The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Chancellor Castro addresses in-person learning plans for fall

Chancellor Castro remains confident that a partial return to in-person instruction will be possible at all CSUs
Eve DeBord
Chancellor Dr. Joseph I. Castro addresses the likelihood of returning to in-person instruction in Fall 2021. (Eve DeBord / Golden Gate Xpress)

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro affirmed that the CSU system intends to return to in-person learning for the Fall 2021 semester, saying that a combination of personal protective equipment, social distancing and compliance to all state and local precautionary measures to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 will be necessary.

Castro discussed the CSU’s agenda for the current Spring 2021 semester and future Fall 2021 semester at a student media press conference, held on Monday.

“First and foremost, and I think most appropriate is to ensure the health and safety of all of you, of all of our students, faculty staff and communities,” Castro said at the top of the press conference.

According to the California Department of Public Health, San Francisco County is currently classified as being in the purple tier due to the widespread transmission of the virus. San Francisco Department of Public Health is mandating mask wearing, social distancing and limiting social interactions to reduce transmission as outlined in the Stay-Safer-At-Home Order

It was announced in December 2020 that the CSU system had intentions to return to in-person learning in the fall, and tentative plans are being drafted by the Chancellor’s Office to determine what that will look like, as expressed during the meeting. 

“I think that I want to avoid any legal issues as it relates to requiring people to be vaccinated, especially with vaccines that have an emergency authorization,” Castro said when asked whether or not vaccination will be required in the fall. 

In December 2020, SF State President Lynn Mahoney said that between SF State administration and faculty unions, there was mutual support for mandating vaccination. The decision on whether or not to require vaccination for Fall 2021 will ultimately be made at the CSU level and would apply to all campuses. 

The chancellor is encouraging anyone who can to get the vaccine when it becomes available to them. Some CSU campuses, like CSU Long Beach, are hosting vaccination sites for their staff, and Castro expects more schools to provide this service in the near future. On Wednesday, Feb. 3, SF State began administering vaccine doses to eligible members of the public from their site at the Mashouf Wellness Center.

Referring to students who may be reluctant to return to in-person learning in fall, Castro said, “For those that might want to wait, I know that each campus is gonna accommodate those interests … It is a time to be flexible and reasonable and compassionate and that is how we’ll proceed for the fall as well.”

Castro said he also intends to come to an agreement with CSU labor unions to continue CSU’s COVID-19 Temporary Paid Administration Leave program that expired in December 2020.

While no agreement has been reached yet, the chancellor is hopeful for one soon and included that, “The leave program that we are anticipating will look a lot like the one that we had last year.”

Faculty and staff unions of the CSU are currently in negotiations with the university system regarding its reopening plan, which union leaders say they were not notified of the plan prior to the public statement being released

During the press conference, Castro addressed the topic of campus law enforcement, stating that he remains concerned about maintaining safety at each school and protecting campus facilities.

“Our police chiefs as a whole have endorsed the Obama administration’s 21st century policing report, which talked about the value of guardianship versus policing and I agree with that. What I don’t anticipate is any significant decreases in investment in that area,” Castro said.

The chancellor also announced the formation of a new steering committee that will be focused on the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025. Chancellor Castro stated that he would be asking for specific recommendations from this committee about how best to eliminate CSU’s equity gap.

In an email received the same day by students, SF State announced plans for a virtual graduation ceremony for the Spring 2021 semester to be held on Friday, May 21. While plans for the future have in-person learning at the forefront, for the time being the present still remains socially distant and virtual. 

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About the Contributor
Eve DeBord
Eve (she/her) is the campus editor for Xpress Newspaper. This is her last semester at SF State and she will be graduating with her B.A. in Journalism and minors in Queer Ethnic Studies, Criminal Justice and Philosophy. DeBord grew up in Oakland and was living in San Francisco prior to the pandemic, but has since moved to Humboldt County and live/work on a farm. In her free time when she is not tending to the animals or working on reporting a story DeBord loves hiking, bouldering and reading.

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Chancellor Castro addresses in-person learning plans for fall