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Fresno State announces COVID plans for fall 2020

Fresno State announces COVID plans for fall 2020

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FRESNO – Bulldogs who are starting college or returning to the California State University, Fresno, campus will experience a combination of in-person and virtual learning this fall, according to a press release issued by Fresno State.

The university announced this and other measures that will guide semester instruction and campus life as the CSU system takes steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. A major change will be limiting the number of people on campus, a step that’s consistent with a directive from the California State University system.

“This plan upholds our ability to provide high-quality educational experiences and steady academic progression for our talented students while also mitigating the risk of infection among our campus community members and their families,” President Joseph I. Castro said. “We very much look forward to another strong academic year, as we continue to boldly educate and empower our students for success.”

The campus plan, approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, allows for a limited daily campus population of about 2,200 students, faculty and staff during the fall semester. Of that number, about 1,340 students will be enrolled in 128 on-campus courses. As compared to the fall of 2019, Fresno State offered 4,168 on-campus course sections for 24,139 students then.

Optional baseline COVID-19 testing will be offered and highly encouraged to all students, faculty and staff who will return to campus in the fall. Daily health screenings and temperature checks will also be conducted.

A 19-member task force made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators collaboratively developed the plan for the fall semester, 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.

As the campus is repopulated, there will be updated protocols for staff, faculty, researchers and students who will be on campus.

Here are the key points of the plan for the fall semester at Fresno State:

Testing and screening: In collaboration with a local health care partner, the campus will offer (and strongly encourage) baseline COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff who will be on campus for the fall 2020 semester. The plan also includes daily health-screenings and temperature checks. More details to follow.

Face coverings: To reduce possible exposure to COVID-19 and to help prevent the spread of the virus, face masks or cloth face coverings are required to be worn in public spaces on campus and during in-person classes, consistent with the governor’s order and updated state public-health guidelines.

Facility considerations: To protect the health of all who are on campus, the facilities team has developed a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting schedule for all rooms used for in-person courses, in accordance with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Classrooms will be cleaned after each course section.

Other considerations include: Space seating/desks at least six feet apart, and removing or taping off seats in fixed-seating lecture halls. Typical classroom capacity has been reduced by about 70 percent to 80 percent to accommodate proper physical distancing.

Appropriate signage will be placed on all building entry doors and individual rooms being used for in-person courses to ensure students and faculty know how to proceed once they enter. Hand-sanitizer stations will be placed at all building entrances where in-person courses will be held. Shared items will be replaced with single-use or no-touch options.

Academic instruction: Most fall 2020 courses will be conducted virtually, as previously announced on May 12 and consistent with the CSU system’s directive. The University has identified 128 courses as essential, meaning they cannot be delivered virtually in the most effective way. These courses include clinical labs, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lab courses and select performance courses.

All other courses will be conducted virtually. More than 700 faculty members will participate this summer in training programs offered through the Center for Faculty Excellence to enhance virtual teaching and learning.

University housing and dining: In order to maintain proper physical distancing, and for the health and well-being of our students, rooms will be assigned as single occupancy for an estimated 560 residents (a 42 percent reduction compared to fall 2019). Priority will be provided for students who are part of the Renaissance Scholars Program, the Educational Opportunity Program and those who are housing insecure. All public-health guidelines will be followed, including the wearing of facial coverings.

The University Dining Hall will reopen for residents only. There will be limited retail dining operations open to Fresno State students, faculty and staff only, not the general public.

Henry Madden Library: A limited area of the first floor of the Henry Madden Library will open for students who are on campus for in-person classes, providing access to the service desk, DISCOVERe Hub and a controlled study area. Book-stack access will be limited to library staff who will retrieve items for students/faculty who place orders online. The library will not be available for studying to students who are not taking in-person classes, but services, such as book lending, will continue by appointment for the general student population.

Technology support: Students will be able to pick up Tech Lending equipment by appointment. The University is prepared to provide laptops, tablets and hotspots to incoming freshmen and transfer students who need access to technology for remote learning. Returning students will continue to have access to technology that was issued to them during the spring 2020 semester.

Events: All in-person University events are canceled or postponed until Aug. 1 and will be reevaluated at that time.

Athletics: The final plan for fall 2020 sports practices and competitions is pending further guidance from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Public Health, the Mountain West Conference and the CSU Chancellor’s Office. The campus expects a decision later this summer.

Given that the pandemic is a fluid situation, University leadership will continue to review and adjust plans and services, as necessary. In addition, the University is prepared for the possibility that all courses may need to return to virtual instruction at any point during the fall semester.

Additional details can be found online at http://fresnostate.edu/president/fall2020/index.html.

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