Thursday, the first day classes were suspended, this is what the LSU food court looked like at 1 p.m. It won’t look any better this week. Photo by Robert Rios
By Dayzsha Lino, Co-News Editor
CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham announced this afternoon that only employees absolutely critical to the operation of the university should be on campus this week and that instruction will not resume until Monday of next week at the earliest.
In his campus-wide email, sent at 2:38 p.m. Parham said that with collective anxiety about the health crisis increasing the university “must give ourselves time to evaluate the best way for the campus to move forward.”
He also said to expect another announcement Friday.
Parham announced last Wednesday that classes would be suspended until Wednesday of this week, at which point they would be taught online or in other alternative modes. Additionally, while students and faculty were not required to be here, all staff would be on campus.
No longer. Beginning tomorrow, all staff will work remotely, other than those needed to maintain critical operations and campus safety.
Parham also wrote that the campus is not closed, but “some services will not be available.”
There were no details whether those services included the library or the food court. However, Parham did say that “university Student Housing is fully staffed and will remain open for those student residents who do not wish to return home. We will work with residents who stay on campus to ensure their basic needs are met “valuate the best way for the campus to move forward.”
Parham also said that staff members who cannot work remotely and have already consulted with their advisors and vice presidents will be placed on administrative paid leave.
This announcement comes amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the campus community and, of course, the entire world. Over the past week, President Parham has taken a number of measures to encourage social-distancing at CSUDH like switching on-campus classes to an alternative online format, canceling athletic events , and canceling all events on campus.
Shortly after Governor Gavin Newsom urged people 65 and older to stay home from work Saturday afternoon, President Parham sent another email to staff and students ordering that CSUDH employees who are 65 and older or vulnerable in other ways to contracting COVID-19 must stay home. This was announced after CSU Chancellor Timothy White ordered all CSU presidents to comply with Governor Newsom’s advisory.
Here is the full text of President Parham’s email:
DATE: March 16, 2020
FROM: Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D.
SUBJECT: COVID-19 Update
Dear CSUDH Community,
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to unfold rapidly, the university must adapt in our response to these changing conditions, with health and safety as our number one priority. I am acutely aware that collective anxiety about this health crisis grows daily, impacting our ability to carry out our academic mission. We must give ourselves time to evaluate the best way for the campus to move forward.
With this in mind, I have made the following decisions regarding university operations and academic instruction.
We are making provisions to accommodate reduction of staff and students on campus while we consider alternate modes of instruction and service delivery. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, through Friday, March 20, all staff will work remotely. Some positions will require individuals to be on campus to maintain critical operations and campus safety. Staff members should work with their supervisors on determining the need for them to be on premise. Staff who cannot perform their work remotely, after consultations with their supervisor and vice president, will be placed on administrative leave with pay.
During this time, my administration will be finalizing a university-wide emergency telecommuting policy in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Campus is not closing, although some services will not be available. We will continue to assess the ability of campus units to provide services, and if any are deemed unable to continue, provisions will be made.
University Student Housing is fully staffed and will remain open for those student residents who do not wish to return home. We will work with residents who stay on campus to ensure their basic needs are met.
Effective today through Sunday, March 22, all instruction will be suspended – including all existing online classes. Alternative instruction previously planned to commence Wednesday, March 18, will now be postponed also through March 22. Faculty should continue the work they’ve begun to transition to alternative instruction. On Friday, March 20, we will announce further updates regarding this decision.
We understand this is not an ideal situation. We have reached a point where I believe this crisis will greatly impact the ability of the university to provide quality education to our standards of excellence.
Even though this unprecedented event requires that we scale back operations, we remain committed to supporting our students and their academic aspirations. We will continue the work on creating solutions that best deliver essential student services in alternative forms.
In the meantime, we thank you for your continued understanding and patience as we navigate this uncharted terrain.
ThomasA. Parham, Ph. D.