Most classes in person at Cal Lutheran

Orientation targets sophomores arriving for first time

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International graduate students gathered for orientation on Aug. 25. Including undergraduates, there are a total of 55 new international students from 30 countries including Guatemala, Mongolia and Tunisia. 

Photo: Tiki Van Heest

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Aug. 26, 2021) With most students and employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the fall semester at California Lutheran University marks a return to almost all in-person classes.

In May, Cal Lutheran became one of the first universities to announce a vaccine requirement for fall 2021. As of Sept. 8, 93% of employees and 98% of students who will be on-site have submitted proof that they are fully vaccinated. Those with medical or religious exemptions must test weekly. Everyone must complete daily health checks and follow other protocols.

All undergraduate and most graduate students begin classes Aug. 30, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley begins classes Sept. 7. Except for Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals classes, which will be offered in person and virtually, nearly all classes return to their pre-pandemic format, mostly in person.

More than 500 first-year students and 175 transfer students are entering Cal Lutheran. More than 50% are students of color, and nearly 40% are the first in their families to attend college. Total undergraduate enrollment is over 2,600.

Cal Lutheran also has about 1,200 graduate students. The Graduate School of Psychology and PLTS both have their largest enrollments in more than a decade.  

There are 55 new international students from 30 countries including Guatemala, Mongolia and Tunisia. They and most continuing international students are making their way to campus for the first time, a process complicated by consulate closings, economic and political challenges, vaccine scarcity and travel restrictions. 

“Students are moving mountains to get here,” said Dane Rowley, director of international admission. “These are incredibly resilient people.”

More than 1,200 students will move into campus housing starting Aug. 26. One residence hall has been set aside for quarantine and three houses for isolation.

The three-day New Student Orientation starts Aug. 27 with nearly all events being held outside. Since many sophomores are coming on campus for the first time, they will join in Saturday’s activities, including the longtime tradition of hiking to the CLU rocks and a new block party. Residence Life staff members are creating programs for sophomores and have prepared to respond to their unique needs. 

Concerned about students’ mental health, Counseling and Psychological Services staff will provide additional support and resources at weekly outdoor #WeGotchaCLU drop-in programs and facilitate a new monthly drop-in support series for students and employees of color. They also are providing Mental Health First Aid training to staff throughout the university so they can identify and respond to challenges. 

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