coronavirus update covid-19 information

COVID-19 Information & Updates

Coronavirus update: 7/9/2020:
SEVP F-1 Student Message

Hello Incoming and Prospective Students,
 
There has been much concern over the guidance issued to universities by SEVP and how that will affect international students this Fall. This message is to inform you that Westcliff University fully intends to offer courses in Fall 2020 that include limited onsite components in an updated hybrid format to ensure full course loads. Course meetings will be staggered across different days and times to ensure low numbers of students on campus at any given time. This will allow Westcliff University’s international students to retain their active status while studying in the United States.
 
Westcliff University remains steadfast in our commitment to educate our students in alignment with our regulatory bodies, including SEVP. Westcliff’s COVID Task Force has been monitoring the pandemic very closely, particularly as it relates to its impact on our students. 
 
In addition to our updated formats and staggered scheduling, the Westcliff COVID Task Force is developing safety measures to be implemented upon our planned return to campus classes in the Fall 2020 semester. Among these measures are: temperature screenings; screening questions for campus entry; sneeze guards; requirements for wearing masks on campus; and social distancing parameters.
 
More information will be shared in the coming weeks as we continue to refine our efforts to ensure you are able to pursue your academic goals in a safe and responsible manner. Westcliff will continue to consider all options in alignment with SEVP guidance to make the best decision possible so that our F-1 students maintain their status and are able to achieve their academic goals.
 
Please contact our admissions department at admissions@westcliff.edu to discuss your educational options during these trying times.

Coronavirus updates: 7/6/2020:
Summer 2020 Resources

Dear Westcliff Students,

First and foremost, we hope that everyone is safe and healthy. Between international quarantines and national unrest, this is certainly a year that nobody expected. To anybody directly or indirectly impacted by recent events, Westcliff University empathizes with you and supports you. While our campuses are still closed for the time being, our team is working diligently to support you as best we can. Both Student Services Advisors and International Student Advisors remain available virtually for any assistance. 

Please find below a list of resources that may be of assistance. Some resources are local to Los Angeles / Orange County and others are California-only, so if you are not in this region hopefully this will give you a starting point to find some similar resources in your area. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to assist you with any of your academic needs or concerns.

Current Events

Travel RestrictionsRecently, the world has been reacting to rising COVID-19 rates by restricting international travel. For this reason, and in line with the State Department’s Global Level 4 Health Advisory, Westcliff University recommends that students refrain from all non-essential travel. For students that must travel, especially internationally, it is imperative to keep up with the fluid travel restrictions that countries all over the world have been implementing. One such resource put together by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a summary of executive orders restricting travel into the U.S. from certain countries.  Recent Executive Order on Visa Restrictions On June 22nd the White House released a proclamation that will restrict the entry of foreign nationals under certain visa types. We understand that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest news about visas, but we don’t want you to be worried or confused. Looking for a simple explanation of how the latest executive order affects international students and your future as a Westcliff Warrior?  We have one just for you.


How to Contact Westcliff University for Support

Student Affairs
 To contact an advisor directly please email or call 888-491-8686 and enter any of the extensions provided in the Contact Information for Student Support document. The document also includes additional contact information by department.

Inquiries Regarding Tuition Payments

Please note the Billing Department is readily available remotely! Students experiencing challenges or hardships as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic should contact billing@westcliff.edu to discuss their options. While our return to campus is still being considered, all students have access to the following means for making tuition payments and thus avoiding any disruption in their education:PayPalMoney order or cashier’s checkWire paymentsFlywire (for international cards)Please email Billing for details of the above options. To make a payment you can use the online payment form. 

Outside Resources

Food Resources

If you are in need of food you can refer to the following food pantries for assistance:Saddleback Church-Irvine LocationSouth County Outreach (By appointment only) Emergency Protocol Link (You will need to call to schedule a visit)Each pantry’s goal is to allocate one week’s worth of groceries to those in need; provided there are supplies. Students will need to bring a valid (not expired) government-issued ID, including overseas ID as long as they are not expired and are government-issued. To search for Food Pantries in your area by state and city CLICK HERE.

Health ResourcesInternational Student InsuranceISO InsuranceCovered CaliforniaDepartment of Health Care ServicesPlease keep us updated if you purchase an insurance plan by completing the digital Westcliff University Health Insurance Form

Students in need of mental health assistance should first contact their health insurance provider to request a summary of benefits and coverage. Many health insurance plans include mental health services with a pre-determined copay charge. Other resources outside of your health insurance are also listed below:Newly Updated Community and Mental Health Resources211: Local, private, non-profit organization that provides resources and assistance for a wide range of topics, such as mental health, food, housing, transport, and more. Call 211, text their zip code to 898211, or visit the 211 website.Search on Google or visit some of the following public sites:Psychology Today Counseling California Open Path Additional mental health resources can be found in our Student Resource Booklet along with other resources.

Unemployment Resources

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) has a list of options and resources for displaced workers specific to their specific situation (i.e. sick, quarantined, caregiving, etc.).

Standard Guidelines on Eligibility Requirements

When filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have earned enough wages during the base period to establish a claim, and be:Totally or partially unemployed.Unemployed through no fault of your own.Physically able to work.Available for work.Ready and willing to accept work immediately.Actively looking for work.This link provides 3 options to file for benefits: Online, Phone, Mail

Unemployment Guidance for International Students

Some students may want to understand the furlough/laid off distinction in light of what is occurring to many of the students on OPT/Stem. In general, a furlough is a short term, unpaid leave of absence with a definite end date. In other words, the worker assumes that they are going back to work in the future. 

The layoff occurs when an employer informs the employee to stop all work, typically on a permanent, long term, or permanent basis. 

F1 students who face this issue should definitely check with their state unemployment office whether they are eligible for unemployment insurance. The receipt of unemployment insurance should not affect their immigration status, now or in the future, as this is not considered a “means-tested” benefit. We all pay into a special fund through our taxes and that is how unemployment is funded.

This link provides clarity to some common questions on whether one is eligible for unemployment benefits.

Please do reach out to studentservices@westcliff.edu if you have any questions or concerns. 

Coronavirus updates: 5/8/2020:
COVID-19 Relief Fund

Dear Westcliff Students,

At Westcliff University, we are invested in your success. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, and we are aware of the strain placed on the financial resources of some of our students. To address this, Westcliff has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide some much-needed financial support to impacted students.

If you have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, complete this brief application to have your eligibility considered. Qualified applicants would receive funds to be applied toward their tuition at Westcliff. The deadline to submit this application is Thursday, May 14, 2020.

COVID-19 Relief Fund Application

Coronavirus updates: 3/30/2020
Updates from Westcliff University President

Dear Westcliff Family,
 

As the news continues to change everyday, I feel it is important to stay in touch with everyone regarding the goings-on at Westcliff University. I am unbelievably proud of how well our staff, students, and faculty have adapted to our 100% online classes and fully remote working environment. We are a university defined in part by our ability to acclimate quickly to change and maintain a high level of quality and service in the process. I can personally attest to the work our leadership team continues to put in to make sure we are able to continue moving forward as university and a family during these difficult times.

Federal recommendations for social distancing have been extended through April 30 at this time. With news of a massive relief package from the federal government being signed into law on Friday and executive orders for housing support from our governor last week, I do hope this provides some support to those of you impacted by COVID-19. These certainly are unprecedented conditions for the entire world, and I am so impressed with those of you who continue pursuit of your educational goals despite all of the distractions and disruptions this pandemic has brought on all of our lives.

For those of you who live close to the Westcliff main campus, Orange County announced a phone hotline for residents to call with questions about COVID-19. That number is (833) 426-6411. Please use it if you have questions about the pandemic, the county’s response, or any other related matters.

Added Security

Zoom has become quite a popular tool for both the business world and the rest of academia in the past few weeks. With that added popularity comes some additional risk of unauthorized individuals gaining access to our Zoom accounts. To ensure the security of our classrooms, Westcliff has implemented a password protection for each Zoom session starting on Monday, March 30. This password can be located in GAP right next to the Zoom link. We expect this additional security measure will be sufficient in blocking any unauthorized access to our accounts. Victor Nguyen and the rest of the Technology department have done and continue to do extraordinary work in their tireless efforts supporting the transition of our students, faculty, and staff to online classes and remote work.

Academic Resource Center

Westcliff has made the Academic Resource Center (ARC) remotely available to all Westcliff students with both a scheduled appointment process and drop-in times. Professor Jennifer Hirashiki, Dr. Kortney Hernandez, and all of our ARC specialists have been very busy coordinating and providing academic support services to our students. Last week alone, students logged over 290 hours in the ARC getting additional support in their pursuit of academic success at Westcliff. I encourage all students interested in additional academic support to schedule time with an ARC specialist today.

Stress Awareness Month

How timely it is that April is Stress Awareness Month. For students experiencing additional stress related to COVID-19 or for those just looking to manage general stress more effectively, Westcliff will be sharing strategies for stress management throughout the month of April. I encourage every Westcliff student, faculty, and staff member to put their health (including their mental health) as a top priority during these trying times. We are inherently social creatures, and the social isolation many of us might be experiencing right now can take its toll. Stay on the lookout for more from our Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. April Vuong, and her remarkable student services staff on strategies for effective stress management.

We will get through this together! Please do not hesitate to let me or other members of our leadership, staff, or faculty know if there is anything Westcliff can do for you as we wait out the COVID-19 pandemic and look forward to a return to normalcy when it is deemed safe to do so.

My best to you all; and please check the Westcliff COVID-19 website (www.westcliff.edu/covid-19/) often for updates on information and resources related to the pandemic.

Regards,

Dr. Anthony Lee

President/CEO

Coronavirus updates: 3/17/2020
Updates for Westcliff Family

Dear Westcliff Family,
 

I am very proud of the response of Westcliff University thus far in continuing to meet the educational needs of our students while making accommodations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to provide quality service and education with 100% online classes and remote support in admissions, financial aid, student advising, academic support, and career services while our campuses are closed. To date, no positive reports of COVID-19 have been reported among Westcliff University students, faculty, and staff.
 

To ensure that all Westcliff stakeholders are informed of the situation in the region of Westcliff campuses, I wanted to share with you the following updates.

Orange County, California

Orange County, where Westcliff’s main campus is located, has prohibited all gatherings, public or private, occurring outside of the household with some exceptions, including the facilitation of distance learning for private universities (see Orange County Order here). However, for the safety and security of all involved, we are quite fortunate to have almost all employees working remotely to facilitate our classes and support our students. All students, staff, and faculty in Orange County are strongly encouraged by the university to adhere to the mandate put forth by the county.

Los Angeles County, California

Los Angeles County, where Westcliff’s Cerritos campus is located, has prohibited many types of large gatherings. While the Los Angeles restrictions are not quite to the same degree of severity as the Orange County restrictions, Westcliff is encouraging the same provisions for all Cerritos-based employees as well, including working remotely to meet the needs of students. All Westcliff stakeholders in the Los Angeles area are also encouraged to adhere to the guidance of local government.

Southern California and Beyond

While there are no other campuses in southern California, the local counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego have implemented similar restrictions on gatherings. Students in these and any areas with such government mandates are strongly encouraged to comply with these orders. Westcliff is here to support you, so please reach out to the university with any unmet needs you may have, and we will do our best to help you get them met.

Thank you all for your flexibility, adaptability, perseverance, and commitment to excellence during these challenging times.

Regards,

Dr. Anthony Lee

President/CEO

Coronavirus updates: 3/16/2020:
Westcliff Online Classes and Campuses

Dear Westcliff Family,

As new information continues to emerge about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Westcliff University has made the decision to extend the transition of all classes to 100% online the entire remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. All Westcliff classes will be 100% online through April 26, 2020.

In addition, Westcliff University is taking additional precautions to support the well-being of all stakeholders by closing the Cerritos and Irvine campuses effective March 17, 2020. The date to reopen the campuses is to-be-determined, and only certain staff members will be permitted on campus during this time.

All university services remain available remotely, and students are advised to consult with their advisors as needed to ensure they are able to get their educational needs met. In addition, please use the following email addresses to gain access to university services:
 

Technology support: techgroup@westcliff.edu

Student Services: studentservices@westcliff.edu

Financial Aid: financialaid@westcliff.edu

Office of the Registrar: registrar@westcliff.edu

Admissions: admissions@westcliff.edu

Career Services: wucareerservices@westcliff.edu

For students seeking additional academic support, please reach out to your faculty member or to the Westcliff Academic Resource Center (ARC) at arc@westcliff.edu.

Tobookanappointment with anARC specialist: https://westcliffarc.youcanbook.me

To virtually “stop by” the ARC and ask a question: https://zoom.us/j/2788077984 (betweenthe hours of 10am-3pm PDT) 


Westcliff University continues to have zero reported instances of COVID-19 positive tests among staff, faculty, and students. Our goal is to do our part to support our community as a whole to stay safe, healthy, and avoid overburdening our healthcare system.

Please do your best to focus on your studies and continue striving for academic excellence. Westcliff is here for you, Westcliff believes in you, and Westcliff is extremely proud of the achievements and the perseverance of all of its Warriors!

Regards,

Dr. Anthony Lee
President/CEO

Coronavirus updates: 3/11/2020
Notice Regarding Westcliff University Classes and COVID-19

Dear Westcliff family,
 

My leadership team and I have been closely monitoring the impact that the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has had on our academic community, our region, and the world. The spread of this virus has captured the public’s attention and dominated our news, our conversations, and our concerns for each other’s health and well-being. At this time, we have no reported instances of COVID-19 among the faculty, staff, and students of Westcliff University. However, the flurry of updates I receive from and send to our Emergency Response Team underlines to me both the significance of what is happening and the dedication the staff and faculty at Westcliff have for the safety of one another. 

We are fortunate to live in an age of technology in which we are able to minimize the potential for the spread of this virus without significantly disrupting our way of life. Westcliff, in particular, is well-suited to make accommodations for our stakeholders given the existing integration of technology in our processes thus far.

Westcliff Class Adjustments
Rising levels of student and faculty concern coupled with adjustments from our regulatory bodies (for which we are quite grateful) have led us to the following decision:

  • To ensure that we do our part to protect the welfare of our students, faculty, and staff, all classes which currently have an onsite component (including study hall sessions for student-athletes) are transitioning to fully online, effective Monday, March 16.
  • All sessions that were previously held onsite are going to be maintained at the same day and time (with some minor adjustments – see below) and with the same attendance requirements, but will be conducted remotely using videoconferencing technology (Zoom).
    • Weekday classes, which are typically held for 3 ½ hours onsite (consisting of a 2 hour lecture and a 1 ½ hour discussion session) will now meet virtually for the first 2 hours of class for mandatory attendance. Faculty will remain active on the Zoom link for an additional hour after the class is over to provide any requested supplemental instruction, answer questions, etc.
    • Weekend classes, which currently meet for 2 ½ hours on Friday and 8 hours on Saturday, will now meet virtually for 6 hours on Saturday (9am-3:30 pm with a 30 min lunch) for mandatory attendance. Faculty will remain active on the  Zoom link for an additional hour after the class is over to provide any requested supplemental instruction, answer questions, etc.

Students who lack access to the technological resources needed to participate in an online class (which may include a desktop or laptop with camera, a tablet, or a smartphone) should contact StudentServices@westcliff.edu to explore what options may exist for them.

At this time, the shift to hosting all classes online is effective through Week Four of the current session (which ends on March 28), though the situation will continue to be monitored closely and any updates will be shared with you as soon as they are available.

Campuses Remain Open
During this time, the Westcliff campuses remain open, and students are welcome to come to campus for advising, tutoring, computer lab use, and other services, with the following exceptions:

  • Students experiencing any symptoms of illness should avoid going to campus until their symptoms have completely cleared.
  • Students who have been in contact with someone with symptoms of illness should avoid going to campus until at least 14 days after their last point of contact with someone who is symptomatic.
  • Students who have travelled internationally should avoid going to campus until they have been back in the US for 14 days.

Students may also access many services remotely through GAP or email. For example, tutoring services can be set up remotely through GAP in each class and facilitated over Zoom.

We have made these decisions based primarily on our concern for the health and welfare of our students, staff, and faculty. Please take every preventative measure possible to keep yourself and those around you healthy.

US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance on Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

If you develop flu-like symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Students with questions about available healthcare services should contact StudentServices@westcliff.edu.

For more information, please visit www.westcliff.edu/covid-19. #WestcliffCares

Regards,

Dr. Anthony Lee