California State University, Northridge officials have released details for a primarily virtual fall semester, with a handful of graduate and undergraduate courses and labs being offered face-to-face. Named “CSUN as One,” CSUN launched a website for the campus’ fall 2020 instruction and operational plans.
The virtual-learning exceptions include those activities deemed critical to the educational outcome of an academic program; when an activity is directly tied to students’ progress to a degree; and when those classes can only be accomplished in an on-campus environment.
Approximately 4,400 students are anticipated to take part in 113 face-to-face courses and labs taught in 210 sections, in the fall. University officials do not yet have enrollment numbers for fall 2020, but 38,391 students were enrolled at CSUN in fall 2019. At that time, CSUN offered 2,809 courses taught across 7,356 sections.
“We call our plan ‘CSUN as One’ because, whether learning and working on-campus or virtually, CSUN is united in providing students with a transformative educational experience that prepares then for the challenges and opportunities of the world in which they will live and lead,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “Every member of the campus community has a responsibility to follow prescribed safety precautions for the well-being of all. Each part of the plan is aimed at offering the safest experience possible to protect all members of the CSUN community.”
CSUN’s proposed plans for fall 2020 were developed with guidance provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and were approved by the California State University’s Office of the Chancellor. The decision to offer nearly all of CSUN’s classes virtually in the fall was guided by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the LACDPH and the California Department of Public Health, and made in consultation with the CSU chancellor’s office.
University officials noted that each instructional setting that will offer in-person learning has implemented safety procedures that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission such as modified room set-up for physical distancing, with signage and floor stickers, and COVID-prevention training for faculty, staff and students.
Faculty members have the opportunity to take part in professional development on a wide range of subjects, from technology bootcamps to approaches to online and virtual pedagogy that are grounded in an inclusive and equity-focused perspective. To date, more than 1,500 faculty members have completed some form of training to support distance learning. A website, http://www.csun.edu/help4faculty, has been created that describes the range of offerings and has a guide to help faculty choose what trainings best fit their needs.
For those students who will be on campus in the fall, limited accommodations will be made available in student housing and on-campus dining facilities that follow guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and county public health departments. They include physical distancing, the use of face coverings, hygiene and sanitization protocols, and other best practices to promote the health and safety of residents and employees. Student housing occupancy is expected to be at no more than 45 percent. CSUN’s student housing usually accommodates more than 3,000 residents.
If social distancing restrictions are eased after the fall semester gets underway, university officials said they may be able to add additional opportunities for on-campus, face-to-face activities. Conversely, contingency plans are in place for the face-to-face offerings if there is a need to shift to alternate modalities because regional health conditions and guidance change.
“All of us at CSUN share a common responsibility to support the well-being of our campus community, with our primary goal being a safe and functional campus environment for working, learning and living,” Harrison said. “Student success remains our unwavering priority. Together, CSUN working as one, we will continue to equip students to realize bright futures through CSUN’s transformative education.”