Biola to vacate housing, close campus to visitors

The City of La Mirada reported two confirmed cases of COVID-19, neither linked to Biola.

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brittany Ung and Lacey Patrick

Biola will vacate residence halls and university-apartments starting March 22, President Barry Corey announced in a campus-wide email today. At that time, the campus will be closed to visitors, with exceptions for certain vendors and contractors.

The Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee made the decision last night, in light of consultation with the COVID-19 University Response Team, headed by Chief of Campus Safety John Ojeisekhoba and Director of Student Health Services Sarah Templeton. There are currently no cases of the coronavirus connected to Biola, however La Mirada has confirmed two cases in the city, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

MOVING OUT

Students were asked to move out no later than March 22. Those who feel they must stay on campus for “extenuating circumstances” and continue their meal plans are required to fill out a Request to Stay form.

The housing form lists potential extenuating circumstances as including, but not limited to:

  • Returning to a Level 2 or 3 risk country.
  • Traveling to a high risk region in the United States.
  • Potentially putting a family member at health risk by returning home.
  • Any international student.
  • A student previously designated as “independent” for the purposes of Financial Aid.
  • Being in a position of housing insecurity.
  • A student is enrolled in clinicals that are not being suspended.
  • A student is enrolled in an internship that is not being suspended or made remote.
  • A student has a job in the area that requires continued physical presence, which is not being suspended or made remote.

Students moving home will be fully credited for their housing and meal plans on a “prorated basis,” based on the day each student checks out. The president’s email supersedes previous communication from Housing and Residential Life, which stated that students would be only partially refunded at the prorated room rate, minus the cancelation fee. A representative from Housing Services said the president’s email means students will not receive the total amount paid for housing, but no cancelation fee will be applied. More information from Housing Services is to follow later today for students moving out.

ON-CAMPUS OPERATIONS

The email clarified that the university will not be closed. Rather, all in-person classes, chapels and events will be moved to an online setting. Campus will only be closed to outside visitors. 

Faculty and staff with “non-essential” tasks will be working remotely with supervisor approval until April 3. Divisional vice presidents will determine which members of their teams must be present on campus, and the school is asking those who come to work to “practice strict hygiene, social distancing and health consideration protocols.” 

The 2020 Spring Commencement originally scheduled for May 8 and 9 will be postponed, with further decisions to come. All in-person campus events will be canceled or conducted online for the remainder of the spring semester.