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Friday, April 23, 2021

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Surveillance Testing Expanded, In-Person Limited Through December

In an all-campus update, SDSU President Adela de la Torre and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa announced that the CSU has approved expanded testing at the university.
By SDSU News Team
 

Following two weeks of significantly reduced case rates associated with any SDSU students, San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa shared that the in-person instruction pause implemented earlier this month would be extended for one week. 

Both also shared two additional updates: most Fall 2020 courses will remain virtual for the remainder of the semester; also, mandatory COVID-19 testing has expanded to include all students taking an approved in-person class. Prior to the start of the Fall semester, most classes were already scheduled to be held fully virtually, with only 7% of classes having some in-person element. 

“Throughout the month, we consulted with faculty, including University Senate leaders, deans, associate deans and Associated Students leaders, about decisions moving forward. We also consulted with county public health officials, our Public Health faculty, and with our colleagues at the California State University (CSU) system, to carefully evaluate the COVID-19 case rate and spread both on and off campus,” de la Torre wrote. 

The day’s decision follows months of other efforts to mitigate the prevalence of COVID-19 and to also promote the importance of individual responsibility. de la Torre and others throughout higher education continue to indicate that large-scale behavioral change is one of the most important — and yet difficult — ways to combat the global public health crisis.

“Changing human behavior is one of the hardest things you can try to do. It took thirty years of messaging and public health action to create the kind of lasting behavioral change necessary to curtail smoking, despite all the evidence of the harm to human health and life expectancy.” de la Torre continued. “It took nearly as long to get people--particularly young people--to take real actions to limit the spread of HIV in the early part of the Millenium, despite the even more urgent threat to their health. COVID has been with many of us for 6 months.”

“To expect full compliance with all the recommended behavioral changes is to be ignorant of history. What is important is to create policy around those limitations, to the extent possible, and to be constantly willing to adapt and be flexible. That is a large part of why we named our repopulation plan SDSU Flex in the first place. Flexibility will need to be our foundation if we are to embrace new ideas and the best available guidance at all times.” 

SDSU, working in consultation with the California State University system and with system approval, is now requiring testing of undergraduate and graduate students taking in-person courses. Under the COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Plan, all SDSU students living in on-campus housing will continue to be tested and all students taking in-person classes must also get tested. These students must also get tested every 14 days. 

Also, a limited number of unique courses will resume in-person on Monday, Oct. 12. The course list of in-person classes will be published on the Registrar’s site on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The remaining majority of courses will continue to be offered virtually.

Most of the approved in-person courses are upper-division or graduate-level, and each has been determined by faculty and academic leaders to be essential to student degree completion and career preparation. These courses cannot be fully carried out in the virtual space, or have accreditation or licensing requirements. 
 
“Like colleges and universities across the CSU system and the nation, we face the challenge of maintaining our core mission while protecting public health during a pandemic. Our ongoing plan for mostly virtual instruction is aligned with those of peer universities nationwide,” de la Torre and Ochoa shared in the campus update. 

Read the full statement from SDSU President Adela de la Torre and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa online.