Coronavirus threat sends CSUSM online only

The spread of the coronavirus has forced CSUSM to cancel all university-sponsored events through the end of April./Alan Brown

Cal State San Marcos has begun the transition to virtual instruction for the rest of the spring semester as the university responds to the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting daily life in ways big and small around the world.  

During a four-day transitionary period, from Monday, March 16 through Thursday, March 19, there will be no in-person classes at CSUSM or CSUSM at Temecula, and courses that are currently offered online will continue as usual.

Starting on Friday, March 20, classes will be conducted remotely for the remainder of the semester, including final exams. During this period, the campus will remain open, but students and faculty can expect reduced operations as departments and facilities implement flexible or rotating work schedules.

As of the morning of Friday, March 13, no CSUSM employees or students are reported to have COVID-19, the disease associated with this coronavirus. But university leaders stressed that this step is being taken out of an abundance of caution because of the rapid spread of the virus.

“We understand how difficult this time is for our campus community,” CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt. “This certainly is not how anyone could have imagined the spring semester unfolding. But in our meetings over the last couple of days with students, faculty and staff, it’s clear that we’re in this together and dealing with the situation with the positive spirit and compassion that I’ve come to expect from our campus. We deeply appreciate the work everyone is doing as we navigate this disruption together as best we can.”

On Thursday, it was announced that there are now five confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Diego County. All colleges and universities in the county have made or are in the process of making the transition to virtual instruction

On Friday morning, San Diego Unified School District, one of the largest districts in California, said it will close all its schools effective Monday, March 16, with a goal of reopening on April 6 as conditions warrant. Several other districts in North County followed suit later in the day, including San Marcos Unified with a preliminary closure starting Monday.

At CSUSM, all university-sponsored events through the end of April have been canceled, and events on May 1 or later will be evaluated at a later date. As of now, CSUSM still plans to hold commencement, which is scheduled for May 15-16.

“Flattening the curve”/CSUSM

In response to the unprecedented challenge of shifting all instruction to a virtual model in the middle of a semester, the Faculty Center will be offering drop-in hours during the transition period next week for faculty to receive help from colleagues who are Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) reviewers.

QLT reviewers are CSUSM faculty who have successfully taught online and have been certified to review online courses. Additionally, Academic Technology Services is holding workshops on Cougar Courses and Microsoft Teams over the next few weeks.

“This is an unprecedented scenario for our university and others, and we know it poses tremendous challenges for our faculty,” said Ranjeeta Basu, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are committed to helping faculty during this transition and ensuring that they have the right tools to be successful.”

CSUSM students naturally are left with a host of questions during this difficult time. For students who live in University Village Apartments or The QUAD, both will remain open for those who would like to stay. For anyone who prefers to leave given the change to virtual instruction, they have the option to terminate their housing license with no fee.

The deadline to indicate intent to stay or move is Friday, March 20 by filling out this form. Those who plan to move out should plan to do so between Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, April 5.

More answers to housing questions can be found here.

Students who paid for parking permits can request refunds on a prorated basis by filling out this form, but are reminded that the campus will remain open with available services and that the permit will no longer be valid once a refund is processed. Future visits to campus would require a day pass.

For students who need a place to study or access to certain technology, Kellogg Library will remain open with reduced hours during the period of virtual instruction. Those hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students who feel ill with a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath are urged to call their medical provider or Student Health and Counseling Services at 760-750-4915 and ask to speak to a nurse or medical provider for further guidance. Another valuable resource for students is the Cougar Care Network, which can be reached at [email protected] or 760-750-7627.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus situation at CSUSM, visit the university’s COVID-19 website. Any additional questions can be emailed to [email protected].

Reminders about habits that can reduce the potential threat of the coronavirus have been posted throughout campus./Alan Brown

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Brian Hiro, CSUSM communications specialist prepared this report that was used by permission. For more, contact: [email protected] | Office: 760-750-7306.

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