Dear Campus Community,
Posted on March 10, 2020
We are writing to you today on guidance provided by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as well as state and local public health officials, regarding classroom instruction, near-term large events and travel, both domestic and international. We encourage you to read the entirety of this message to have the full context for decisions being made, based on information we have as of this morning.
Current Local Status
At this time (3 p.m. March 10), per the Fresno County Department of Public Health, there has been one confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fresno County. This is a travel-related case and was not community acquired. There is no immediate threat to the general public, and the FCDPH is not recommending cancellation of events or closure of schools or buildings at this time.
With the above noted in mind, we are being diligent about how best to protect our University community. We are following evolving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as well as state and local public health agencies.
Guidance Regarding Classroom Teaching
In an effort to protect the campus community in the event of widespread transmission of infectious disease, it might become necessary for campus leadership to consider temporary reduction or alteration of classroom instruction. Such reduction or alteration, if necessary, could involve delivering as much of the curriculum and academic advising as possible through non-face-to-face methods, including the use of technology to deliver instruction and interact with students.
In close coordination with the Academic Senate and the collective bargaining unit, faculty are developing Contingency Instruction Plans, including the possibility of moving to virtual instruction for some or all lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings. The provost will instruct deans to notify students and faculty should we transition to virtual instruction.
Guidance for Near-Term Events and Meetings
Related to near-term meetings and events, the Chancellor’s Office has encouraged campuses to cancel or reschedule events and meetings that are less essential and are not time-sensitive in nature. The campus will be evaluating events and meetings on a case-by-case basis for a determination of any potential cancellation or postponement.
Several factors including alternative modalities, the necessity for air travel, susceptibility for the audience to be at increased risk for infection by COVID-19 (based on underlying health conditions) and current guidance from local health departments should be considered.
A separate communication will be forthcoming later today (March 10) to managers and department chairs who may need more specific information about near-term events and meetings scheduled within the next two weeks.
Travel — Domestic and International
While we continue following the CDC warning-level guidelines the current rapidly changing environment makes it very difficult to predict what the global infection map will look like in the near future. It is highly likely that countries in Europe and Asia, as well as certain regions the U.S., will see continuing escalation in infection that will impact travel arrangements we are making today.
Therefore, per the CSU Chancellor’s Office, effective immediately, campuses and their auxiliary organizations will suspend all international and non-essential domestic travel from now through May 31. Future travel, including summer and fall, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Please note the provost and other vice presidents will make determinations about what constitutes non-essential domestic travel and provide exemptions with respect to essential travel to countries that are not at the CDC Warning Level 3.
The health and safety of all members of the CSU community is always the University’s foremost priority. All campuses, including Fresno State, have pandemic plans as well as continuity of business operations plans to utilize in the event of communicable disease outbreak in their respective regions.
As we continue to monitor the situation, we will provide updates on the University’s website: fresnostate.edu/coronavirus as well as by email when appropriate.
I’m confident that our Fresno State family will remain strong, unified and focused on the greater good as we manage this fluid situation.
President Joseph I. Castro