COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information & Resources
Update from the President – COVID-19
The last several weeks have been filled with growing anxiety with the disruptive impact of COVID-19 across the country. Many cities and states are moving to lockdown or shelter-in-place orders. California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has issued such orders for the State of California. Health and financial concerns are now nearly ubiquitous in the world, causing significant distress, fear and suffering, which I am sure has direct impact on many of you. Pacifica is seeking to respond in a careful, reflective, and measured fashion, keeping health and safety foremost. We believe a strong, related community is essential for getting through the crisis intact. We are challenged to learn and grow from our encounters with adversity, while reaffirming our mission of tending soul in and of the world.
Today, I am updating you as to some efforts to keep your education at the highest level, while complying with governmental orders and ensuring optimal conditions for everyone’s safety. We transitioned to a fully online course delivery as of March 16th, as I noted in my last communication. Subsequently, we closed both of our campuses, with most of our staff and faculty now working remotely. This has ensured the appropriate social distancing required for everyone’s well-being, minimizing risk of exposure and spread of the virus. With guidance from local health officials, the administration also canceled this year’s commencement ceremony, as we did not feel it would be safe for those graduating, along with their friends and family, to travel to a gathering in late May. Similarly, in accord with this, campuses will remain closed, at least through the end of May 2020. Online course instruction will continue, until otherwise announced. When the campuses reopen, ADA and medical conditions related to COVID-19 will be considered.
In the meantime, I encourage you to look to our website and social media pages (@PacificaPost), as well as our Alumni Association’s Facebook page, for announcements of activities in response to the crisis. Faculty and administration have been posting reflections on the COVID-19 situation from a depth psychological perspective. We are in the process of adding more YouTube and video offerings, including some webinars. While the Pacifica community necessarily isolates itself physically, we are at the same time intensifying our connectedness through creative, virtual communications. In the process, we are building a soulful online community and enhancing educational experiences. This crisis is driving innovation and evolution of our institution and will likely do so for higher education and society in general. Pacifica will continue its leadership, centered in a depth-oriented approach, transforming and adapting to our environment. We invite you to actively join us in these endeavors.
As we transition from winter to spring quarter in this new environment, faculty, staff, and administration have been working to make the distance learning experience a meaningful and clear one. This an adaptive process for us all but presents an opportunity to not only continue your degree path, but to engage in content that is relevant to what we face and how we serve one another and our communities in times of need. Please continue to look for communications from your faculty and academic programs regarding specific course and dissertation plans, as well as for a coming email from Student Services with key resources and reminders about how to best navigate the upcoming quarter. We remain committed to supporting you academically and personally during this time and continuing to evolve and communicate as needs arise.
For the immediate future, as breaking news modifies the situation in our country, state, and institution, I will endeavor to keep you posted with updates on a regular basis. Let us together seize this moment and find the ways to transform our fears and sorrows into a deeper, more psyche-centered life for all who yearn for this.
Joseph Cambray, Ph.D.
President/CEO, Pacifica Graduate Institute
Reliable Information and Updates about COVID-19
Coronavirus Symptoms and Prevention
Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties Any student, faculty, or staff who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should contact their health care provider.
While no known vaccine exists for coronavirus, as with the flu or the common cold, routine general infection control measures can limit your risk. CDC recommends frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and encourage others to do the same. Also, avoid touching your face.
Per routine infection control guidelines, wearing masks is generally not recommended at this time unless you have a fever, cough or other upper respiratory symptoms.
Steer clear of misinformation spread by unreliable resources by using only verified and trustworthy resources. Below you can find links to reliable sources of information and updates about COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA): Coronavirus Critical Resources
- Department of Homeland Security: S. Travel Restrictions
- California Department of Public Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus
- Santa Barbara County Public Health Department: Coronavirus
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
General Health Reminders
How can you protect yourself?
- Stop handshaking – use other noncontact methods of greeting
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizers frequently when a sink is not readily available
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects at home, work and school
What should you do if you think you’re sick?
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Practice social distancing (i.e. avoid large gathering areas)
- Cover your cough and sneezes
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Contact your primary health care provider
- Check to see if your health care provider offers virtual appointments
Travel Restrictions and Reminders
Current International Travel Advisories & Travel Restrictions
If you must travel, below are reliable travel advisories and restrictions published by various U.S. agencies.
- Department of Homeland Security: S. Travel Restrictions
- S. Department of State: Travel Advisories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): COVID-19 Information for Travel
We recognize that our international community is facing a variety of challenges as travel is currently restricted due to the COVID-19 virus.
The United States government has prohibited non-US citizens who are from the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area or who have visited the Schengen Area in the previous two weeks from entering the United States. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The United States government’s policy goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 13, 2020 but does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 13, 2020. The United States government has stated that they intend for this policy to be in place for the next 30 days.
This policy does not include or impact
- American citizens, permanent legal residents and their immediate families
- Any child, foster child or ward of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Anyone traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for virus-related work, certain travelers related to NATO or United Nations work, and certain travelers doing work related to the CDC, Department of Homeland Security, State Department and other law enforcement issues
- Certain classes of air or sea crewmembers
- Anyone traveling from the United Kingdom who has not been to the Schengen Area in the last 14 days
While not prohibited from entering the United States, these travelers who have been to the Schengen Area may be required to return to the US through select airports where enhanced screening procedures have been established.
What if I am traveling?
If you are returning to the U.S., keep in mind that you might be subject to a 2-week quarantine, self-monitoring or testing depending on COVID-19 activity at your destination.
U.S. Visa Services in China Remain Suspended
With the exception of emergency visa appointments for individuals who might qualify for an exemption under Proclamation 9984 (e.g., diplomats, etc.). NAFSA confirmed on March 5, 2020 with the Department of State that the February 8, 2020 Mission China announcement remains in effect. Although individuals in China may not be able to renew or apply for a visa during this suspension, the status of individuals currently holding a valid, unexpired visa are not affected by the current suspension of visa services.