Monday, May 17, 2021
Dear campus community,
In just the few weeks since I last communicated with you, the health news in the Bay Area and across the state has much improved. I write today with the good news that, as a result, we can expect a more robust fall. The ready availability of vaccines for those 12 and older and the CSU commitment to requiring vaccination for Fall 2021 campus access means we will be able to offer more in-person courses and more campus activities, including access to the Mashouf Wellness Center, the Cesar Chavez Student Center and the J. Paul Leonard Library.
We will welcome back more than 3000 residential students, while continuing to serve those students who want to study remotely in fall. Where possible, we are developing hybrid approaches to campus staffing which will provide better services in the post-pandemic world. All students and employees who do not qualify for an exemption will be required to get vaccinated. Given our heightened commitment to health and safety, we are planning to require verification of vaccination.
I am deeply grateful to department chairs, deans’ offices and Academic Affairs for the work done to create a schedule of courses for the fall which will provide students with options to study remotely or enjoy a combination of in-person and remote courses. Our surveys of students, as well as a recent piece in the Golden Gate Xpress, demonstrate that many want a fall semester that includes a mix of in-person and remote classes. Our new schedule allows for that, particularly for our newest Gators who expressed the greatest interest in being on campus. Please remember that fall is a transitionary semester and our goal will be to offer an in-person spring semester more typical of pre-pandemic semesters.
Associated Students (AS) and Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (SAEM) teams are hard at work to ensure that those studying on campus or returning to live in San Francisco enjoy as rich a campus life as public health guidelines allow. Current plans include opening the Cesar Chavez Student Center and the Mashouf Wellness Center (MWC) on August 23. Use of MWC will be driven by San Francisco Department of Public Health requirements at that time. Associated Students also plan to host modified hours for their centers: Women’s Center, Legal Resource Center, Environmental Resource Center, Richard Oakes Multicultural Center, Project Connect, Project Rebound, Queer Trans Resource Center and EROS. Many of our eateries and other retail services around the campus, including the bookstore and snack shops, will open to serve the campus community.
We can also look forward to welcoming one another back in person! GatorFest! will kick off in August, and it will be bigger than ever with eight weeks of activities for new and returning students. There will be more events and programming this year – offered in person, virtually, and through hybrid modalities to support students regardless of where they will be studying this fall. GatorFest! will include opportunities for students to engage with the faculty, staff, each other and the AS family. We will also make use of our beautiful campus to allow students to gather outside safely for activities on the Quad, on West Campus Green, and on other large outdoor spaces.
Academic spaces such as the J. Paul Leonard Library, academic buildings and classroom spaces will all be open. We will continue to work hard to ensure that these spaces are healthy and safe. Hand sanitizing stations will be readily available, and hybrid work and continued remote instruction will ensure a less dense campus. We will continue to work with SFDPH on the most current safety requirements. We will update you via email and the website as the situation evolves and new guidelines are confirmed.
Just as our rapid turn to remote learning and working was challenging, so will be our gradual return to campus. All have suffered some form of trauma this year whether affected personally by COVID-19 or its economic consequences or by the effects of prolonged isolation. Many in our communities have also suffered from the pandemic of white supremacy that we continue to wrestle with as a country and a region. Coming back together will have its challenges but is also necessary—our students’ success requires it and our robustness as a university campus requires it. I ask that you be patient with me, with the University and with one another as we focus on rebuilding and coming back better.
I conclude by urging all who do not qualify for medical or religious exceptions to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Across the state, supplies have opened up and in many places, appointments are no longer needed. Please review California’s COVID-19 site for information.
I look forward to seeing you all!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.