Dear Campus Community,
As you may know, the Fresno City Council, today (March 18) urged City of Fresno residents to shelter in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. The announcement, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, March 19, asks people to remain in their homes and away from others as much as possible through March 31, though it may be extended. The announcement allows for essential services to continue, such as doctor’s appointments, picking up medications, grocery shopping or going to work.
The implementation of these shelter-in-place orders will lead to some additional impacts at Fresno State. As you know from the actions we have taken already, we strongly support efforts to slow the spread of infection by increasing social distancing and minimizing gatherings of people.
The immediate impacts for our Fresno State community are detailed below.
Student residents (i.e. those who live on campus) are strongly encouraged to return home as soon as possible, and housing staff will facilitate the quick and orderly departure of students from campus housing. As communicated previously, students who leave will receive a pro-rated refund for housing and meal plans. For students who do not have another primary home, they may remain in Student Housing while adhering to social distancing requirements. Please reach out to the Student Housing Office with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual instruction for classes will continue as planned, beginning Friday, March 20, and continuing throughout the spring semester, ending May 22, 2020. For more information, including preparing for virtual instruction, see yesterday’s campus announcement.
All managers and staff who have been approved to work remotely should do so at this time, or until the “shelter in place” is lifted. For guidance on telecommuting, please see this Technology Services website, or contact your supervisor for further instructions.
While many job responsibilities lend themselves to working from home, other work must be performed physically on campus. Therefore, a limited number of employees will remain on campus in order to provide essential services. The following areas have been identified as essential functions to support virtual instruction, student support and critical campus operations: Admissions and Enrollment Management, Auxiliary Services, Center for Faculty Excellence, College/School Offices (e.g. academic advisers), Dining Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, Faculty Affairs, Farm Laboratory enterprises, Financial Services (including student accounts), Human Resources & Payroll, Library (limited services to support virtual instruction), Public Safety, Student Health and Counseling Center, Student Housing, Student Services (e.g. Financial Aid, Student Cupboard, Services for Students with Disabilities, Registrar and advisers), Technology Services and University Communications. For more details, please click here.
We will continue to assess what essential services require an on-campus presence, and managers will be in contact with employees as additional information becomes available.
Our campus will continue to operate on a limited basis, and most University buildings will be closed and accessible only to those with Fresno State ID card access or a building key. If you will be working on campus, please remember to keep your Fresno State ID card with you at all times. All emergency personnel will remain in place to maintain a safe campus community.
We will continue sending regular updates to keep you informed, but please check your email and the University’s coronavirus website regularly for updates and refer to the FAQs section for guidance.
This is an unprecedented time in our nation’s and our University’s history, and, together, we will work through it as one Fresno State family. The health and safety of our students, staff and faculty remains our main focus, and we will do our best to support you in any way we can.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.
Canceled or postponed events in the College of Arts and Humanities
The following events have been postponed:
- Armenian Studies Program 32nd Annual Banquet, scheduled for March 22 at Fort Washington Country Club. Info: 559.278.2669.
We regret to announce the following public events have been canceled:
- Peach Blossom Festival, scheduled for March 12-13.
- Carmina Burana, scheduled for 8 p.m., Friday, March 13; 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14 and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 15. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Music Department at 559.278.2654 for a refund.
- Sierra Cup Classic – Indoor, scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at the Save Mart Center.
- Symphonic Band Concert, scheduled for 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17 in the Concert Hall.
- Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds, scheduled for March 18 at the University Business Center, Room 191.
- CineCulture: The Condor and the Eagle, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 20 at the Student Recreation Center. The MCJ 179 class will proceed as directed by the instructor.
- Dr. Lawrence R. Sutherland Wind Festival and the GALA Concert, scheduled for Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 23 in the Concert Hall.
- Detroit ‘67, 7:30 p.m., scheduled for March 20 and 21, 2 p.m., March 22, and 7:30 p.m., March 24-28. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Department of Theatre and Dance at 559.278.2216 for a refund.
- A Sudden Making/Reading, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Monday, March 23.
- Learn Portuguese through Brazilian Dance, scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, March 23.
- Taking Sides: Student Debate, scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, March 23.
- Advertising and Public Relations Day, scheduled for 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 24.
- Combos at Wahlberg, scheduled for 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 24 at the Wahlberg Recital Hall. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Music Department at 559.278.2654 for a refund.
- Young Writers’ Conference with Naomi Shihab Nye, scheduled for 9 AM March 25 at Satellite Student Union, for refunds contact email@example.com or 559.278.1569.
- Big Bands at Fresno State, scheduled for 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Music Department at 559.278.2654 for a refund.
- Voicing Ideas, scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, March 26.
- MCJ Student Film Screening, scheduled for 5 p.m., Thursday, March 26.
- World Cultures Celebration, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26.
- Interior Design Student Show, scheduled for 5 p.m., Friday, March 27.
- CineCulture: Anbessa, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 27. The MCJ 179 class will proceed as directed by the instructor.
- Keyboard Concert with Rafal Blechacz, scheduled for March 27 at the Concert Hall. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Info: 559.278.2654.
- Student Composers Recital, scheduled for 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 1 at Wahlberg Recital Hall. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Music Department at 559.278.2654 for a refund.
- Diverse Voices in Contemporary Fiction: Jamel Brinkley, scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at Tower Theatre Lounge.
- Voices in Song – A festival for Treble Choirs, scheduled April 2 and 3 at the Concert Hall. Tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded. Those who purchased tickets in-person should call the Music Department at 559.278.2654 for a refund.
- Canceled: CineCulture – Grab and Run, scheduled for April 3 at the Student Recreation Center. The MCJ 179 class will proceed as directed by the instructor.
- Graphic Design Show Reception, scheduled for 5 p.m., Friday, April 17 at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery. The exhibition will still run from Friday, April 17 to Friday, April 24 during gallery hours.
- CineCulture: What Will Become of Us, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 17 at the Student Recreation Center. The MCJ 179 class will proceed as directed by the instructor.
- Diverse Voices in Contemporary Fiction: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Tower Theatre Lounge.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are following evolving guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as well as state and local public health agencies. Given that many people are concerned about attending large gatherings right now, we felt it was prudent to cancel these events. Related to near-term meetings and events, the campus is evaluating events and meetings on a case-by-case basis for a determination of any potential cancellation or postponement.
Thank you for your understanding. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The following message was distributed to students, faculty and staff at 11:15 a.m., March 17, 2020.
The following message was distributed to students, faculty and staff at 12:45 p.m., March 12, 2020.
Dear Campus Community,
As our University has communicated over the past few weeks, we have been engaged in ongoing planning since the emergence of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. While there are currently no cases of COVID-19 related to our campus, we are temporarily suspending in-person, on-campus classes, effective Monday, March 16, in order to transition to virtual instruction next week. This includes classes offered at our Visalia campus.
This decision was made with an abundance of caution and care for our campus community and after deliberation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, the Academic Senate, the Joint Labor Council, local K-12 and community college leaders and local public health officials, while keeping your well-being and student success in mind.
I encourage you to read the entirety of this message to ensure you have the information needed to anticipate how your schedule may or may not change, whether you are a student, faculty or staff.
To allow our faculty to make final preparations for virtual delivery of instruction, face-to-face classes are canceled from Monday, March 16, through Thursday, March 19. The campus will remain open (see related information below). Virtual instruction will begin on Friday, March 20.
Please note that online classes that have been ongoing since the beginning of the spring semester will continue as scheduled.
Some courses will continue to meet in person between March 16-19 and beyond if alternative instruction is not appropriate, such as laboratory, performing arts and kinesiology courses, and campus farm activities. (Students are to check with their instructors regarding these types of courses.) Accommodations associated with social distancing will be implemented in these courses.
We currently anticipate the conclusion of alternative delivery of instruction and resumption of regular operations on Monday, April 27; however, that may be subject to change depending upon the status of the situation.
Guidance for Students:
- Students should communicate directly with their professors or department chairs if they have specific questions or concerns related to projects, presentations, exams, coursework, etc.
- With the exception of fully online courses, all deliverables (homework/in-class assignments) previously due during the closure (March 16-19) will be rescheduled by your professors to be due after March 19. We request that students check in with their professors for specific guidance.
- Online assignments due between March 16-19 that are part of in-person classes will also be suspended and may be rescheduled.
- Despite these temporary changes, I strongly encourage students to continue to be engaged in their academic success by continuing to study, review course materials and prepare assignments with the end goal of being prepared to resume full academic activity on Friday, March 20.
- Student employees will be allowed to work on campus during this time period and should contact their supervisors for any specific questions.
- Consistent with the Mountain West Conference’s announcement this morning, Fresno State athletics will suspend all competitions for the remainder of the spring season.
- The Student Cupboard will remain open to continue providing food and essential hygiene items for students in need.
- For students who have questions that are not academic related, a dedicated email address has been established in the Office of the Dean of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org. (We ask that only enrolled students use this resource.)
- Club sports and intramural events have been suspended through April 27.
Guidance for Faculty:
We encourage faculty to plan for the transition and use any resources they need and reach out to the Center for Faculty Excellence for assistance. In addition, the CFE will send a communication today to faculty providing additional resources. Students’ academic standing will not be affected due to this cancellation, and no additional class days will be added.
Guidance for Staff:
Campus will remain open for non-academic business as usual. Staff and MPP employees should report to work during this period. If you become ill with flu-like symptoms or are unable to come to work, please advise your supervisor as usual.
As a reminder to everyone, the campus is not closing. Campus offices and buildings will remain open, including student housing, dining services and the Student Health and Counseling Center. Students who need computers or WiFi will find appropriate resources on campus in the Madden Library, the DISCOVERe Center and computer labs.
Our Child Care Centers (Programs for Children) for students, faculty and staff will remain open.
We understand that many community members are concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available:
- Students can contact the Student Health and Counseling Center for a range of services.
- For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program is available at 800.367.7474.
We know there will be additional questions, and we will continue sending regular updates to keep you informed. Please check your email and the University’s COVID-19 website regularly.
Please remember that our main focus is the health and safety of our campus community, and that our mission remains empowering every student for success. Now more than ever, our students will need our support during this time.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.
The following message was distributed to students, faculty and staff at 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 10.
Update on instruction, events and travel in light of COVID-19
Dear Colleagues and Students,
We are writing to you today on guidance provided by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as well as state and local public health officials, regarding classroom instruction, near-term large events and travel, both domestic and international. We encourage you to read the entirety of this message to have the full context for decisions being made, based on information we have as of this morning.
Current Local Status
At this time (3 p.m. March 10), per the Fresno County Department of Public Health, there has been one confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fresno County. This is a travel-related case and was not community acquired. There is no immediate threat to the general public, and the FCDPH is not recommending cancellation of events or closure of schools or buildings at this time.
With the above noted in mind, we are being diligent about how best to protect our University community. We are following evolving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as well as state and local public health agencies.
Guidance Regarding Classroom Teaching
In an effort to protect the campus community in the event of widespread transmission of infectious disease, it might become necessary for campus leadership to consider temporary reduction or alteration of classroom instruction. Such reduction or alteration, if necessary, could involve delivering as much of the curriculum and academic advising as possible through non-face-to-face methods, including the use of technology to deliver instruction and interact with students.
In close coordination with the Academic Senate and the collective bargaining unit, faculty are developing Contingency Instruction Plans, including the possibility of moving to virtual instruction for some or all lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings. The provost will instruct deans to notify students and faculty should we transition to virtual instruction.
Guidance for Near-Term Events and Meetings
Related to near-term meetings and events, the Chancellor’s Office has encouraged campuses to cancel or reschedule events and meetings that are less essential and are not time-sensitive in nature. The campus will be evaluating events and meetings on a case-by-case basis for a determination of any potential cancellation or postponement.
Several factors including alternative modalities, the necessity for air travel, susceptibility for the audience to be at increased risk for infection by COVID-19 (based on underlying health conditions) and current guidance from local health departments should be considered.
A separate communication will be forthcoming later today (March 10) to managers and department chairs who may need more specific information about near-term events and meetings scheduled within the next two weeks.
Travel — Domestic and International
While we continue following the CDC warning-level guidelines the current rapidly changing environment makes it very difficult to predict what the global infection map will look like in the near future. It is highly likely that countries in Europe and Asia, as well as certain regions the U.S., will see continuing escalation in infection that will impact travel arrangements we are making today.
Therefore, per the CSU Chancellor’s Office, effective immediately, campuses and their auxiliary organizations will suspend all international and non-essential domestic travel from now through May 31. Future travel, including summer and fall, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Please note the provost and other vice presidents will make determinations about what constitutes non-essential domestic travel and provide exemptions with respect to essential travel to countries that are not at the CDC Warning Level 3.
The health and safety of all members of the CSU community is always the University’s foremost priority. All campuses, including Fresno State, have pandemic plans as well as continuity of business operations plans to utilize in the event of a communicable disease outbreak in their respective regions.
As we continue to monitor the situation, we will provide updates on the University’s website: http://fresnostate.edu/coronavirus as well as by email when appropriate.
I’m confident that our Fresno State family will remain strong, unified and focused on the greater good as we manage this fluid situation.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.
Student Health and Spring Break Advisory re: COVID-19
The following message was distributed to students on Sunday, March 8.
I am following up on the campuswide email you received Saturday evening (March 7) from President Castro, after the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fresno County.
Per the FCDPH, the patient is an elderly person, with a mild respiratory infection, and is expected to recover fully. This is a travel-related case and was not community-acquired.
At this time (8:30 p.m. 3/8/20), per the FCDPH, the patient is not believed to be affiliated with the Fresno State community.
Also, at this time, the FCDPH says there is no immediate threat to the general public, and the FCDPH is not recommending cancellation of events, closure of schools or buildings at this time.
We will follow the direction of the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the CSU Chancellor’s Office before we make any decisions regarding significant changes to teaching continuity and campus operations. Consistent with other California public universities who have had confirmed cases in their county, we are not planning to cancel classes or suspend or modify operations at this time.
While Fresno State’s leaders continue to be guided in our actions by medical professionals and public-health guidance, I believe it is important that you know what you can do to stay healthy and remain focused on your studies.
Please continue to take the preventive steps we have been encouraging:
- Stay home when sick with flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever with coughing or difficulty breathing/shortness of breath);
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds each time;
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow; and
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
If you are concerned about any health symptoms you may be experiencing, please contact the Student Health and Counseling Center at the earliest opportunity. (Please call 559.278.2734 before coming to the center.)
If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your health care provider or the Student Health and Counseling Center if you feel you need to, not attending class if contagious, and in the event you miss class due to illness, working with your instructor on any necessary arrangements for making up coursework. Faculty have been asked to be prepared to accommodate students who are requesting to stay home due to illness, as described above, including clearly communicating opportunities and expectations around alternative assignments or make-up work.
TRAVEL DURING SPRING BREAK
As we approach the upcoming spring break (April 6-10), personal travel plans may be part of your activities, and we would like to remind you of the serious situation with COVID-19 as it quickly evolves.
- All students (and faculty and staff) are strongly advised against all international travel – including popular spring break destinations such as Cabo San Lucas and Cancun in Mexico.
- Flight cancellations, quarantines and border closures have been implemented by several countries on short notice.
- If you travel internationally, be prepared for mandatory health screenings, flight cancellations or isolation measures — including the possibility of a required 14-day self-isolation.
- Students, faculty and staff returning from outside the U.S. may be subject to screening and possible self-isolation requirements before returning to campus locations.
- Students, faculty and staff who are unable to return to the U.S. may encounter disruptions to their studies due to travel delays or self-isolation requirements.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will share more information about COVID-19 as it becomes available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Fresno County Department of Public Health. Updates will be posted to https://fresnostate.edu/coronavirus.
YOUR ROLE IN BEING INFORMED AND RESPECTFUL
I encourage you to continue being respectful of others by not engaging in rumors or speculation and not making assumptions about someone’s health status based on their ethnicity, race or national origin. This is a time to extend compassion and kindness to others during what is, for many in our community, a time of stress and uncertainty.
Lastly, it is important that you rely on and share trusted sources of information regarding COVID-19 such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Fresno County Department of Public Health. In addition, please check the University’s Coronavirus webpage and the Frequently Asked Questions, as additional information is added to the University’s webpage regularly.
Carolyn Coon, Ph.D.
Dean of Students and Acting Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Coronavirus Update — Confirmed Case in Fresno County
March 7, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
As you may be aware, today (March 7) the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fresno County. This is a travel-related case and was not community-acquired. Two travelers presented themselves for testing after returning from a Grand Princess cruise on March 6, 2020. One (1) of these tests has returned as a presumptive positive case. The family of this individual is self-monitoring with FCPDH oversight at this time.
At this time, the FCDPH says there is no immediate threat to the general public, and the FCDPH is not recommending cancellation of events, closure of schools, or buildings at this time.
At this time, per the FCDPH, neither of the travelers are believed to be affiliated with the Fresno State community.
Since the status of classes and campus operations may be on people’s minds as they learn of the first confirmed case in Fresno County (not on campus), we want to reiterate a few key points made in previous campus messages.
- Fresno State has an Incident Response Team that’s closely monitoring the situation. This team is composed of professionals from across campus, including individuals with expertise in public health and crisis management. Its main purpose is to closely assess the current risk to our community and to recommend proactive actions the University should take in response to this pressing issue.
- We have campus preparedness plans and procedures in place in the event of any impact or disruption to campus operations.
- As the situation evolves, we remain focused on balancing two imperatives: ensuring that we take prudent precautions to protect our community, while continuing our daily education and research activities in ways that are appropriate under the circumstances.
- We will follow the direction of the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the CSU Chancellor’s Office before we make any decisions regarding significant changes to teaching continuity and campus operations. Consistent with other California public universities who have had confirmed cases in their county, we are not planning to cancel classes or suspend or modify operations at this time.
- The University is in regular contact with the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH), and has protocols in place with them to ensure quick and decisive communication and action as needed. We continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health (through FCDPH).
- The University’s custodial staff have implemented a cleaning protocol, including the use of disinfectants, and we have added staff dedicated to disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. The Student Health Center also adheres to a high standard of infection control and prevention. Counters and waiting areas are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
- We encourage you to check the Fresno State Coronavirus Information webpage frequently to keep you updated on the University’s preparedness and status. Beyond health tips, travel advisories and related information, we also answer frequently asked questions. Given the fluid nature of the situation, please check back frequently to the webpage for updated information.
Beyond the University’s preparedness, here are actions that you can take to ensure we all stay as healthy as possible:
Practice daily preventative care:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for 20 seconds at a time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick, are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms (such as fever with coughing or difficulty breathing/shortness of breath).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
- Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
- If you have not received your annual flu shot, please schedule one with your provider to help protect yourself against the seasonal flu.
- While the progression of COVID-19 is still emerging, the CDC is reporting that for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
Again, we are taking all necessary precautions and are working with public health department officials.
We ask you to be kind and respectful to one another, as our Principles of Community guide our behaviors and interactions. This is a time to offer support, not to fall into unwarranted assumptions, much less the prejudice and bias that have been reported elsewhere.
Lastly, as we continue to monitor the situation, we will provide updates on the University’s website: http://fresnostate.edu/coronavirus/ as well as by email when appropriate.
We thank every member of our community for your ongoing support and collaboration as we continue to assess the effects of COVID-19 and determine our path forward.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.