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COVID-19 Updates

Fall 2020 Planning Update

Posted on May 27, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

As an update to our message to you on  May 12, we write today to share the progress of Fresno State’s  Fall 2020 Planning Task Force. The overarching goal for the University’s plan is to provide the best possible educational experience for our students while ensuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff. As announced earlier this month, the planning framework assumes courses will be primarily delivered virtually for fall 2020 with limited exceptions for in-person instruction. (All exceptions require approval of President Joseph I. Castro and final approval from the California State University Chancellor’s Office in three areas: instruction, on-campus housing and dining, and intercollegiate athletics.)

The Task Force has met regularly over the past two weeks and will submit a conceptual plan to President Castro this week. The plan is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to the following:

  • As prioritized by the Schools and Colleges, a list of “essential” courses, defined as those in which academic outcomes cannot be achieved virtually, such as performance, laboratory and clinical experiences. Emphasis is also placed on those courses that next year’s seniors must complete in person in order to be eligible to graduate. 
  • What facilities will be needed to accommodate the “essential” in-person courses, while ensuring adherence to public-health guidance, such as increased cleaning and sanitizing of classrooms and other common areas, reduced capacity of classrooms to account for proper physical distancing, and protocols for increased hand washing and wearing appropriate facial coverings.
  • The availability of technology (e.g. the possibility of streaming video from in-person courses) and summer training offerings for faculty to facilitate virtual teaching and learning, regardless of the location of our students and faculty.
  • Expanding the portfolio of virtual student services such as financial aid, tutoring, advising and Student Life activities. 
  • Conducting COVID-19 testing prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester (among students who are enrolled in in-person courses, and faculty and staff who are returning back to campus)  and implementing daily health-screening checks for those who will be on campus in the fall. We will also continue to provide access to medical and counseling services for all students.
  • Plans for fall intercollegiate athletic competitions and resumption of any team practices and strength training/conditioning will be in accordance with guidelines established by the Governor’s Office, CSU Chancellor’s Office, state and local public-health officials, and the Mountain West Conference. 
  • Considerations for a phased workforce repopulation plan (for faculty and staff) that will align with the operational and instructional needs to support “essential” in-person courses while continuing to limit the overall campus population to a minimum out of caution for any ongoing public-health risks.


  • With the above considerations in mind, President Castro and members of his cabinet will review the conceptual plan and provide feedback to the Task Force. 
  • The Task Force may also need to include additional information in accordance with the CSU Policy, Procedure and Considerations for 2020-21 Academic Year Planning in the Context of COVID-19 (dated May 25, 2020) prior to finalizing the plan. 
  • The plan will demonstrate how the campus is collaborating with local public-health agencies to ensure compliance with operative screening and risk-mitigation protocols, including guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the  American College Health Association (ACHA).
  • In addition, consultation with the Academic Senate Executive Committee, ASI and the Joint Labor Council will occur prior to submitting the final plan to the CSU Chancellor’s Office for approval. Accordingly, President Castro will provide members of our campus community and the general public an update before the end of June, once the plan for fall instruction has been approved.

In the meantime, be assured that, regardless of the methods of instruction this fall, our commitment to Fresno State’s values of Discovery, Distinction and Diversity, remains steadfast. And, in accordance with our mission,  our students will continue to gain critical knowledge and educational experiences that will position them for success as students, and later in their careers and as leaders in their communities.

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we collectively navigate the complexities of the pandemic, and we will continue communicating regularly with you in the coming weeks and months.


Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Debbie Adishian-Astone, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer

Co-chairs of the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force