Update from Fall 2020 Planning Task Force
Posted on May 12, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Earlier today, the California State University Chancellor’s Office provided guidance on what’s expected to be a largely virtual-instruction environment for the majority of the 23 CSU campuses this fall, including criteria for allowing exceptions for in-person courses. We are grateful for the Chancellor Office’s guidance, as well as their demonstrated flexibility by understanding that each campus has its own geographic, population-density and public-health variables.
Our Fall 2020 Planning Task Force, which includes students, faculty and staff, is considering two planning scenarios for fall 2020 as outlined in President Castro’s May 7 campus message. To that end, work groups with representation from the Task Force and broader campus community have been created to help define the operational needs to support instruction and student services required for each scenario. These work groups include:
- Academic Courses Required for In-Person
- Facility Requirements and Protocols for In-Person Courses
- Multi-Phase Repopulation Plan
- Academic Technology
- Student Support Services
- Medical/Counseling Services, Health-Screening Protocols, and Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies
- Federal/State/Fiscal Impacts
Specifically, the Schools and Colleges are prioritizing in-person instruction for courses with academic outcomes that cannot be achieved virtually, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences. From there, the task force will consider what facilities are available to accommodate those in-person courses, while maintaining public-health directives and guidance, such as increased cleaning and sanitizing of classrooms, physical distancing, increased hand washing and appropriate facial coverings.
As a simple yet illustrative example of the challenges being considered, we offer this example: Under public-health requirements of six feet distance, a classroom that usually accommodates 30 students would be restricted to approximately five students and one instructor. Some related questions include: Will we have enough classrooms with the appropriate space that will accommodate the demand of in-person courses? Will we have the staff necessary to offer that same course multiple times throughout the day/week to ensure physical distancing while meeting student demand for the course? Will Custodial Services have enough time (and supplies) to sufficiently deep clean the room between classes? And will we have enough personnel to perform such duties? Indeed, many considerations are required for any given course that meets the criteria for being held on campus this fall.
Lastly, to provide clarification when the University will decide our collective path forward for fall 2020, the task force will submit a conceptual plan for both scenarios to President Castro by May 22. President Castro and his cabinet will then study and discuss the conceptual plan, while taking into account current public-health realities (e.g., lack of an effective vaccine and sufficient testing and tracing protocols in our region). Following this review, the task force may need to provide additional information prior to finalizing the plan. In order to allow for consultation with the Academic Senate, ASI, and the Joint Labor Council, a decision about fall instruction will be announced by early June.
We will continue to keep you updated on the task force’s progress and encourage you to check your email regularly throughout the summer and see updates posted here.
We appreciate the task force members’ commitment to working expeditiously and inclusively. Our priority is to continue to provide a quality education for our students, ensuring their progress to obtaining a degree, while also sustaining a safe and productive working environment for our dedicated faculty and staff.
Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer