Office of the President

May 29, 2020 – An Early Look at Plans for Fall 2020

To: Faculty and Staff
From: President Gayle Hutchinson

Since Chancellor White announced on May 12 that the CSU would be predominately virtual for the fall 2020 semester, eight Chico State planning teams have worked around the clock developing plans for limited in-person courses, study spaces, housing, dining, athletics, and student activities and support. While Chico State courses primarily will be delivered virtually in the fall, we are proposing exceptions to allow for in-person instruction that cannot be delivered virtually, and can be conducted within rigorous standards of safety and welfare. 

Planning teams comprised of faculty, staff, Associated Students presidents, and campus administrators, implemented broad consultation measures to ensure that students, staff, faculty, department chairs, deans, and directors were able to provide input. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC), under the leadership of Associate Vice President Jeni Kitchell and University Police Chief John Reid, coordinated planning efforts to ensure that safety and exposure reduction practices were integrated into the plan.  

Today, Cabinet received, reviewed, and approved the proposed plan. The plan is scheduled to be delivered to the Chancellor for his review and endorsement on Monday. The information below features highlights from the plan, however, it is subject to modification from the Chancellor’s Office and as facts change regarding COVID-19 and its mitigation. The University has built in flexibility and possible pivots, should they become necessary. We hope to receive an endorsement from the Chancellor’s Office within 7 to 10 business days of submission.

Decisions regarding the winter and spring terms in 2021 will be made and communicated at a later date. Our planning and execution strategies endeavor to pass the test of reasonableness. The unpredictability of the pandemic necessitates substantial fluidity in planning, and we will stay nimble and adjust over the summer, throughout the 2020-21 academic year and thereafter, as necessary.

Plans for Fall 2020

Academic Programs

Chico State is planning for the majority of fall courses to be virtual, however, 209 courses (457 sections), or approximately 10.5% of the total number of sections on the fall 2019 schedule, are expected to include some form of in-person instruction. A consultative and iterative process involving instructional faculty, department chairs, deans, students and members of the California Faculty Association was utilized to establish this list, which will be shared once final approval has been received from the Chancellor’s Office. 

With careful planning for facilities modifications and cleaning protocols, paired with clear communication and expectations for students and faculty, the University believes these courses will provide critical hands-on experiences for multiple degree programs while maintaining the safety of the campus community. 

Additionally, faculty and staff will be prepared to deliver an even more comprehensive and robust virtual education experience for students. A total of 350 faculty have signed up to participate or mentor colleagues in two “Go Virtual Summer Institutes” that will take place this summer. We expect bold, emerging innovations to leverage the power of the entire CSU system. By working together in new, imaginative and creative ways, we will further enrich the experiences of our new and returning students in the coming academic year. 

Details about fall 2020 courses will be communicated in early June, and continuing students will be able to modify their courses selections in early July for the fall semester.

Tuition and fees

Chico State tuition and fees for the fall 2020 semester will remain unchanged. 

Ongoing Campus Operations

In-person University operations and services will continue to be limited. Services such as building operations, grounds, maintenance, security, and animal and lab maintenance will be ongoing, but the majority of faculty and staff will work remotely. Business operations and student support services will be provided mainly through phone, video conference, or email.

Phased-in, return-to-campus scenarios will be considered during June as health conditions warrant and the University demonstrates the capacity to protect its community. The process will be gradual and closely managed. Authorizations for units or departments to increase on-campus staffing levels will take place at the division level.

Residence Halls and Dining

Pending Chancellor’s Office approval, University Housing plans to provide single-room accommodations for 1,036 students, which is 46% of typical occupancy. All student residents and University Housing staff will receive COVID-19 training and be familiar with safety guidelines, including regular self-monitoring and cleaning protocols. Students will pay the double-occupancy rate, not the single rate, for their rooms.

University Housing has set aside multiple studio units for the isolation of students, in the event the rooms are needed. Case management will be provided to residents in isolation by WellCat Health Services in conjunction with the Butte County Public Health Department, as necessary.

Dining services will conform with social distancing protocols while continuing to provide limited services to the campus community. Online ordering and payment systems, to-go menus, and contactless pick-up and delivery systems will replace most face-to-face transactions. 

Academic Support for Students

The Student Learning Center and Writing Center will offer all services virtually for fall 2020. Subject tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, writing tutoring, and Math Learning Lab drop-ins will all continue in virtual format with Zoom as the primary platform for learning-support delivery. 

The Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) will work to ensure all class materials and lectures are accessible to students, as needed. Virtual alternatives will be made available for students who are unable to attend in-person classes.

Meriam Library

Meriam Library will continue providing online research resources and virtual research support, including 24/7 chat support and the ability to schedule Zoom appointments with librarians. In addition to the e-books and articles available through OneSearch at Meriam Library, the newly created National Emergeency Library has thousands of e-book resources to support student research.

Bell Memorial Union

The BMU and Wildcat Store may be physically open for the fall. A final decision is forthcoming. This would include Common Grounds, Urban Roots, Creekside Coffee, Butte Station and a mobile cart. The hours of operation for the Wildcat Store would match those of the BMU with physical distancing and sanitizing guidelines in place. The Wildcat Store would continue its online services, and curbside delivery is being evaluated.

On-Campus Events

All campus events for the fall have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to online delivery. This includes Admissions visitor programs, such as orientation and campus tours, and all performing arts events hosted by Chico Performances, North State Symphony, School of the Arts, and Book in Common. University museums and galleries are open virtually only. 

Chico State’s policy on gatherings for the fall may be amended if the state moves into stage three of the California Resilience Roadmap. The decision to hold any campus events would be done in strict accordance with safety protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of all participants.


Athletic competitions are suspended for fall. The vast majority of University athletics, recreational sports, intramural and sport club programs will remain virtual. Planning is underway for a phased-in, Return to Activity model that will allow limited, in-person activity to support, engage, and retain student-athletes as they pursue academic degrees and prepare for the eventual return to athletics activity.


Associated Students is considering re-opening of the Wildcat Recreation Center with limited, time-restricted visits. More details will be forthcoming.


All University-related travel (domestic and international) is suspended for faculty, staff, and students until further notice.

Staying Healthy

Chico State urges everyone to comply with the evolving statewide Stay At Home Order and follow best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands, physical distancing, staying home when sick, and wearing non-medical face coverings such as a scarf or bandana when you leave home. Face coverings will be provided to employees and students, as needed. For those who will be interacting on campus, COVID-19 training will be required. 

Anyone experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, even mild symptoms, should self-isolate until their symptoms go away and/or call their health care providers to get guidance. It is important to call before seeking treatment to make sure you can get the care you need without putting others at risk.

Mental Health Care

This time is troubling for all of us. The uncertainty of the situation, the changing home life for many, the concern for those in the community who are facing the risks of the virus all contribute to these feelings. Individuals should monitor how they are impacted and work to actively care for their mental health in addition to physical health.

For students, the WellCat Counseling Center offers a comprehensive list of resources on their website, which includes a 24/7 phone number to speak to a counselor immediately (Call 530-898-6345 and press 2).

Faculty and staff have a number of resources available through the Employee Assistance Program, including emotional support and counseling. The MyLifeMatters service also has a special hub of COVID-19 resource topics including supporting at-home children, financial stress and stability, caring for older adults, working remotely, and more.

I am deeply appreciative of your flexibility and perseverance as we navigate these challenging times together. The University is changing and adapting in an unpredictable world, and each of us is faced with decisions that impact ourselves and those around us. I know you will have many questions and you will have opportunities to ask them. A virtual campus town hall has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 3, from 1-2 pm. I will be available along with campus leadership to respond to questions. Please watch for communications on how to participate. Questions will be accepted in advance at I look forward to the opportunity to continue the conversation.

Thank you and be well.