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COVID-19 Updates

CSU Announcement About Spring 2021 Semester

Sept. 10, 2020


Dear Campus Community,

Given the stress many are feeling due to the ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other hardships currently facing our local and statewide mountain communities, I continue to be committed to communicating with you in a timely and transparent manner so you can anticipate upcoming changes as best as possible.  

With that goal in mind, I am writing today to inform you that the California State University Chancellor’s Office announced this afternoon that all CSU campuses, including Fresno State, will continue with mostly virtual instruction in the spring 2021 semester. 

Please take a few minutes to read Chancellor Timothy P. White’s letter for an understanding of the detailed considerations that his leadership team, and all 23 university presidents, have collectively taken into account to reach this difficult decision. 

I fully understand this decision may be difficult to process initially and, for some, to accept. But I also continue to believe the best way to weather challenges is to first know what we are facing. By knowing now, in early September, what we can expect in the spring semester, we can each process the ramifications for us personally, and then begin planning accordingly. 

I also realize this development will spur many questions about who will be on campus in the spring, which classes will be offered in person, which employees will continue to work from home, and so on. As of this afternoon, I cannot answer those questions definitively.  

However, I can tell you that next semester we will continue to teach, learn, collaborate and thrive, as we uphold Fresno State's mission, values and signature standards of excellence. We will also continue to provide outstanding educational experiences and steady academic progression for all of our students, as recently highlighted in national rankings.


I have asked Provost Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Vice President Debbie Adishian-Astone to reconvene the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force, to be renamed the Spring 2021 Planning Task Force. The group includes representation from our community of students, faculty and staff.

I have charged the task force with developing a plan for the spring semester, based on public-health realities and projections in our region, in consultation with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, and following local, state and federal guidelines to protect the health and well-being of the entire campus community. I am confident that their collective efforts will once again provide the campus with a concrete plan that exceeds the complex demands of the situation.  

Spring instruction will likely also include a limited number of specialized, in-person classes, and with a limited number of students living in campus housing.  

The task force and I will aim to have a plan approved by Chancellor White and ready to announce to you and our fellow Bulldogs in October. The plan will cover everything from academic instruction and the Library, to on-campus housing and dining, as well as athletics. 

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts to reduce the spread of the virus this fall, while pursuing excellence, whether in your studies or work.  

Please continue to take good care of yourself, your family and your friends and colleagues.



Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.