Fresno Pacific University to stay online for spring 2021, change December 2020 commencement plans

Instruction at Fresno Pacific University will continue online instruction for the spring 2021 semester—and put its December 2020 commencement on wheels.

University leaders had been preparing for some form of hybrid model for students in traditional undergraduate programs on the main campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno., when Fresno County returned to the purple tier of California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” COVID-19 plan. Purple is the most restrictive of the four color-coded tiers, denoting “widespread” risk of infection. Bachelor’s degree completion and graduate programs at the university’s four regional campuses—Merced, North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield—were already set to continue online for the semester.

Most courses will continue to be delivered virtually on the same day and at the same time as scheduled. While most labs will remain face-to-face, each classroom has been modified to comply with all health and safety protocols, including social distancing and the wearing of masks. All classrooms will be routinely disinfected, and hand-sanitizing dispensers will be located throughout campus. Online courses will not change.

“Again, thank you to each member of the FPU community for your willingness and commitment to serve our students. This comes with a special thanks to staff who have worked on main campus through the summer and fall ensuring the safety and functionality of our campuses,” said Joseph Jones, Ph.D., president of FPU. “May the Lord continue to grant patience and endurance during these difficult times.”


Drive-through commencement

Plans to celebrate May and December 2020 graduates will go ahead in a drive-through format:

  • The celebration will take place Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12, on the main campus. Students will have scheduled entrance times between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. each of the two days.
  • Graduates will receive their diploma cover, alumni license plate holder and copies of the printed commencement program, which includes the names of both spring and fall 2020 graduates, as well as honors cords and donor medallion for those who qualify.
  • The drive-through route will begin on Winery Avenue and lead into the Hamilton Parking Lot. From there vehicles will be directed west on Hamilton Avenue and into the McDonald Hall Parking Lot, where a professional photographer will take a traditional commencement photo of the graduate in their regalia, holding their diploma cover.

Faculty and staff will be along the route to cheer as graduates drive through with their families. “While these drive-through celebrations are very different than the larger corporate commencement ceremonies we have grown accustomed to, we are confident there is still great meaning in these moments of celebration, and we look forward to sharing that with our graduates and their families,” Jones said.


Hours for spring 2021 semester

For the spring semester, faculty have the choice to return to the main campus to teach from their offices, or teach from home. Most staff will continue to work from home, with a limited number coming to campus as needed to meet the needs of students and colleagues. Visitors are not allowed. Anyone coming to campus must complete the COVID screening app and follow safety protocols including wearing a mask while on campus (except while alone in one’s private office).

Some offices on the main campus will have limited hours:

  • Hiebert Library will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and be closed on weekends.
  • The Academic Success Center (ASC) will remain open by appointment. Call 559-453-5586.
  • Service offices will not have window hours. Anyone needing assistance should contact the office by telephone during business hours: for example, registrar 559-453-2037, student financial services 559-453-2041, cashier 559-453-2356. The main campus general number is 559-453-2000.
  • Students may use internet service in designated areas of the main campus.

Courses will remain remote/online through the spring semester, even if any of our counties change status.

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