With the pace at which facts and data are coming at us regarding the COVID-19 health crisis–and at which we are having to adapt advisories to these conditions–I recognize the overwhelming sense of uncertainty and confusion that everyone must be feeling. I write to bring clarity to our current situation and the decisions this university has made–and inform you of new developments.
Throughout this crisis, three main principles have guided our thoughts and actions:
- We will always act to protect and ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. This is our highest priority.
- We will remain committed to our academic mission and intervene in ways that provide the least disruption to those endeavors.
- We will implement strategies that help us stay ahead of the crisis and comply with local, statewide, and federal mandates and public health advisories.
The March 16 decision to pause instruction through the remainder of this week was made in great consideration to the toll this crisis will have on our way of life and the resulting drastic shift and adjustments we will make to the operations of this university, including moving to a more virtual reality where a larger percentage of our employees will be telecommuting. These additional days are giving us a little more time to help manage our personal lives during this crisis without added pressures, while we also ready the campus to resume the spring semester with as little further disruption as possible.
Admittedly, I am gratified that the Academic Senate, the California Faculty Association, and other union representatives have joined me in prioritizing the needs of our entire Toro family: students, staff, and faculty. I also appreciate them embracing the strategies we have employed thus far. I invite everyone to join me in rallying around that central belief that we will bear with the disruption and inconvenience as we act to manage the dynamics of this health crisis going forward.
As a reminder of the announcement I sent March 16, the campus is not closed. We continue to provide essential services and support, albeit in a remote and/or limited capacity.
In consultation with the Chancellor’s Office, and on advice from medical experts and health officials, we are planning for and executing the following actions:
- Alternative instruction will begin Monday, March 23, and continue through the remainder of the 2020 spring semester.
- We will cease face-to-face instructional activities and co-curricular support.
- All instruction, exams, instructional labs, studios, small group seminars, advising, co-curricular support services, and the like, must be offered using alternative modes of delivery.
- The university will shift operations to a more remote work environment to reduce the number of people on campus, thereby minimizing exposure and maximizing social distance.
- Through the remainder of the semester, employees will work remotely, unless their position requires them to be on campus. NOTE: This is a change from the March 16 message stating staff would telecommute March 17 through March 20.
- Human Resources will provide employees with emergency telecommuting guidelines. Please stay tuned as those are developed and rolled out.
- After consultations with their supervisor and vice president, employees who cannot perform their work remotely, will be placed on administrative leave with pay until further notice.
- Employees 65 years old or older, and/or with underlying conditions that put them at greater risk for COVID-19 are directed to stay away from campus.
These arrangements are subject to be modified as further guidance and circumstances change.
- The campus is not closed, although some services may not be available. As we assess our capacity to render services, the university will sustain essential facility, security, information technology, vivaria, farm, greenhouse, and research operations, and the like, as well as financial and business operations.
- Campus facilities that remain open will be modified using social distancing techniques and reduced hours.
- Facilities and maintenance operations will continue to clean and disinfect the campus using sanitation protocols prescribed by the CDC.
- Unused classrooms, offices, and buildings will be locked and remain closed in order to maximize our ability to deploy cleaning resources to other areas.
- The library building will be closed for reasons of health and safety and the university’s ability to maintain continued sanitation measures. The library computer lab on the first floor – LIBG-149 – will be open with restricted hours to provide essential computer and WIFI access to those who do not have technology to manage their academic or co-curricular endeavor. Hours will posted on the University Library website.
- Librarians and library staff are available via chat, email, and text to support and assist students with their resource needs. Assistance and resources available online.
- While a significant number of residents in University Housing have already relocated during this crisis, we strongly encourage the remaining residents to return to their permanent homes to complete their virtual coursework for the remainder of the spring semester. For those who returning home would compromise their ability to decrease exposure and minimize social distancing, please consult with housing personnel.
- Residents with limited or no options to leave campus will be permitted to continue living in University Housing, and we welcome them to continue residing there.
- Dining options will be limited and available to those remaining University Housing residents and those deemed to be essential personal. All food will be provided using safe social distancing and hygienic measures. Residents should consult with housing personnel regarding dining options.
- University Housing will email residents with checkout instructions and additional details within the next 24 to 48 hours.
- Hundreds of laptops have been made available for check-out by students, faculty, and staff through the Technology Loaner Program. Additional equipment will continue to be added over the coming weeks to address critical university instructional and operational needs.
- To secure personal and university equipment, visit: www.csudh.edu/it/security/be-secure.
- To set up various secure connectivity and access, as well as find links for software application access, visit: www.csudh.edu/alert/technology-resources.
Loker Student Union
- Much of the student union will closed other than limited, essential services and on a modified schedule. All updates can be found on the LSU website.
Student Health & Psychological Services
- Services are expected to be available starting Monday March 23, albeit with reduced hours of operation, limited clinical capabilities, and substantially reduced staff.
- Except in an emergency, students must call the health center before coming to campus to access such services and must adhere to strict social distancing measures. Phones will be answered as of March 23rd.
- We are trying hard to make virtual counseling services available within the week. More information will be on the Student Health and Psychological Services website as soon as arrangements can be made.
- If students feel very ill (i.e. high fevers, shortness of breath) they should go to the nearest hospital or urgent care. Please know that these kinds of severe illnesses can only be managed by facilities that can deliver the highest level of care, and that only such facilities can currently and reliably perform COVID-19 testing.
- People with less severe symptoms should treat themselves at home, with over-the-counter medicines. People who are not sure if they should see a doctor, should call their own physicians; students may call the Student Health Center, on or after March 23, at 310-243-3629.
- Additionally, students should be aware of the following low-cost/no-cost medical facilities near campus where they can seek medical care when the Student Health Center is not available to meet their needs: 1) Harbor-UCLA Medical Emergency Room & Urgent Care: 1000 W. Carson St, Carson, 90502 2) South Bay Family Health Care Center, 742 W. Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA, 90247 Call 310-802-6177 for an appointment.
Athletic and Recreational Facilities
- The university’s athletic and recreational facilities are closed until further notice.
- Commencement ceremonies and end-of-year celebrations scheduled in the last part of April and through May will be postponed until further notice.
These interventions and strategies, while well-reasoned and intentioned, represent a complex interplay of factors that collide amid this health crisis. Consequently, they are subject to change and revision as circumstances, government policies, and health advisories warrant going forward.
Our social norms and academic sensibilities are being challenged in unprecedented ways. I am confident that we at CSU Dominguez Hills can and will rise to the occasion and exhibit the qualities and character that best reflects the institutional pride we all feel every day.
Finally, I thank the Toro Nation for your patience, understanding, and sensitivity to the public health crisis we now face.
Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D.