Fall 2021 Update Monday March 15, 2021 4:55 pm
Dear Titan Family:
Following up on Provost Thomas’s February 1, 2021 email to all faculty members, and my subsequent university-wide video communication to all Titans, we at Cal State Fullerton continue to plan (and hope) for a primarily in-person fall semester. That means we anticipate the majority of our classes will meet face-to-face, our on-campus housing will be closer to our usual capacity, and many if not most of our student services and campus facilities will transition back from virtual to in-person.
Of course, this transition hinges on a number of factors, the foremost being our ability to continue to uphold the first of our twin pandemic touchstones: The health and safety of all Titans and their families. To that end, we will only execute our plans for a fall return if and when all Titans who choose to receive the vaccine have had equitable access to it, and public health guidelines and CSU policy support the transition. We recognize that our second touchstone —high-quality academic instruction with unobstructed paths to degree — is more easily achieved when in-person options are unrestricted, but health and safety will continue to be our first and preeminent North Star.
I want to be clear that while we urge every Titan to get vaccinated when it is their turn, it is not currently required. However, if we do not reach our goal of widespread vaccinations throughout our campus community, we will likely need to adjust our in-person transition plans. Further, students, faculty and staff who elect not to receive the vaccine will likely be required to undergo regular mandatory COVID-19 testing in order to return to face-to-face teaching, learning, and working. Like other campuses, we will create a process to ensure all faculty, staff, and students who are on campus are either vaccinated or have tested negative. Further, masks, physical distancing, and other precautionary measures will likely be in place upon our return.
It is also important to note that when we say our preeminent pandemic goal revolves around the health and safety of all Titans, that includes mental health. We recognize that even positive transitions such as a return to campus can be stressful in the context of this global pandemic and all it has wrought. We will remain mindful of faculty, staff, and students who are unable to return to campus in the fall due to various circumstances and responsibilities. Of course, we cannot promise the continuation of an all-virtual environment for employees or students, but we will strive to mitigate any hardships a return to campus may cause while providing appropriate support to individual Titans on a case-by-case basis.
In the coming days, students will receive an email from Provost Thomas with the fall 2021 Registration Guide. That communication will also offer resources and links for students in need of additional support, including advising, Disability Support Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Diversity Initiatives and Resource Centers.
Faculty and staff can expect detailed information on their respective re-entry plans as they are finalized by the Re-entry Leadership Team in partnership with divisional, college, and HRDI leadership (and as we receive more detailed health guidance from county, state, and federal levels). As the re-entry transition progresses, employees with work-related accommodation requests will be supported when possible by their supervisors and HRDI. Cal State Fullerton will
also continue to honor and uphold obligations through our existing MOU with the CFA in regards to a fall re-entry. Currently, no state employees are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of their employment, but again, we at Cal State Fullerton strongly encourage all Titans to receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Impacts related to the shift back to campus and any other change in working environments or conditions will be discussed through the meet and confer process with our unions.
And finally, I want to thank you. Amidst a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color and further exposed our nation’s systemic inequities, it would be understandable if not expected for our university to see a dip in productivity. Instead, after a successful pivot to virtual activity one year ago, graduation rates are up and opportunity gaps are down; our work toward becoming a truly equitable and inclusive campus for all has widely expanded; our call to eradicate systemic anti-Black policing and racism have been clear and consistent; our success in eliminating the digital divide is a system-wide steeple of excellence; and our allyship and support of our Asian and Asian American communities has, I hope, brought both comfort to those afflicted by hate and consequences to those who perpetuate it.
It has been a difficult year for everyone, no doubt, but never has the phrase, “It Takes a Titan” been more prevalent or true than it is today, and all of you — our faculty, staff, and students — have been and continue to be the Titans that it takes. And while we still have some way to go before we fully step into the light that is shining at the end of this tunnel, I feel fortunate to continue working toward it with all of you.
In the meantime, stay vigilant, wear a mask, follow your local health and safety guidelines, and, when it is your turn and if you are able, get vaccinated. We will continue to get through this together and as one Titan Family.