference into the streaming chapels this spring.

Chapels will begin streaming on Monday, March 23 (not March 16 as previously communicated) and continue through the rest of the semester. Two credits will be granted to all students automatically to make up for the lost week of chapels.

Housing

At this time, the Residence Halls will remain open. However, we do realize that with classes moving to remote delivery formats, students may want to return home to finish out the semester. We understand this may be a decision you and your family may make, and Biola’s Housing and Residence Life team are here to support students whether they choose to remain on campus or not. More information will be sent to residential students later today explaining the options available to them.

Graduating Seniors

Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to cancel or postpone gatherings of 250 or more attendees statewide through the end of March to slow the spread of COVID-19. In light of his decision, we will continue to assess and evaluate the likelihood of Spring Commencement taking place in May as scheduled. We will communicate any changes to Commencement to graduates as soon as information becomes available.

International Study Programs

Students taking part in the CCCU Best Semester programs will be returning home to finish their courses online, as a result of the CCCU’s announcement today that their residential programs are closing. At this time, Living and Learning Ecuador is remaining open and students will have the option to stay in the program or return home.

We encourage our Biola community to stay healthy and follow these steps to protect yourself. Thank you for your partnership, patience, and understanding during this challenging time as we continue to support the success of our students and the well-being of the Biola community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Taylor

Provost and Sr. Vice President

March 12, 2020: Follow Up Email from Housing & Residence Life

Dear Students,

As you learned in Provost Taylor’s email earlier this evening, classes will be suspended next week and moving to remote delivery formats as of March 23, 2020. While classes will not be meeting in person, Residence Halls and Apartments will remain open and services will be available through the remainder of the semester. We will continue to evaluate as events unfold; students can remain updated by visiting biola.edu/coronavirus.

At this time, we invite students who would like to head home to complete our Express Check Out process, detailed below. So that we can plan and provide sufficient support, we also ask that all students complete the “Plans for the Rest of Spring 2020” form communicating your plans via My Housing Self Service by Thursday, March 19, 2020. Residence Halls are not closing and your assignment will remain in effect through the rest of the year whether you choose to remain on campus or return home. In addition, all policies will remain in effect during this time.

If you plan to remain on campus, please be sure to complete the “Plans for the Rest of Spring 2020” form so we can know how to best support you through the remainder of the semester.

If you would like to check out early, please complete the Express Check Out process:

  • Collect your Express Check Out packet from the front desk of your Residence Hall during RA duty hours, or from your Graduate Assistant if you live in the Apartments.
    • Express Check Out packets will be available beginning at 4 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 13.
    • If you need to check out earlier than this, please contact your Resident Director or Graduate Assistant.
  • Fill out all included forms and complete necessary cleaning to your residence.
  • Drop your Express Check Out packet with forms, including your room key, in the designated location in your Residence Hall lobby.
  • If you live in an apartment, you can drop your Express Check Out packet at the lock box located outside Student Services, or you can deliver your packet to the Housing Services desk during office hours.
  • Students planning to check out need to complete their Express Check Out no later than 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2020.

As a reminder, Housing Selection for Fall 2020 is underway. The Housing Selection process will proceed as scheduled; please watch your Biola email for updates regarding Apartment and Residence Hall Selection times.

We understand the significant impact the coronavirus situation has on you and the remainder of your Spring semester. We appreciate your patience and grace with us as we navigate these swiftly changing dynamics. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Resident Director, or email undergrad.housing@biola.edu.

Thank you,

Natalie Berger, M.A.

Director of Housing & Residence Life

Division of Student Development

Biola University

March 12, 2020: Biola University Suspends Play of Spring Competitions

As announced at 1:15 p.m. today, the NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors announced that all winter and spring NCAA Championships have been canceled in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 via NCAA sporting events.

“Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,’ as stated in the official communication from the NCAA.

As a result of this decision, the PacWest Conference announced the suspension of all spring competitions through March 30. At that time the situation will be re-assessed.

Effective immediately, all sports at Biola University, regardless of conference affiliation, will suspend play of spring competitions. This includes non-conference and conference contests for all 16 programs. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

“The health and safety of our community of student-athletes and staff is our top priority,” said Dr. Bethany Miller, senior director of athletics. “Currently, we are working with officials at the PacWest Conference and NCAA to ensure that we can make the best of this unprecedented situation.”

The PacWest Conference’s decision mirrors decisions made by the rest of the NCAA Division II West Region conferences (GNAC, CCAA).

For more information on Biola’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, view Biola’s Coronavirus webpage. This provides information and resources available to Biola’s campus community.

March 12, 2020: Biola Bound Cancellation Notice

Dear Biola Bound Registrants,

We are writing to inform you that in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and increased risk of contracting the virus through air travel, we have made the decision to cancel the Biola Bound events taking place March 14-17, 2020 and April 18-21, 2020.

We are sorry that you will not be able to visit our campus as you had planned. Campus visits are such an important step in your college selection process. However, yesterday the university announced new air travel restrictions for its employees that go into effect this coming Monday and will be in place through April. We do not feel it is appropriate to restrict our employee’s travel yet ask you to fly to Southern California for Biola Bound. We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause, but believe it is in your best interest and the university.

We encourage you to contact your airline immediately and ask for a travel credit. Most airlines are waiving change fees and offering travel vouchers that can be used for a set period of time. We will also be working to refund your registration fee in the days to come.

Thank you again for your understanding. We are hopeful you will be able to come and visit our beautiful campus in the future when it is safer to travel. In the interim, be sure to visit our virtual tour online.

Please join us in praying for those directly impacted by the virus, and that God would protect and bring healing to our land. 

Sincerely,

Lee Wilhite

Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications

March 11, 2020: Update on the Coronavirus from President Corey

Dear Biola Community,

Since early January, we have been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, preparing internally for how Biola would respond if the virus spreads to the U.S. With COVID-19 now established in the U.S. and an increase of its cases in California, we are intensifying our institutional response. We are responding in a way that is consistent with current COVID-19 guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health. Although there are no known cases of COVID-19 on Biola’s campus, like other colleges and universities in the state we are taking steps to help prevent community transmission. I know this is as important to you as it is to us as decision-makers, and we are grateful for your patience, understanding and flexibility.

As Biola parents, students, faculty and staff, you know this is a situation that affects all of us. It is natural to feel uncertain and anxious not only about the health implications but also the economic impact of this outbreak. While it is clear that disruptions to our community life are inevitable, we intend to continue the work of educating our students and maintaining their curricular and co-curricular opportunities to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, we are exercising caution to keep our community safe and protect the health of our students, faculty and staff as well as those beyond our campus with whom they interact.

The President’s Cabinet and I are grateful to the capable campus leaders whose advice, decisions and ongoing actions are aimed at minimizing the spread of this virus and protecting those who are vulnerable. We have leaned on counsel from the University Health Center, Office of University Travel Safety and Risk Mitigation, University Communications, Educational Technology, Legal Counsel, Spiritual Development, Information Technology and Facilities Management, among others.

I have commissioned a COVID-19 University Response Team (C.U.R.T.) under the leadership of Campus Safety Chief John Ojeisekhoba and Health Center Director Sarah Templeton (MSN, FNP) as co-chairs. They will be charged with monitoring our current measures, building contingencies for taking more serious and immediate action if necessary, recommending when to accelerate our measures and when eventually to relax them. C.U.R.T. will have some responsibilities and will also have direct recommendation authority to the President's Cabinet.

In addition, we are implementing the following new preventative protocols and “social distancing” measures effective immediately:

  • The university is limiting the size of events to no more than 150 in attendance at a single location through the end of March, though the university will be reevaluating this limit and timeframe, making and posting adjustments as necessary. Events such as Missions Conference will be adapted and reconstituted to meet this criteria. Events scheduled to take place in April will be evaluated and determined in the next week whether they will continue as planned or need to be reconstituted. In the meantime, staff, faculty or students who are planning events in April or later should develop contingency plans such as utilizing streaming services across multiple venues.
  • All chapel offerings will be canceled for the remainder of this week including AfterDark tonight. Beginning Monday, March 16, chapel offerings will transition from meeting in their on-campus locations and instead be streamed. Students will receive more on how to access chapel offerings and receive chapel credit during the scheduled streaming time.
  • The university’s preventive health protocols will be posted on campus and on the university’s coronavirus website, and students, staff, faculty and visitors are expected to abide by these protocols and take standard precautions, especially as it relates to prudent social distancing. If people feel they may have come into contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they should contact the emergency hotline immediately at (562)777-4000.
  • At this time, all Biola Athletics NCAA Division II events will continue as scheduled consistent with current NCAA practice. Spectators are encouraged to stream events instead of attending in person. However, if you do choose to attend the events, please exercise health and safety protocols (e.g. social distancing).
  • Beginning March 16 all university-related air travel will be canceled through the end of April. The exception to this is athletic team travel as the governing body of NCAA has not canceled any games or competitions at this point. Faculty, staff and students are responsible for forwarding confirmations for all Biola-related flights, hotels, registrations and rental cars through the end of April to purchasing@biola.edu. The Purchasing department will make cancellations based on the date of the event and will update departments accordingly. Students, faculty and staff already scheduled for university-related air travel or group travel after April are “on hold” until further notice. A final decision regarding post-April university-related travel for students, faculty and staff will be made by April 1. All new travel requests submitted for travel after May 1 will be held by the Purchasing department until this decision is made.
  • University leaders have been in contact with all students studying abroad and they are working with those students on a case-by-case basis to assess when to return back to the United States.
  • In preparation for the campus to move toward fully remote courses, next week the university will be testing remote delivery formats. An update on the move to remote delivery and the start date will be provided next week.
  • For the time being, symptom-free students will be expected to attend classes as scheduled. For the remainder of the semester, so long as courses continue to meet “in person,” professors will not be applying attendance-based criteria in their grading. However, the professor instead may choose to assign an alternative learning activity for the student who misses the class(es) beyond what is stated as acceptable absences in their syllabus.
  • For those in our community who are experiencing emotional distress from the health or financial news surrounding the coronavirus, counseling is available through Biola Counseling Center and pastoral care through the Office of Spiritual Development.
  • Staff are expected to continue to report to work each day. Human Resources is asking all staff who are mildly ill with flu-like symptoms to talk to their supervisor about taking sick time or working from home. All faculty who are mildly ill should connect with their chair or dean to determine implications for their course (the provost will be sending additional details tomorrow after conferring with the academic deans). This is in an effort to prevent the potential spread of an illness. Consistent with CDC guidelines, faculty or staff should not return to work until they are free of fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication. According to our current policy, faculty or staff who are out for more than 5 days will need to get a doctor's note clearing them to return to work.
  • Many on our teams are working hard to sanitize our work, study and living environments. The custodial team at Biola has been extra diligent in disinfecting areas on campus where there is a likelihood of germ spread such as service counters, conference tables, classroom desks and door handles, and they continue to work above and beyond in sanitizing our campus.
  • Bon Appetit, Biola’s food services provider, has closed all self-service stations in the eating venues out of an abundance of caution. A limited menu is available. All food is being served or pre-plated and portion control is being used for condiments. Bon Appetit is monitoring students’ feedback and making adjustments, as appropriate, in order to provide students with a good eating experience and maintaining preventive health measures. In addition, the Bon Appetit team is disinfecting all highly touched surfaces hourly, emphasizing and enforcing personal hygiene awareness and health-reporting policies to all staff.
  • A regularly updated FAQ section is on the dedicated coronavirus website. This should be considered the “go-to site” for all up-to-date information on Biola’s response to COVID-19.
  • Urgent questions should continue to be directed to the Biola University emergency line (562) 777-4000. All other questions can be funneled through the Biola coronavirus hotline at (562) 906-4501.

We will continue to post regular updates to students, parents and employees on Biola’s coronavirus website. We hope this information will be helpful to you in protecting the health and well-being of all who spend time on this campus.

I know that both the spread of COVID-19 nationally and our consequent protective decisions affect not only Biola’s programs and planning but the lives of our students, families and employees. For many of you, the steps we are taking to protect the health of the community may involve inconvenience and personal sacrifice. Please know that the decisions we have made may change as we monitor the campus affects daily, and there is a possibility we could step up our restrictions even more.

I am extremely grateful for your prayer and concern, not just for Biola but for the tensions this is creating globally. Biola has long been known as a praying community, an expression of the body of Christ defined by compassion, grace and respect. Let us continue to saturate this campus with prayer and work together, all as one.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

I’m grateful to the Biola teams for working relentlessly on this situation and continuing to protect our community.

Blessings in Christ.

Warmly,

Barry H. Corey

President

March 11, 2020: Important Changes to Chapel Due to the Coronavirus

Dear students,

Chapels are a central part of the spiritual, educational and communal life at Biola. With that in mind, but also with the intent to create a safe and healthy environment for all, Biola Spiritual Development has made important changes to the chapel format in light of COVID-19. Please be assured that there are no cases of the coronavirus on Biola’s campus at this time, and according to the Department of Public Health there is no imminent threat to our campus. The changes to chapel are being made in an abundance of caution.

Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, chapel will move to a streaming format which will continue through the end of the semester, allowing students to satisfy this integral part of the Biola education. Due to guidelines for large gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in-person chapel gatherings are suspended for the remainder of the semester, effective immediately. Tonight’s After Dark has been canceled. Chapel will move to a streaming format beginning Monday, March 16 at 9:30 a.m.

Streaming Chapel Format

Each chapel will now be streamed on Canvas and will be available to the entire student community. All chapels except AfterDark and Singspiration will be available for streaming. Since the central contributions of AfterDark as a student-run chapel and Singspiration as an all-worship/prayer chapel cannot be honorably replicated online, these two chapels regretfully will be suspended for the rest of the semester.

Streaming chapels will be hosted on Canvas. In order to view chapel, please enroll into the course on Canvas titled, “Enroll in the Chapel Canvas Course.”

M/T/W/F Morning Chapels and T/Th Fives have been selected for streaming. Chapel streaming opportunities will begin and end as follows:

  • Monday: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m. and 5 - 5:35 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.
  • Thursday: 5 - 5:35 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

How to Receive Chapel Credit

Receiving chapel credit will require quality engagement from the very beginning of the streaming until its end. The process for receiving chapel credits will be explained during each stream, and students are encouraged to attend as many as they can online. Since physical space is no longer a factor, attaining the required 20 credits is even more possible with the new format.

Students should be aware of the following:

  • Credit will only be earned if you log into Canvas at the beginning of the streaming, stay logged in for the entire chapel, and complete feedback that will be explained at various times during the streaming.
  • This streaming format does not mean chapel will be available on-demand. Students will only be able to attain credit during the designated times listed above.
  • MyAccount will still be the place to track your chapel credits, and these will be updated within 48 hours after the completion of the chapel. If there are any issues, please contact chapel.accountability@biola.edu.
  • If you do not have a computer, phone or access to the internet, or if you have any other questions, please contact spiritual.development@biola.edu immediately.

At this point, the above changes apply to chapels only. As the university continues to evaluate preventative measures due to COVID-19, more information about Missions Conference adjustments and conference credits will be sent to students by the end of the week. Please continue to check biola.edu/coronavirus for up-to-date information.

If you want to speak with a Campus Pastor about any concerns that are arising in regards to the coronavirus, please make an appointment on the Pastoral Care website.

We realize that for some these adjustments might be inconvenient and may disrupt the ways we’ve grown accustomed to worship together. Please know that these decisions were made with great care and a desire to keep your health and safety a priority, while still providing the spiritual nurture and rhythms of our chapel programs. We are grateful for your understanding, cooperation, and patience in these changes.

Sincerely,

Todd Pickett, Dean of Spiritual Development & Campus Pastor

Mike Ahn, Assistant Dean of Chapels & Worship

March 10, 2020: Grandparents Day 2020 Canceled

March 10, 2020

Dear Biola grandparents,

It is with deep regret that we write to inform you that we are canceling Biola University’s Grandparents Day this Friday, March 13, 2020.

This was not an easy decision to make because we know how much you love and care for your student at Biola. However, as the university has monitored the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and the CDC’s strong recommendation that “older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips...” we determined it would be best to cancel the event altogether.

We have been wrestling with this decision the last few days as some grandparents have asked we not cancel it, and others have been surprised it was still scheduled. In the end, we do not want to put anyone at risk. And while there are no known cases of COVID-19 on Biola’s campus, we felt it was best to exercise an abundance of caution especially to our beloved Biola grandparents.

Some have asked if they can still come and visit their grandchild on campus. We are not restricting visitors to campus as it remains open to the public, but there will be no official programming for Grandparents Day.

In the coming days we will be in touch with you to refund your registration fee. All guests who were registered for the "meal option" will receive a full refund unless our families notify us otherwise. All registrations not refunded will be considered donations. Please allow 7-10 business days for refunds to be processed.

Again, we are deeply sorry for this news and trust you will understand our reasoning.

Thank you for supporting your grandchild at Biola! If you have any questions, please email parents@biola.edu.

Sincerely,

Lily Tsau, Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Stephanie Ramirez, Assistant Director of Parent Relations

March 6, 2020: COVID-19 Update to Students

(the following email was sent out to students on March 6, 2020)

Dear students,

As the news of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, increases and cases in L.A. County and neighboring counties multiply, the Office of Student Health Services and University Travel Safety & Risk Mitigation would like to provide the Biola community with information regarding Coronavirus in order to equip the community with tips and proactive measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated publicly that community spread of COVID-19 in the United States is likely to occur. On March 4, 2020, the County of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency and confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County, which has increased to 11 as of March 6. The state of emergency was not to cause alarm but was declared in an abundance of caution in order to enhance the county’s preparedness and increase support from the state and federal partners. There are currently no cases in the city of La Mirada and no cases at Biola University.

Preventive Health Measures

Whether you have been on campus this past week, or you have been away, here are some important tips for you to follow.

  • Avoid handshakes. Use verbal greetings.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. An additional 22 hand sanitizers have been installed in residence halls, the gymnasium, Sutherland Auditorium and other high traffic buildings.
  • Cover your cough with your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your living areas and surfaces using a regular household disinfectant spray or wipe.
  • Don’t share food or drinks.
  • If you feel sick, stay home and rest.

Travel from Impacted Regions

If you are returning from international regions designated by the CDC as a Level 2 or 3 risk (i.e. Italy, Korea, China, Japan) you will need to complete a clearance process coordinated by the Student Health Center and the University Office of Travel Safety & Risk Mitigation. Please contact the university emergency line 24/7 at (562)777-4000 to initiate this process before returning to campus.

If you are returning from an impacted region from Washington state, have flu-like symptoms or questions, please contact the emergency line at (562)777-4000 before returning to campus.  

If you are returning from international travel from other countries not heavily impacted by the COVID-19, pay attention to your health for 14 days after returning to the U.S. If you get sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, stay home and seek medical advice by the emergency line at (562)777-4000 or your personal physician. 

Campus Preparedness Plan

Over the past two months, the university’s Emergency Management Team (EMT) has developed a proactive university-wide plan to address issues related to COVID-19. The plan includes area-specific preparedness and response procedures and the purchase of essential supplies. If the spread of COVID-19 increases in LA County, the ERT will assess if large events on campus will need to be rescheduled or cancelled. Summer international mission trips are being assessed in partnership with SMU leadership and decisions about whether to cancel or redirect trips to other locations will be made by early April. 

Our commitment is to support the Biola community through this rapidly evolving global health situation, and we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available and if things change. We have a dedicated website that will be updated as soon as we have new information. If you have any questions, please call (562) 906-4501.

Join us in continuing to pray for the areas and individuals impacted by COVID-19. 

Sincerely,

Sarah Templeton
Director, Student Health Services

Chief John Ojeisekhoba
University Emergency Preparedness
Office of University Travel Safety & Risk Mitigation

Helpful External Resources