June 8, 10:00 a.m.: Administration released a community update on June 5 that elaborated on President Synder, Ph.D.’s previous announcements about the fall semester.
According to the update, students should expect some degree of change to their fall semester classes and schedule. While some classes will remain in-person, some will be moved to a hybrid structure of part in-person and part remote, and others courses will be offered entirely online.
Class times will be shifted to allow for social distancing and to comply with government regulations. Exactly how class times will be moved to is not yet known, but they “will basically be sequenced in the same manner,” according to the update.
If students are not able to return to in-person instruction due to travel and visa issues or health concerns, they will have the opportunity to participate in the fall semester remotely.
May 27, 4:30 p.m.: Administration remains hopeful that students and faculty will be able to return to the bluff in August, releasing a schedule for the fall semester in a message sent this afternoon from Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
The semester will start on Aug. 31, and students will receive in-person instruction until Nov. 24. Through the end of the 16-week semester on Dec. 18, classes and finals will be moved to a remote format to avoid a Thanksgiving travel-related spike in infection.
For students and faculty alike, the fall semester will look vastly different than it did during pre-pandemic times.
According to the message, attendance at athletic events will likely be limited, campus buildings and classrooms will have newly adjusted maximum capacities, classes will only take place in staggered time blocks and academic buildings will have designated entrances and exits. The University anticipates “further guidance specific to higher education institutions.”
Community members can field questions related to the University’s pandemic response through an online form.
The Loyolan will continue updating this story as it develops.
May 26, 10:00 p.m.: This afternoon, President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. announced that, effective May 31, 230 staff members are to be furloughed due to the financial impact that the pandemic has had on the University.
Decisions about which staff members are to be put on temporary leave were not made based off of the performances of the individual employees, according to the message. Instead, “decreased workload while our campuses are closed, shifting priorities during pandemic response and recovery, and budget challenges associated with revenue shortfalls,” were all factors taken into consideration when furlough decisions were made.
The message gave no clear return date for the furloughed staff members, but stated: “We look forward to our furloughed colleagues returning to their work as soon as possible and thank them for their contributions to our community.”
The furloughed employees will be eligible for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), but will still be able to receive health care through the University, according to the message.
A furlough is a mandatory temporary suspension of most or all of an employee’s workload and pay. The furloughed staff members remain employees at the University, whereas layoffs require complete separation and a rehire process, according to California Labor and Employment Law.
Furloughs generally occur “when the employer wants to retain staff that they cannot afford,” according to California Labor and Employment Law.
Other measures have been taken by the administration to reduce expenses and sustain the University amidst global crisis.
According to a Comprehensive Community Update sent out on May 13, the University lost $12.5 million in auxiliary revenue in the spring 2020 semester. The message also anticipated another $8.5 million loss of revenue in the summer season with the cancellation of summer events, housing, recreation center use, study abroad programs and more. Continued losses are expected in the coming year.
Aside from the furloughs, other decisions made in order to reduce the budget include a 10 percent decrease in senior leadership salaries and “canceled merit increases” for the 2021 fiscal year, according to the message sent out on May 26.
The Loyolan will continue to inform the community of the impacts of COVID-19 on our future at LMU.
This story will be updated as it develops.