Dear SDSU Community,

The California Department of Public Health and County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) have each provided updated guidance for the state’s colleges and universities for the Fall 2020 semester. As we prepare to begin instruction on Monday, Aug. 24, I am confident that we are prepared to embark on this new academic year with the health and safety of our community and student success as our most prominent priorities.

Individual and community health are a shared responsibility. Given current San Diego and Imperial County data, it is likely that additional COVID-19 cases will occur within the SDSU community. The public health guidance is that, along with key efforts to minimize the spread, we should take additional steps and inform our communities about general prevention. To protect ourselves, we must join in a unified, community effort.

Over the last months in preparation for the fall, we have adopted new policies and practices in support of community wellbeing. Please read this message carefully, as it contains critical information for students, faculty and staff, whether you will be on or off campus this fall. Also, continue to refer to the university’s COVID-19 site for information, updates and additional guidance.

 
 
 
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Face Coverings Required,
Campus Access Restricted

The facial covering requirement is newly adopted at SDSU. All on campus or any SDSU property will be required to wear a facial covering, with very limited exceptions. Also, for the protection and the wellbeing of others, never gather in close quarters for breaks, meals, studying or any other purpose. And it is an imperative that no one is on campus if they are ill. If you are sick, stay home and seek medical attention as needed.

Our university has established other COVID-19 specific policies for students and employees and have adopted efforts in support of community health:

  • The on-campus population is significantly reduced to essential personnel and those here for academic or research purposes only. Employees who have been and can telework are encouraged to do so through December 2020, unless otherwise discussed within the respective units.

  • To ensure clear awareness of expected behaviors, signage has been created and distributed throughout campus. Health and safety protocols have been distributed in residential communities, labs, classrooms, dining facilities and elsewhere.

  • Campus-wide cleaning and disinfecting guidelines have been enhanced, and additional disinfectant supplies and hand sanitizer have been distributed in common areas, classrooms, library locations, labs and offices.

  • Spaces have been modified to encourage physical distancing. Also, building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been improved, including upgrades to filters for increased fresh air distribution in our facilities.

These are just some of the changes on our campus. With them, we are each reminded to take great care when we are in public and around others.

 
 
 
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COVID-19 Testing

I am pleased to share that COVID-19 testing will be available for all enrolled students at SDSU and those visiting from SDSU Imperial Valley through Student Health Services. Appointments are required, and students must wear a facial covering and practice physical distancing for testing.

Also, in service to the San Diego region and to help slow the spread of the pandemic, our campus is hosting a County of San Diego-operated, drive-up coronavirus testing site in parking lot 17B at 6200 Alvarado Road. This is not a walk-up site; patients must remain in their vehicles during testing. Appointments, open to students and employees, are required and available through the HHSA testing website. Those at SDSU Imperial Valley have access to testing via the Imperial County testing site or through their medical provider.

 
 
 
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Reporting a Positive COVID-19 Test

If you become aware of any students, faculty and staff on campus who tests positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please inform our public health professionals by using the COVID-19 Reporting Form online (personal information will remain private). Also, our specialists are tracking COVID-19 cases within our community as defined by our case communications protocol, and will be posting on the site details about positive cases that occur on campus.

 
 
 
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Library Resources

The SDSU Library is here for you! Beginning Monday, Aug. 24, the library will reopen its “24/7 Area” with limited hours and only to current SDSU students, faculty, and staff. Respecting public health orders and encouraging physical distancing, library users will be required to swipe their Red IDs to enter. If you need to check out books or other circulating materials (including ILL), students, faculty and staff are to use the Domeside Pickup service. This library space will continue to be accessible during periods when San Diego County remains off of the California Coronavirus Watch List, and changes will likely occur to indoor library operations as a result throughout the Fall semester. Any change in hours or access will be communicated to students, faculty and staff, and posted on the SDSU Library website. The library's digital resources and services, including 24/7 access to digital collections, remain available through the library web site.

While the SDSU Imperial Valley will not be physically open, the library will be offering services and direct assistance to students, faculty and staff virtually. Those who require assistance from the SDSU Imperial Valley Library should email the team directly at [email protected], or visit its website.

 
 
 
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On Campus Expectations, Health Pledge

Everyone on campus is expected to do their part to help stop the spread of the virus. We have provided cleaning supplies for students, faculty and staff to clean their immediate areas, to include desks, tabletop surfaces, chairs, phones, high touch locations, and other shared equipment before and after use. This will include disinfecting any equipment or furniture in classrooms and labs in between classes.

This week, we have nearly completed COVID-19 protocol and guidance training of all employees, including student employees, who will be on campus. For those who will be on campus this fall, we invite you to sign the SDSU Health Commitment. This voluntary pledge is an individual commitment to taking action to ensure personal wellbeing and community health.

 
 
 
 

In Closing

Although we will not be physically present together in ways that we are familiar, I encourage everyone to come together through action: wear a facial covering, wash your hands, adhere to physical distancing guidelines, and follow all county, state and federal orders. The success of this year will depend on all of us working in sync.

Finally, I ask that you join me in thanking Dr. Wilma Wooten, a SDSU alumna, and the entire HHSA. Wooten and her team at the County have been integral partners for our SDSU community to help us navigate these unprecedented times. We continue to lean on them as we ensure the safety and wellbeing of our SDSU family remain a top priority.

I also give gratitude to the teams at Facilities Services, Office of Housing Administration, Residential Education Office, University Police Department, the IT Division, and Student Health Services. I send appreciation to Hala Madanat, the School of Public Health director and our new Interim Vice President for Research, and her team. These individuals are on the front line, offering needed assistance to help our campus and broader community to be safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

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

 
 

San Diego State University