Web page last updated on July 8 at 2:00 p.m. PT.
What you need to know
The University is open, and limited on-campus operations continue. With few exceptions, however, building access remains restricted. For details, visit the Building Access page.
Face coverings must be worn for any face-to-face, on-campus operations. The state of California requires that face coverings be worn in situations in which physical distancing is not possible, unless an exception applies. Read the June 18, 2020 public health order, including information about exceptions, and the latest guidance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Planning for Spring 2021
Students’ health and safety is our paramount concern at SF State. In coordination with the California State University Chancellor’s Office, we will determine what forms of instruction we can deliver safely in the spring. (See our fall plans in a previous message posted May 12.) We hope to announce in October. The latest guidance and ordinances from the State of California, the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Department of Public Health will guide the decision making process, with the understanding that our plans may be subject to change, based on the unpredictable environment surrounding the COVID-19 public health crisis.
SF State is committed to delivering a comprehensive educational experience and support services and activities to all our students, regardless of the mode of instruction.
Find the latest University announcement in our Campus Messages below.
Dear Campus Community:
Over the last two weeks, I have spoken with and heard from hundreds of students, and faculty and staff. No question has weighed on me more than the one almost all ask: What is our plan for fall? In the midst of unimaginable uncertainty, we want answers, we want stability and we desperately want a return to “normal.”
I know that many universities are waiting until mid-June to make announcements about fall. But I have heard from too many people anxious to plan for fall to delay making a decision. With the health of our students and employees uppermost in my mind, I have made the very hard decision to continue with predominantly remote instruction through the fall semester. We hope to be able to grant exceptions for a very small number of courses that require specialized in-person learning experiences and are necessary for student degree progress. We will work to accommodate students unable to participate in face-to-face instruction.
Please know that this decision is consistent with guidance issued by the California State University as a whole, as the Chancellor shared at this week’s CSU Board of Trustees meeting. Like all CSU campuses, we are planning for a semester that will be primarily virtual. Most academic disciplines will be exclusively virtual. We will also be prepared to go fully virtual if public health demands it.
I understand the news I share with you today will unleash a torrent of questions. Colleges, department chairs and faculty are working quickly to identify the small number of courses that may qualify for an exception. Students registered in these courses will receive detailed communications and guidance from their department chairs as soon as plans have been finalized. I will provide another update by the end of this month with additional details. I know that staff also have questions. Our goal for fall, with health and safety in mind, is to limit the number of people on campus to allow those who must be here to be here safely and allow others to continue working from home to limit their contact with others.
While San Francisco’s mitigation efforts have been successful to date, COVID-19 will be with us for many months. Public health officials have urged us all to continue to be vigilant. We remain vulnerable until better treatments are developed, a vaccine is created and the majority of people have acquired immunity. Experts from departments of public health, medical centers and research universities anticipate that we will have a second wave of illness in the mid- to late-fall. And if history is any indicator, it could be far worse than the wave we just experienced. We must remain cautious and assiduously follow health guidelines.
At this time, the ability to increase face-to-face contact requires not just face coverings and physical distancing. Opening businesses and schools will also necessitate acquiring quantities of personal protective and sanitizing equipment. It will require frequent testing, tracing and quarantining. It will require monitoring waste systems to see if there is live virus present. And, as we saw recently with cases at the White House, even the stringent use of all these measures is no guarantee.
What makes universities unique and wonderful places also makes them uniquely vulnerable to the spread of disease — ask any faculty member who has faced a class full of coughing students in January or any student who has lived in a densely populated residence hall. We thrive on social interaction, on working huddled closely around a table, in a studio or over a microscope. Mitigating a highly contagious disease under these circumstances is near impossible and would be prohibitively expensive — at a moment in which the governor of California has announced that the state faces a $54 billion deficit and all anticipate dramatic cuts in funding to the California State University system.
Please know that I make this decision with a heavy heart. I want nothing more than for us all to stay well and be together. The COVID-19 pandemic sadly, however, does not allow us to have both … for now. I promise you that this will end and that we will all return to campus. For now, though, we will focus our attention on perfecting remote learning, teaching and working. It will not be the same, but it will be good. And we will focus on our students and their degree progress. They must earn their degrees, and we must help them.
I remain so very grateful to be here and to serve as president of this incredible university. We have served as a model for higher education before, as home to the first College of Ethnic Studies, as a leader in the upward mobility of our graduates and as one of the most diverse universities in the U.S.
We can lead again now. We can be a model of a university that puts the public good first by protecting public health, by creating an excellent remote learning experience and by continuing to foster upward mobility for our students, their families and communities.
As always, I thank you for your patience and wish you good health.
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.
San Francisco State University
Dear Campus Community,
As always, I hope this finds you well and managing the myriad challenges posed by sheltering in place and learning and working remotely. In alignment with the City’s extension of the stay at home order to May 31, SF State will continue with our current plan which includes most University work being handled remotely.
One thing that I find most difficult in the current situation is living with so much uncertainty. I imagine that this is true for many of us. In particular, I know that all are wondering what fall holds for us. While the future, unfortunately, remains very uncertain, one thing I can assure you: We will have a fall semester. Any decision about fall will align with public health requirements. Your health and that of our communities remains paramount. We are hopeful that current mitigation efforts will allow the return to at least some face-to-face instruction. There are indications we will be asked to continue with mitigation efforts such as physical distancing, which may require continuing much of our instruction remotely. We recognize that some learning is best done in person, and we are working hard to make it possible for experiential learning to take place in the fall.
So, while I can’t guess what the fall will look like, I can tell you that we are planning actively for multiple scenarios including one that features a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction. Yes, this spring has been challenging and the fall may bring challenges of its own. Our students’ academic progress remains a top priority. We will have a fall semester, and, regardless of how it is structured, we are working hard to make sure it’s a good one!
If we have learned anything in the last few weeks, it is that persistent socioeconomic inequalities in the U.S. have resulted in poorer people suffering the health and economic consequences of COVID-19 faster and harder than other groups. A college degree has been proven repeatedly to foster upward mobility and provide graduates with greater job security and access to health care, among other gains. San Francisco State is proud of its long history as an engine of educational equity and economic development.
Later this week, we’ll be distributing information about the CSU Cares Program which offers emergency grants for CSU students experiencing financial hardships due to the current health crisis. The planning around distribution of these funds has been aligned with our University’s core value of social justice to address the economic challenges facing our lowest income students and provide resources for some students experiencing COVID-related financial difficulties. Details will be forthcoming later this week.
Providing access to a quality affordable education is key to who we are. While public health requires that we do this differently, the needs of our students and region require that we do it as well as we can. We are and we will.
With continued wishes for good health!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.
Dear campus community,
In light of health updates issued recently by the city of San Francisco, members of the San Francisco State University community are now required to wear something that covers their nose and mouth when on campus.
For community members’ safety, face coverings must be worn when:
- Waiting in line at a service desk, counter or dining center
- On the campus BART shuttle (or waiting for it)
- Seeking in-person care at Student Health or at Counseling and Psychological Services
- Going into any open campus facilities
- Working an essential job that interacts with the public
COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Cloth face coverings, combined with physical distancing and hand washing, may prevent the spread of the virus to others when you have to leave home. Covering your face protects you and others by limiting the spread of the virus. Anyone not wearing a face covering in locations where they are required will be asked to comply or leave the facility.
Certain groups are not required to wear face coverings:
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is not able to take off a face covering without help
- Those with documented chronic health conditions
- Those who are deaf and use facial and mouth movements as part of communication may remove their face covering while signing
Campus community members are encouraged to procure or make their own face coverings. The CDC has simple instructions on how to make your own face covering. It is important to follow best practices for wearing and cleaning face coverings; find guidelines at the CDC website.
The University will provide employees who are required to work on campus with face coverings through their department or unit managers. Face coverings may be picked up from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Administration 259. To request face coverings for employees outside of these hours or by other means, managers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SF State continues offering instruction and most services remotely to limit transmission of the virus. Only those employees directed by their managers should report to campus for work.
Thank you and continue taking care of yourselves.
Dear Campus Community,
Like all of you, I’ve been looking for ways to stay connected as our shelter-in-place reality continues. That’s why I gave something new a try: a video message to the University community shot in my own living room. What it might lack in production values and polish I hope it makes up for in sincerity. Because its message — about how proud I am of what our students, faculty, staff and alumni are accomplishing in the face of enormous obstacles — comes from the heart. I hope you’ll watch and find yourself reassured, as I’ve been, that we have the ingenuity, compassion and resolve to overcome this and any other challenge.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy spring,
Dear Campus Community,
Many of us had high hopes and grand visions for 2020. I do not imagine that for many of us these included obsessive handwashing and weeks at home. Accommodating current public health needs has been hard in so many ways, and we are grieving the loss of the plans and hopes we had for 2020. And some of us are worried about gravely ill friends and family or tragically mourning the loss of a loved one. I reach out to you today not to talk about remote instruction or shelter-in-place nor to remind you to wash your hands and not touch your face. I write instead to ask about you.
How are you doing? How are you managing all the change and anxieties that COVID-19 has wrought in your lives and in the lives of your family and friends? How are you taking care of yourself? What ways have you discovered to manage anxiety and the stress of balancing the new demands of daily life? How are you staying connected to others?
For me, it means walks outside and evenings in the kitchen. I start almost every morning with an hour-long walk with my husband. I am blessed to live in a beautiful city with hills and hidden staircases — most of which are pretty quiet first thing in the morning and allow for physical distancing. I am heartened by the stuffed bears that have popped up in windows and by sidewalk chalk art that reminds me “It’s Gonna Be Alright” and we are “Stronger Together.” And, after years of busy careers interfering with dinners at home, we now have family meals every night. I worry, though, about friends and family who are far away or alone. For that, I gratefully turn to Zoom to connect and check in.
I hope that you, too, have found ways to assuage anxieties exacerbated by unimaginable uncertainty and to make connections in a physically distanced world. As always, our own faculty offer guidance. Professor Melissa Hagan offers advice on managing coronavirus anxiety. Professor Erik Peper offers advice on reducing “TechStress” and the health benefits of an open window. Some may need more support during this time, particularly those who are experiencing the consequences of this deadly virus more directly. The Employee Assistance Program offers University employees access to a variety of helpful services. Students can contact a dean on call or schedule a tele-health visit with one of our counselors. And our Basic Needs team, as always, stands ready to help.
Even those of us who haven’t been directly impacted by the pandemic need relief from stress and anxiety to stay healthy. Some may find exercise to be the perfect distraction. The Mashouf Wellness Center is here to help with group exercise instruction via Zoom. Check out the Campus Recreation website for the latest information on class formats, days and times as well as Zoom links and passwords. Or perhaps take advantage of the many museums and educational institutions who have opened their programs remotely. Check out, for example, the California Academy of Sciences’ Academy @ Home, which offers an array of science-centric games, videos and DIY projects. This is a great site to share with children and family members.
We will one day return to campus together, I promise. But shelter-in-place will persist for at least several more weeks and physical distancing likely even longer. So pace yourself, be kind to yourself and reward yourself. Now is the time to remind yourself that good enough is in fact good enough. I promise, it is.
Above all — in every way possible — stay well!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.
Dear campus community,
As part of this week’s updated shelter-in-place order, the city and county of San Francisco also ordered new social distancing measures for protecting employee health that go into effect Friday, April 3.
The measures outline a range of practices and actions to be followed wherever applicable in the workplace to promote health and safety including the following:
- Employees are expected to work remotely, unless explicitly requested by their supervising administrator to perform work on campus.
- Please do not come to work if sick.
- Before coming to work, please perform a symptom check.
- If you are asked to come onto campus to work, please work with your manager to ensure your desk or workstation is separated by at least six feet from other occupied desks or workstations.
Office of Emergency Services
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. More information from the CDC.
For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms or mild cold symptoms to people being severely sick.
Symptoms may include fever, cough and sore throat. In some patients, these symptoms can worsen into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain and shortness of breath. Persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, or who have other health conditions, such as heart disease or liver disease, are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia.
Symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prevention and Well-being
This is a rapidly evolving situation worldwide. Members of the San Francisco State community are encouraged to stay informed about the changing travel advisories and restrictions, guidelines about returning to campus after traveling abroad, as well as simple ways to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases described below. Most importantly, do not come to work or classes if you are sick.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home and do not travel or go to work or school when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or an elbow when you cough or sneeze. Throw any used tissues in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Students, if you are near campus and are feeling symptoms that might be COVID-19 you should reach out to Student Health Services via phone at 415-338-1251 for advice. If you are at your primary home (off-campus)you should reach out to your primary care provider or urgent care via phone.
Faculty and staff should reach out to your primary care provider via phone for advice from a healthcare provider.
San Francisco State seeks to offer an environment where everyone feels welcome and supported. During this epidemic, it is more important than ever that the campus community lives its values.
Employees and students who believe they are being treated unfairly, discriminated against or harassed based on a protected category, including their disability, medical condition, race or national origin, should contact the Office of Equity Programs & Compliance.
In addition, San Francisco State has counseling services for students who would like to talk about their feelings. Contact Counseling & Psychological Services (415-338-2208) to schedule an appointment. Faculty and Staff should contact Life Matters (1-800-367-7474), the University’s employee assistance program for support.
Face Covering Requirements (April 21, 2020)
In light of health updates issued by the city of San Francisco, members of the San Francisco State University community are required to wear something that covers their nose and mouth when on campus.
Face coverings should be worn when you are:
- Waiting in line at a service desk, counter or in the dining center;
- on the campus BART shuttle (or waiting for it);
- seeking in-person care at Student Health or Counseling and Psychological Services;
- going into any open campus facilities;
- working an essential job that interacts with the public.
Since COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms, cloth face coverings, when combined with physical distancing and hand washing, may prevent the spread of the virus to others when going outside for essential activities. Covering your face is about helping others by limiting the spread of the virus.
Anyone not wearing a face covering in locations where they are required will be asked to comply or leave the facility.
Certain groups are not required to wear face coverings, including:
- anyone who has trouble breathing or is not able to take off a face covering without help;
- those with documented chronic health conditions;
- those who are deaf and use facial and mouth movements as part of communication, may remove their mask while signing.
Campus community members are encouraged to procure or make their own face coverings. The CDC has simple instructions on how to make your own face covering. It is important to follow best practices for wearing and cleaning face coverings. Visit the CDC website for guidelines.
Yes, the University will provide employees required to work on campus with face coverings through their department or unit managers. Masks can be picked up 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Administration 260. To request face coverings for employees outside of these hours or by other means, managers should contact email@example.com.
No, only students living in Residential Life facilities and employees directed by their manager to report in-person for work should come to campus. Remember that SF State continues to offer instruction and most services remotely to limit transmission of the virus.
If you have questions regarding wearing face coverings on campus, please contact the Office of Emergency Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and continue taking care of yourselves.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Department of Public Health
- San Francisco Department of Public Health
- World Health Organization
- Johns Hopkins University real-time dashboard of global coronavirus infection map
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration