Virtual instruction will be extended through the rest of the semester

CSUN+prepares+to+transition+classes+online+in+response+to+COVID-19.

Logan Bik

CSUN prepares to transition classes online in response to COVID-19.

Natalie Miranda, Features Editor

The original time frame of March 23 – April 19 for remote learning and instruction has been extended through the entirety of the spring semester, according to an email from CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison sent to all students, faculty and staff Tuesday afternoon. The extension applies to final exams, instructional labs, studios, small group seminars and related activities.

As college campuses nationwide implement preventative measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, CSUN is taking “unprecedented steps” and “accelerating” their approach to campus safety.

The email also details what students and employees should expect for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, addressing the campus community’s potential concerns regarding virtual learning, social distancing, student housing, employment and graduation.

Although the transition to “virtual and alternative modalities of learning” is new for this campus, Harrison said CSUN is “actively supporting the continued development of virtual learning and remote curricular delivery to ensure academic continuity and degree progress for all students.”

Along with extending virtual learning, CSUN is also increasing social distancing in a campus-wide effort to limit face-to-face interaction.

With guidance from California State University Chancellor Timothy White, Governor Gavin Newsom, and federal, state and local public health officials, CSUN is encouraging staff and students to work from home with the exception of “essential operations.”

“CSUN’s campus remains open to maintain essential operations including, but not limited to, Student Housing and related food service, the Klotz Student Health Center, Information Technology in support of virtual and alternate learning modalities, availability of computer labs, maintenance of laboratories conducting research, fiscal and payroll services, and ensuring the physical safety and security of campus,” Harrison said.

Additionally, Harrison assures all employees will be paid through April 5, regardless of being on-campus or off-campus, extending to employees on administrative leave and those without remote work opportunities.

“CSUN state employees will be paid their normal rate of pay for their normal hours assigned during this time, as they will either be working on site with social distancing, telecommuting or on paid administrative leave. Student employees may be provided work to be performed virtually where appropriate. In instances, where there is no work to be performed remotely, student employees will continue to be paid for their existing work schedule through April 5 and will be re-evaluated prior to that date,” according to Harrison.

Since many campus services are becoming virtual, there may be little to no need for students to remain on campus. Student housing residents who are able to relocate are encouraged to increase social distancing by exploring alternative living arrangements. Similarly to parking pass refunds, students are given the option to request housing refunds and will receive information on how to cancel their contracts.

“CSUN will maintain Student Housing and CSUN Dining under these emergency circumstances so long as there is a need to do so. Students who live in Student Housing may choose to stay in their housing and maintain access to Residential Dining services. For students who would rather cancel their housing contract and move off-campus, they may choose to do so and receive a refund per Student Housing refund policies and CSUN Dining contracts,” Harrison said.

In regards to graduation, the spring 2020 commencement will be rescheduled to uphold social distancing. The exact date has yet to be announced.

“One of the most difficult decisions surrounding our response to COVID-19 is the postponement of spring commencement exercises until after the pandemic crisis subsides, likely late 2020,” according to Harrison. “We will be communicating with graduating seniors and seeking feedback on how to celebrate the numerous achievements of the class of 2020 and the December 2019 graduates.”

She said the decisions made are in the best interest of not only the campus community, but beyond.

“These are unprecedented steps, but they are essential to the health and well-being of not only CSUN’s employees and students, but to Los Angeles and the nation,” Harrison said. “They are the right steps to take and we need to take them now. Our actions will help combat the spread of COVID-19 and quite literally save lives. We will make it through these extraordinarily challenging circumstances.”