Thursday, January 06, 2022
Dear campus community,
First, I want to wish you all a healthy and happy New Year. Unfortunately, 2022 continues to find us responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and actively monitoring the current Omicron surge. I have been in frequent communication with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and CSU colleagues. The escalation in positivity rates and increased hospitalizations across the state have all concerned. This week, as we resumed testing on campus, we saw a similarly dramatic increase in positivity rates. In this context, the University has decided to delay the start of in-person instruction until February 14 and most campus services will be provided remotely until February 7. The J. Paul Leonard Library, the Mashouf Wellness Center, Cesar Chavez Student Center and most administrative buildings remain open.
The semester itself will start as planned on January 24. Courses scheduled to be online will not experience any changes or disruptions. Courses scheduled to be in-person will switch to remote modalities for the first three weeks of the semester. We will grant some exceptions for courses that must meet in person to address students’ immediate learning needs (these may include hands-on courses in health, science or the arts). Department chairs will work with their deans and the provost’s office to determine what courses must be taught in person and students will be notified by January 14 if their course will be held in person. We do not anticipate many exceptions. Courses granted in-person exceptions will begin January 24.
Most campus services, including all student services, will move to remote modalities. All campus offices will physically reopen on February 7 and will offer a combination of in-person and remote services in anticipation of the return of in-person classes on February 14. Students and employees are encouraged to check a department's website to determine the best way to be in touch with any given office.
Residential students will be hearing directly from University Housing regarding return to campus and move-in dates. Students who are currently living in residence halls during the winter break will not be asked to vacate.
Staff and administrators with existing telecommuting agreements may continue to work remotely as approved by their supervisor and in alignment with the needs of their offices and units. As the University remains open, some faculty, staff and administrators will continue to work on campus as determined by their supervisors and institutional need. Staff and faculty who prefer to return to campus to work between now and February 6 may and should contact their supervisor to make arrangements to return to the office.
I want to express my gratitude and that of the entire University to those employees who continue to work in person in service of our students and our campus community. And I thank you all for your patience and work as we continue to strive to meet our mission and navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
While this is a moment to exercise caution, I remind all that this is not a return to March 2020 when we moved all classes and services to remote modalities. The campus remains open. Our student-athletes remain in competition. Campus facilities such as the J. Paul Leonard Library, the Mashouf Wellness Center, Cesar Chavez Student Center and most administrative buildings remain open. And we will continue to offer COVID testing and booster clinics on campus.
We are a highly vaccinated and increasingly boosted campus. COVID-19 is not the same illness it was two years ago, and we are now working to manage an endemic disease. My family is personally experiencing the benefits of those vaccines and booster shots. Earlier this week, my son and I tested positive for COVID-19 but are to-date asymptomatic and other family members remain negative. Like many, this is not how I envisioned starting 2022 but, thanks to our multiple vaccine doses, we are doing well.
Local health experts believe that the current surge will peak towards the end of January. Delaying in-person instruction and in-person services allows time for all of us to get our booster shots and for the post-holiday surge to abate somewhat. For some of us, this temporary delay comes as a relief; for others, a sad step backwards. We have every expectation that in-person services will resume on February 7 and in-person classes will resume on February 14, and we will provide a campus update on February 1 confirming plans for their resumption. We will continue to heed the advice of public health and medical professionals and communicate our responses quickly.
As always, wishing you good health.
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.