**This page is no longer being updated.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.