Stanislaus State has delayed campus repopulation and a return to in-person instruction until at least October 1. The fall 2021 semester will still begin on August 23, but in virtual formats similar to those that were adopted in the previous two semesters.
The news was initially shared with the campus community in a statement from the office Stan State president Ellen Junn through a variety of campus communications, including emails, text alerts and social media posts. The statement explained that the decision to delay in-person courses comes after the campus has seen a notable increase of COVID-19 cases stemming from the virus' Delta variant.
Since July 17, Stan State has received notice of seven separate positive cases of COVID-19, five of those coming in the past week.
"We are in close consultation with Stanislaus County Health Services Agency (HSA), Public Health Services of San Joaquin County (PHS) and the Chancellor’s Office, and they are in support of this decision. The Provost’s Office will work closely with deans, department chairs and faculty to consider some limited possible phased-in exceptions for some classes," Junn explained in her statement.
Before the delay was announced, Stan State was expected to have 41.5% of its fall semester courses to be held in-person, the third least out of the 23 CSU campuses. San Francisco State and Cal State East Bay were the only schools with lower in-person sessions, offering 40% each.
"The health, safety and trust of our faculty, staff and students is of utmost importance to us," Junn stated. "As a campus, we are committed to repopulating and hosting students and all employees back on campus this fall."
In terms of on-campus employees, they will be contacted by their supervisors no later than Aug. 16 to determine whether or not they will continue working in-person from now until October.
Students who were expecting to move into on-campus housing are still allowed to move in as scheduled, but only if they show evidence of either a confirmed vaccination status, documentation of exemption status or provide ongoing testing statuses, if exempted. Students who wish to make changes to their move in date are asked to contact the Housing and Residential Life Office at (209) 667-3675 or email@example.com by Aug. 18.
The requirements asked of those moving into campus housing are the same requirements that all members of the campus community must take in order to visit Stan State and any other California State University campus in-person.
To provide proof of vaccination, documentation of an exemption, or proof of negative tests, students, faculty and staff remain required to complete the COVID-19 Self-Certification by September 30. The form can be found in the myStanState Student Center. Enrolled students are also required to to complete the COVID-19 safety course on their Canvas accounts by Sept. 12.
Stan State also requires face coverings, which must be worn indoors at all times regardless of vaccination status. The only exception being when alone in an enclosed space with the door closed. Repeated failure to comply with the requirement may result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct. Coverings are not required outdoors unless physical distancing is not possible.
The announcement of in-person instruction being delayed until October regardless of the campus safety guidelines was met with overwhelming dissatisfaction from the campus community.
"Who does this benefit, truly?" asked Noelle Heckinger (senior, English) in a comment under Stan State's Instagram post announcing the delay. "Students deserve to be on campus. You’ve taken every necessary precaution - vaccines and mandatory masks regardless of who has been inoculated. How is delaying on-campus activities going to change anything? Students are hurting and Stan needs to step up, not put us down while we’re wounded."
Lori Dexter (alumna, Business Administration) shared similar sentiments.
"I am very sad for our young adults trying to move forward in competing college... We have to get life moving forward again," Dexter said.
Mara Dedini Mullins is a Stan State parent and voiced her own displeasure in a Facebook post.
"We've constantly been told to 'trust the science.' They require everyone to be vaccinated and to wear masks indoors, yet the administration doesn't trust the science or what they have told us to do," Mullins said. "They don't understand what this is doing to these kids. My son was super excited to go back and this will devastate him."
Eden Franklin (sophomore, Psychology) was also disappointed upon hearing the news, but believes that the measures were taken for good reason.
"It's kind of a bummer for people who were excited to go back to school finally after a crazy year, but I think they are just trying to do their best at keeping people safe," says Franklin.
Andre Davis (junior, Biology) was also disheartened after hearing about the delay.
“I personally don’t like this idea. I was really looking forward to going back to in-person due to my last semester [being online] and how it disengaged with my courses. It’s just disappointing because I really would prefer to get my full college experience rather than whatever this is now," said Davis.
There are also many students, including Rosalie Gonzalez, Andrea Moreno and Bonnie Arbuckle, who have additional concerns regarding their parking permits.
All three individuals paid for parking permits before the announcement of a delayed campus reopening, and are now wondering if refunds will be given. There are currently no plans to refund parking passes, but this is subject to change.
There is also frustration regarding the continued tuition rates at Stan State amid the campus closures.
"I don't believe that they will let them back on campus when they say they will, [and] I'm not sure if I am willing to flush another semesters worth of tuition down the toilet," Mullins said.
Misael Alfredo Villeda (History) shared similar concerns.
"[Stan State] needs to stop charging us for useless fees [on resources] that we can’t use. My tuition has been going up every semester," Villeda expressed.
After the coronavirus pandemic shut down most on-campus activities for the past year, students organized a petition to get refunds on tuition. Although the petition received enough signatures, refunds or discounts were not accepted.
For additional information on which campus resources remain available during the extended delay for campus repopulation, head to the official Stan State website and search for the department or resource webpage.
The campus community is also encouraged to follow Stan State social media accounts, subscribe to campus alerts, and to regularly check emails for updates on campus repopulation plans and potential changes to campus health guidelines and requirements.