Dear SDSU Community,

Since the last SDSU Flex update, and given the rise in COVID-19 cases announced last week, we are providing an update about the pause on in-person instruction and metrics we are assessing to safely manage instruction, research and campus services.

 
 
 
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Very Limited Exceptions to In-Person Pause

As shared last week, in-person instruction is paused through Oct. 4 due to the significant increase in the number and rate of new cases in the larger SDSU student community. This will temporarily reduce the population of students coming to campus out of a proactive care for the health and safety of the full on-campus community, including our residents, and our faculty and staff. As the rate and total number of new cases stabilize and decline, and in consultation with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), we will assess our ability to return to in-person instruction on Oct. 5.

However, in the interim, the university is offering some flexibility to faculty whose programs have very specific accreditation and licensure requirements, usually clinical in nature, and with specific supervision and controls in place. We are being very conservative in exceptions. Those courses that fall under the exception are very limited, many with enrollments of less than eight (8) students, and listed on the Registrar’s site.

These limited number of courses will be able to resume on Thursday, Sept. 10, with strict requirements in place for personal protections, physical distancing and additional limits on the small numbers of faculty and students who can be in any one clinical or laboratory space at once. The majority are graduate-level courses with strict licensure or accreditation requirements on in-person hours, with a few upper division capstone or research-related undergraduate courses. This will ensure graduate, professional, and a number of undergraduate students with select capstone experiences are able to graduate on time and that our research mission may continue.

The university continues to work with county public health officials to monitor COVID-19 conditions and to reduce the number of new student COVID-19 cases. All efforts are aimed at helping to ensure community health as we look toward a safe return to in-person instruction.

 
 
 
 
 

SDSU Remains Open

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has never closed, and we do not have any intention to do so. Many essential services continue, including our instructional and research activities, housing students in residence, including those in isolation and quarantine, and other services that cannot be suspended nor conducted remotely. However, the campus population is limited. Individuals should not be coming to campus if they are not in one of the authorized groups. Recreational facilities and outdoor spaces are not open for general use by unauthorized campus visitors.

SDSU Flex allows for instruction to vary across in-person, hybrid, and virtual delivery so that our campus community can be responsive to unpredictable changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we address cases within our student population.

SDSU will not close based on a predetermined number of positive cases or positivity rate based on the number of COVID-19 cases within our community. We are, however, monitoring global metrics within our community, and others in partnership with HHSA. Each is context-specific and nuanced and include the rate of individual COVID-19 clusters, shifts in public health orders, regional case counts in the San Diego and Imperial counties, the growth rate and number of individuals who are in isolation or in quarantine due to a close contact who tested positive, or our ability to ensure adequate essential serves, to include housing, custodial, and facilities support. These metrics are not absolute nor exhaustive, but all are important.

 
 
 
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COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

Today, HHSA confirmed additional COVID-19 cases within the on- and off-campus student population, bringing the total of confirmed cases across San Diego County to 396 as of Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The number of probable cases is now at four (4). Again, this does not constitute a single, university outbreak, but several clusters of COVID-19 cases. Further, approximately 75 percent of all positive cases reported are among the students who are living off campus and in housing that is not managed by SDSU.

We are projecting that COVID-19 cases will continue to increase in the coming days as both HHSA and SDSU expand testing, and given the delay in the onset of symptoms resulting from exposures prior to this past week. We will continue to provide updates on the COVID-19 site and in the COVID-19 Weekly Digest.

Since we updated our case communications to report confirmed and probable cases dating back to the first day of instruction, no graduate students, faculty or staff members have confirmed positive due to an on-campus transmission. Also, 73 percent of our cases are among the freshman and sophomore population, with the majority being off-campus students.

Because of the increase in cases since instruction began, the university imposed a Stay at Home order for students living on campus, and a COVID-19 advisory for those living in neighborhoods surrounding campus. Students are encouraged not to leave their residences except for essential needs, such as medical care and COVID-19 testing, accessing meals, shopping for necessities such as food/meals and supplies, exercising outdoors (with facial coverings), and traveling for the purposes of work. Both were extended through Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. We did see a significant reduction in activity over the Labor Day weekend, and especially thank those students who continue to comply with the public health order, guidelines and also university policies, all of which are crucial to reducing the spread and positive cases.

 
 
 
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Testing Available

Also, as students continue to rely on testing at Student Health Services, the county is now offering cost-free, no-appointment COVID-19 testing. The testing is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at SDSU's Parking Lot 17 B. The site is open to students and employees.

While we have worked with the county to expand testing, it is important for our community to understand that testing will not reduce your COVID-19 risk. Our individual and group behaviors are most important in reducing the spread. We must all wear a mask, physically distance ourselves from others, avoid gatherings and wash our hands frequently. Until we have reliable treatment options, these are the best options to protect ourselves and others.

As a reminder, if you become aware of a potential violation among students, please report the situation using the COVID-19 Incident Reporting Form. Concerns about student organizations may be submitted using the Student Organization Incident Report Form. Our university is taking very seriously the COVID-19 case rate among our undergraduate student population.

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

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

J. Luke Wood, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity

Libby Skiles, Ed.D.
Student Health Services Director

 
 
 

San Diego State University