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California State University, Fullerton
Titans Return: COVID-19 Recovery

Faculty FAQ Fall 2021

Updated: Monday September 20, 2021 9:22 am

This return to campus for fall semester is not like other returns from summer. We are experiencing a mix of excitement, apprehension, and concern for the unknown. Therefore, we want to share information in the following FAQs that may help you as you complete the last stages of planning your classes and as you are thinking about your experience this coming semester. Click here to read the message from Provost Thomas regarding returning to campus this fall.

When must faculty be fully vaccinated?

Employees must be fully vaccinated by the September 30, 2021 deadline imposed by the Chancellor’s Office. Fully vaccinated means at least two weeks have passed after the final dose in their respective vaccine regimen. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose.

I am a faculty member who will be teaching virtually and will not be coming to campus, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes. CSUF requires all employees to comply with the CSU’s Policy or obtain an approved medical or religious exemption.

How can I be excused from the vaccine requirement set forth in the CSU’s COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy?

Per the CSU Policy, you must qualify for a medical or religious exemption as defined below. Medical Exemption: due to a medical (including mental health) condition for which an approved vaccine presents a significant risk or a serious adverse reaction. Any medical exemption must be verified by a certified or licensed healthcare professional and submitted to the university.

Religious Exemption: due to either (i) a person’s sincerely held religious belief, observance, or practice, which includes any traditionally recognized religion, or (ii) beliefs, observances, or practices which an individual sincerely holds and that occupy a place of importance in that individual’s life, comparable to that of traditionally recognized religions. Anyone seeking a religious exemption must provide a statement to the university that describes the applicable religious or other comparable belief that is the basis for their exemption.

Titans with medical or religious exemptions still need to participate in weekly surveillance testing.

How do I apply for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine requirement?

To request an employee exemption form, visit the Titans Return Website and click on the request for vaccine exemption tile. Employees should complete this process now so that they are in full compliance by the deadline of September 30, 2021 (the systemwide date on which the vaccine mandate takes effect). Visit

May I decide to change class modality from in-person to virtual to mitigate risk?

Decisions to alter the modality of a class for which students signed up (to go from in-person to virtual) may not be made by individual faculty. Instead, they should be made based on the recommendations from state, county, or system-wide leaders. Currently, there are no recommendations from the state or county or system suggesting that we put classes online for safety reasons. Health and Safety Guidelines have affirmed that we can safely teach in-person and as a result, that is the continued approach on our campus and the other CSU campuses. It may be good information for you to have that we do have a robust contact-tracing group on campus, and they have a protocol for assessing risk and taking actions to mitigate it.

What if students in my in-person class tell me they have COVID-19. Should I make my class virtual then?

If this highly unlikely scenario occurs, encourage the student/students to report this via the form on the Titans Return Website. There is no need for you as the faculty member to make this decision. The contact tracing group on campus will be managing the risk for this student and others in the class who are affected, including you. Keep in mind also that changing the course modality can create a chaotic and difficult situation for students who have organized their schedules around the stated modality of their courses (online, hybrid, or in-person), if instructors who hear a student or two are sick simply decide to change their course modality on all students—and then back again.

What happens to a course if a faculty member is sick and cannot teach?

As is the case generally, if necessary, the department and/or college will manage course coverage in the event of an extended illness/absence. As always, notify your department chair if you cannot teach your course.

What happens if an unvaccinated faculty member is told to self-isolate and is not sick. What happens to their course?

For the fall 2021 term only, faculty who are teaching in person may offer up to 5 weeks of the course virtually (assuming you are teaching a regular 15-week semester). This is about 2 weeks longer than the typical 20% in UPS 411.104 would allow. This change was passed without dissent as a way to provide faculty with additional flexibility during this semester as our university transitions back to a primarily in-person campus while implementing both mask and vaccine mandates to protect the health and safety of our entire Titan community.  The resolution does not limit the increase to only situations in which there is a notification of exposure in the classroom nor to situations of self-quarantine. This resolution allows faculty to make decisions based on the circumstances of a given class situation. The 5 weeks do not have to occur in one block of time; 5 weeks total may be virtual.

It is critical, however, that faculty who opt to temporarily teach an in-person class virtually do so with sufficient notice to students so that students know how and where to attend classTo ensure this is the case, faculty should notify students and the Department/Division/Program Chair/Coordinator at least a day ahead of time when a scheduled class meeting will be held virtually instead of in-person. Remember, this temporary extended authorization is only for 5 weeks, total, for the semester. All other weeks of the semester should be held in person.

What happens if a vaccinated faculty member is exposed to COVID-19—should they continue to teach their course?

Vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 do not need to self- quarantine and can continue to work as normal.

How do I know what information is being shared with students regarding campus health and safety protocols?

See this link for information students have been given regarding enforcement information for President’s Directive No. 22 (i.e., face coverings and testing). t_FINAL%208.11.21.pdf

All of the recent email communication shared with students in on the Titan’s return website under the updates page. Please visit:

What if I have a student or multiple students who need to self-isolate and I am teaching them in an in-person class? Will I receive instructions about how I can ensure they can continue to make progress in the class when they can’t physically attend? Is there any support to assist me with this process?

Information Technology and Academic Affairs are using CARES/HEERF funding to hire student assistants who will help faculty who are teaching in-person courses and want to integrate technology in order to support student learning. This could be to help with things like virtual field trips, moderating zoom speakers, and capturing in-person lectures for students who cannot attend, for a limited period of time. Information about how to apply for this support will be coming to faculty by the first week of class.

I am concerned about what do during office hours. What choices do I have about office hours that I currently have scheduled in-person? What can I tell students to do if they come into my office space?

Faculty who are teaching 100% in virtual modality in fall 2021 may hold either in person or virtual office hours for their students. Faculty who are teaching in-person, either in hybrid modality or fully in person, also have the option to meet with students virtually or in-person in their offices. Faculty should keep in mind that when they are meeting in their offices with students, if they choose (for their own comfort) they are able to ask students to sign up for particular time slots in advance, or limit in-person meetings to one-on-one or small group sessions, and reserve larger group meetings for virtual modality—they may also decide to meet outdoors, or in a larger conference room if available. These decisions can be discussed and decided by faculty and their department chairs. This temporary departure from UPS230.020 on Office Hours, which normally requires a mix of in person and online office hours, is supported by the Senate Executive Committee. Per UPS 230.020, faculty must provide office hours, including schedule, location, and contact information on the syllabus for each course. Also per this policy, instructors shall still provide office hours to the appropriate department office no later than the second class meeting, and departments shall post the office hours by the end of the second week of instruction.

What happens when others aren’t masked?

There will be consequences for students and employees that are not in compliance with the policies and directives set forth by the CO and the campus. Information about enforcement protocols for students can be found here. Enforcement for staff and faculty will follow the progressive discipline process.

How do I report when someone is not masked?

When you see someone not wearing a mask on campus, you should see yourself as the first point of contact. If it is a visitor, staff member, faculty colleague or a student, remind them of the mandate and request that they abide by it and wear a mask. If the individual does not put the mask on, after your request, and you know the individual’s identity or work location, you may do the following, if you wish:

–if it is a student, report the incident to the Dean of Students at or via the Student Conduct Referral form
–if it is a staff or faculty member, report the incident to either the individual’s manager or to the unit lead, if the manager is unknown

Should I call the police if someone refuses to put on a mask when they are on campus?

No. You should follow the above protocol, unless the incident is one in which you feel that your immediate physical safety is at risk, in which case—as with any incident on campus where that occurs—the police will assist.

Is there still physical distancing?

Physical distancing or barrier requirements regardless of vaccination status are no longer mandated; however, they may be implemented under very limited circumstances such as during an outbreak.

Do we have to wear masks on campus?

Yes. Presidential Directive 22 has been amended to reflect the requirement that all members of the University community, regardless of vaccination status must wear a face covering indoors. There revisions were effective on August 11 and will continue at least through October 31. Individuals do not have to wear face coverings indoors when (a) alone in a private space such as an office with the door closed, a living unit or vehicle; (b) eating and drinking; (c) directed by a health care provider to remove their face covering for care or treatment; (d) an approved mask-related accommodation is required; and/or (e) job duties make a face covering infeasible or create a hazard.

How can we order PPE/Cleaning Supplies?

Please contact your department or dean’s office for the process they have set up so a bulk order can be placed from Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). The PPE Supplies Request Form is only for large bulk orders, it is not for individual orders.

What if students are having a hard time hearing me when I speak in class with my mask on?

You can pick up amplifying speakers or mics for teaching at the device request center in the Library.

What do I do if I have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who either has tested positive for or is suspected to have COVID-19?

Any member of the University community who tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes aware that they may have been in close contact with someone who either has tested positive for or is suspected to have COVID-19 is strongly encouraged to report the positive result or exposure using the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form on the Titans Return website. If you have tested positive, you are required to self-isolate and remain off campus for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status and follow the instructions provided by the CSUF COVID-19 Response Team. If you have been in close contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 and you are not vaccinated, you are required to self-quarantine and remain off campus for 10 days, even if you do not have symptoms or test negative during this time frame. If you have been in close contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 and you are vaccinated and do not have symptoms, you do not need to self-quarantine or remain off campus. You must also follow the instructions provided by the CSUF COVID-19 Response Team.

If you are symptomatic, then sick leave should be used (Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) is still available).

What if a vaccinated employee was exposed on campus and they have family members that are not vaccinated—what are the safety measures they need to follow to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to their family members?

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccinated employees should or need to be tested. Exposed employees are eligible to be tested. Whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, these individuals can go to the health center and follow their instructions. Family members can also be tested via their health provider.

When self-screening, if there are any COVID-19 symptoms and, as a result, an employee is told not to come to campus, should that employee take leave?

Yes. They may use their sick time or their available SPSL credits. The SPSL form is needed. SPSL leave is available to faculty who meet the COVID related criteria. HRDI will work with employees to determine if SPSL applies or if another leave program might be available. If the absence exceeds 3 days, there are other leaves available and additional documentation may be needed. Please contact Griselda Marquez in HRDI if you have additional leave questions.

Do students in online courses need to be vaccinated or test weekly?

Yes. Only students in fully online programs are exempted from this requirement. A fully online course schedule selected by a student is NOT the same as a fully online program.

How will the University respond to positive cases of COVID-19 on campus?

Once notified that an individual with COVID-19 has been on campus, the CSUF COVID-19 Response Team will respond by:

  • Contacting the individual to determine when and in what locations they were on campus.
  • Identifying individuals who had been in close contact (as defined by the CDC and local public health orders).
  • Notifying individuals who may have been exposed (as defined by the CDC, local public health orders, Cal/OSHA and other state mandates).
  • Providing qualifying individuals with notices to self-isolate or self-quarantine. Self- quarantine is based on a variety of factors, including: vaccination status, proximity and length of time in impacted spaces, and use of applicable PPE.
  • Notifying campus partners to coordinate cleaning, disinfecting, or temporary closure of spaces.
  • Reporting positive cases to local public health agencies for additional guidance.
  • The University encourages all individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to stay home, complete the Report COVID-19 Case or Exposure form, and await further instructions from the CSUF COVID-19 Response Team.

How does the University determine if a campus member needs to self-isolate or self- quarantine?

When placing an individual on self-isolation or self-quarantine, the University is following the current public health order issued by the OCHCA and CAL-OSHA.

What do I do if a student tells me they have tested positive or have been exposed?

Any member of the University community who tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes aware that they may have been in close contact with someone who either has tested positive for or is suspected to have COVID-19 is strongly encouraged to report the positive result or exposure using the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form on the Titans Return website.

How do I know if I have been exposed on campus?

The Health Center/Infectious Disease Working Group handles the contact tracing and informs the students, staff, and instructors about any exposure on campus. If you have been exposed on campus, that group will contact you.

How do I know if one of my students has been exposed and/or is required to quarantine?

The Health Center/Infectious Disease Working Group handles the contact tracing and informs the students, staff, and instructors about any exposure and any quarantine requirement. However, health information about other individuals cannot be shared with you, as dictated by HIPAA law. 

If I am exposed, how do I know if I should self-isolate or quarantine?

The Health Center/Infectious Disease Working Group handles the contact tracing and will inform you about any exposure and provide any necessary guidance. If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic, you will not need to self-isolate.

How do I report something that I see as a COVID-19 hazard that I don’t see covered in this FAQ?

You may report via the EHS reporting page at