President's Office

Starting Spring Semester in Continued Virtual Learning

December 16, 2020

To the Campus Community,

As the last days of 2020 approach, I applaud the creativity, tenacity and resilience of our students, faculty and staff. While brighter times are ahead of us with the very promising news about the start of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the intensive care unit capacity in Los Angeles County is dangerously low. With holiday gatherings driving this latest surge of cases, the current threat to our collective health and safety has never been more apparent.

This is why, in an effort to preserve the safety of our campus and the broader community, CSUN’s period of fully virtual learning and remote working has been extended until February 15, 2021. We will start the spring semester as scheduled with classes beginning on January 25 in our current fully virtual environment with only limited, approved, critical activities and work on campus. On February 15, we expect that the small number of classes with an in-person component will be able to return to campus. The majority of spring classes are scheduled to be fully virtual and will remain in this mode all semester.

Be assured that we are monitoring and regularly re-evaluating public health conditions as they relate to our campus, and we will return to limited face-to-face learning and operations when it is safe to do so, especially for our high-impact courses and labs that require face-to-face experiences. Please visit our CSUN as One planning website for more information. Meanwhile, though I hope you can all disconnect over the holiday break, we will communicate if circumstances change so please stay attuned to your email.

Again, I am optimistic that we will be able to flatten the curve of cases and eventually reach a level that allows us to return to a more typical mode. The California State University has based its decisions on science and data since the very beginning of the pandemic. Now, again based on science and guidance from public health officials, the CSU has already indicated that we anticipate a return to in-person courses for fall 2021.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White is hosting a conversation with Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CSU presidents from noon to 12:45 p.m. Friday, December 18, that will be livestreamed at I hope you will be able to watch the conversation and learn more from this national health expert.

In addition to starting the spring semester fully virtual, we are also planning additional measures to maximize the health and safety of the campus community when limited face-to-face learning and operations resume. This includes significantly expanded COVID-19 testing for the limited number of faculty, staff and students who are coming to campus. Protocols for testing and contact notifications are being reviewed and will be announced when finalized.

In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to download and activate the COVID-19 tracing app CA Notify that alerts you following potential exposure to COVID-19. There are strong privacy measures in place, and the app is available for free so there is no reason not to take this step to protect your health and contribute to a safer community for all of us. We should all continue to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot physical distance with those outside our household and wash our hands frequently. By remaining at home and by observing health protocols, in time we will slow the spread of COVID-19 and see a return to the familiar. We appreciate all the measures students, faculty and staff have taken to keep the campus and greater CSUN community healthy and safe.

CSUN’s campus remains open for critical operations including Student Housing and related food service, the Klotz Student Health Center (please call 818-677-3666 for an appointment), the CSUN Food Pantry, Information Technology in support of virtual and alternate learning modalities, maintenance of laboratories conducting research, physical plant management, fiscal, payroll and other operations as approved by the appropriate vice president, and services to ensure the physical safety and security of campus.

As the fall semester draws to a close, congratulations to everyone for making it through finals and a challenging year. Particularly for our students, your fortitude and determination now set the foundation for opportunity and success in the future. Even under our current circumstances, the coming new year marks both the end to an extraordinary year and a new beginning. Stay home, stay safe and be well.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.