March 16, 2020 - Message from the Provost Regarding Faculty and Staff Over 65 years of age

From the Provost
March 16, 2020

Dear Faculty and Academic Affairs Staff,

As we make our way through the evolving COVID-19 health crisis, we are committed to communicating with the division to share what we know as of this time.

Please keep in mind that this global health situation is truly unprecedented, so the recommendations we are making are based on the best-known information at the time of the communication. Things are changing quickly, so we will communicate as frequently as needed to ensure we are maintaining open lines of communication.

As we shift to remote instruction in this unprecedented situation, please know how much we appreciate each and every one of you.

Please know that the message sent out to employees by HR yesterday (March 15, 2020) stated that ALL employees age 65 and over would be placed on administrative leave as appropriate effective immediately. The message should have stated that the leave requirement does not apply to faculty 65 and over because: (1) this week is spring break, so faculty technically are not on duty; and (2) all faculty already are transitioning to remote instruction. The only exception to this is faculty on 12-month contracts (of which SSU has very few).

Faculty who are 65 and over are required, as per the Chancellor’s Office mandate in accordance with Governor Newsom’s declaration, to stay away from campus. If you need help procuring teaching materials or other items from your office or elsewhere on campus, please contact your chair and dean so they can assist in finding a way to get necessary items to you. Please note that the Faculty Center is making workshops available via Zoom so everyone has access regardless of where they are.

Clearly, the COVID-19 global health crisis continues to evolve. For the most up-to-date information regarding Sonoma State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our SSU coronavirus FAQ page.

Please know that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Sonoma State University. Sonoma State continues to respond to the coronavirus threat with the goal of keeping our campus community safe while allowing our students to continue their education.

In keeping with the recommendations of public health officials, we are conducting business in ways that provide for appropriate social distancing. These efforts include teaching classes remotely, canceling large events, and providing virtual resources. To date, we have determined it is safe to keep the campus open. As you can see from changing mandates from the federal, state, and CSU system levels, we will continue to adapt to this shifting environment as required and needed.

As per prior announcements about instruction:

●       All face-to-face classes will remain suspended on Monday, March 23 to facilitate the transition to remote instruction.

●       All classes, both undergraduate and graduate, will be conducted remotely beginning Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, April 19.   The campus will make a decision by Wednesday, April 8 about the rest of the semester.

●       Labs will be conducted remotely or by alternate means.

●       Internships, practica, clinicals, and field work will be conducted remotely, if possible, with very limited exceptions to be approved only by deans.

I will send out a separate message soon with recommendations and resources aimed at helping everyone in Academic Affairs continue to adapt in this time of uncertainty. We have dozens of people working hard to help us protect the health and safety of our community while also ensuring academic continuity.

I am grateful to our collaborative approach to working together and being the best we can be as an educational community.

With sincere gratitude for all you are doing to keep yourself healthy and to serve our students in this challenging time,


Lisa Vollendorf, Provost