SDSU pauses in-person instruction until spring

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Editor in Chief

On the same day that San Diego County reported 718 new cases of COVID-19, San Diego State announced that its remaining in-person courses would transition online and remain virtual for the remainder of the fall semester ending Dec. 17.

The decision comes as news of positive developments in the search for a vaccine is overshadowed by yet another devastating and unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country. 

In a university-wide email sent on Nov. 17, SDSU President Adela de la Torre and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa announced approximately 2,100 students would not be returning to the classroom after the Thanksgiving holiday. 

“Further restricting the number of people physically returning after the Thanksgiving holiday will help us to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” de la Torre and Ochoa wrote in the email. 

What Happens Next?

The university recommends faculty make the switch to virtual instruction by Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the latest. Students enrolled in a course that consists of in-person activities will receive more information from their professors. 

However, many faculty teaching in-person courses indicated they had already planned to transition to online modalities for the final two weeks of the semester, the email stated.

Off-campus teaching activities at non-SDSU institutions, like hospitals and clinics, are not impacted. Additionally, for juniors and seniors enrolled in research credit, paid research employees and graduate students approved, critical research activities will continue under the condition that public health criteria are adhered to. 

Participation in in-person research projects by First-year students, sophomores and volunteers is paused starting Nov. 20. 

Impacts on Student Housing

On-campus housing is not affected by the pause in in-person instruction and will remain open during the break. All students living in university housing must complete the Office of Housing Administration’s Thanksgiving Break Form indicating whether they plan to stay on campus, return after the break or remain home.

According to the email, many students intend to stay home for the final weeks of fall 2020. 

Mandatory testing will continue as scheduled after Thanksgiving. Given the increased risk of exposure for students returning to campus, the university will require all residents to get tested upon their return, according to an email sent on Nov. 2. Residents must stay in their dorms until they receive a negative test. Testing will be conducted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. 

Students should watch their official university email closely for more information and updates. 

“Again, we thank all members of our community for your continued understanding and for your dedication to your own teaching, research and learning,” de la Torre wrote in the Nov. 17 email. “We continue to see a stabilization of COVID-19 cases connected to our community and extend our deep appreciation for your efforts to keep health and safety at the forefront of all that you do.”

Testing and Support Resources

Free walk-in and appointment testing resources continue to be offered on-campus through Student Health Services at Calpulli Center and the San Diego County testing site at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on 55th Street. 

Students can make an appointment to get a test at SHS on HealtheConnect or by calling 619-594-4325. No appointment is required at the county testing site. 

More information about testing in San Diego and Imperial County is available online. 

International students can access support at the International Student Center website and by calling 619-594-1982. 

Counseling & Psychological Services offers therapeutic services to all SDSU students. To make an appointment with a therapist, students can call 619-594-5220. Additional information is available on the C&PS website.

Students experiencing a food or housing security emergency should submit a Request for Assistance with the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT). More information can be found on the ECRT website

Associated Students operates a free food pantry Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the North-East Landing, 2nd Floor of the Student Union, and a drive-up option on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Student Union Loading Dock. More information can be found on the A.S. food insecurity website.