Campus COVID-19 Plan
Cal State LA has implemented a fully virtual curriculum for fall 2020 that is innovative, engaging, and comprehensive. Campus leadership is collaborating closely with public health officials to safeguard the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and local communities as we confront the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis.
Campus leadership is preparing on multiple fronts and is coordinating efforts with internal stakeholders and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (County Public Health) and the California Department of Public Health (State Public Health) to manage campus density levels and mitigate health risks in the months ahead, per the guidance and protocols of both agencies. Senior administrators have participated in regular teleconferences with medical experts from County Public Health to provide input and receive guidance for campus operations during fall 2020. The vast majority of staff will continue to telework remotely until we have reached a point at which the health and safety of a more fully populated campus can be assured. For the small number of employees required to maintain core campus operations, the Cal State LA Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety (RMEHS) Office is working with all divisions to follow the guidance of public health officials. This includes maintaining hand sanitizing stations, rearranging furniture and work areas to provide adequate physical distancing, frequently cleaning restrooms and high-touch areas, installing plexiglass protective coverings in areas where employees may interact with the public, and providing face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and gloves.
Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Information Technology Services staff have developed plans to continue providing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students who lack computer technology or reliable internet access. Limited on-campus housing will be provided to students and dining services will be offered in a manner that ensures strict adherence to risk mitigation protocols outlined by public health officials. On-campus housing consists of apartment-style units that allow students to be placed individually in units. Units will be set aside in the event that students and faculty need to be quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. To minimize interaction between students and dining service staff and maintain physical distancing, all meals will be pre-packaged for pickup. All common areas in campus housing such as the dining area, break room, recreation room, and basketball courts will be closed. The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) has suspended competition for fall 2020. Cal State LA Intercollegiate Athletics does not plan to open facilities or permit student-athletes to return to campus during fall 2020.
Four courses in the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing will require students to be on campus, where they will receive instruction and training in the Nursing Simulation Laboratory. Physical distancing, frequent sanitizing of instructional areas, and use of personal protective equipment will be utilized for these courses. The 18 sections of these courses represent less than 1% of the 4,722 course sections that were offered during the fall 2019 semester, excluding supervisory courses such as independent studies.
Fewer than 172 students are expected to enroll in the 18 sections offered through the School of Nursing. Students will be in groups of less than 30 to reduce the risk of exposure. Weather permitting, use of outdoor space will be encouraged.
For fall 2020, three rotating faculty members and one staff technician will be needed to deliver in-person instruction in the School of Nursing. For related on-campus activities, approximately 254 staff members will be working on campus. An additional 125 staff members may be working on campus part time and working remotely for the remainder of their shifts.
The process of repopulating the campus with employees will be controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the communities served by the campus. The University Environmental Health and Safety Office is working with all divisions to follow the guidance of public health experts. The campus will continue to provide hand sanitizing stations, rearrange furniture and workstations to provide adequate physical distancing, and work to improve mechanical ventilation in buildings to the highest feasible level, as outlined by State Public Health guidance. Other measures include frequently cleaning restrooms and high-touch areas with EPA-approved disinfectants and asthma-safer cleaning products, as well as installing plexiglass protective coverings in areas where employees may interact with the public, and ensuring the availability of personal protective equipment such as masks, face shields, and gloves. Information has been provided regarding the use of face coverings, and RMEHS will work with all divisions to follow the guidance of State Public Health regarding the implementation of policies for individuals exempt from wearing a mask. The Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety is also working with all divisions to ensure compliance with Title 8, Section 5199, per the guidance of State Public Health. Signage will be placed in elevators to remind riders to limit capacity and maintain 6-foot physical distancing. Cal State LA is working to follow County Public Health protocols regarding prohibiting the use of water fountains and ensuring that water systems and features are safe to use in the event of a prolonged facility shutdown.
Employees unable to return to campus when directed will contact Human Resources Management (HRM) to determine next steps. Employees who are 65 or older, or who have underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, will be allowed to continue working remotely. Nearly all students will be enrolled in virtual classes. Staff in the divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Information Technology Services have developed plans to continue providing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students who lack computer technology or reliable internet access.
Cal State LA has established a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force to oversee the establishment and enforcement of safety protocols and ensure that employees and students receive information about coronavirus. The task force is creating a campus-specific prevention plan and will regularly evaluate adherence to the plan, as outlined by State Public Health. The task force has designated a liaison to work with health officials in the event of an outbreak on campus. Students in University housing have been instructed to carry out self-screenings. Should three or more cases of coronavirus be identified on campus within a 14-day span, Cal State LA will follow the state and county protocols and document the cases and notify county health officials. The University plans to recommend immunization against influenza for students and employees.
The Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety is working with the campus Office of Parking and Transportation Services to follow the guidance of County Public Health regarding measures to ensure physical distancing and protect drivers and passengers utilizing University vehicles on campus, as well as to provide on-campus biking infrastructure. RMEHS is also working with all divisions to encourage students and employees who rely on mass transit to consider using alternative transportation options, per the guidance of State Public Health. To help maintain healthy operations, RMEHS is collaborating with all divisions to ensure that absenteeism is monitored and staff are cross-trained. RMEHS is also working with all divisions to schedule visitors to campus buildings by appointment only and to ensure they are pre-registered in a visitor log. Visitors with children will be reminded that children must stay next to a parent at all times. The Division of Student Life will ensure that any off-campus organizations or clubs affiliated with the University are following University protocols and that systems of accountability are in place.
Should it become necessary to further decant campus, students attending in-person classes in the Nursing Simulation Laboratory would need to be reassigned to field placements to ensure their progress toward degree completion.
The University carefully evaluated the courses that would be taught in the Nursing Simulation Laboratory and has concluded that the laboratory provides a controlled and safe learning environment. Virtual instruction would not be feasible because nursing students must perform simulated care experiences using high-fidelity manikins located in the laboratory.
Cal State LA Housing and Residence Life has carefully considered options for limiting the number of on-campus residents for fall 2020 in response to the uncertainty of COVID-19 progression. In consultation with the Cal State LA Student Health Center, following the standards and guidelines recommended by local and state agencies, and with specific attention to the County Public Health protocols, the University has significantly limited the number of students in on-campus housing and implemented a plan of one student per apartment, each with an individual bathroom. Allowances have been made for students who have quarantined during and/or have lived with one other housemate prior to the pandemic, having established a “family unit.” In this scenario, students still have their own bedroom and bathroom, except in one instance in which two students were roommates prior to the pandemic and requested to be roommates again. Students in housing have been informed that they must follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines, per the guidance and protocols of public health agencies, and they have been instructed regarding the signs and symptoms of coronavirus and are asked to contact the Student Health Center if they are not feeling well.
Aramark provides dining services for Housing and Residence Life. These services are provided to ensure appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols. Service has been changed to takeout food only, creating a touchless environment. Aramark removed all service ware and replaced it with disposable utensils and cups. One-way entry and exit routes were created, with 6-foot distances marked on the floor. Dining staff follow protocols for personal protection, wearing masks and gloves, and are applying appropriate sanitation procedures. Meal plans support residents with food options that keep them on campus without the need to go into the community, thus reducing the chances of exposure.
If COVID-19 progression lessens and we are able to open the dining facility for limited use, sections for seating will be designated per distancing recommendations of state and local authorities. When this occurs, cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces will be performed before, during, and after each meal period. Appropriate procedures to provide plates and utensils will be reinstituted when self-service is deemed safe. Hand sanitizing stations are currently available and will aid in customers cleaning their hands during meal periods. The dish return will need to be fully operational and staff must wear gloves while handling used plates, cups, utensils, etc., which will need to be washed appropriately in hot water through the dish machine. If these conditions cannot be met, disposables will be used and trash collected throughout the meal periods, avoiding overfilling of trash receptacles.
The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) has suspended competition for fall 2020. Cal State LA Intercollegiate Athletics (Athletics) will not open facilities or allow for student-athletes to return to campus during fall 2020. Our plan for Athletics will be reviewed and modified if the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis result in revised guidance from state and local public health officials and the CCAA.
Jose A. Gomez
Executive Vice President and COO
Director, Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety
Local Public Health Official:
Child and Adolescent Health Section Chief
Division of Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health