Dear Sonoma State Campus Community,
Yesterday, amid a local and regional surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, Sonoma County Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, issued a health order restricting gatherings of large groups of more than 50 people in indoor settings and groups of more than 100 people in outdoor settings. Dr. Mase also appealed to Sonoma County residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days and limit interactions with those outside of their immediate household. Sonoma County’s Department of Public Health also recommends that residents limit travel outside the home to activities such as going to work, school, and necessary trips to the grocery store or a medical office. The health order goes into place at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, and will be in effect until Friday, February 11, 2022, unless changed or rescinded.
The Sonoma State University campus is and will remain open. The health and safety of our campus community have been my foremost concern throughout the pandemic. In keeping with the public health recommendations, hearing from many of you, in consultation with various campus constituent leaders including faculty, staff and students, and out of an abundance of caution, I have decided:
- Most classes will be taught in an online modality through Friday, February 11, 2022. If a faculty member determines that a course is best taught in person, they may request approval to do so from their dean. Any faculty member teaching courses that require in-person supervision of teacher, counseling, or nursing candidates must receive dean approval to go entirely remote. The Provost’s Office will maintain and publish a list of approved in-person courses. Labs will remain open for research and instruction, and students may work with faculty in labs, as long as everyone maintains compliance with current campus COVID-19 safety protocols — completing Daily Wellness Screenings, wearing face masks, certifying vaccination status or approved exemption with weekly testing. Faculty may continue to work on campus in their offices and labs.
- In the coming days, the Center for Teaching and Educational Technology will be scheduling a series of workshops to help faculty prepare for online modality, as well as extra zoom room support in the weeks before classes resume. Matthew Paolucci Callahan, Interim AVP for Faculty Success, will offer resources and training on fostering student engagement in the first remote weeks.
- With approval from their appropriate administrator, staff and managers may continue to work in-person on campus or temporarily revert to their Fall 2021 telecommuting arrangements through Friday, February 11, 2022, provided that services continue to remain open and available in-person. These decisions will be made at the unit and departmental levels by the appropriate administrator based on work functions and operational needs.
- Staff and managers who are required to continue working on campus will be notified by their appropriate administrator. Student services, including Strategic Enrollment, the Office of Financial Aid, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Learning and Academic Resource Center, and others, must be available both in-person and online during this brief period.
- Residence halls and the library will remain open to students, faculty, and staff, and limited dining services will be available.
- Some other aspects of campus operations, such as spectators at athletics events, audiences for the performing arts programs and the Green Music Center, facilities reservations, and hours at the Campus Recreation Center may experience short-term changes. Details about modifications will be shared in the coming days both via email from and on the websites of the respective units.
The public health environment is changing rapidly. Health experts note that getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a face mask, and limiting group gatherings are the best actions that we can individually and collectively take to “bend the omicron curve.” I thank you for your flexibility and your support of our campus’ commitment to health and safety and our educational mission.
If you have questions regarding the Spring 2022 changes in response to this latest Sonoma County health order, please contact SSU’s COVID Monitoring Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judy K. Sakaki