SF State to start spring semester virtually amidst omicron wave

By Eli Walsh

By Eli Walsh

Bay City News

Two California State University campuses in the Bay Area will start their spring semesters virtually in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, school officials said Thursday.

Cal State East Bay’s semester will be fully remote through at least the end of January, the school announced, while the university’s Hayward, Concord and Oakland campuses are remaining open for services when the semester begins on Jan. 18.

Cal State East Bay President Cathy Sandeen said in a statement that the university made its decision to start virtually to reduce the population density of its campuses.

“Our students, staff and faculty have done a commendable job in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses through vaccination, regular testing and following public health guidance,” Sandeen said. “To date, we have not had any community transmission and this latest decision will help us maintain a high level of safety.”

San Francisco State University will also move to fully virtual classes through at least Feb. 14, and provide most on-campus services virtually through Feb. 7, President Lynn Mahoney said Thursday.

A handful of buildings on SFSU’s campus, including the school’s library and student center, are expected to remain open when SFSU’s spring semester begins as scheduled on Jan. 24.

Mahoney argued in an open letter to the campus that while the university is exercising caution amid the Bay Area’s omicron variant wave, SFSU has no plans to fully shut down as it did in 2020 when the pandemic began in earnest.

She added that the campus’ high vaccination rate — roughly 98 percent of students were fully vaccinated as of October — will help protect from the worst effects of the virus and noted that she and her son tested positive earlier this week and remain asymptomatic.

“Like many, this is not how I envisioned starting 2022 but, thanks to our multiple vaccine doses, we are doing well,” Mahoney said.

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