Office of the President

August 30, 2020 - Transition to Virtual-Only Instruction for Fall & Reduction in On-Campus Residents

The well-being of Chico State students is, and will always be, the University’s top priority—especially as we navigate the ever-changing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University prepared for students’ fall arrival all summer long, redesigning courses for improved virtual delivery, organizing the campus to allow for a small number of courses, and laying the groundwork for safe learning and living. We knew this semester was not going to be typical, but we wanted to provide as much in-person learning as possible while ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

As I announced last week, just three days into the semester, the University reported a troubling number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. I emphasized at that time that if the trend didn’t change dramatically—and right away—that there would be no choice but to revert to virtual learning exclusively for the remainder of the semester.

Unfortunately, the troubling trend continues. As of today, the number of positive COVID-19 cases tied to campus has ballooned to nearly 30, impacting both classrooms and a majority of on-campus residence halls—with an even greater number of reported exposures that could have an exponential and devastating effect on campus. The latest reports from local public health officials indicate more positive cases are likely.

I commend the continued flexibility and sacrifice by a majority of our campus community in keeping themselves and those around them safe. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, exposure to even a small number of individuals has serious consequences in terms of community spread.

Therefore, I have made the difficult but necessary decision to transition the limited number of in-person classes to virtual-only beginning Monday, August 31, for the duration of the fall semester. Furthermore, because nearly every on-campus residence hall has been impacted by at least one positive case and there’s concern that numbers will only increase, most on-campus housing must be vacated by Sunday, September 6th.

Students, please read the following instructions carefully:

In-Person Classes
As mentioned above, in-person classes will move to virtual format starting Monday, August 31, and we ask that anyone enrolled in this type of course not come to campus.

Students taking in-person classes should expect communication from their professors over the next couple of days regarding their plans for those courses. Please understand that faculty are receiving this message at the same time students are and may not have had sufficient time to complete the transition. We should all give each other grace and understanding as we respond to the news and make the appropriate changes as soon as we can. If you don’t hear from your instructor in the next few days, please reach out to them or the chairperson of your department. The University will assist both students and faculty to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Students are encouraged to visit the Student Resources webpage on Chico State’s COVID-19 News & Information website for an array of resources for successful online learning, including advice from experienced distance learners, comprehensive technology support—including laptop loans and virtual-technology assistance—and off-campus internet resources.

On-Campus Housing
To reduce the number of additional infections, we ask all students currently living on campus to secure off-campus housing by Sunday, September 6th. We understand the inconvenience of vacating campus housing so quickly, but Chico State’s residence halls have experienced rapid and alarming rates of COVID-19 cases and the well-being of students makes quick action imperative. Simply put, we need students out of the residence halls as quickly as possible for their own safety.

University Housing will oversee move-out to ensure it’s completed in accordance with health and safety guidelines. This includes having residents sign up for specific moving days and times, and limiting the number of family members who can enter residence halls to minimize possible exposure. Residents will receive a separate, detailed communication.

Off-Campus Student Services will assist students in securing alternate housing—with the University offering prorated refunds for room and meal charges. Students who are not able to secure housing off-campus can submit a hardship application through University Housing. Students with no other housing options will be accommodated.

Enduring Commitment to Safety
The transition to virtual-only learning and reducing on-campus housing does not mean the Chico State community can relax its commitment to keeping ourselves and those around us in the larger Chico community safe. On the contrary, the rapid spread of the virus among our Wildcat community is evidence that we must continue and improve our efforts to follow COVID-19 best practices like physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands in an effort to flatten the COVID-19 spike that we’ve witnessed this past week. 

With the spread of COVID-19 in our community, it is more important than ever to not participate in large gatherings, especially parties. Monitor symptoms on a daily basis, self-isolate if you have symptoms, and call Chico State’s COVID-19 Hotline at 530-898-2222 for advice. While we won’t be attending classes on campus, we all have a responsibility to protect the well-being of the community beyond Chico State’s footprint.

I, like you, wish the story of this semester had been much different. We had high hopes it would be. While we may have missed our one shot this semester at experiencing some of what makes Chico State so special, let’s take this as a wake-up call to dig deep, stay committed, and pave the way for a different kind of semester in the spring.