Planning and preparedness
Marymount California University continues to monitor and respond to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with the goal of protecting the well-being of the university community. Keep reading for responsive actions, guidance and resources to keep our university community safe and informed.
(Updated August 3, 2020)
MCU will move to remote learning for the fall 2020 semester. Although we previously announced an in-person start — and embraced extraordinary measures in hopeful anticipation of welcoming students back to campus — higher education institutions in California will not be allowed to resume on-campus learning in the fall. The most up-to-date direction from the state and county makes clear that all public and private colleges and universities need to continue classes online. These guidelines and the evolving pandemic conditions have also impacted our ability to offer housing and fall sports. For more specific information on what to expect in the upcoming semester, please read the president’s message.
September 14, 2020: President’s Message to Parents about Fall Startup
August 26, 2020: Villas Housing Protocols
August 3, 2020: MCU Moves Fully Online for Fall 2020
July 21, 2020: Update on Campus Status and Reopening Plans
July 9, 2020: ICE Guidance on International Students
June 24, 2020: Extending Campus Closure Through July
June 9, 2020: Campus Opening in Fall with In-person and Online Classes
May 18, 2020: President’s Message on CARES Act Funding
May 7, 2020: Single Rooms for the Price of a Double
April 12, 2020: President’s Easter Message to Students
April 6, 2020: Memo to Parents about Online Learning and Housing Updates
March 20, 2020: Online Classes Extended and Commencement Postponed
March 19, 2020: President’s Message: We’re Experiencing Great Change
March 16, 2020: Campus Closure for Two Weeks
March 16, 2020: Internship Guidelines
March 11, 2020: Villas Will Remain Open During Campus Closure
March 11, 2020: Classes Moving Online for Two Weeks
March 11, 2020: Memo to Parents about Steps MCU is Taking to Protect Students
March 4, 2020: Keeping Marymount Safe
February 28, 2020: President’s Message on Preventative Actions and Staying Vigilant
Frequently asked questions
Will the university open for the fall semester?
Marymount California University has transitioned to online instruction for all classes and will remain physically closed for the fall semester, in accordance with state and county guidelines for colleges and universities. Classes start August 24. Staff and faculty are continuing to work remotely, with the ability to serve students in most capacities through email, phone and videoconferencing.
What are my housing options?
The county has restricted our ability to house students in The Villas at this time, with the exception of students who have nowhere else to go. As a result, MCU will refund all housing application fees. If you are interested in securing university housing when it is permitted by the county or if you have an immediate housing need, please contact Residential Life at ResLife@MarymountCalifornia.edu or at (310) 303-7317.
Will athletic teams be able to compete?
In accordance with guidance from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the California Pacific Conference, fall competition and national championships will be deferred until the spring semester. The basis for this decision is to give the greatest level of equity between sports and inclusivity for the athletes. With the current contagion rate, the risks related to contact sports, transportation, accommodations when traveling, along with the burden and logistics of frequent COVID testing, presented considerable obstacles. We will let you know when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has given us the green light for on-campus athletic activities. Presently, we are constructing a plan to prepare for spring competition that will include individual skill workouts and strength conditioning.
Are campus tours and information sessions still happening?
Campus tours are still available with significant safety precautions in place, including a schedule that allows cleaning and disinfecting between groups. Tours are limited to three members of the same household, and participants must wear face coverings and keep a distance of six feet. We require a symptom screening and temperature check prior to the tour. While on campus, participants can also schedule a financial aid consultation. You can register for a tour here.
What if I need to come to campus?
While the university is inherently closed, with the exception of essential workers, we understand some employees, visitors and vendors may need to come to campus from time to time. In that case, state and county protocols require everyone to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing. Additionally, we request everyone check in upon their visit either through this link or one of the QR codes posted around campus.
Are the shuttles still in operation?
Shuttle service will not be available while the campus is closed.
How long will employees work from home?
All faculty and staff have been asked to comply with the state’s order and work remotely until further notice, with exceptions for essential campus services.
Is a commencement ceremony in the works?
Unfortunately, the university had to cancel its traditional commencement ceremony in May. We know how important this milestone is for our students and their families who supported them on this journey. However, we do still plan to offer an option in the future as restrictions are lifted that will allow us to honor the Class of 2020 and celebrate their accomplishments together. Continue to check our commencement website for updates.
What if I don’t have reliable Internet access at home or my connection is slow?
Your home network may not be as fast or reliable as your Internet connection at school, especially if multiple members of your household are online while you’re trying to work. If you’re having trouble with your network, try some of the steps below to improve your connection.
What to do if your connection is slow
- Move closer to your WiFi router. Getting closer to your router can improve signal strength. WiFi extenders can boost the signal in other rooms.
- Restart your router or computer. Most routers have a reset button. If your computer isn’t connecting but other devices are still working online, reboot your computer.
- Close other programs and limit streaming/large downloads while you work. Other programs on your computer may consume processor or network resources. Try disconnecting or limiting use of other non-essential devices on your network.
- Call your Internet service provider or check their status website to determine if there are any known issues. This will help you learn if the problem is widespread in your area or specific to your home.
- Use a mobile hotspot. A hotspot lets you share your phone’s data with other devices to access the internet. Check with your mobile provider to see if a hotspot is an option for you.
And if you don’t have reliable access to the Internet at home, some Internet and mobile data providers have pledged to offer free or low-cost access to the Internet or increased data allowances to ensure people can get online. Check these resources for more information:
How long will classes be online?
Instruction will be online for the entire fall semester. This will allow for academic continuity and minimize disruptions.
What will virtual instruction look like this fall?
While we worked diligently in anticipation of an in-person fall semester, we were at the same time preparing to provide a robust virtual educational experience in the event public health guidelines prevented us from re-opening campus. This fall’s remote learning experience and environment was built intentionally, as opposed to last spring when we had just one week to convert our classes to virtual instruction.
In our new remote learning environment, you can expect some synchronous classes (marked SY for synchronous and HY for hybrid), meaning you will join your professor and classmates live in Zoom, beginning and ending at a fixed time. This platform allows everyone to interact in the same session together, helping you maintain a sense of community and personal connection. Our asynchronous classes (marked OL for online) are not delivered in real time, requiring students to complete coursework at their own pace while also holding themselves accountable for their progress. We heard from students that a mix of live class time and independent work was the ideal balance.
How will MCU ensure online educational quality and engagement?
MCU has made significant investments in faculty training and improved technology to enhance delivery of online courses and the individualized, personal connection students crave. Faculty have followed an MCU course design checklist with prescriptive standards on such elements as structure of the course, learning objectives and organization of content. These best practices also guide faculty on ensuring the cadence of assignments and assessments is clear so students know what’s expected, as well as how they will communicate and humanize feedback. Seemingly small, this interaction can be deeply meaningful.
We’re striving to develop courses that invite students to participate, motivate them to contribute and capture their interest and attention. Courses leverage the latest learning design tools and technology, utilizing everything from Zoom breakout rooms, business simulations, online interviews and networking assignments to virtual reality experiences, video, podcasts and games.
Our spring 2020 semester student success rates were higher than in the previous spring and higher at finals than at midterms, suggesting the move to online after midterms did not damage student degree progress. We believe that learning and degree progress are improved when students and faculty are in regular contact, so we are aiming for inclusive practices that will engage students with the course material and with one another. MCU faculty care and want to get to know you, so we encourage you to communicate with them via email or during office hours.
How many units can I take?
The university has increased the number of units a student can take per semester from 20 to 24 at no additional charge for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. This change allows you to make more rapid progress on your degree and potentially shorten your time to graduation.
Will labs be able to meet on campus?
No. MCU will not require on-site labs for the fall semester. We will continue to monitor state and county guidance in case optional on-site activities become possible. Faculty will still teach lab techniques and critical skills. While lab instruction will be provided virtually, many course lab fees have been eliminated or reduced.
Will faculty still hold office hours?
Yes, although office hours are now offered online, by email or phone. Check your My.Marymount class sites for details or contact your instructor.
Can I still meet with a tutor?
Yes. Learning Support offers virtual tutoring Monday through Friday via Zoom. You can access this service through My.Marymount or here. The Learning Support team and library staff are also available to help with specific disciplines, study skills, time management and research support, and can be reached through the website.
I am a student with accommodations. What should I do regarding remote instruction?
Please contact Laura Niemiec at firstname.lastname@example.org to request required accommodations.
What if I am sick and can’t attend my online class?
If you are sick, stay home and take care of yourself. If you are unable to attend your synchronous classes, contact your professors to make arrangements to keep up asynchronously.
I’m having difficulty with my online classes. What should I do?
While we love the flexibility remote learning offers, we also realize it doesn’t come naturally to everybody. Here are a few tips to help you adjust and thrive.
- Technology issues are bound to happen, but there’s usually a fix. If you’re having technical issues or need help using new digital tools, please email email@example.com with as much detail as possible and a phone number to reach you. Stay in touch with your professors and keep them informed about what’s happening.
- Studying from home can come with plenty of distractions, especially if you have a job, family or other responsibilities. Try to find a quiet, productive space to complete your coursework. If you’re completing an asynchronous class (self-paced), it’s important to set a schedule of when and how you will get your work done, so you can stay focused on your ultimate goal.
- The lack of in-person contact with both instructors and classmates can be particularly challenging. It’s important to attend your synchronous classes at their specified times, so you can interact with your classmates and professors to maintain a sense of community and connection. Also plan to attend your professor’s virtual office hours if you need extra help.
- If you decide a full course load is too much right now, talk to your advisor about adjusting your schedule, opt to take a class for credit/no credit or contact student support services about virtual tutoring or time management.
- If you don’t understand an assignment, please ask your professor for clarification, so you don’t fall behind.
Who should I contact if I have questions about my classes?
Please contact your instructor. Contact information and office hours for faculty are posted on My.Marymount. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have technical issues.
Has the fall calendar changed?
The fall calendar remains essentially unchanged. Semester classes run from August 24-December 3, with finals week December 7-10 as planned. There is no fall break in October. Thanksgiving week (November 23-27) is a class-free week; although, some homework may be assigned. The last day to withdraw from a class or petition for the credit/no credit grading is November 20.
Will MCU still offer off-campus internships?
Yes, internships are still available, including in-person and virtual options. Opportunities are posted at Mariner Career Connect, or you can reach out to Roshni Lal at RLal@MarymountCalifornia.edu.
How do I order a transcript?
Unofficial transcripts may be viewed, downloaded and printed from the student portal for current or recently enrolled students with portal access. Go to Academics>Unofficial Transcript to view a PDF version of your transcript. You may also view your grades by term under My Grades.
Official transcripts may be ordered via the National Student Clearinghouse. Secure electronic delivery is now available. Go to https://www.marymountcalifornia.edu/campus-services/registrar/transcripts/ and follow the directions under the National Student Clearinghouse link.
In-person, FedEx and same-day requests are not available at present. Requests for mailed transcripts or of historical archived records will be processed once a week; requests for electronic delivery (except for historical archived records) will be processed the following business day. Note that due to varying campus policies, MCU cannot guarantee delivery of a mailed transcript to any other campus.
How will the move to remote learning affect my visa status?
If you are a current student with an F-1 visa and active SEVIS record (inside or outside the United States), you will be able to enroll in a full online schedule and have your SEVIS record remain active for the Fall 2020 semester. In order to maintain your record, you must register for a full-time course load. This means a minimum of 12 units for undergraduates and a minimum of six units for graduates.
I returned home during the spring semester or just after the semester ended, and now my country is experiencing a travel ban to the U.S. Will I be able to return to the U.S. for the start of fall classes?
If you are a new student or a new transfer currently in the U.S. with a valid F-1 visa and SEVIS record, you will be able to have your SEVIS record activated and remain inside the U.S. as long as you are registered for a full-time course load as defined above. If you have your F-1 visa and wish to be physically in the U.S. this fall, planning travel immediately would be advised.
If you are a new student outside the U.S. and actively seeking an F-1 visa, unfortunately, we will have to postpone your arrival until Spring 2021. Your SEVIS record and I-20 will be updated to reflect a start date of Spring 2021, and you should obtain a visa this fall using the updated I-20 that will be sent to you in the coming weeks. The Office of International Services will be in touch with all new students in this situation to issue each of you a new I-20. However, we highly encourage you to contact your academic adviser to select a full-time course load you can take online from home this semester. You do not need a visa to study from home, and our faculty are ready to engage with our students online!
Will the Villas remain open this fall?
If you are planning to be in the U.S. and would have sought housing in the Villas, please note the Villas will generally be closed this fall, in accordance with the most recent public health orders. However, if you are an international student and would otherwise have nowhere to live this fall, please contact the Office of Residential Life at email@example.com to discuss your situation.
I decided to travel home after spring break or after the semester ended. How do I get my I-20 signed?
To ensure all international students have up-to-date paperwork, the Office of International Services is reissuing all students a new I-20 with a new travel signature. Please complete this form to share the address where you would like your new I-20 to be shipped.
Will students be able to live in the Villas for the fall semester?
MCU will not be able to offer housing to students this fall unless they have nowhere else to go, per the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health. However, we do plan to open once state and county guidelines indicate it is safe for us to do so. If you are interested in securing university housing when it is permitted or if you have an immediate housing need, please contact the Office of Residential Life at ResLife@MarymountCalifornia.edu or (310) 303-7317.
Will students receive a refund on housing fees?
Yes, MCU will refund all housing application fees.
I am a student athlete, and my team is having practices. Can I move in?
Currently, there are restrictions on student athletes. The only student athletes who can move in are those whose sports are in season and live too far away to practice and/or compete. At this time, this only applies to the MCU golf and tennis teams.
Will students allowed to live in the Villas have roommates?
Students allowed to live on campus will live in single rooms to allow for physical distancing.
Will residents still have access to a meal plan?
Yes, Bon Appetit delivers three chef-prepared meals a day Monday through Friday to the Villas.
What are the expectations for residents?
Residents currently living at the Villas will be expected to adhere to these policies:
- Face coverings must be in residents’ possession any time they are not within their Villa and must be worn any time they will be within six feet of another person.
- Residents are not allowed to enter any other resident’s Villa for any reason.
No guests are allowed at the Villas, including family members, other MCU students, friends and significant others.
- All food deliveries must be picked up at the entrance to the Villas.
- Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate and follow government guidelines on isolation. Anyone who lives with this student or who was in close contact must also quarantine for the recommended time.
- Students are required to follow county protocols, including social/physical distancing of six feet, avoiding crowds, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and wearing a face covering.
- To reduce community exposure, residents may only leave the Villas for the following reasons:
- Employment – Work schedules must be provided to the Office of Residential Life. If a work schedule changes, Residential Life must be notified prior to the first shift of the new schedule.
- Athletic practices – MCU student athletes may attend MCU Athletics practices or competitions.
- Medical – Residents may leave for medical emergencies or medical appointments.
- Food – Residents may leave to go grocery shopping or to pick up food from a restaurant if it is not possible or prohibitive for deliveries at the front gate.
- MCU events – Residents may leave to attend MCU-sponsored events or authorized church services.
- No resident can be off the Villas property after 8 p.m. without written approval from the Dean of Residential Campus.
- Residents are required to have a weekly virtual check-in with an assigned staff member. This meeting will be scheduled for the same time each week, and the resident must have a camera on during the entire meeting.
Violation of any of these policies will result in disciplinary action and potential removal from the Villas.
How will I know when the Villas reopen for all students?
The Office of Residential Life will send an email to all students who had previously applied for housing, notifying them that MCU is able to welcome them back to our community. That email will also have instructions for re-applying for housing. We will also post information on our Instagram account @MCU_Villas.
If I choose to live in the Villas when they reopen, will I be charged for the full semester?
Room and board rates will be prorated from the day of move-in.
Will the Villas be open for Thanksgiving and winter breaks?
MCU will continue to monitor state and county guidelines and leading up to the Thanksgiving break communicate to all students residing at the Villas the most current plans and options. Until then, students should plan to completely move out of their units at the conclusion of the fall semester. Because of the unpredictable nature of responding to COVID-19, we are asking students to remove all belongings by December 11, 2020 unless you receive approval to live with us over break. MCU will still offer winter break housing for students in need of housing during the closure. Currently, and as government recommendations allow, we plan to welcome students back to their units on January 9, 2021. Continue to check our website for updates.
With classes moving online, will tuition and fees be reduced?
Tuition will remain the same. While the modality of instruction has changed, students can still expect a deeply personalized and quality educational experience at MCU inclusive of support services such as one-on-one advising and virtual tutoring, career services and experiential learning opportunities. We have made significant financial investments to upgrade technology and provide training for faculty to enhance their delivery of online teaching.
However, in acknowledgement of the changes COVID-19 will have on the fall 2020 campus experience, MCU will reduce the campus services fee from $1,000 to $750 and the orientation fee for new students from $300 to $150. We will also waive the late payment fee usually charged in August. Otherwise, all billing dates remain the same, and students will need to pay their tuition or establish a payment plan before the start of the semester. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 303-7217.
Will MCU offer housing and dining refunds?
Yes. Marymount will grant room and board refunds, as well as the $175 housing application fee for the fall term. The process of reversing these charges will be complete by August 10 and reflected on your student ledger. Please check your new balance in MyMarymount after August 10. If you have any questions, please contact Student Financial Services at email@example.com or (310) 303-7217.
Will students with on-campus jobs continue to be employed?
In a remote learning environment, available student employment positions will be limited to those performing essential functions such as tutors, technology assistants and admissions outreach. Given the limitations of paying employees outside the state of California and the limited number of available positions, employment possibilities will also be evaluated on the ability of the job to be performed remotely, state tax obligation and a student’s demonstrated financial need.
In recognition of the financial strain limited work opportunities may cause our students, MCU will transition some federal work study award funds into Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funds. Pell Grant recipients who previously relied on work opportunities to support their education may be awarded additional SEOG funds as an offset. Affected students will be notified by Student Financial Services when their award has been adjusted.
Prevention and well-being
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Social distancing can stop or slow down the spread of COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which established and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), provides emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Marymount California University has received $874,466 under this program–50 percent of which will be disbursed directly to students. The university recognized that any student, regardless of degree program or demonstrated financial need, may have additional expenses and financial needs due to COVID-19 and decided all eligible students would receive an equal distribution of the funding to help continue their education.