From the President: In-person Instruction Resumes Feb. 14
Tuesday, February 01, 2022
Dear campus community,
I write, as promised, with an update on campus plans for spring. Thank you for all you have done to get the semester underway successfully. As public health experts predicted, the positive test rate peaked late last month and is now steadily decreasing. Experts agree that while we are likely to see “peaks and valleys for months,” the worst of this surge is behind us, and we are starting to see institutions reopen. Cal State East Bay and UC Berkeley resumed in-person instruction on January 31, and many CSUs plan to resume next week.
With health mandates in place and the positive case rate declining, it is time for us to return to campus. Faculty and students engaged in courses scheduled to be in-person should plan for all in-person instruction to resume on Monday, February 14. Administrators and staff should plan to return on February 7 to open offices for in-person services and prepare for the resumption of in-person classes the following week. Staff and administrators should resume the schedules that they had planned for the spring. It is critical that our offices be open and welcoming to serve the nearly 17,000 students who will be taking classes on campus, as well as those who will be using our library and other campus facilities.
SF State planned cautiously for this semester with a robust online schedule and fewer students on campus. We have required that all SF State students, even those studying remotely, get vaccinated, and later this month we will begin implementing the CSU policy requiring those eligible to receive booster shots. Students and employees may begin voluntarily reloading an updated vaccination record reflecting their booster via the MyHealth portal. We continue to require masks indoors on campus and offer free COVID testing for students and employees, and we have offered booster clinics on campus in partnership with Walgreens. To date, almost 11,000 people have received their initial vaccines and booster shots on campus.
While the decision to move to remote modalities and the decision to resume in-person services and instruction have been and will continue to be driven by science and public health, I have heard from many, many students these past few weeks—some advocating for the return of in-person instruction, some for a virtual semester. Our mission requires that we return to in-person instruction, as most universities have or will shortly. I appreciate the concern for students most vulnerable to COVID-19. Unlike many other universities, we are offering a robust online schedule of classes. Given the extensiveness of our remote-modality offerings, students who choose not to return to in-person instruction have options available to them. Last week, Provost Summit and Vice President Moore emailed students encouraging those who needed to study remotely to work with academic departments, advising centers and the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) to adjust their schedules.
You may have questions about the return of in-person services and instruction. Employees should contact their supervisors or Human Resources with specific questions. I encourage students to join me, AS President Joshua Ochoa and other colleagues for a virtual forum on February 11 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Links to register to attend or submit questions are open now.
Evidence abounds that the pandemic is having a negative impact on higher education. Enrollments are down across the country, as are applications for financial aid. Much of this lost enrollment is disproportionately impacting those who could most benefit from a college degree and whom we serve with great pride—first generation students from BIPOC communities.
It is imperative that we return to campus. But we will do so safely, with vaccines and boosters, with mandatory face coverings and with robust testing protocols. And we will closely watch the numbers and adjust as necessary to continue to do what we have done well for two years—keep one another safe.
As always, with gratitude and wishes for good health.
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.