Dear faculty colleagues:

Yesterday, the SDSU Senate voted 44 - 28 (with seven abstaining) to implement an emergency change to the spring 2021 academic calendar. The change results in spreading four of the five days for spring recess over the semester as new “rest and recovery” days, as well as retaining observance of the fifth César Chávez Day in March.

Through this approved change, San Diego State University joins many other higher education institutions nationwide that have made similar and difficult decisions in the service of protecting public health. Public health experts — both those on faculty at SDSU and with the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) — endorsed this one-time calendar change. It is an important and appropriate change in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our state and across the nation, and as projections indicate that concerning case rates will continue through the spring.

This calendar change, which will be implemented only for spring 2021, is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 20: First day of classes
  • Friday, Feb. 12: Rest and recovery day
  • Monday, March 8: Rest and recovery day
  • Tuesday, March 30: Rest and recovery day
  • Wednesday, March 31: Observance of César Chávez Day (Campus closed)
  • Thursday, April 15: Rest and recovery day
  • Thursday, May 6, 2021: Last day of classes
  • Friday, May 7, through Thursday, May 13: Final examinations to be held
  • Friday, May 21: Last day of spring semester, grades due from instructors (11 p.m. deadline)

Rest and Recovery Days: No Instruction or Assignments

Please note that the University Senate also approved language indicating that on “rest and recovery” days there will be no instruction, no assignments, no deadlines, and no exams, and that office hours, meetings, and committee obligations will also be suspended.

As we plan for spring 2021, it is essential that each of us — whether we are faculty creating course syllabi, chairs leading departments, or committees planning meeting schedules — do the following:

  • Honor this language and the decision of our faculty colleagues, who drew on current research and science.

  • Clearly mark all course syllabi with the rest and recovery days, and indicate that students are not expected to undertake course-related work on these days.

  • For chairs and directors, reinforce the message with faculty that the university both expects them to adhere to this guidance and supports them in doing so.

Here’s why rest and recovery days are so critical: Over the last 10 months, each member of the SDSU community has extended themselves in unprecedented ways. Faculty have pivoted operations, learned entirely new ways of teaching, endeavored to preserve academic integrity in our classrooms, developed novel ways to continue collaborative research with safety in mind, and offered individual and group support to students who themselves are stretched to their limits. Many have done so while caring for families and other loved ones, and also while educating their own children at home.

Such efforts undertaken for months on end inevitably impact each of us and the relationships that sustain our campus community. Rest and recovery are essential to repairing these impacts so that we can continue to work effectively and compassionately with one another. Our shared mission as a university community is one of enduring value; extending consideration and care to ourselves and each other now is essential to our long-term mission.

For this reason, in addition to implementing these changes in the academic calendar, I am asking Deans, Chairs, and Directors to engage as soon as possible in conversation with faculty about any non-essential meetings and tasks planned for the next few weeks that may be reasonably postponed until the spring semester. As we approach winter break, it is right that we allow our campus community to focus on essential operations, rest, and care for our families. Let us extend to each other as colleagues the same compassion and flexibility we would hope to extend to our students during this difficult time.


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

San Diego State University
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