April 10, 2020
To the Campus Community:
As we conclude our third week with virtual learning, I am struck both by how much routine can drive our daily lives and also how we can adapt and overcome difficult circumstances. Despite the changes necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, I see how resilient our students, faculty and staff have been throughout this time. You can read some of these inspiring stories online at CSUN Today.
New routines are becoming our norm for now, as we continue our work and our education under very different conditions. While we may be physically distancing to protect ourselves and others, I hope you continue to socially connect with your loved ones — Zoom is not just a tool for learning and working. Staying connected and taking care of your health and well-being should remain a priority as well.
Finances are another concern for many. Like other key contributors to our economy, higher education is included in the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act allocates nearly $14 billion to support college and university students and institutions. We have learned that CSUN is expected to receive funding soon to help mitigate the financial impact on CSUN as we assist our students continue their learning and the university continue to fulfill our mission. Of the $44 million directed to CSUN, half is designated for student support. As we learn more details, we will communicate how students can access these funds that are intended to help with student expenses related to COVID-19, including course materials and technology, as well as food, housing, health care and childcare.
I hope this week’s updates help you stay informed about how CSUN is adjusting to COVID-19.
Updates for Students
Learning from home, you can still access numerous resources to supplement your education and help you in your coursework. The Learning Resource Center, Oviatt Library and Information Technology are just a few of the CSUN areas that have moved resources online to enhance your learning under virtual instruction. For students who are in need of reliable technology, CSUN expanded our device loaner program and are now distributing laptops, internet hotspots and webcams through the CSUN Campus Store (Bookstore). I encourage you to utilize these services to aid you in your academic journey.
For our graduating students, this has been a tremendously disappointing time during what should have been a joyous season of celebrating. I hope you can still savor what you have nearly accomplished — earning your degree. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Watkins and I recently spoke with The Sundial about our plans for commencement. Graduating students have clearly indicated support for an in-person commencement for late 2020. We hear you, and this is our hope as well. We are targeting December 2020 to celebrate commencement together if we are able to do so while maintaining the health and safety of everyone.
Also, please check out the new CSUN COVID-19 Information for Students website for convenient access to the resources available to you at this time.
Updates for Employees
With so many areas offering virtual services remotely, I am pleased to share that so have our colleagues in the State Controller’s Office. Effective immediately, our paycheck stubs and W2s are available online. Please view Human Resources webpage for directions to access your personal data.
The vast majority of our faculty and staff are working remotely. For those who continue to work on campus, we are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and other health agencies for guidance. With the recommendation this week for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings, CSUN is providing every employee working on campus with a CSUN bandana DIY kit to make their own face covering, protect others around us, and show our CSUN resilience and pride. Check with your managers on how to get your very own kit.
Finally, in these difficult times, your Employee Assistance Program benefits provider, LifeMatters, is well-prepared to deliver the quality services you and your household members are accustomed to receiving. They are providing telephonic and video counseling sessions through their national network of Master’s level counselors using a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform in addition to a special COVID-19 section that is updated on an ongoing basis. Please contact them for support at MyLifeMatters.com, password matadors.
Friday Moment of Sunshine
I want to close this message with a moment of sunshine — something we can all use these days. Music and the arts bring joy and comfort to our lives in good times and bad. This week, I want to say “Bravo!” to our CSUN Opera students who brilliantly demonstrated the concept of togetherness alone with their performance from Don Giovanni. And for those who love an encore, The Soraya will present a live online broadcast from its stage on Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m. featuring Artist-in-Residence violinist Niv Ashkenazi. Detailed instructions about how to join this live event will be coming soon at www.TheSoraya.org. Finally, the team at 88.5 FM is keeping the music playing via remote in-home broadcasting, and they have gone the extra mile to be a resource of important information to their listeners.
Thank you for your continued dedication and flexibility during these challenging times. Please visit CSUN’s COVID-19 site for updates, and be well.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.