San Diego State University to move nearly all classes online for “two weeks”

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Here we go again… San Diego State University has announced that they will move nearly all of their classes online for two weeks to start the Spring 2022 semester. The semester, scheduled to start Jan. 19, will remain virtual through at least Feb. 4. Return to in-person instruction is scheduled for Feb. 7.

“The temporary start in the virtual space will allow the January case spike to subside, and also provide a window for those who recently received their COVID-19 booster an additional two-week period for it to take full effect,” read a joint letter by SDSU President Adela de la Torre, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Salvador Hector Ochoa and Interim Director of the School of Public Health Eyal Oren.

All students, faculty and staff eligible for the COVID-19 booster will be required to have their booster on file in HealthConnect by Jan. 18 to be considered fully vaccinated, according to guidelines announced last month by the California State University system. The Jan. 18 deadline remains in place, SDSU said.

SDSU campuses will remain open during the two-week virtual period, but nearly all classes and labs will remain remote with a few in-person exceptions.

The school claims the decision was made to keep their students safe, even though they already have a vaccination or weekly testing mandate for their students, in accordance with the state of California.

San Diego State also updated COVID-19 guidelines on Tuesday for those attending basketball games at the university’s Viejas Arena. All guests age 2 and older are required to present either proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccine series or a negative COVID-19 test. Starting Jan. 18, all people eligible for the COVID-19 booster will be required to show proof of the booster in order to qualify as having completed the COVID-19 vaccine series.

SDSU is offering game-day antigen testing for basketball guests via Phamatech. Tests will cost $35, paid online when signing up.

Similarly, UC San Diego began a planned two weeks of remote-only classes Monday in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Students received an email Wednesday morning informing them of the decision.

The email sent to students from SDSU President Adela de la Torre, Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa, Director Eyal Oren, School of Public Health, is below:

Dear SDSU Community,

We are excited to welcome you back for a strong in-person spring semester. As we shared at the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year, we have a variety of safeguards in place as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic: ample available testing, high COVID-19 vaccination rates, masking, and continued consultation with public health experts.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency anticipates a post-holiday spike with the Omicron variant in mid-January. Fortunately, with our robust monitoring safeguards in place, we are able to respond accordingly to protect and ensure a successful spring 2022.

As a proactive measure in response to this public health modeling, during the first two weeks of the spring semester, Jan. 19 through Friday, Feb. 4, instruction will be virtual with some minor exceptions. Our normal in-person course schedule will resume as planned on Monday, Feb. 7.

The temporary start in the virtual space will allow the January case spike to subside, and also provide a window for those who recently received their COVID-19 booster an additional two-week period for it to take full effect.

It is important to note that during this two week period of virtual instruction our campuses remain open.

As a reminder, and as announced last month by the California State University system, all students, faculty and staff, (including auxiliary employees) eligible for the COVID-19 booster will be required to have their booster on file in HealtheConnect by Tuesday, Jan. 18 to be considered fully vaccinated. The Jan. 18 deadline remains in place. Thank you to the nearly 10,000 SDSU community members who have already uploaded their boosters!

For Students:

  • Nearly all classes and labs will meet virtually from Jan. 19 through Feb. 4. If you are enrolled in a specialized course which will have in-person activities during that window, you will receive an email from your instructor. Students should monitor email and Canvas for messages from their professors.
  • We strongly encourage all residential students to delay returning to campus until Feb. 5 or 6 if they are able to do so. However, on-campus housing will continue to be open as scheduled for students who are unable to delay their return. Residential communities will reopen for the spring semester on Jan. 17, as scheduled. Additional information regarding on-campus housing will be shared with residential students in a follow-up communication.
  • Our campus remains open, and day-to-day services are still available, including Student Health Services, Counseling & Psychological Services, and the University Library.

For Faculty and Staff: 

  • Faculty may petition their Dean this week for approval to teach in-person for the first two weeks of the spring 2022 semester. If approved, faculty will need to provide virtual options for any students who request to learn virtually for the first two weeks of the spring 2022 semester.
  • We are pleased to offer telework flexibility for many employees through Jan. 31. Faculty and staff whose job duties can be successfully achieved through telework assignments will have the option to work remotely through Jan. 31. Faculty and staff who elect to telework through the month of January but are not otherwise approved for ongoing telework should plan to return to on-campus work by Feb. 1.
  • For those who would like to work remotely, on a full-time or partial basis this month, employees should work with their managers. This will facilitate determining which job duties can be performed remotely and to create schedules that allow remote work and continuity of campus operations. Auxiliary employees should work directly with their managers and respective HR departments.
  • Faculty and staff whose positions cannot be performed remotely, or who otherwise choose to return to on-campus work in January, should continue to follow campus health and safety protocols, including use of facial coverings, compliance with campus vaccination and testing requirements, and enhanced cleaning. Faculty and staff are encouraged to hold meetings via Zoom during this period of time and avoid large gatherings on-and-off campus.
  • This announcement should not impact faculty’s ability to continue to access their laboratories to perform their research. For research labs, we recommend faculty review staffing needs and only return staff and students to campus during this period who are deemed critical to the lab operations.

On-Campus COVID-19 Testing 

COVID-19 testing remains available for students, faculty and staff through SDSU’s Student Health Services (SHS). An appointment is required, but same-day appointments are often available. Information on how to schedule an appointment can be found on the dedicated SHS COVID-19 Care page.

COVID-19 test kits are also available for SDSU students, faculty and staff (including auxiliary employees with RedIDs) at vending machine locations across SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley. Non-residential vending machine locations can be found using the interactive campus map.

Information about other San Diego County-run testing locations and Imperial County test sites is available online.

In Closing

The health and safety of our entire campus community remains paramount, and we remain incredibly proud of our extremely high COVID-19 vaccination rates among our students, faculty and staff. With these proactive measures in place, we can safely and successfully enter into the start of the spring 2022 semester together.

Adela de la Torre, Ph.D. 
San Diego State University President

Salvador Hector Ochoa, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Eyal Oren, Ph.D.
Interim Director, School of Public Health

 

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Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Health, Local San Diego News, Politics