CSU restricts travel due to coronavirus

International travel will be suspended from March 9 to May 31 for all 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system, as will nonessential domestic travel, according to a press release issued March 10 by the CSU system. This is one of many steps the CSU system is taking to mitigate the coronavirus spread. 

The World Health Organization has recently declared the novel coronavirus, known in labs and as a disease as COVID-19, a pandemic. Multiple closures have taken place to control the spread: Many schools in Japan closed, schools across California are pausing in-person classes to work on virtual modes of instruction, and Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are set to close for the remainder of March. Cal Poly Pomona has switched to online classes only for the remainder of March, with a final decision on instructional delivery to be given on April 2.

“Campuses should help students remain abroad if, based on the most current information available, it is deemed to be a safer course of action,” the CSU press release states. “Campuses should provide any students studying in countries that have reached State Department Travel Advisory, level 3 or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) level 3 Travel Health Notice status with the option to remain or to return with as much assistance as possible.”

The CDC’s travel advisory section defines level 3 as to “avoid nonessential travel,” warning that a particular destination has become too dangerous to go to.

According to CSU Public Affairs Director Toni Molle, “CSU International Programs in China, South Korea, Italy, France, Spain and Germany have been suspended.”

“We are working to limit the impact to students,” Molle said. “If a student’s program is suspended, the campus will potentially provide alternative instruction, most likely an online course.” 

She adds that the CSU system will reimburse airline change fees for up to $250 for students who already have return tickets and if the airline hasn’t already waived the fees.

Currently, there are no countries exempt from the travel restriction. There is also no date set yet for the restart of study abroad programs, nor are there cost estimates for anything involving the travel suspension. All information is confirmed by Molle.

CPP still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. However, since CPP is within the CSU system’s jurisdiction, it is following protocol in the name of prevention.

On March 14, CPP instated the same suspensions on international and nonessential domestic travel as the CSU system did.

According to the CPP website’s safety and emergency information section, “Vice presidents and deans will make determinations on what constitutes non-essential domestic travel for their respective units and colleges and have the authority to make exceptions accordingly.”

CPP has created procedures for reimbursement of state-funded canceled travel to help students who either can’t get a refund for canceling a trip or will receive cancellation fees for doing so. The procedures can be found on the CPP website’s safety and emergency information section just below the announcement of travel suspension.

According to an email from CPP President Soraya M. Coley sent on March 11, CPP is set to switch to online instruction from March 13 to March 27. This switch will be in two steps.

“Effective Friday, March 13, we are temporarily pausing all in-person classes through Tuesday, March 17,” the message read. “This temporary pause means that in-person classes will not meet during that period of time and is designed to allow faculty to prepare for virtual modes of instruction. Online classes will continue as scheduled.”

The email goes on to inform the university that from March 18 to March 27, virtual classes will take over for any class other than “laboratory, activity, studio, performing arts and physical education,” which may meet in person if the virtual mode of instruction is deemed as not appropriate.

Students living on campus will not be left in the dark without campus resources available. 

“All food services are still open,” said first-year computer science student Zoey Medina, who works at the front desk of the University Housing Office as a business services student leader. She also confirmed that the housing office will remain open for students living on campus, as will the dining areas. Student meal plans will not be affected. She also confirmed that if a campus network problem causes delays in homework completion and submission, professors should be notified of that being the reason.

Further details on the CSU system’s protective measures and CPP’s cooperation with them are to come, and can be monitored on its website: https://www2.calstate.edu/coronavirus.

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