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President's Briefing Recap | October 6

The President's Briefing Recap summarizes important information for the Pepperdine community shared during each President's Briefing. Here's what you need to know this week:

University COVID-19 Updates

  1. Los Angeles County has reported 12 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, with a current positivity rate of 1.5 percent. Beginning Thursday, October 7, entering select indoor establishments within Los Angeles County will require proof of vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test results within the last 72 hours.
  2. On Wednesday, September 22, the United States Food and Drug Administration granted authorization for a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Eligibility to receive the booster dose is currently available for those in high-risk jobs.
  3. The Pepperdine Student Health Center (SHC) now adheres to a new county-wide quarantine protocol requiring unvaccinated individuals identified as a close contact of someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19 to take a new COVID-19 test after five days. The quarantine may end if test results are negative after seven days. SHC and Human Resources will host vaccination clinics at various University campuses throughout October.
  4. Public Safety, in partnership with other University departments, has launched the Pepperdine Health Ambassadors program. Through the program, 20 students have been trained and deployed to monitor the University's COVID-19 compliance policies at key high-traffic locations around the Malibu campus.
  5. Since August, the University has received reports averaging about 13 positive COVID-19 cases per week, 77 percent of which have been among vaccinated individuals. Pepperdine administers between 7,000 and 8,000 COVID-19 tests per week. The University's current positivity rate from screening testing is 0.14 percent.

Waves Weekend COVID-19 Protocols

Blue and Orange Madness will kick off the men's and women's basketball seasons on Friday, October 8, at 6 PM at Waves Weekend. Due to the indoor setting and size of the event, all attendees must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event. Pepperdine community members interested in using the results from their weekly on-campus COVID-19 screening test should be tested on Wednesday, October 6, or before 11 AM on Thursday, October 7.

Guests may show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test in advance in Lower Mullin Town Square on Friday, October 8, from 10 AM to 4:30 PM to receive a wristband for rally admittance. These additional protocols are only required for Blue and Orange Madness and not other Waves Weekend programming.

Science Update

In a 29-day trial study of the experimental antiviral oral pill Molnupiravir that included 775 patients with a minimum of one underlying health condition and who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, more than seven percent of those who had taken the drug were hospitalized or died. In the placebo group, 14.1 percent were hospitalized or died. The study demonstrates the drug's protection by a factor of 50 percent. Side effects of Molnupiravir, which disrupts genetic replication of the virus, were reported as mild.

The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub presented a projected study combining predictions of 30 different weekly epidemiological models from more than a dozen universities. The goal of the study was to explore the possibility of approval for children under 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Four projected scenarios, which demonstrate the amount of new COVID-19 cases per week if children under the age of 12 were to be vaccinated, demonstrates significant improvement compared to current data.

The results of a March 2020 study released this week examining the spread of COVID-19 on a two-hour domestic flight to Okinawa, Japan, suggests that wearing face coverings while aboard an aircraft provides triple the protection rate against infection compared to flights without face covering mandates.

The Table

President Jim Gash (JD '93) and the University Church invite the community to The Table, a weekly time to share vibrant praise and fellowship, this Saturday, October 9, at 6 PM at Brock House. The Table is an intentional space for students to come together over a shared meal, mindful prayer and worship, and community. Worship will be led by the Well Collective and various guest groups with brief messages from University minister Eric Wilson. For additional details, please contact Falon Barton.

Keck Foundation Grant

Pepperdine has been awarded a $10 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to establish the Keck Data Science Initiative. The initiative will strengthen teaching methods and access to research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by broadening the curriculum and advancing instruction and research in key areas of science that will amply equip students for new scientific and industry demands. The grant will fund academic and scholarly initiatives around the emerging field of data science, provide support for undergraduate research fellowships through the Keck Student Scholars program, and facilitate the purchase of critical equipment, such as computed tomography and raman spectroscopy systems. Renovations and modifications to classrooms in the Keck Science Center and Rockwell Academic Center will begin in summer 2022.

Pepperdine Worship Summit 2021

The Pepperdine Worship Summit will feature a live performance by praise and worship group Hillsong and singer Dante Bowe of Maverick City. International author and speaker Christine Caine will serve as a headliner. The event will take place on Thursday, November 18, in Alumni Park.

Freedom Wall Engagement

On Friday, October 1, students installed displays on the Freedom Wall, a bulletin board space reserved for students to engage in free speech, that garnered significant attention and counter displays. The engagement raised some questions about the wall's current guidelines, which are being assessed with several campus partners to ensure that students' free speech is respected and valued on campus. As these guidelines are reviewed, Pepperdine will incorporate its values of love, respect, and humility to allow for productive discourse rooted in continued learning.

The Mountain Update

The Mountain at Mullin Park, the long-awaited project to expand student recreation and event space, has continued its steady progression. Planning, Operations, and Construction has developed new models to envision the space featuring an indoor sporting arena, individual fitness spaces, and more. The design continues to focus on the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of the community. Construction also continues for an enhanced parking lot and storage next to the baseball field. Pepperdine will keep the community updated as construction projects continue to move forward, including the new fitness center slated to be built east of Seaside Residence Hall that will more than double individual fitness space in Firestone Fieldhouse.

Center for the Arts Update

The Pepperdine music and theatre departments will present six performances of Mamma Mia! from Friday, November 12, through Saturday, November 20.

Athletics Update

The Waves women's soccer team, men's golf team, men's water polo team, and women's volleyball team are now ranking among the top 25 athletics teams in the nation. A schedule of in-person athletic events is available on the Pepperdine Athletics website.

Join the President's Briefings

The next President's Briefing will be held at 8:45 AM on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Archived viewing is available on the President's Briefing website.