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COVID-19 Updates

Plans for Fall 2020

Posted on June 26, 2020 

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to share with you the University’s plan for the fall 2020 semester. It is based upon a directive from the California State University (CSU) system (announced on May 12) that most course delivery will be virtual, with a limited number of essential in-person courses. This decision reflects public health officials’ prediction that COVID-19 will remain a serious health risk until a vaccine is developed.

I appreciate the time-intensive efforts of a dedicated group of faculty, staff, administrators and students who worked diligently and collaboratively to develop the plan, which ensures a quality educational experience for students, while protecting the health and well-being of our entire campus community and family members of faculty, staff and students. Prior to submitting the plan to the Chancellor’s Office, consultation occurred with the Academic Senate, Associated Students Inc., department chairs and the Joint Labor Council.

Please join me today at 11 a.m. for a webinar during which I will answer your questions about the fall semester. Provost Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Vice President Deborah Adishian-Astone will also join us for the conversation. To participate in the event, see call-in details here. (Whether or not you are able to participate, please continue reading this full message so you have the most up-to-date information.)

While more information is available on the fall 2020 website (including FAQs for faculty and staff), here are some highlights that may interest you:

  • The plan assumes a daily campus population of approximately 2,200 students, faculty, and staff (7.5% of the overall campus population as compared to fall 2019). Of that population, approximately 1,340 students will be enrolled in the 128 in-person courses approved for the fall semester.
  • Optional (and highly encouraged) baseline COVID-19 testing will be available for students, faculty and staff who will be returning to campus for fall 2020. The plan also includes daily health-screenings and temperature checks.
  • In most cases, employees who can continue to work remotely, will continue doing so for the foreseeable future, and student assistant positions will be limited to those functional areas required to support in-person courses. If you have questions regarding your work location for the fall, please contact your supervising manager or department chair. 
  • Beginning July 1, a limited number of employees will return to campus, including those who have exhausted their Temporary Paid Administrative Leave (CPAL) or those who are needed to help prepare for fall 2020 instruction (e.g. facilities, classroom technology). 
  • Beginning Aug. 15, we anticipate that only those faculty and staff who need to support in-person instruction will return to campus.
  • For those who will be on campus in the fall, 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 using face masks, practicing good hygiene and maintaining social distance.
  • Regarding athletics, the final plan for fall 2020 sports practices and competitions is pending further guidance from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Public Health, the Mountain West Conference and the CSU Chancellor’s Office. The campus expects a decision later this summer.

While we remain optimistic for the eventual full repopulation of the campus in the spring 2021 semester, the planning done by the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force will prepare us to transition to full virtual instruction, in the event the pandemic surges in our region later this year.

This fall, both academic courses and daily campus operations will run more smoothly for everyone, thanks to your resiliency and collaboration. Our success will reflect the months of work we have invested in strengthening virtual teaching through intensive training workshops for faculty, and refined protocols and supportive programs for staff.

Thank you for contributing to the University’s success in achieving its bold mission, while we each cope with and manage the challenges — both personal and professional — that these extraordinary times pose to our campus, families and communities.


President Joseph I. Castro