Orange County to Move to ORANGE Tier on March 31

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Update From President Struppa, March 30, 2021

Tomorrow, Orange County will move into the “ORANGE” tier in Gov. Newsom’s blueprint for opening California. The primary change for Chapman University is the number of students allowed in a classroom. We will now host up to 50 percent of a classroom’s fire code capacity which in most cases will double the number of students that will have the option for in-person instruction.


California is dramatically expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, offering the shots to virtually all residents beginning next month. Residents who are at least 50 years old can get vaccines starting April 1, and all California adults will be eligible starting April 15. This now opens the door for the majority of Chapman students to schedule vaccination appointments. Please visit our vaccination webpage to view current information on vaccinations in Orange County. I strongly encourage vaccinations to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the Chapman community.

Finally, as we look ahead to the fall semester, we will continue to have limitations on campus housing, and this will make it necessary for the university to prioritize placements for first-year students and rising sophomores. Because of this limitation, rising sophomores will not be required to live on campus during the 2021-22 academic year. Please visit Residence Life’s Housing Updates website if you are interested in reading more information about housing for the coming academic year.

While we must remain diligent in this transition period, we are excited to see more students returning to campus and look forward to even brighter days.

Staff and Faculty

For faculty who need to determine each classroom’s fire code capacity, please visit

The move to ORANGE tier begins the process of a larger return to campus for the remainder of those working remotely. We remain committed to providing advanced notice as we begin recalling staff to work on the physical campuses. We understand and empathize with the need to prepare for the shift back and will take a gradual approach that also follows state and local health agency guidelines. Currently, we are not calling back additional staff beyond those asked to report beginning March 29. However, in the coming weeks we will begin taking steps and providing advanced notice to recall additional staff, so I encourage you to begin any necessary planning. Our plan remains to fully return to on-campus operations – within state and county guidelines – by mid-July to prepare for Fall 2021. 

 I have made the decision to suspend the weekly CU Safely Back emails. The original intent was to provide stable and predictable information during a time of chaotic change. As we found a greater rhythm in remote learning and work, I slowed the message to twice weekly to continue a reliable stream of communication. As we now slowly begin our return to campus, the need for such frequent communication has passed. Going forward, I will return to sending CU Safely Back messaging as-needed, and regular updates will transition to our Working@Chapman newsletter. 

I strongly encourage you to stay connected through the CU Safely Back website, and read the Working@Chapman emails that each Monday and Wednesday. This prolonged situation with COVID-19 has us all beginning to be less diligent in reading the communication designed to keep you informed, which is causing additional confusion and anxiety. 

Going forward, I will reserve messages coming from my office for urgent or critical updates that may no longer follow the Tuesday/Friday schedule. I hope this helps provide clarity and a renewed focus on campus communication.