- Classes on our Santa Clarita campus will begin, as scheduled, on August 27.
- Student Zoom calls will be held on Thursday, August 6. See links below.
It is hard to believe that five months have come and gone since I accepted the presidency. While those months have been filled with unexpected pressures and unprecedented uncertainty, they have also been months where God’s sustaining grace has been evident at every point. We all have had to look to God for guidance to navigate the challenge of COVID-19, and this has been particularly challenging for universities and colleges like ours. After much prayer, planning, and counsel, I am announcing our reopening plan for our Santa Clarita Campus this Fall.
Our reopening plan was developed by the administration along with key institutional leaders, and has been vetted by our legal counsel. It has been affirmed by our Board of Directors and has the support of key leadership in our local community and of several of our elected officials, both at the state and national level.
Current available guidance from the County of Los Angeles has affirmed that higher education is an “essential business” that is entitled to operate within published safety guidelines. The shelter-in-place-order that the Governor of California announced on March 19th, 2020 allows institutions of higher learning to provide in-residence education when that education supports the essential workforce, and there are 13 categories listed in that document as essential workforce. Since the guidelines from March 19th have not been updated, we will be operating within those parameters as we begin the Fall 2020 semester, as well as in accordance with applicable health and safety protocols to further help us provide a healthy and safe environment for faculty, staff, and students.
So what does this mean? What will school look like on our Santa Clarita campus this coming semester? I want to answer those questions today as clearly as I can. To that end, I’m announcing the following four decisions.
Decision #1: Classes on our Santa Clarita campus will begin, as scheduled, on August 27. In accordance with the March 19 guidelines, TMUS will be implementing a phased-reopening of our Santa Clarita campus in three stages where academic instruction and campus living will be structured in accordance with guidelines and protocols set by the CDC, Los Angeles County Health Department, and the State of California.
This means that a certain percentage of classes will be delivered in a live remote learning format. These classes are primarily those which cannot be taught in ways that meet CDC guidelines and protocols for social distancing, class size, and adjusted room capacity. Classes not easily taught in remote formats will be taught in an in-class format. All students will experience this hybrid model of education until the State of California lifts the restrictions and we have a green light to return to full normalcy with regard to in-class instruction.
Stage One of our re-opening plan will allow in-class instruction to students in majors and programs that are tied to one of the 13 categories the State of California has identified as essential workforce. Students that are in majors or programs not tied to one of the essential workforce categories will start the Fall semester by taking classes remotely. As soon as the guidelines permit in-class instruction for all students, we initiate Stage Two of our reopening plan and will transition all students to in-class instruction as quickly as possible. Stage Three of our reopening plan makes available the remote learning option to any student who does not desire to come to campus due to health or financial constraints.
I know all of you students want to know whether the major you have declared fits into an essential workforce category. Every new and returning student holding a reservation for this Fall will receive an email tomorrow informing you whether your major is one that is in a category tied to the essential workforce. Those who are in majors not tied to the essential workforce categories will be contacted by your admission counselor or a member of our task force to talk through important and attractive options available to you. Additionally, you will be asked to join one of several zoom calls I will be hosting for all students tomorrow, Thursday August 6 (see below for times). You will receive an electronic communication later today inviting you to sign up for one of those calls.
Decision #2: Because only about 30% of the total TMUS student population attends our Santa Clarita campus, we are well below the student population numbers returning to many other colleges and universities in California. Therefore, residential life will be available to all TMUS students holding a reservation for the Santa Clarita campus and who desire to return to our campus. Campus housing will be provided in a manner consistent with social distancing and other protocols issued by the CDC, the County, and the State. As we abide by health and safety guidelines, we will innovate to deliver the mentorship, discipleship, community, and spiritual formation that have always made TMUS unique and life-changing. This includes chapel services, which are classified as worship services and allowed under current guidelines. This also includes the opportunity to experience life in a local church connected with TMUS. Beyond all of this, we are committed to deliver a student life experience that is both full and rewarding in ways that focus on student safety to the best of our ability.
So to recap our decisions thus far, all students will have to take a percentage of their classes remotely. Students in majors and programs tied to an essential workforce category will be able to participate in in-class instruction for some of their classes. Students in majors and programs not tied to an essential workforce category will have to start the semester by taking classes remotely. However, the good news is, resident housing is available to all students who are holding a reservation to come to the Santa Clarita campus regardless of the format of their academic classes. While we can’t do everything we wish we could this Fall, we can do the most important things that matter to our students and that make their TMUS education so valuable.
Decision #3: As we begin the semester with this hybrid model, we are designing a student life experience that goes well beyond the academic classes you sign up for. Regardless of the format of your classes, the core of your TMU education—your academic progress, student experience, and spiritual formation—are all available to you on campus with the community that is such an important part of your TMUS experience.
Decision #4: We understand how challenging COVID-19 has been for some of our students. To that end, we have established a COVID-19 tuition relief fund for students who are not able to return to campus as a result of the impact of COVID-19. These students will receive a 10% discount on their portion of tuition that remains after all institutional scholarships and grants (state or federal) have been calculated and applied.
Our task force is putting its finishing touches on the protocols that will be in place during the Fall semester and will be delivered to you shortly. They will also be posted on our website, so make sure to check our website regularly for the most recent updates and notifications. I know many of you have questions, and we are committed to provide timely answers. If you are a new student, you should direct your questions to your admission counselor. If you are a returning student, you should direct your question to our Provost, Dr. Mitch Hopewell. Someone from his office or a member of his task force will get back to you as soon as possible. You may email his office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we cannot control or predict what this Fall will hold, we see hopeful signs indicating conditions may develop that will allow us to fully re-open our campus sometime during the Fall semester. We are prepared to quickly transition as soon as that happens. We will also endeavor to adjust should conditions on campus or unanticipated state or local governance force us to do so.
The Master’s University is most appropriate for this season in our lives. Actually, I believe that this semester may be one of the most significant semesters in our history, and I hope each of you students who are holding a reservation for the Santa Clarita campus will join us and be a part of what God chooses to do! Without question – it will be an impacting time for growing our faith and trust in Christ.
We have talked a lot about our commitment to your health and safety in the coming semester, and this is both important and appropriate. However, I want to end by focusing on something that is equally important—the joy and blessing of being together as we learn, worship, and grow in our commitment to becoming instruments that God can use to impact our world for His glory. This mission is of utmost importance, and while it must be done with health and safety as a clear priority, it must be done! This is why it is so important that we do all we can to reopen our campus this Fall.
We belong to the Master, and in all our endeavors, whether they be remote or in-person, we seek to glorify Him and proclaim His worth. So as we look forward to the start of another semester, I ask that all of us—faculty, staff, students, and friends of TMU—commit to pray first and foremost, that God would be glorified and His Word proclaimed through our beloved institution as we start another academic year. I look forward to seeing you soon!
Dr Sam Horn President, TMUS
Student Zoom calls. Family is invited to participate. Thursday, August 6:
New Students (Freshmen & Transfer)