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COVID-19 Updates

Planning for Fall 2020

Posted on May 7, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Following my campus message on April 28, Fresno State continues to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic amid rapidly evolving data and shifting circumstances. As we determine the best path forward for Fall 2020, our decisions are guided by the safety and welfare of our campus community and our goal of providing a quality educational experience for our students. We understand these plans will affect all of you, and we are committed to a thoughtful approach that is inclusive of the broader campus community.

To that end, I have established a Fall 2020 Planning Task Force, co-chaired by Provost Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Vice President Debbie Adishian-Astone. This working group, which will take numerous internal and external factors into account, includes representation from our community of students, faculty and staff. The composition of the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force is listed online.

I have charged the task force with developing a conceptual plan by May 22 to address two potential scenarios, both based on public-health realities and projections in our region. In addition to developing the plan, the group will develop a sequence of tasks (timeline) for implementing each of the below scenarios:

  • Planning scenario #1: For public-health reasons, Fall 2020 instruction remains fully virtual, a limited number of students live in campus housing, and major events and activities remain suspended.
  • Planning scenario #2: Fall 2020 instruction is mostly virtual but also includes a limited number of specialized, in-person classes, and with a limited number of students living in campus housing. For this to occur, plans will need to be developed and implemented that ensure physical distancing, safe hygiene practices, health screenings, cleaning in between classes, and proper technology to livestream and record the limited number of in-person classes.

Given the complexity of the issues and considerations for the two scenarios listed above, I have provided the following Guiding Principles to the task force:

  • Ensure that our campus and facilities provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff.
  • Uphold Fresno State's mission, values and signature standards of excellence by providing outstanding educational experiences and steady academic progression for students.
  • Act consistently with our Principles of Community.
  • Continue serving as responsible stewards of public and private funding.

Regarding Athletics, the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force will consider ways to adhere to all guidelines established by the California State University Chancellor’s Office, our state and local public-health officials, the NCAA and the Mountain West Conference, as these relate to the resumption of team-related activities including practices, training sessions and competitions.

Moreover, our plans will help us to re-populate the campus in a safe manner and in full accordance with guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and local and state public-health experts.

I will keep the campus community apprised of key decisions based on the recommendations of the task force.

In closing, thank you for your dedication and resilience as we navigate these challenging and unprecedented times. I am incredibly proud of how our campus has responded in upholding our mission of boldly educating future generations of leaders in California’s Central Valley and beyond.


Joseph I. Castro, President