By President Emerita Judie Wexler June 10, 2020

Dear CIIS Community,

I am writing today to update you on our plans for Fall 2020 semester, along with the reopening of our Arkansas and Mission campuses. We are now able to provide some details concomitant with our asking everyone to keep in mind that the pandemic situation remains fluid and conditions may change. I iterate what we have been saying since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: All of our decisions reflect the underlying objectives of protecting the health and safety of the CIIS community and supporting students in achieving their educational goals. 

We continue to monitor governmental orders as they change and to follow the guidelines outlined by public health officials. Our strategy for reopening is based on our concern for the safety of everyone using our campuses; thus, we will work conservatively in the coming months.

Effective June 15, San Francisco is in Phase Two-B of the city’s reopening. Phase Two allows offices to reopen face-to-face on June 15 with safety guidelines in place, including maintaining physical distance and wearing face coverings. However, the expectation for staff is still that those who can work remotely will continue to do so except as needed for onsite operations. Between June 15 and August 3, 1453 Mission Street will be accessible to faculty and staff on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 8am and 3pm, by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling Operations at the main CIIS number (415.575.6101) or via email:  Please make appointments at least 24 hours in advance.

Precautionary Measures

You will need a face covering to enter the building. For everyone’s safety, we ask that you stay home if you are feeling sick; if you have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks; or if you have had COVID symptoms in the previous two days (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell). Expect to have your temperature taken and to be asked to sign that you have received and read the safety guidelines.

For faculty and staff, our goal is to have Mission and Arkansas campuses open with consistent operating hours starting on August 3. At that time, we expect most offices to be open for face-to-face interaction, although some staff will continue to work remotely. Given social-distance guidelines, it is not possible to have everyone working in the buildings at the same time, so it will be necessary to stagger physical attendance. We will have a complete schedule in place by August 3.

For staff, the decision to work onsite, or continue working remotely, should be made within your department or between you and your supervisor with the approval of the Vice President, Provost, or President having oversight of your area. The plan for each area should be submitted to Operations by the Director or Program Chair in advance (by June 26), after appropriate approval has been received.

Student access to the buildings will begin on August 17. The preceding two weeks will give us time to test the COVID operating procedures with fewer people. The first day of Fall semester is August 27. 

Fall Semester

Without a vaccine or reliable treatment, Fall semester 2020 will operate differently from previous semesters.

There is a lot to accomplish to reopen our campuses and a lot more to know about the impact of having more people leaving their homes. The precautions we are describing are absolutely essential for reducing the spread of infection. We thank you in advance for partnering with us to protect the health of everyone of all ages and health conditions in our community. We remind you that the timelines are also dependent upon San Francisco regulations, which may change.

Because we are focusing on the health of our students, faculty, and staff, all large gatherings, including academic intensives and orientations, will be virtual.

Classes in the School of Undergraduate Studies and the School of Consciousness and Transformation will be virtual. ACTCM and the School of Professional Psychology and Health will be hybrid with most classes virtual, but with some designated classes in ACTCM, Somatics, ICP, and PsyD face-to-face. This list of face-to-face classes has not yet been finalized.

We have a limited number of classrooms that allow for adequate social distancing. We will need to provide learning opportunities for students who would be unable to attend in-person classes for health reasons, and we must work to protect the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Both WSCUC and the U.S. Department of Education have assured higher education that we can proceed this way through Fall semester and that virtualized coursework will count toward degree completion.

Psychology clinics will continue via telehealth. Starting in September we expect to be able to have students able to work from the psychology clinics along with limited face-to-face counseling. No date has been set to reopen the ACTCM clinic. Plans to reopen that clinic will be based on the guidelines of the profession. 

Student support services and all offices will continue to offer virtual services along with increasing numbers of staff working in the building. Physical-distancing guidelines will also be key in determining how many staff can be in the building at any one time. Our plan is to limit the number of people so those who are on campus can work safely.

Working Together to Keep the Community Healthy

While San Francisco’s mitigation efforts have been successful to date, COVID-19 will be with us for some time. Public health experts advise that we are vulnerable until there is a vaccine and reliable treatments. They also tell us to expect a second wave of infections in fall and/or winter.

The University is preparing for physical distancing by improving air flow within the building, changing the pattern of movement on each floor (corridors will be one-way), installing plexiglass barriers at information desks, frequent sanitizing, and preparing for health monitoring as is required to bring us all back together. As a community that thrives on interaction, I want nothing more than to see this happen. But we must do so safely. I am heartened by the many ways that faculty, students, and staff have created opportunities for informal virtual interactions.

Please note: Anyone entering a CIIS building should expect to wear appropriate face coverings, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings. You’ll be asked to self- isolate if you are sick, receive a positive test result, or are exposed to someone who is sick or who has tested positive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about much uncertainty. While planning cannot eliminate this uncertainty, I can promise to keep informing you about any changes CIIS makes to its plans. As always, I welcome hearing from you. To this end, the email address has been set up for community members to submit questions or ideas about our planning and response.

I look forward to the day when we will all be together again at our CIIS campuses. While that day is not today, it is coming. Continue to take good care of both yourself and others.



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