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Spring 2022 Updates/COVID-19

Spring 2022 Update on In-Person Instruction

January 5, 2022

 

Dear Campus Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a good holiday season and an opportunity to recharge. 

Over the break, we continued to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely for consideration of any potential changes to our plans for the spring 2022 semester. Our decision-making continues to be guided by the best science available and the expertise of our public health officials. 

Fresno County continues to report rapidly increasing numbers of cases, which have prompted great uncertainty regarding the more infectious Omicron variant. Just as in the past, the best ways to mitigate the spread and severity of COVID-19 are through the practices outlined below.

During the spring semester, we will focus on four strategies for responding to Omicron: 

  1. Increased vaccination rates (including a booster dose); 
  2. Continuation of the face-covering mandate;
  3. Compliance with mandatory weekly testing (for vaccine-exempted individuals); and
  4. Support for rapid antigen testing.

Spring 2022 instruction

Fresno State will begin instruction virtually on Jan. 20, continuing through Jan. 28. In-person instruction will resume on Jan. 31. Individual courses within select disciplines may need to remain in-person during this time. These exceptions will be reviewed case by case, and instructors will communicate with their classes regarding delivery of instruction. In consultation with our local public health officials, we have developed this plan to mitigate the spread of the virus and help keep our campus community safe. 

We understand that decisions about instructional modality directly impact our students, faculty and staff. We appreciate your ongoing adaptability and understanding as we strive to balance the uncertainties associated with the evolving pandemic with our commitment to campus safety and supporting student success.

Our campus will remain open during this time. For students requiring internet access in taking their in-person classes virtually, hotspots are available from the DISCOVERe Hub. The Library and the University Student Union will also be open. Thanks to our team in Technology Services, expansion of our outdoor wireless network will be completed by Jan. 18.

Remote work during winter break

Where operationally feasible, each vice president or AVP will determine which staff members may work remotely. In addition, all employees are strongly encouraged to obtain a negative COVID test within 24 hours of returning to campus irrespective of their vaccination status.

Vaccine boosters

The CSU recently announced its CSU Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. All students and non-represented staff who are eligible should get their booster shot as soon as possible, but at the latest by Feb. 28, in order to remain in compliance.

According to the CDC, “the recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.”

Students are reminded that compliance with the vaccination policy is a condition of being physically on campus and that non-compliance can result in disciplinary action. Update your vaccination documentation with your booster information on your Self-Certification form located in the My Fresno State student portal.

Eligibility for the booster

Pfizer or Moderna vaccine recipients — you are eligible for a booster six (6) months after your second dose. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients — you are eligible two (2) months after your initial dose.

The campus is offering vaccine/booster clinics for students, faculty, and staff at no cost on the following days and hours in North Gym 118

  • Tuesday, Jan. 11  7 - 11 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25   3 - 7 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Jan. 27  7 - 10 a.m. 

If you were vaccinated abroad with other COVID-19 vaccines, you are most likely eligible for a booster as well. See the CDC booster shot eligibility page for details.

Increased testing

Testing is FREE to our campus community! 

We strongly encourage everyone to get tested before returning to campus for work or instruction irrespective of vaccination status. Residents will be required to show a negative test prior to moving into Fresno State Housing.

Our COVID-19 Testing Center reopened Monday (Jan. 3) at the Student Recreation Center. Location and hours of operation are available at the Testing Center website. We are also in the process of procuring antigen self-tests for at-home use as part of our comprehensive testing strategy.

Our focus will be on making tests easily available. As during fall semester, we will continue to require mandatory weekly testing of all students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated and who have attested to a medical or religious exemption.

Face coverings

The expert consensus is that face coverings effectively reduce transmission. We will continue to require everyone to wear face coverings indoors while on-campus. It is optimal to utilize face masks that offer high levels of filtering, for the greatest level of protection of others, in the case that one is unknowingly infected.

Ventilation 

We plan to continue ventilating buildings with the maximum possible amount of outside air. This means it could be colder inside some buildings during the month of January. As such, we ask that you plan to dress accordingly. 

Campus events

We plan to resume in-person events after Feb. 1, consistent with CDC guidance and state and local health department requirements. However, we may consider limiting or canceling campus events for which vaccination status or a negative entry test is not required as a condition of entry. When possible, we should continue to hold events virtually through the month of January. Review updated guidance on our COVID-19 website.

The return to in-person instruction this past semester has been a source of hope and revitalization for many, especially since our students have reported improved learning outcomes. With this in mind, please know that our brief shift to virtual instruction is temporary and that our campus remains open. Fresno State is committed to doing all we can to continue offering in-person instruction while taking appropriate evidence-based measures to safeguard our campus community. 

I am incredibly grateful for your efforts to protect one another. Thank you! Together, we will remain proactive in keeping our Bulldog family safe and healthy and ensuring a positive learning environment throughout the spring semester.

Sincerely,

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Ph.D.
President