Looking forward beyond COVID-19

Dear campus community,

As we watch vaccinations rates rise and COVID-19 positivity rates fall in our counties and state, many of you have questions about what to expect this summer and fall. While I do not have all the answers at this point in time, I am writing today to provide you with some guidance of what to expect here at Cal State East Bay over the next six months.

Governor’s Directive

Last week, Governor Newsom outlined the state’s reopening plan that, barring drastic changes in positivity rates, aims to have the State of California in normal operations as of June 15, 2021. This means that everyday activities will be allowed, and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures such as required masking and vaccinations encouraged. 

As we have seen, the Governor has prioritized education throughout the state, from having our younger students return to their classrooms, to having earlier access to vaccines for those who work for colleges and universities. Therefore, employees at Cal State East Bay will be brought back to their workplaces over the summer to prepare for a more normal level of student activity in the fall. We will continue to follow all county and state safety precautions currently in place and as they evolve, including continued wearing of face coverings, social distancing and staying home when we are ill. As this process begins, managers will communicate with employees about the planned return of their units, including the timeline, safety measures and updated processes to keep all of us safe and healthy. 

Flexible Work Arrangements

Based on the needs of the units in fulfilling our mission and serving our students, employees may be allowed flexible work arrangements for summer and fall 2021. The university is working with bargaining units on a more permanent policy regarding flexible work arrangements where possible. Again, managers will work directly with their units regarding the return to campus and adjusted/hybrid work schedules. Employees may also contact Human Resources with questions, including concerns about returning to work on campus.

Fall Semester Courses and Activities

Now that our fall class schedule has been finalized, approximately 40 percent of Cal State East Bay’s course sections will be in-person or hybrid, with many introductory courses for new students offered in an in-person format. This represents a significant increase from 4 percent in-person instruction during spring 2021, and means that we will need greater staffing on our campuses to serve our students.

In addition to courses, we will see much more activities and events on campus during summer and fall. We expect that this includes recruitment events, tours for new students, higher student housing density and dining services reopened. Also, we anticipate that the Library, RAW and Student Health & Counseling Center will have greater capacity, and that we will be able to host club and student activities, athletics competitions and arts performances. We know that this transition will still mean some hybridized classes and activities, and we will offer “Zoom Rooms” on campus for students to participate in remote courses while on a campus. 

Of course, these activities will resume gradually and units will phase them in, taking into account health and safety precautions in place at the time. I encourage each of you to work with your manager to identify solutions that will help each unit best meet our students’ needs, while continuing to keep us all safe. 

Student, Faculty, and Staff Survey Results

Many faculty and staff completed the brief survey of preferences for the fall semester. We had an excellent response rate, which helps the university identify a balance of how we help our students with our employees’ needs. Although the survey concluded before the April 6 announcement, the results of the work survey and course schedule survey indicated that roughly half of the students and half of faculty and staff are comfortable with or preferred to return to in-person operations or welcome a hybrid mix of in-person and remote teaching, learning and working.  This signals that our university community is eager for a shift from our current operating mode and supports our plans for increased in-person instruction and activity for summer and fall. Though we are likely to be somewhat different as we come back from the pandemic period, meaningful connections remain part of our DNA, and Cal State East Bay will again soon have the lively, active campuses that we value.

Health and Safety Guidelines

As we have done throughout the pandemic period, our decisions and plans will be based on data and science, and may change somewhat to align with current circumstances and guidance from our counties, the state and the CSU system. As we begin to repopulate the campus with greater numbers of people, we will work closely with Alameda and Contra Costa County public health departments to ensure that our campus spaces continue to adhere to best practices that prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Your managers are reassessing work and public spaces, and will be reaching out to you to coordinate return to campus timelines and your on-campus scheduling. Human Resources is also available to assist with this transition.  


Cal State East Bay is working diligently to become a vaccine site for our own campus community, including providing vaccines for our students through the Student Health and Counseling Center. As we finalize these details, we look forward to ensuring that those in our university community who want a vaccine can access appointments. The CSU System is monitoring vaccine requirements going forward, and I will keep you updated as we learn more about their guidance. In the meantime, we will track vaccine and infection rates in the general population of our counties, and continue our established process of contact tracing and university notification on the COVID-19 website.  

Optimism and Hope

Like me, I suspect many of you have chosen higher education as a profession because you are drawn to meaningful in-person interactions with students and colleagues. The past year-plus has been a difficult, isolating, frightening and uncertain time. I thank you again for your hard work in adapting and to continuing to serve our teaching, research and service missions. You have made a difference and I appreciate it. I also thank you for your diligence in following our health and safety policies. Though some in our community have contracted COVID-19, we are relieved that no one has been infected through community transmission while on any of our campuses. 

I hope this update has provided you with some helpful guidance, and a look into what is ahead. We will continue to provide information as our transition evolves with a new website that outlines what our students, faculty, staff and broader community need to know about our return to a new normal. I firmly believe Cal State East Bay will emerge stronger, more innovative and even more impactful in the ways we make a difference in the lives of our students and surrounding communities. Let’s continue to work together to make that happen.

Sincerely yours,


April 14, 2021