President's Message: May 1, 2020

Dear Students:

We are very happy to report that there are no reported cases of Covid-19 in our Woodbury community. Though this is a highly contagious virus, the good news is that the latest data suggests that Southern California and LA County may have “flattened the curve”. Physical distancing and wearing masks in public seem to be effective in keeping us as safe as possible.

Importantly, Mayor Garcetti announced this week that LA will offer free coronavirus testing for all residents.

Some of you may not be aware of recent developments that have and will impact you, as follows:

  • While it is difficult to chart a course given all the uncertainties, our base plan is to start in-person classes in Fall 2020, assuming the virus is mainly contained. Clearly, if we implement in-person classes the procedures will depend on what federal, state and local governments will dictate in terms of social distancing, and/or student and employee testing constraints.

Thus, a team is examining ways we could increase separation of our students in labs, classrooms, studios, dorms, etc.

We expect to make a final decision in June or July as to whether the Fall semester will be in-person, online, or some combination of both.

  • Further to our announcement on April 2, last week we distributed checks for over $400,000 in pro-rated refunds to students for room, board and parking fees.
  • The Department of Education recently implemented the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  A significant portion of the funding was earmarked to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption due to the coronavirus.

Woodbury University has just been awarded $599,739 to distribute to our students showing greatest need.  We will be awarding grants to our current US students using a formula based on Pell Grant status and Expected Family Contribution. We anticipate having these funds to you by mid-May.  Each award recipient will receive an email notifying you of the funding before the checks are mailed.

  • The Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund is going well, with currently 273 students applying for emergency aid. Each student is interviewed by a member of the selection committee, which increases engagement by faculty/staff with each student applicant.
  • We have communicated with the Class of 2020 students, per the attached memorandum, on plans for graduation. With student input, our leadership team decided it will be an in-person ceremony, not virtual. Our Board of Trustees also concurred.

We hope that all of you are keeping well and safe. We know that many of you are missing the campus experience, but our feedback indicates that our faculty and staff have been playing a commendable role on enhancing the online student experience.



David Steele-Figueredo, Ph.D.


Updated on May 1, 2020

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