The Humboldt State University campus on March 14 for its first day of spring break following the cancellation of face-to-face classes March 26 through April 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. | Photo by James Wilde

Updated: Summarizing HSU’s COVID-19 Updates

All classes to go online for the rest of the semester and other plans, plus a translation

All classes to go online for the rest of the semester and other plans, plus a translation

Humboldt State University informed its students March 12 through email that classes would be going online following spring break. Concerns of spreading COVID-19 led the California State University system to suspend face-to-face instruction. HSU initially said it would be shifting to online classes March 26 until at least April 17. But in a March 17 message from President Tom Jackson, HSU announced classes would be taught online for the rest of the semester.

Jackson’s message said all exams, labs, field trips and in-person meetings are canceled. HSU encouraged students living on-campus to return home if possible. However, HSU promised it would not displace students living on campus.

Other notes from Jackson’s message included: non-essential student employees will work from home. Campus will close to the general public. Most of campus will close, with the exception of the Student Health Center, the University Center and the library, all of which will remain open with reduced staff. Finally, HSU said it will review alternatives to celebrate commencement.

HSU has also launched a web page with resources for working from home. HSU plans to provide laptops for students without computers and internet hotspots for students with no internet at home. Programs like the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and SPSS are expected to be available on HSU’s remotely accessible virtual lab and for downloads to personal computers. Multiple phone and internet companies have also agreed to waive late fees, not cutoff service and open up internet hotspots.

HSU began updating students and staff through emails starting Feb. 24, when it informed them of the single case of COVID-19 confirmed in Humboldt County. They continued to provide updates weekly on how HSU would be handling a potential pandemic. The week before students were meant to head home or hunker down in Humboldt, HSU ramped up its online communications.

HSU suspended all international and non-essential domestic travel March 10 for the remainder of the spring semester. In a March 11 email, they defined essential domestic travel as travel for academic credits that are necessary for graduation and cannot be postponed or substituted.

Through several emails on March 11 and March 12, HSU canceled all instruction from March 23-25 to allow faculty to prepare for online classes. HSU then canceled all intercollegiate and club sports.

HSU canceled non-essential events on and off campus March 13. Essential events—following HSU’s previous definition of essential—are any events done for academic credit necessary to meet a graduation requirement that cannot be postponed or substituted.

On March 15, HSU noted the closure of local K-12 schools, and how that may affect staff and faculty. HSU later advised faculty aged 65 and older, or those with underlying health issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, do not come to campus. HSU will arrange telecommuting for adaptable positions, but anyone not able to work remotely will be placed on administrative leave at their current rate of pay and for their normally scheduled work hours.

Find all HSU COVID-19 updates here.

Humboldt State University President Tom Jackson’s March 17 Message to Campus:

Message from President Tom Jackson on Plans for the Semester

Dear Campus Community: Over the last week, I have had the privilege of observing the amazing work of so many people in their efforts to assist others. The work by all of you to not only protect yourself, but to care for your family and our students is beyond remarkable. We are a very caring Lumberjack Family and I thank you.

Things are changing rapidly and these updates are subject to change based on the fluidity of this situation. Every day, nearly every hour it seems, we are asked to pivot and address a new challenge in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our guiding light remains the health and safety of our Lumberjack Family while also helping our students to progress in their education. At times these efforts may appear in conflict, but they are not. At the root of all we do is our humanity and our underlying willingness to do what must be done.

The time has come for HSU to implement a number of additional contingency plans and bolster our COVID-19 precautions. While there are no known active COVID-19 cases in our County at this time, and there have been none on campus, these additional precautions are consistent with recent federal and state health directives. In short, we must now do more to protect the health and safety of our campus and local communities.

HSU will operate virtually through the end of the semester.

  1. Beginning today, we will shift as quickly as possible to virtual operations. Non-essential employees, including student staff, are to work remotely (telecommute) once they have received direction from their supervisor. Please continue to work with your supervisor on your work assignments and technology support needs.
  2. It is important we reduce the number of people on campus. We encourage students who can return to a home off-campus to do so. We will not displace students who are facing housing insecurities or homelessness. More information will follow.
  3. From Monday to Wednesday, March 23-25, the faculty will prepare for a complete shift to virtual instruction by Thursday, March 26. All professional development and preparation activities will now occur remotely. For the remainder of Spring 2020, all instruction is to be virtual and the primary operational state of campus is to be virtual. There will be no face to face meetings, events, instruction, exams, instructional labs, field trips, live performances, or small group seminars.
  4. We have closed all access to campus facilities to the general public.
  5. Most campus facilities will be closed to the campus community, including all sports and recreation facilities. We have also suspended all intramural and recreational activities for students. Any services remaining open for students – such as the library, student health center, and university center – will be operating with reduced staffing and must implement social distancing.
  6. As a campus we must continue to carefully practice social distancing techniques for those essential individuals who remain on campus, including students in our residence halls who truly have no other place to reside, and the food services and other staff who are supporting those students.
  7. Lastly, and sadly, we must review other ways to celebrate degree recipients instead of the traditional Commencement. We are a very creative campus and we will find alternative ways to celebrate our students’ success.

There are many questions to be answered, and we will do our best to answer them in a timely way. We will share more information soon as we prepare campus to shift to virtual operations.

We are resilient. From the Marching Lumberjacks doing what they do, to alumni making a difference in the world, to hiking in the Redwoods, to kayaking in the great Pacific ocean, we are Humboldt. This pandemic is challenging us but it will not break us. We are Humboldt, and while we may be socially distant for now we remain close at heart.

Thank you for all that you are doing. I ask you to be flexible and understanding as we work together to protect the health and safety of the campus community. You are appreciated.


Tom Jackson, Jr.

El Mensaje en Español:

Mensaje del Rector Tom Jackson sobre los planes para el semestre

Estimada comunidad universitaria, durante la última semana he tenido el privilegio de observar el increíble trabajo y esfuerzo de tantas personas que quieren ayudar a otros. El trabajo de todos ustedes, no sólo para protegerse, sino que también para cuidar a su familia y a nuestros estudiantes es notable. Somos una familia muy cariñosa de leñadores y se los agradezco.

Las cosas están cambiando rápidamente debido a la fluidez de la situación. Todos los días, parece que casi cada hora, se nos pide que viremos y abordemos un nuevo desafío en nuestros esfuerzos para reducir la propagación del COVID-19. Nuestra luz guía sigue siendo la salud y seguridad de nuestra familia de leñadores y, al mismo tiempo, el apoyo necesario para que nuestros estudiantes progresen en su educación. A veces, estos esfuerzos pueden aparecer en conflicto, pero no lo están. La raíz de todo lo que hacemos está nuestra humanidad y en nuestra voluntad fundamental de hacer lo que sea necesario.

Ha llegado el momento de implementar en HSU una serie de planes de contingencia adicionales para reforzar nuestras precauciones acerca del COVID-19. Si bien no hay casos activos conocidos del COVID-19 en nuestro Condado en este momento, y no ha habido ninguno en el campus, estas precauciones adicionales son consistentes con las recientes políticas de salud de nivel federal y estatal. En resumen, ahora debemos profundizar nuestros esfuerzos para proteger la salud y seguridad de nuestro campus y comunidades locales.

HSU va a funcionar virtualmente hasta el fin del semestre.

  1. A partir de hoy, pasaremos lo más rápido posible a operar virtualmente. Los empleados no esenciales, incluyendo el personal estudiantil, deben trabajar de forma remota (teletrabajo) una vez que hayan recibido instrucciones de sus supervisores. Por favor continuar trabajando con su supervisor en sus tareas de trabajo y apoyo técnico.
  • Es importante que reduzcamos la cantidad de personas en el campus. Alentamos a los estudiantes que puedan regresar a sus hogares fuera del campus que lo hagan. No desplazaremos a los estudiantes con inseguridad de vivienda o falta de vivienda. Proveeremos más información sobre este tema.
  • Del lunes 23 al miércoles 25 de marzo, los profesores se prepararán para un cambio completo a la instrucción virtual, a comenzar el jueves 26 de marzo. Ahora todas las actividades de capacitación profesional y preparación se realizarán de forma remota. Durante el resto de la primavera del 2020, toda la instrucción será virtual y todo el campus funcionará de forma virtual. No habrá reuniones presenciales, eventos, instrucción, exámenes, laboratorios, excursiones, presentaciones en vivo, o seminarios de grupos pequeños.
  • Hemos suspendido todo acceso público a las instalaciones del campus.
  • La mayoría de las instalaciones del campus estarán cerradas a la comunidad del campus, incluyendo todas las instalaciones deportivas y recreativas. También hemos suspendido todas las actividades extracurriculares y recreativas de los estudiantes. Cualquier servicio que permanezca abierto para los estudiantes, como la biblioteca, el Centro de Salud Estudiantil y el Centro Universitario, funcionará con un personal reducido y se deben implementar distanciamiento social.
  • Como campus, debemos continuar practicando cuidadosamente técnicas de distanciamiento social. Esto se aplica a aquellas personas en roles esenciales que permanecen en el campus, incluyendo a los estudiantes en las residencias universitarias que realmente no tienen otro lugar donde ir, y proveedores de servicios de comida y otro personal que apoya a estos estudiantes.
  • Por último, y lamentablemente, debemos explorar otras formas de celebrar a los nuevos licenciados ya que no podrán tener una ceremonia de graduación tradicional. Somos un campus muy creativo y encontraremos formas alternativas de celebrar el éxito de nuestros estudiantes.

Hay muchas preguntas por responder y haremos todo lo posible para responderlas de manera oportuna. Compartiremos más información pronto, a medida que preparemos el campus para cambiar a operaciones virtuales.

Somos resistentes. Desde la banda de los “Marching Lumberjacks” que hacen lo que saben hacer, y los egresados que hacen una diferencia en el mundo, y las caminatas en los bosques de los gigantes rojos, hasta el paseo en kayak en el gran océano Pacífico, somos Humboldt. Esta pandemia nos desafía, pero no nos romperá. Somos Humboldt y aunque es posible que estemos socialmente distantes por ahora, seguimos estando cerca en el corazón.

Gracias por todo lo que están haciendo. Les pido que sean flexible y comprensivas/os mientras trabajamos juntos para proteger la salud y seguridad de nuestra comunidad universitaria. Todos son apreciados. 


Tom Jackson, Jr.

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