Dear Whittier College Community,
As spring registration nears, members of the Whittier community have begun asking what they can expect for next semester. The ever-changing nature of the pandemic has made it challenging to plan with exact certainty, but to provide direction to our students, faculty, and staff we have decided that classes will remain remote for the spring semester. And, at least for the beginning of the spring, faculty and staff will also continue to work remotely.
Over the summer, as we planned for the 2020-21 academic year, we were hopeful that the end of 2020 might bring us good news in the form of a vaccine or reduced cases of COVID-19 in Southern California. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, public health officials warn that the winter months will bring a new surge of cases. So far, the College has fortunately seen very few cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty, and staff. We need to ensure that these numbers remain low. Our top priority must be the health and safety of our community members. Moreover, as of today, Los Angeles County has not allowed any institution of higher education to resume on-campus instruction or any other activity on campus.
If there are sufficient positive changes in the next couple of months, we may be able to reconsider opening campus after Spring Module 1 for additional on-campus housing, athletics, and/or hybrid learning opportunities.
College leadership has also considered the financial impact this pandemic is having on our students and their families. As was the case last year, Whittier College has decided not to increase tuition for the 2021-22 school year, keeping it at the 2019-20 level. In addition, for 2020-21, the College distributed over $22 million in institutional aid to students. Earlier this year, we launched new fundraising efforts to raise additional scholarship funds for continuing students.
Many students have also taken advantage of the numerous resources offered by the College. Whittier provides technical support (including internet hot spots), tutoring, disability services, tele-counseling, health services, career counseling, a food pantry, office hours with faculty and staff, and more. And, over the last couple of months students, faculty, and staff have held numerous club and student government meetings, talks, lectures, film screenings, and other activities that allow our community to come together. (Coming up is the annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration.) I encourage you to continue being an active member of the Poet community. Read the Poet Update to stay caught up on important matters, reminders, resources, and events happening on campus.
As we head into month eight of the pandemic, I would like to reiterate how proud I am of how well the Poet community has navigated these intense times.
Wishing you a successful registration process.
Linda S. Oubré, Ed.D. M.B.A.
President and Professor of Business Administration