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COVID-19 Updates

Campus details for spring 2021 (Students)

Nov. 30, 2020


Dear Students,

In following the guidance from the California State University system for the spring 2021 semester, I write to you today to announce more details about Fresno State’s plan. (However, with the surge of positive COVID-19 cases in Fresno County, our plan for spring 2021 may need to be adjusted depending upon any change in state and local public-health guidelines.)

To prepare the University’s plan for the spring 2021 semester, our task force, in consultation with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, reviewed the fall 2020 plan and made necessary modifications to accommodate for accreditation and graduation course requirements all while continuing to adhere to local, state and federal public-health guidelines. Although this message is lengthy, I encourage you to take the time to read it entirely so you are prepared for the spring semester.

  • The campus plan for spring 2021 projects an estimated daily campus population of about 2,595 students, faculty and staff, a 15% increase from the estimated population for fall 2020. About 2,860 students will be enrolled in 320 in-person courses, compared to 101 in the fall semester. The increased number of course sections in the spring is primarily due to courses that may have been postponed in fall but that must be offered in the spring to fulfill accreditation and student-graduation requirements. 
  • Like this fall semester, daily health screenings and temperature checks will be required of anyone who will be on campus on weekdays during the spring semester. In an effort to protect the health and well-being of the campus community, the University will begin offering voluntary weekly COVID-19 testing (at no cost) effective immediately through mid-January for students, faculty and staff who have been approved to be on campus. (More information on the new weekly testing will be made available later this week.) In addition, the voluntary monthly COVID-19 testing (at no cost) will resume during the spring semester for students, faculty and staff who have been approved to be on campus during that time frame. 
  • For those who will be on campus in the spring, it will be each person’s responsibility to adhere to all public-health protocols to reduce the risk of infection among our campus community members and their families. This includes wearing face coverings in all public areas and when around others, practicing good hygiene and maintaining proper physical distance.
  • For those students who will live on campus in the spring, monthly COVID-19 testing (at no cost) will be required. About 250 students will reside in Student Housing in the spring, compared to 187 this fall. (Students who have applied to Fresno State Student Housing will receive more detailed information in a separate email soon.)
  • Based on state and local public-health guidelines, on-campus meetings and events of more than 25 persons will not be allowed during the spring 2021 semester. This also applies to off-campus events sponsored by the University. Limited exceptions will be made. The request for an exception may be submitted through this web form.
  • While University officials continue to assess the regional spread of the virus in the spring, in close consultation with local and state public-health experts, we will make a determination regarding commencement ceremonies by March 2021.
  • Likewise, we will consult with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and local and state public-health experts to determine if the limited in-person courses will begin as planned at the beginning of spring 2021. If the pandemic worsens in December and January, it is possible that we will first begin these in-person courses virtually and then phase into the planned in-person courses later in the semester when it is safe to do so.  

Keep in mind that whether you attend classes in person or virtually in the spring, you will learn from dedicated and talented Fresno State faculty, and, with your continued effort, the grades you earn will ultimately lead to a Fresno State degree. This is a great time to learn, grow and prepare for success in your chosen field of study. 

With the possibility of an effective and widely distributed vaccine by the summer, we are hopeful that primarily in-person classes, events and activities will resume by fall 2021. We will endeavor to announce the University’s plans for the fall semester by April 2021, in close consultation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and public-health and medical experts.


Each of us needs to do our part to mitigate the spread of the virus during the winter months, as our region and the rest of the country experience a surge in positive cases. The related number of hospitalizations and the subsequent morbidity and mortality is extremely worrisome. I encourage you to continue practicing health precautions to protect not only your own health but also that of your family, friends and classmates. Such measures include very simple actions such as: wearing a face covering whenever outside your home, washing your hands frequently, maintaining proper physical distance from others and avoiding large gatherings such as parties. 

Recognizing the pandemic is a fluid situation, we will continue to review and adjust our campus operations, as necessary. As explained at the beginning of this semester, our campus is prepared for the possibility that all courses may need to transition to virtual instruction at any point. We will communicate any changes in a timely manner, should they need to be implemented.

Lastly, I would like to express how thankful I am for all that you have done to continue pursuing your academic goals while also remaining committed to supporting your family and friends, as each person manages their way through the pandemic. As members of the Fresno State community, we are indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as role models for others.



President Joseph I. Castro