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HSU Activates Pandemic Planning Committee

With COVID-19 spreading, HSU plans post-spring break response

Humboldt State University is planning for a possible partial or full campus closure in response to the spread of COVID-19.

HSU has sent multiple emails since March 4 to students and faculty communicating the steps and measures the campus is taking to address the spread of COVID-19. In addition to creating a website with updates on the virus, HSU has organized the Pandemic Planning Committee.

In the most recent email, sent out March 10, HSU suspended all international and non-essential domestic university-related travel. Communication Specialist Grant Scott-Goforth clarified to The Lumberjack that students are free to travel where they wish outside of school. Scott-Goforth said HSU would send out more messages in the coming days to define essential travel.

“The idea is that we’re creating a flexible solution, and our main goal is to ensure that we can provide services and instruction.”

Kris koczera

The Lumberjack spoke with the emergency coordinator at HSU, Kris Koczera, who sits on the PPC. Koczera said the PPC is meeting weekly, but that is subject to increase if the outbreak becomes more severe locally. She was hesitant to talk specifics due to the committee’s confidential status and the pandemic’s shifting nature.

“The idea is that we’re creating a flexible solution, and our main goal is to ensure that we can provide services and instruction,” Koczera said.

Graphic by Jen Kelly

Representatives from Dining Services, Housing and even the Dean of Students have attended meetings to address concerns about how the pandemic will impact their departments. Much of what the PPC is doing is modeled after other campuses in the California State University system and is advised by direct communication from the Chancellor’s Office of the CSU.

“We have the benefit of kind of looking at what they are doing, the timing of what they’re doing and using that as almost a case study for us to move off of,” Koczera said.

As of March 10, several college campuses including the University of California, Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State and Stanford have suspended most of their in-person classes and will be offering all lecture courses through online instruction services like Zoom and Canvas.

HSU has advised faculty to create a contingency plan in the event of a full campus closure. Koczera says life is first and foremost for the PPC and that they’re aiming for a fluid-but-reactive approach.

“It doesn’t matter how great instruction is,” Koczera said,” if we have no students to instruct.”

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