Some of SJSU’s COVID-19 Heroes

Photo: Robert Bain/San José State University

San José State alumni, students and faculty members have risen to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many alumni are frontline workers, government leaders and decision-makers managing and taking care of essential and emergency services.

Also tending to the community are current students and faculty–contributing valuable resources, raising awareness, generating funds and displaying creative ingenuity in addressing social and healthcare needs. As fall semester begins, SJSU recognizes some of the valiant efforts of these Spartans working tirelessly to keep the community safe and healthy.

Frontline Workers and Government Leaders

Christina Salvatier, ’19 MPA, is the CFO of the Valley Medical Foundation, and created the management systems for receiving, acknowledging, sorting, warehousing and issuing thousands of masks, gowns and related equipment.

Brandi Childress, ’08 MS Transportation Management, is the pubic information officer for VTA, developing COVID-19 messaging for its internal employees and for passengers, in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Health Department.

James Griffith, ’15 MPA, is the advanced planning lead in the State Operations Center (SOC) in Sacramento, managing the projections of resource needs for the management of COVID-19 response statewide.

Julie Nagasako, ’12 MPA, is a manager in the Office of the Secretary, California Department of Health, coordinating the department’s work on the medical issues.

Robert Sapien, ’95 Bachelors Political Science/Public Administration, chief of the San José Fire Department (SJFD), and current MPA student Reggie Williams, SJFD assistant chief, are leading the daily emergency medical response to the San José community.

Robert Herrera, ’18 MPA, San José Fire Department Battalion Chief supervises firefighters/EMTs in a number of stations.

Curtis Jacobson, ’19 MPA, is the chief of the Fremont Fire Department.

David Swing, ’08 MPA, has been appointed as the chief of the Pleasanton Police Department. Joseph Perez, ’18 MPA, is a corporal in the Watsonville Police Department.

Current MPA student Katy Nomura is the assistant to the City Manager in Cupertino and in charge of its emergency management programs, and Genevieve Yip, ’20 MPA,  is part of the city of Santa Clara emergency response.

Council member, District 7 Maya Esparza, ’11 MPA, and Council member, District 2 Sergio Jimenez, ’08 Political Science are members of the San José City Council, developing important legislation to protect our most vulnerable community members from evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sergio Jimenez also oversees the work force that prepares food for distribution to the community impacted by COVID at Sacred Heart.

Kira Valenta, ’18 MPA, and Christopher Hoem, ’18 MPA, are aides to Mike Wasserman, Vice President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Lakeisha Bryant and Galen Boggs, ’21 MPA, are aides to Member of Congress (CA-17) Ro Khanna.

Current MPA student Galen Boggs is a National Guard officer who has been on active duty setting up COVID-19 facilities, including temporary hospitals

Current MPA student Viviane Nguyen and Patrick Cordova, MPA ’20 are working in the city of San José Emergency Operations Center team.

Current MPA student Maria Rodriguez is the Food Unit Lead for the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center.

Current MPA student Rob Wayman is running the 200-person quarantine facility for Stanford University students from out of Santa Clara County.

Current MPA student Darius Brown supervises a City of San José Community Center shelter for homeless people to enable them to shelter in place from Covid.

Daniela E. Torres, ’12 MPH, is responsible for all health information, health education, and health data collection in California’s public and charter schools which serves over 6.2 million students. She works very closely with the California Department of Public Health and CDC’s surveillance unit on multiple health topics.

Faculty and Frontline Students and Interns

SJSU Dietetic interns worked with Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Institute of Child Nutrition, Santa Clara County Senior Nutrition Program to make meals accessible to K – 12 students. They also helped centers to develop online training and marketing materials for K – 12 school lunch and child care programs, including topics related to nutrition, exercise, and recipes for staying at home.

Interns also worked on disaster menu and food supply planning at skilled nursing facilities. Many of SJSU’s internship sites/hospitals are now implementing these new guidelines in caring for affected patients.

For aspiring Registered Dietitians enrolled in NUFS 110B, Medical Nutrition Therapy, in Spring 2020, Associate Professor of Nutrition, Food Science & Packaging, Kasuen Mauldin, guest lectured on the topic of nutrition support and shared recent guidelines released by the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) about nutrition therapy for Covid-19 patients. The guidelines focus on providing optimal nutrition (along with potential novel nutrient recommendations) to patients with severe respiratory syndrome while minimizing healthcare provider exposure.

As part of an IBM competition, Master of Information Science students under the leadership of Yu Chen, assistant professor in the School of Information Systems and Technology, created technology-based social solutions to COVID-19. Divided into virtual teams, students designed various apps to address the problems people are facing during this pandemic, such as generating recipes based on photos of ingredients in the pantry, measuring the intensity of symptoms when they’re sick, generating analysis by scanning key words in tweets employing IBM’s Personality Insights, etc.

PPE Donations

Faculty members and students in the industrial design department worked on 3-D printers in SJSU’s Calvin Seid Innovation Lab to make test kit swabs and badly needed ventilator parts for frontline medical staff.

The College of Science’s biology department staff have contributed 56 cases of gloves, plus a smaller supply of N95 and surgical masks to Valley Medical Foundation.

Valley Foundation School of Nursing donated personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, masks) to a local hospital.

San José State’s athletics department partnered with Sacred Heart Community Service and Family Supportive Housing on the Heart for San José initiative to help the community cope. From sales of Heart for San José merchandise, $800 and 451 masks have been donated.

Creative Entrepreneurs

When extreme shortages of masks for healthcare workers  dominated the COVID-19 news headlines in March, Nitin Agrawal and his team formed a group called “The Free Maskeeteers.” The group raised more than $14,000, brought together 240 volunteers, including seamsters, drivers, website developers, and project and operation staff members to deliver more than 3,500 high-quality, hospital-grade, hand-sewn masks, 6,000 surgical masks and 3,400 KN95 masks to more than 70 hospitals, clinics, nursing centers and other facilities.

Occupational therapy graduate student Rebecca Farrell and her husband created a website called Bay Area Masks, which helps coordinate mask sewers with healthcare professionals and other individuals in the community.

San José State Football Head Coach Brent Brennan, Stanford University Football Coach David Shaw and University of California Football Coach Justin Wilcox came together for a video that highlights the importance of washing hands and practicing safe social distancing. San José State Football’s Director of Digital Communications Cam Radford edited the video.

Learn Anywhere Website Launched to Aid Student Success

student working remotely on his laptop.

Student working remotely.

On August 6, San José State University launched Learn Anywhere—a website to help students better adapt to the hybrid teaching and learning model for the upcoming fall 2020 semester that consists of mostly online learning.

The Learn Anywhere site—the third in a trio of help and instruction websites—joins Work Anywhere and Teach Anywhere, which were created last spring to assist staff and faculty members transitioning to sheltering in place.

Learn Anywhere offers students a readiness questionnaire, basic tips to get started, guides to Zoom mastery, help navigating Canvas—and even what to do if students don’t have reliable Wi-Fi access at home, or need a loaner laptop. The Learn Anywhere site also has many easy-to-find tips on how to access other SJSU resources available to students, including:

  • Academic support, like the Writing Center, Accessible Education Center and Career Center
  • Advising Hub
  • Campus Life’s rich range of virtual opportunities to join in and connect
  • Financial Aid and SJSU Cares
  • How to use the library remotely

Learn Anywhere provides a “one-stop shop” where students can find information about technology needs, using online tools and campus resources like student centers, activities and events.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., said the Learn Anywhere website “helps students tap in and figure things out: How do I connect to tutoring? How do I connect to other success programs?”

Melinda Jackson, associate dean for undergraduate education, said, “We are excited to roll out Learn Anywhere for our students. Online learning is a new experience for many, and we want to make sure that students know about all of the resources the university is offering this fall.

“We recognize that online learning brings new challenges,” Jackson said. “Our faculty and staff members have been working hard all summer to reimagine and revamp what we do to offer an excellent educational experience for all.”

Last spring—when sheltering in place threw everything into a whirl—eCampus launched Teach Anywhere, a rich resource to help faculty members find what they needed. “It was a whole campus team effort getting that up,” said Jennifer Redd, director of eCampus. “This was truly a cross-campus collaborative effort to design and develop,” Redd said. Together, Learn Anywhere and Teach Anywhere curate resources, provide tips and offer guidance for teaching and learning online.

In addition to pointing students toward upcoming workshops, the Learn Anywhere site also displays numerous helpful recorded tutorials, such as tips on how to go beyond Zoom basics. A simple video tutorial explains how to share videos within Canvas. Another reminds students that, with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools, they’re able to practice making polished, professional-quality presentations.

The homepage also features personal tips offered by undergraduate and graduate students on strategies they use to succeed in learning remotely.

Sumeet Suhas Deshpande, a current student who helped the eCampus staff design and produce Learn Anywhere, said in an email that he hoped the site would make for “a smooth and efficient online learning experience in the semesters to come. Learn Anywhere is primarily built to cater to the needs of students who are not so well-versed with technology and software applications and are new to online learning.” Deshpande said he intended to use the very site he helped create to better manage his own time and studies, learn how other students were coping and succeeding, and connect with peers. As a student himself, Deshpande said he and the team had put a great deal of thought into “building the website with the end user’s perspective, as that is what matters the most.”

“We hope that students will bookmark the Learn Anywhere site and visit it often throughout the semester,” Jackson said. “We are all on this online journey together and want this site to help students connect to the Spartan community and find the support they need.”

SJSU Launches SJSU Adapt Plan for Fall 2020

Note: The following message from President Mary A. Papazian was shared with the SJSU campus community on Monday, July 13, 2020.

SJSU campus community, 

I’m sure we can all agree the past few months adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 has tested us physically, emotionally, psychologically and, for some, spiritually. Although every one of us has been affected by the pandemic in their own way, as Spartans, we have shown strength in taking on whatever has come our way, while continuing to show compassion, care and a helping hand for others. 

The SJSU Adapt plan is now available after months of planning and responding to constantly evolving external guidelines. I want to thank everyone who played an integral part ensuring this plan addresses the needs of the entire campus community. I also want to thank the campus community for their patience as we developed the plan and obtained needed approvals from the California State University Chancellor’s Office.The SJSU Adapt logo, an infinity symbol with blue and gold colors The multi-phased approach of the SJSU Adapt plan purposely aligns with health orders of Santa Clara County and California Department of Public Health Departments. This plan serves as a roadmap for us to navigate the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust to the continued gradual reopening or potential future closing of Santa Clara County and the state of California.

The new website features an explanation of the four phases of the plan, FAQs, and health and safety guidelines. SJSU is currently in “Phase 2: Modified Campus” of the SJSU Adapt plan.

A depiction of the four phases of the SJSU Adapt plan, with Phase 2 of the picture being highlighted to signify that SJSU is in Phase 2.

SJSU could move backwards or forwards in phases if it is deemed necessary, due to new or revised health ordinances from local and state public health departments. 

The following information from SJSU Adapt has been posted:

The icons for information that is available in the SJSU Adapt plan.

Please note that the fall plan for Athletics is still being reviewed by the California State University Chancellor’s Office. When information has been approved to share, the site will be updated and a follow up message will alert you to the update. 

After the community has had some time to review the details of the SJSU Adapt plan, there will be an opportunity to discuss parts of the plan and answer questions in one of two virtual town halls in late July. Details will be communicated soon.

Thank you again for your flexibility and patience during these last several trying months. I look forward to the time we can all be together, once again.

Sincerely,

Mary A. Papazian

President

2020 Graduates Reflect on their Time at SJSU

As the unique and challenging spring 2020 semester comes to a close, some of the resilient members of SJSU’s graduating class reflect on their time at SJSU, achievements and plans for the future.

Tram Phan, ’20 Chemical Engineering

Tram PhanTram Phan’s family in Vietnam was about to fly to a different city to get visas sponsored when they learned the SJSU spring commencement ceremony is postponed for the graduating class of 2020. The news broke their hearts, as well as Phan’s.

“I know a lot of people get a degree in the U.S., but for international students, it’s a big event, much bigger,” Phan said.

During four years away from home, Phan has grown out of her shyness. She credits the San Jose State’s diverse community for helping her open up to the unknown. Today, she has more friends than she could imagine, but regrets not being able to share the culminating moments of the journey together in person.

“They are all nerdy and funny, and I like that about them. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my friends; I didn’t realize I’d miss them that much,” Phan said, her eyes gleaming through the computer screen.

But Phan has been quick to measure the positive side of the picture. She appreciates the university offering graduates a choice to be a part of a future live commencement ceremony. The COVID-19-dominated spring semester has been an eye opener for her in terms of adapting to new skills and challenging environments. The transition from in-person classes to online instruction proved to be a harmonious experience for her.

“The online settings encouraged people to talk more freely in class. Even folks who were inherently shy shed their inhibitions and became more approachable,” Phan said.

The resilience Phan demonstrated during the global pandemic paid off for her. She received an unexpected job offer that has made her optimistic about the future.

“I wouldn’t have gotten to this point unless I believed in myself,” she said. “SJSU made me believe everything is possible.”

Eric Ortiz, ’20 MA History

Eric OrtizEric Ortiz went to school sporadically following his 1985 high school graduation. Three decades later, the war veteran has earned a master’s degree.

“In the military, if you quit, you die,” said Ortiz. “Even though it’s been difficult for me to go back to school at my age, I never gave up.”

Since Ortiz found it difficult to relate to students half his age, he viewed school as a place to attain a goal. But the department professors, he said, made his journey worthwhile. “I learned so much from all of them. I had the opportunity to study subjects like the French revolution, ancient Greek society in depth,” said Ortiz. “Professors Pickering, Roth and Hilde, and others brought them to life.”

Ortiz served the nation on three battlefields, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he’s reticent about broadcasting his Army experiences, Ortiz attributes his ability to cope with the ongoing stress of the global health pandemic to his military background.

“I found it easier to deal with the isolation surrounding COVID-19 than many of my fellow Spartans,” he said. The school’s move to online teaching didn’t bother Ortiz either. “It’s nothing new to me, having to do everything from a distance,” he said. “It didn’t bother me one bit.”

Channeling the Army principle of “hurry up and wait,” Ortiz focused his energy on research, developing arguments and preparing papers as the final semester drew to a close. Passionate about learning, Ortiz hopes his degree will open opportunities to teach history someday. His resilience shines through: “Yesterday is gone. We should work toward the future.”

Rachel Lee, ’20 BFA Graphic Design

Rachel LeeRachel Lee doesn’t dwell on the strangeness of her final SJSU semester. As online classes began to set in, seeing everyone on the screen became a routine she looked forward to. Looking back at her time at SJSU, Lee said there are two high points: a summer 2019 trip to Europe and her first design job.

During a three-week trip with her graphic design class, Lee traveled to eight countries including the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. “We explored many cultures, visited art museums and historic landmarks, and we participated in workshops where we exhibited our work in Katowice and Warsaw, Poland,” said Lee.

The first design job in the College of Humanities and the Arts also remains her most cherished memory from her four years at SJSU. Lee’s work was featured in The Metro, on SJSU’s North Garage, and distributed across San Jose.

“I had the pleasure of working for H&A Marketing as a graphic designer,” said Lee. “It was a great experience working with other students, faculty and staff at Hammer Theatre.”

Originally from Vancouver, Washington, Lee was glad to hear the news about SJSU’s graduate recognition websites. She was also excited about her virtual, live senior exhibition show. Along with her friends, her family virtually took part in the celebrations.

Lee wants to touch people’s lives through her design. “I’ll try to incorporate social messaging into the work I do.” Spreading positivity, helping people, volunteering for a cause is what keeps this Spartan powered up.

Ezequiel Ramirez, ’20 Justice Studies

Ezequiel RamirezHaving lived his entire life in San Jose, Ezequiel Ramirez thought he knew all about his city until he joined San Jose State. The cultural perspectives of the people he met and interacted with at school were an awakening experience for him.

“I enjoyed meeting and interacting with people from different nationalities and also people who came from different walks of life,” said Ramirez. “The school brought in everything for me. Vocabulary, education, people, habits. I love it. I love the experience right now.”

Having worked in a nonprofit as part of an internship program helping at-risk youths, Ramirez now wants to continue working with community-based organizations and to use his degree for social change.

“I’m a first-generation graduate student, and I understand the struggle of people starting from the bottom and reaching to the top,” he said. “I worked countless hours without sleep on a lot of occasions, slept in my car from long days of work and school, also was homeless at a time, but made it, and I’m still making it. I’m about to graduate.”

Not only is Ramirez the first in his family to graduate from college, he’s also the first in his family to graduate from high school on time. Having lost his father at age 11, Ramirez’s determination and strength came from watching his mother raise three kids, his fraternal twin brother and an older sister.

“My mom has always put her ambitions on the back burner while putting us first,” he said. “With me graduating college this week, I want her to know all of her sacrifices and hard work have not been in vain.”

Ramirez had dreams of decorating his graduation cap as an honor to his mom, grandmother and the rest of his family—the Ramirez, Rodriguez and Garcia households. He calms himself with his take on the COVID-19 situation: “From pressure, diamonds are made.”

Saadatou Ahmad, ’20 Accounting and Information Systems

Saadatou AhmadIn Saadatou Ahmad’s home country of Cameroon, West Africa, education is a luxury. When she came to the United States with her husband 12 years ago, she set out to chart a new course.

“Back home education is not for the poor, but here it is so encouraging,” said Ahmad. “Here, I have the support system to be a first-generation student. ”

After a stint at a beauty school and working in a salon for four years, Ahmad transferred from a community college to San Jose State as she dreamed about the future for herself and her family. Wanting to set an example for her three children–between the ages five and ten–Ahmad brought her kids to school so often “they are now used to the school environment.”

Even when she was pregnant with her third child, Ahmad continued to make it to all classes, she said, because “I always feel if I miss a lecture, I will fall behind.”

The online spring semester at SJSU was troubling for Ahmad, who loves in-person classes. While she missed seeing and talking to her classmates and professors in person, Ahmad is not someone who gives up easily. She channeled all of her time and effort to carve out a better life for her family. She recently received a full-time job offer, but she also wants to pursue more education, possibly an MBA. Right now, Ahmad is overjoyed. Her bachelor’s degree has been a long time coming. And, she said, her daughter wants to go to San Jose State when she grows up.

SJSU Receives $28M in Federal Funds To Help Cope With COVID-19 Hardship

San Jose State University has received more than $28.7 million dollars from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help students and the campus deal with COVID-19 related hardships.

Half of the funding, or approximately $14.4 million, will go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include a student’s cost of attending college, food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare. The funding can not be used to pay tuition or registration fees.

CARES Act SJSU Grant

“This is an unprecedented time and many of our students are dealing with unexpected hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day. “We want our students to continue on their educational journey and get their degrees. This emergency federal funding will help them do that.”

Eligible students can apply for an emergency aid grant through SJSU Cares and the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and. The amount of individual grants will be determined by the number and scope of the requests that are received. All grant money will be distributed by the end of the spring semester.

Although the CARES Act requires recipients to meet certain qualifications related to enrollment, citizenship, residency and how they are impacted by COVID-19, SJSU Cares distributes funds from a variety of other sources.  Any student in need of emergency funding is encouraged to contact SJSU Cares.

San Jose State will use the remaining funds to enhance distance learning programs and other critical needs to meet the university’s core mission.

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27, 2020, is a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history.

SJSU Alumni Develop Test for Rapid COVID-19 Results

Two San Jose State University alumni are part of the team that developed the first rapid COVID-19 test that delivers results in 45 minutes.

David Persing

David Persing, ’79 Biochemistry, is one of two SJSU alumni working at Cepheid to develop a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Photo: David Schmitz.

Dr. David Persing,‘79, Biochemistry, and Rich Nolasco, ‘08, Mechanical Engineering, work for Sunnyvale-based Cepheid. The molecular diagnostic testing company announced on March 21 that it has received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its SAR-CoV-2 Xpert Xpress test. It is the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be administered at point-of-contact locations, such as hospitals, emergency rooms and urgent care centers, and delivers rapid results.

Persing is the executive vice president, chief medical and technology officer for Cepheid. He explains in this video how the COVID-19 rapid test works and why it’s so important.

Persing graduated from SJSU with a degree in biochemistry and then earned an MD-PhD in genetics. He founded the Mayo Clinic’s Molecular Microbiology Laboratory. Eventually, he left academia to focus on cancer and infectious diseases in the biotech industry. In an interview with Washington Square Magazine in 2019, Persing said “It was gratifying to treat one patient at a time, but I ultimately decided I needed to amplify the impact of my research and touch the lives of many people simultaneously.”

Richard Nolasco

Richard Nolasco, ’08 Mechanical Engineering, is a member of a team at Cepheid working on a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Photo: Courtesy of Rich Nolasco.

SJSU alumnus Rich Nolasco graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and works as a failure investigation engineer at Cepheid.

“When I joined the Cepheid team in late 2015, I knew that the company and my work directly affected lives around the world in a positive way,” said Nolasco. “When I found out that Cepheid was coming up with a test to detect the virus, I knew it would make a huge and positive impact.”

Cepheid expects to begin rolling out the COVID-19 rapid test at the end of March.

FAQ – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

**This page is no longer being updated. Visit the FAQ section on the SJSU Health Advisories website for more information.**

 

Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


New FAQ (March 8, 2020)

Editor’s Note: The FAQ section has been updated as of March 9, 2020 to reflect new content.

Will campus remain open?

Faculty and staff should continue to report to campus for work and carry out their normal responsibilities. For faculty and staff on campus who may have conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, we take this very seriously. Please contact your supervisor and/or the following offices immediately if you need accommodations, sick/medical or other leave, or wish to discuss other options or concerns:

  • Employment Accommodations Resource Center: Cindy Marota: x4-6003
  • University Personnel, Leaves Manager: Josh Etherington: x4-2155
  • University Personnel, Employee Relations: Stacey Elsibai: x4-2142, Julie Paisant: x4-2255, Joanne Wright: x4-2458

Faculty and staff who have fevers or respiratory infections should stay home. We will ensure that sick time is applied so that you will not lose pay or applicable benefits and will work with you if you have exhausted your sick time balance.

What will happen if SJSU closes?

The President will notify the campus by email. The information will also be announced through Twitter and the SJSU Newsroom. In the event we need to close campus, “essential personnel” will still provide on-campus services that relate directly to the health, safety, and welfare of the university, ensure continuity of key operations, and maintain and protect university properties. When appropriate and feasible, these responsibilities may be carried out remotely. Guidance for essential personnel will be distributed this week.

Will classes be moved online?

We have a number of resources already available for faculty to adapt their courses to a “remote teaching” modality, either distributed or online. We encourage faculty to begin to engage this process in case it becomes necessary. In addition to these resources, this week, the division of Academic Affairs will begin providing additional support and training to assist faculty and teaching associates, as applicable, with moving their in-person classes to distributed or fully online modalities. Where fully online means that all course material is delivered through an online format, a distributed class may include aspects, such as synchronous live lectures delivered from one’s office or distributed materials that are returned to the instructor via a variety of modalities. This provides maximum flexibility to each instructor within the confines of this very challenging public health care environment.

If our campus has a reported case of COVID-19, we will activate a plan to move in-person classes to either a distributed or fully-online model. We will notify the campus community when the decision has been made.

What are the guidelines for travel?

Effective immediately, San Jose State University and its auxiliary organizations will suspend all international and non-essential domestic travel from now through the end of the spring semester (May 31, 2020). This includes suspension of travel approved prior to March 8, 2020.

  • If you have upcoming travel that was approved before March 8, 2020, you will be contacted with information on how to request reauthorization.
  • Many conference organizers and airlines are issuing full refunds. In the event that a traveler is unable to obtain a refund, expenses for approved travel incurred prior to March 8, 2020 are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Future travel, including summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Will upcoming events continue as planned?

We are evaluating meetings, gatherings, and events through the end of spring break. The President’s Leadership Council, in consultation with faculty, staff, and student groups responsible for the events, will make decisions that will best serve our mission and our community’s health, safety, and well-being. More information and guidance will be distributed this week.

How should I handle information about others’ health?

As stated above, certain members of our campus community are charged with providing guidance and assistance concerning individuals who may need accommodation or leave, have returned from international travel, or have possibly come in contact, either through acquaintance/relationship or work in health care, to individuals exposed to COVID-19.

As part of our community responsibility, I ask that you respect the privacy of all members of our community and refrain from sharing information outside appropriate reporting channels about the identity or identifying characteristics (e.g., staff position, undergraduate/graduate status, faculty position, department, unit) of individuals in our community who may have been asked to self-quarantine, seek testing, or may themselves, at some point, be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Exercise caution so as not to contribute to unintended consequences of speculation, unfounded fear, stigmatization, or behavior that may increase the likelihood of individuals not self-reporting their possible risk of exposure to COVID-19.

How do we address the stigma that often emerges with such diseases?

It is very important to remember that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups. So, although people are understandably worried about the spread of COVID-19, we want to avoid fear and anxiety turning to social stigma. Unfortunately, we have already seen some of this reported anecdotally on campus, as some people show concerns about Chinese or other Asian Americans, international students generally, people wearing protective masks, or those who were in quarantine.


Editor’s Note: The FAQ section was last updated March 5, 2020 to reflect new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).



Medical Questions

How is COVID-19 spread?

According to the CDC, as of March 5, there are 148 identified cases of COVID-19 in the United States out of the more than 93,000 worldwide (WHO, March 4 report). This includes confirmed cases, cases under investigation and cases among people expatriated to the U.S. There have been 10 deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

How do I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Guide on how to stop the spread of germs.

CDC guide on how to stop the spread of germs. Graphic courtesy of CDC.

  • Treat Yourself Well
    • Maintain good sleep habits.
    • Manage stress.
    • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Make It Hard for Viruses to Spread
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Check with your heath-care provider whether obtaining the influenza vaccine is advisable for you.
  • Think of Others
    • If you feel ill, call or email a health provider for advice.
    • Stay home or reduce contact with others until your symptoms subside.

As with all communicable diseases, employees should stay home when sick and practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. See also the CDC guidelines on their website.

As stated on the CDC website, to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described on the website to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available here.

What do I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19 (but have no symptoms and feel well)?

The CDC strongly recommends that you self-quarantine. Students should contact your faculty instructors to discuss how you can continue to make progress on your coursework. Staff and faculty who may self-quarantine and can fulfill their responsibilities without physically reporting to campus should contact their supervisors to make arrangements to work remotely. For those who may need to self-quarantine but cannot work remotely—sick, vacation and/or personal holidays as well as leave programs may be applied.

What do I do if I believe members of my household or myself have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

Stay home if you have any concerns or symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Do not come to work until you are free of fever (100.4°F), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours. Notify your supervisor and stay home if you are sick. As with other communicable diseases such as the flu, supervisors should send home employees who become sick during the day to prevent others from becoming ill. Call your healthcare professional for guidance on whether to be tested and what to do.

Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?

The first COVID-19 case in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The first confirmed instance of person-to-person infection of this virus in the U.S. was reported on January 30, 2020. See the current U.S. case count of COVID-19.


Monitoring and Managing

Who is in charge of monitoring the ongoing outbreak and managing SJSU’s response?

SJSU is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and managing the university’s response via the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which includes campus leaders from the Academic Affairs, University Police Department, Student Affairs, Facilities Development and Operations, and other groups. The EOC consults regularly with the President and her staff who will make large-scale policy decisions.


Classes, Work, and Campus Closure

Is there a plan to conduct some classes by teleconference such as Zoom?

With no reported cases on campus, we will continue to operate the campus and its classes as normal. If a case is reported, and there is concern that coming to campus can put our community at risk, we will ask that faculty provide alternative access to course content – this could take place through Zoom (we have a campus-wide site license) or alternative assignments.

Under what circumstances will classes be cancelled or the campus closed? How will I be notified?

The EOC will continue to monitor and assess the situation. They will also manage any operations necessary to respond to or address an outbreak. One case, with no identifiable route of contagion (exposure) may be enough to trigger closure, while one case with a clear epidemiology and low exposure on campus may not trigger a closure.
Ultimately, the President, in consultation with her Cabinet, will determine whether to cancel classes or close campus. This information will be distributed by the following communication channels: Email, Twitter, Facebook, and the SJSU Newsroom.


Potential Outbreak on Campus

What will happen if an SJSU student, faculty, or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?

The campus community will be notified through email, Twitter, Facebook, and the SJSU Newsroom about potential class cancellation or campus closure.

What will happen if students, faculty, or staff living in the residence halls are diagnosed with COVID-19?

The EOC and University Housing Services will initially coordinate with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department on the most appropriate response that protects the safety of individual students and the larger campus community. University Housing is currently preparing for multiple response scenarios and will communicate with students, families, and the university community in the event of an emergency situation.

Whom should I contact with questions?

  • Students should contact their faculty instructors for questions about specific classes.
  • Employees should contact their healthcare providers. Students may contact the SJSU Student Health Center at (408) 924-6122 with questions about symptoms.
  • Faculty should contact their department chairs with questions about their classes.
  • Staff should contact their supervisors with questions about working remotely in the case of self quarantine.
  • Faculty and staff should contact University Personnel (408) 924-2250 with questions about sick time and leave programs.