University Senate Update: Commencement, COVID vaccines and Fall 2021 semester

by Catlan Nguyen, Social Media Editor

Plans for this year’s commencement, in-person classes for next semester and the future of COVID-19 vaccination requirements were discussed at the San Diego State University Senate meeting on March 2. 

Commencement for Spring 2021

The university is still discussing how to hold this year’s commencement and keep it in compliance with COVID-19 social distancing protocols.

Commencement may be held using a combination of virtual and in-person drive by ceremonies but nothing has officially been announced. 

It may also be extended to take place over a longer period than three days, according to a report from the Senate meeting. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations at SDSU may become future requirement

The university has administered all of the 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses they received to those who qualify according to San Diego County’s phases.

The university received 300 additional vaccine doses on Feb. 25, so second doses will be administered to those who received their first dose at SDSU, President Adela de la Torre said at the Senate meeting.

San Diego State University recently started vaccinating SDSU faculty, staff and student employees as the county moved into the next phase of Tier 1B

Biology Professor Brian Hentschel asked President de la Torre after the president’s report if the COVID-19 vaccine will be a requirement, similar to the Meningitis-B vaccine, for all students, faculty and employees starting in the Fall 2021 semester.

“The issue right now is that vaccines are EUA (emergency use authorization) and legally, until that changes, we cannot require anyone to take it,” de la Torre said at the meeting. “One of the things we’ve been very successful with is requiring testing for face-to-face (classes) for our students.”

In-person classes for Fall 2021

Currently, the university is coordinating with each department to determine how many seats can be occupied in a classroom while still maintaining a distance of six feet in compliance with COVID-19 social distancing protocol. 

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Salvador Hector Ochoa and Associate Deans are still determining what other classes need to be switched to in-person instruction in addition to those currently held in person this semester.

Outside tents may be an option the university uses for classes with more than 70 students but final decisions haven’t been made, Ochoa said at the Senate meeting. 

The official course schedule for Fall 2021 will be posted by the end of March, according to Ochoa.