IMPORTANT UPDATES: Classes Moving to Remote Modalities

Dear campus community,

Sadly, a resident of Santa Clara County died earlier today from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has confirmed 37 cases at the time of this email. This number will escalate as more people report and are tested.

After consulting with California State University System Chancellor Tim White and a variety of other leaders representing our unions, the Academic Senate, and the student body, I have made decisions regarding in-person classes. The campus, however, remains open for normal business. This decision is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, reduce the potential of people being infected, and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness.

For these reasons, please note the following: 

  • All in-person classes are suspended from March 10-13. This time is to be used for faculty and staff to prepare for the transition from in-person instruction to “distributed” or “fully online” instruction. See below. 
  • Current online classes will continue to be held. 
  • In-person classes will move to either distributed or fully online instruction from March 16-27 when a determination will be made and communicated regarding in-person classes. 

From March 10-13, Academic Affairs will provide support and training to assist faculty and teaching associates, as applicable, with moving their in-person classes to distributed or fully online modalities. Whereas 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. 

To reiterate, these classes will resume as distributed or fully online instruction from March 16-27. Faculty must obtain permission to continue teaching in an in-person format (e.g., in smaller lab courses, field schools, art studios, etc.). In each case of approval, the dean may ask for clarification about how the course design can be modified to reduce transmission risk (e.g., lab classes broken up into different rooms, or art studio design time spread out). We know that this work is not easy and appreciate everyone’s best effort to meet the needs of our students while also keeping our community safe. 

In the coming weeks, we will make a decision about whether to resume in-person classes after spring break. We will notify the campus community when the decision has been made.

Please refer to the campus message sent out Sunday evening for information on operations other than course instruction.

We understand this is a time of great uncertainty, and we appreciate the contributions and patience of the Spartan community as we continue to work through the changing landscape caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any questions, please email 


Dr. Mary A. Papazian