MALIBU — As case numbers for the coronavirus continue to surge in California and nationwide, Pepperdine University in Malibu has decided to hold all their classes online, the university announced on Wednesday, July 22.

“Since shifting to remote instruction in mid-March, Pepperdine leadership has been carefully monitoring the activity of COVID-19 and closely evaluating the evolving governmental guidance to reopen our campuses for in-person instruction as soon as it was safe for our Pepperdine community,” university President Jim Gash said. “Given these circumstances, we have decided we can best protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff by conducting our fall semester online.”

Pepperdine announced plans in May that laid the groundwork for the campus to safely reopen in the fall. However, as universities across California have decided to continue classes online and Governor Gavin Newsom has mandated K-12 schools to undergo distance learning, the private university will follow the same protocols.

“This leaves uncertainty for colleges and universities, but little confidence that campuses will be allowed to reopen for the start of the fall term with in-person instruction in a way that reflects Pepperdine’s standards of excellence,” Gash said.

Despite intentions to return to in-person instruction, Gash assured students in the university’s announcement that faculty have spent the summer preparing for classes to be held online if circumstances deterred their plans towards reopening.

The university is currently unequipped to reopen the Malibu campus for residential living, but are awaiting permission to grant students the option if they can demonstrate a compelling hardship that requires residing on-campus housing this fall.

However, if a broader return to campus can occur, the university has prepared protocols for a safe reopening that includes testing equipment, tracing resources, sanitation supplies and schedules, technology enhancements in classrooms, plexiglass protection and extensive changes and additions to the campuses to accommodate social distancing. Pepperdine is expected to start their online Fall semester on time.