COVID-19 Update: Students
Latest Update: June 26, 2020
Thank you for your patience as we have been working in both Housing and Residence Life to determine how we will safely accommodate the fall student housing needs. Below is an update based upon the best information we have at this time. As you know, the COVID-19 landscape is fluid and changes in either the impact of the virus and/or guidelines from county health officials may necessitate changes to the following plan.
ON CAMPUS HOUSING
We are currently planning for most students to live in Westmont housing. In order to decrease the housing density on campus, new students in Page Hall will be in doubles unless three students have specifically asked to be tripled. Continuing students who are currently housed as triples (e.g. flex triples or in VK) will remain as such. However, the college will not place a third resident in a VK room that currently only has two students in the room (unless all three students request such an arrangement). Any currently open rooms in VK will be filled with two residents (unless a triple occupancy is requested by the residents). We are also planning for the possibility that we may be required by the county to limit room occupancy further during the fall semester.
If you have not yet been placed in a campus room, there is no need to be alarmed. Due to the cancellation of fall study abroad programs, and the need to reduce the housing density on campus, the college will be allowing a limited number of additional students to live off campus in the fall. Those without current on campus housing assignments will be placed after some eligible students choose to move off campus. Please see the “Off Campus Housing” section below for more details about eligibility and the process. You will also receive more detailed information later in July regarding the process we will use for continuing on campus housing placements and adjustments.
In order to mitigate the potential spread of disease once students return to campus, the following policies will be in effect in the residence halls:
- A strict no-visitor policy will be enforced in the residence halls.
- Specific entrances and exits to residence halls may be identified to reduce cross-traffic contact.
- Custodial cleaning in the bathrooms and other public spaces will be enhanced, and students will have access to additional personal cleaning supplies in public spaces.
- Some physical modifications to the bathrooms and other public spaces may be made to enhance residents’ ability to practice social distancing in those spaces.
- Residence hall kitchens will be available for use by students, but with some restrictions. The occupancy of the kitchen area will be limited to adhere to Westmont’s social distancing policy, masks must be worn at all times, and communal kitchen supplies will be removed. Students who would like to use a kitchen are responsible for bringing the kitchen supplies they will need. The college will only be providing appliances (stove, fridge, etc), counter-top appliances (toaster, microwave, blender, rice cooker) and cleaning supplies for washing dishes and disinfecting work spaces. Students will be responsible for cleaning and removing their supplies.
- Students may be asked to limit social interactions for the first two weeks (and also other specific times in the semester), and to not travel away from campus during the semester.
We are reviewing additional strategies to mitigate the potential spread of disease once students return to campus, and these policies are subject to change based upon the latest guidance from government officials.
OFF CAMPUS HOUSING
In order to reduce the housing density on campus the college is taking the following action:
- All currently received appeals who were eligible to live off campus have been granted.
- Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior student whose parents live locally (Carpinteria to Goleta) can request to live at home for the fall 2020 semester. You may do so by completing this form: Fall at my Local Home. The deadline to request local living at home for Fall is Monday, July 6th at 11:59pm.
- Any Seniors or Juniors may enter an off campus lottery that will be conducted on July 7th. Similar to the regular Spring Off Campus Lottery, you will have the opportunity to sign up for the lottery as an individual or as a group. Each individual or member of the group must fill out this application: Off Campus Lottery. The deadline to apply for the Off Campus Lottery is Monday, July 6th at 11:59pm.
Off campus spots will be limited, and priority for the lottery will be given as follows:
- All Senior individuals or groups
- Mix of Seniors and Juniors groups
- All Junior individuals or groups
If selected in the lottery, you will have two options to secure off campus housing:
Option 1: You (or your group) will be responsible for obtaining your own housing for the year.
Option 2: You (or your group) can request the off campus housing Westmont has secured for use by students on a first-come, first-served basis (when you sign up for the housing lottery, you will have the opportunity to indicate your interest in these possibilities).
Additional details for Option 2:
- Westmont has some off campus housing options for a limited number of students.
- A newly remodeled housing complex near Carrillo and San Pascual that will house a total of 18 students. The complex has two 4-person units and one 10-person unit.
- Westmont may contract with a local “Extended Stay” hotel off the Turnpike Exit (near In-N-Out) that has units accommodating 2 students per unit. These units have full kitchens with cooking supplies.
- The student cost for either of these Westmont-procured accommodations in "Option 2" will be the normal room rate for Westmont housing.
If you or your group is selected in the lottery, you will have until July 22nd to commit to being off campus, or relinquish your option to live off campus.
Thank you once more for your patience and positivity. Please direct any questions to email@example.com -- we look forward to seeing you in the Fall!!
Director of Housing & Parking Services
Latest FAQ on Reimbursement Grant (May 15, 2020)
Many factors went into calculating the amount of the grant and whether one would be issued. Those factors include demonstrated need as determined by filing a FAFSA, eligibility for a Cal Grant, being a recipient of an academic, athletic or performance-based grant from the college, and whether or not a student has received supplemental grants/scholarships from specific programs or initiatives. Other factors included whether or not you finished the semester on campus and in the DC, whether or not you were a work-study student, and whether or not you were involved in a Westmont-led off-campus program. Many other factors were considered as well.
Yes. Westmont College is committed to using funds from the Federal CARES Act (and any other funding provided by the federal government) to help the students with the greatest need while meeting the needs of as many students as possible. The government has, however, put restrictions on how the CARES Act funds (the only funds currently available) can be used. An online form is available to allow students to apply for additional grant funds. These limited funds will be made available to students who have incurred significant additional expenses as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 and who also received federal student aid (for example, Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, or Federal Direct Student Loans). That application will remain available until June 15, after which the funds will be allocated in the most equitable manner possible, taking into consideration the needs and expenses of each student.
The Reimbursement Grant represents your/your student’s portion of the funds that are available to students in recognition of the fact that students and families very likely had unanticipated costs that were directly related to having to leave campus at the middle of the spring semester.
There will not be any direct refund of room and board expenses. This is largely due to the fact that most of the costs of housing and feeding students on campus are fixed at the start of the school year. Even after students left, we continued to maintain residence halls and pay the residence life staff (and other college staff). Similarly, we continue to have obligations related to the Dining Commons and our food service provider, Sodexho. As a result, while students needed to leave the Westmont campus, our costs were not substantially reduced.
The funding that we had available for these initial Reimbursement Grants was quite limited. The funds that you/your student received were provided by the federal government via the CARES Act. We received approximately $950,000 from that fund, half of which was required to go to students. In fact, in this initial payment, we have given approximately $940,000 to our students. Furthermore, we have committed to passing any funds from the federal government along to students. There are a few more stimulus bills working their way through Congress. While, at this time, we cannot know whether these will pass or how much money will come from them, we are hopeful that we'll be able to do more.
That said, we currently have limited funding available in a supplemental grant fund that is set aside for students who had expenses that exceeded the Reimbursement Grant and that were directly related to the disruption of campus operations during the spring semester. Application for that grant is made online at this link and is due by June 15.
Yes, at least some of it will roll forward into fall 2020.
- Athletic scholarships: If your team does not compete in fall 2020, your athletic scholarship will not be affected; you will receive it as normal.
- Musical scholarships: If your ensemble does not perform in fall 2020, your musical scholarship will not be affected; you will receive it as normal.
- Merit and talent scholarships: Spring 2020 grades will not affect your merit or talent scholarship; you will receive it as normal.
Heightened stress and anxiety can be a normal response in uncertainty and managing factors that seem beyond our control. Please check the video and articles below for some tips.
Westmont’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has produced videos with advice about how to deal with the current crisis:
FAQ: Moving Forward
Yes. However, the usual Imprint trips will not occur. Student leader training will, of course, look slightly different this year. More details will be sent to leaders via email.
Westmont will follow the guidelines of the government and the lead of large sports organizations such as the NAIA and the GSAC as well as professional sports associations. Sports seasons may be delayed or otherwise affected. If your team does not compete in Fall 2020, your athletic scholarship will not be affected: you will receive it as normal.
At this time, we are still planning for the soccer team to arrive on campus early in August.
The College Choir’s scheduled tour to Scandinavia in May and the Westmont Orchestra’s scheduled tour to Vienna in June have both been cancelled. Students who were intending to go on tour will be invited to participate in Westmont’s next international musical tours, whenever those are able to occur.
All Mayterm/Summer Session programs for 2020 have been cancelled.
All international off-campus programs for fall 2020 have been cancelled or postponed.
- Europe Semester fall 2020 postponed until fall 2021.
- England Semester fall 2020 postponed until fall 2021.
- Westmont in Mexico fall 2020 cancelled/postponed until fall 2021. (Program offered every fall.)
- Global Health Uganda fall 2020 cancelled but offered both spring 2021 and fall 2021. (Program offered every fall.)
Westmont in San Francisco and Westmont Downtown for fall 2020 are scheduled to run.
Affiliate program updates are available at each institution's website. To find these websites, visit Westmont's Global Education webpage and scroll to the bottom of the page to "All Programs by Region".
Westmont has not yet decided on guidelines surrounding vaccinations, but we do intend to provide students with vaccinations when they become available.
Please contact your professor as soon as possible to discuss this.
- Online Buyback: Our wholesale provider, MBS, offers an Online Buyback. Books ship for free; you are paid by check or PayPal.
- Fall Buyback: Bring your books for Buyback when you return to campus this fall.
Buyback after Mayterm is to be determined.