Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ — which will be updated on an ongoing basis — is intended to provide information about fall 2021; preventive measures for avoiding infection; and other critical information to keep students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy.

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health officials, and other well-known domestic and global health organizations informs this FAQ.

In addition, the campus community should also read emails sent by University administrators, which provide more detailed updates.

Guidance for Students

1. Is a COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in order to return to classes on campus in fall 2021?

On April 22, the California State University (CSU) joined the University of California (UC) in announcing that the universities intend to require faculty, staff and students who access campus facilities at any university location to be immunized against COVID-19.

This requirement will be conditioned upon full approval of one or more vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as adequate availability of the fully approved vaccines. This requirement will become effective at the beginning of the fall 2021 term, or upon full FDA approval of the vaccine, whichever occurs later. 

We will provide more information once the policy is finalized by the CSU.

2. Can I get a vaccine exemption for religious or health reasons?

The COVID-19 vaccination requirement would allow for students or employees to seek an exemption based on medical or religious grounds.

3. Will international students be required to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated in this country with a U.S. approved vaccine?

A California State University policy regarding international students is under development.

4. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination on campus?

We are not currently offering vaccinations on campus. Please check the Fresno County list of vaccination sites to find a location near you, or California Department of Public Health for vaccination sites.

5. Am I required to wear a mask, even if I am fully immunized?

The CDC and public health officials recommend vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks in indoor settings. Face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events or other similar settings. We all need to continue to follow safety protocols, including face masks when required, distancing, sanitizing, vaccinations, and testing.

6. Where can students obtain masks?

The Student Health and Counseling Center has complimentary masks available for students.

7. How many classes will be offered in-person? 

Over three-fourths of our courses will be offered in-person: 60 percent of them on campus and 16 percent off-campus (practicums, arranged, supervision). The rest are virtual. This schedule is subject to change pending on guidelines from the California Department of Public Health.

8. Will there be plexiglass partitions installed between desks in the classrooms?

No, we won’t install plexiglass barriers because they do not wholly eliminate the risk of transmission. Partial plexiglass barriers were installed at reception counter locations to serve as visual queues or reminders to maintain a level of distance. On this latter point, we are awaiting further guidance on social distancing.

9. Will in-person lectures be recorded?

Currently there is no campus-wide plan to record in-person courses, but individual faculty may choose to record their own Zoom-based online or hybrid lectures.

10. Where can I get support for technology resources (computers, internet, software)?

Henry Madden Library Tech Lending desk and DISCOVERe are available to assist with technology resources.

11. Is the Henry Madden Library open?

The Madden Library is open with limited in-person services for students and faculty and to provide limited individual study spaces in accordance with state and local public health guidelines.

The Madden Library offers virtual services with librarians at the Virtual Desk 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can contact a Fresno State librarian via chat reference, by phone 559.278.2551 or emailref@mail.fresnostate.edu. In addition, there is access to The Service Desk and DISCOVERe Hub.

12. When will the University Student Union and Student Recreation Center reopen?

These facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the spring 2021 semester. However, we expect that these facilities will reopen in the fall (with possible limited capacity).

13. Are the residence halls and dining hall open?

We continue to provide housing for a limited number of students while following state and local public health guidelines. The University Dining Hall is open to Housing Residents only. For more information, including updates for fall 2021 see Student Housing.

14. Will tuition and student fees change for fall 2021?

The CSU Chancellor and Board of Trustees have determined that there will not be a fee increase in the academic year 2021-22.

15. What campus resources are available for students?

Support is available through the Student Health and Counseling Center, Project Hope, Student Cupboard, Good Samaritan Fund. Please visit the Student Resources page for a complete list of student, academic, technology and library support services. Also remember to check your email messages.

16. Why can't we return to normalcy the way other universities have?

As much as we all want to return to pre-pandemic “normal,” we must remember that COVID-19 cases and deaths are still real in our community. To do our part to continue fighting the virus, Fresno State is following the guidelines set forth by the state as well as the Fresno County Department of Public Health. Universities in counties in which the virus is better-controlled may be allowing more “normal” activities than are allowed in Fresno County. We hope that when we repopulate our campus in the fall, we will be able to offer many more programs, activities and events. 

Guidance for Faculty

17. If a student is ill, can faculty ask her/him to leave the classroom?

No. Please refer ill students to the Student Health and Counseling Center.

18. Do faculty need to take the student’s temperature each class session?

No. that is not necessary.

19. How should faculty handle an unruly student who does not want to adhere to the rules? Can faculty ask the student to learn online?

If this type of behavior occurs, the faculty should first ask the student to follow safety procedures (e.g. wearing of a facial mask). If the student refuses, the faculty can ask the student to leave. If the student refuses again, the faculty can call security and report the incident to the dean of students.

20. Will the University provide faculty with COVID rules for the classroom that can be included in the syllabus?

The current syllabus template includes information regarding Health Screenings and Safety Measures for face-to-face courses. These will be updated as Fresno State receives further guidance from the state and county Public Health Departments and the Chancellor's Office.

21. If students in a lab are all vaccinated, does that affect protocols in the lab with respect to occupancy? 

No. We are still required to follow local and state public health guidelines.

22. What supplies will be available in every classroom and laboratory?

A wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser will be installed in every classroom and lab, and our custodians will refill them as needed. These have also been installed at building entries, stairwells, elevators and athletic facilities. In addition, disinfectant kits will be provided that include the following items: 

  • A spray bottle with disinfectant
  • A package of single fold towels
  • A box of gloves 
  • Disposable facial masks

23. Can students travel on field trips and use vans?

Yes, they will be able to travel on field trips. Procedures and guidance for van capacity will be forthcoming in the fall.

24. Will in-person lectures be recorded?

Currently there is no campus-wide plan to record in-person courses, but individual faculty may choose to record their own Zoom-based online or hybrid lectures.

25. When classes are in a hybrid mode, how will exams be held based on the social distancing guidelines?

Both in-person classes and in-person exams follow the same health and safety protocols as required by CDC. 

26. I would like to know the detailed social distancing plan and other protocols for the in-person and hybrid lectures.

We are awaiting updated guidelines for institutions of higher education (IHE) from the California Department of Public Health that we hope will address social distancing requirements for fall, in light of the governor's announcement about removal of tiers effective June 15.

27. If health concerns or other issues regarding the virus require change from in-person mode to hybrid or virtual during the semester, is there an expectation that all courses need to be developed as if they would need to be taught virtually? The effort and approaches are completely different.

If we receive CDC guidelines that in-person classes must be turned to virtual delivery, we will follow the same procedures we followed in spring 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021, when most courses were offered virtually. We will be offering faculty development in summer 2021 to support hyflex teaching

28. What rights will faculty have to switch from in-person to online if the community experiences another surge as it did the previous November?

The University will operate with the safety of its community as our priority. If we receive CDC guidelines that require a switch from in-person classes to virtual, it will be a campus-wide schedule change, but faculty will have choices within their department/program as to how the switch will be implemented.

29. Will the APM on office hours continue to be set aside allowing us to have virtual office hours?

Yes. The Academic Senate has extended the exceptions to these policies.

30. Before committing to hyflex or in-person courses, we should be informed of the class enrollment as the risk we are assuming is related to the class size. 

Right now we are assuming no impact to in-person course capacity other than our fixed/tiered classrooms, which may require enrollment adjustment if social distancing is required at three feet. This information has been provided to Deans and Department Chairs for those specific classrooms. Class size (room capacity) is in part pending on the state guidelines on social distancing, and we are anticipating these guidelines coming soon to us.

31. In classes with up to 40 students, how will we maintain social distancing when we have students waiting outside to get in and those in the classroom exiting past them? 

Social distancing is required when individuals are together for some time. Quickly passing one another with masks does not require social distancing.

Guidance for Faculty and Staff

32. Do I have to get a COVID-19 vaccination in order to return to work?

On April 22, the California State University (CSU) joined the University of California (UC) in announcing that the universities intend to require faculty, staff and students who are accessing campus facilities at any university location to be immunized against COVID-19.

This requirement will be conditioned upon full approval of one or more vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as adequate availability of the fully approved vaccines. This requirement will become effective at the beginning of the fall 2021 term, or upon full FDA approval of the vaccine, whichever occurs later. 

We will provide more information once the policy is finalized by the CSU.

33. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination on campus?

We are not currently offering vaccinations on campus. Please check the Fresno County list of vaccination sites to find a location near you, or California Department of Public Health for vaccination sites.

34. When do staff have to report to work on campus?

Based on local Public Health guidance, it will be safe to transition our staff back to working on campus during the summer months. We will need our managers and staff to return in order to support the operational needs of their respective departments. More information will be available in May 2021 to provide our staff with time to plan for their return.

35. Can staff continue to telecommute in fall 2021?

Discussions regarding telecommuting may be considered after the fall 2021 repopulation. Staff may discuss this option with their immediate supervisor who will then consult with their Division Vice President. This is an operational decision and we also need to ensure equity amongst our work groups.

36. Am I required to wear a facial covering, even if I am fully immunized?

The CDC and public health officials recommend vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks in indoor settings. Face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events or other similar settings. We all need to continue to follow safety protocols, including face masks when required, distancing, sanitizing, vaccinations and testing.

37. Can faculty wear a face shield instead of a mask during in-person classes? Can staff wear a face shield?

Faculty can wear a face shield during in-person classes. Face shields are available at the Warehouse, Center for Faculty Excellence and Services for Students with Disabilities.

Staff need to work with Kirsten Corey in Human Resources to obtain an approval for an ADA accommodation.

38. What type of personal protective equipment (PPE) is available through our campus Warehouse? Will departments be charged for these items?

We have a variety of the most-commonly used PPE available at no cost to your department (these items are funded by federal HEERF institutional funding):

  • Face shields
  • Disposable surgical masks (Blue)
  • Quart bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 8-ounce bottles of Purell hand sanitizer
  • Clorox disposable wipes

39. How often do students and employees need to be tested for the virus?

No official decision has been made yet about the frequency of COVID-19 testing in light of the recently announced mandatory vaccination requirement.

40. For employees who have been telecommuting, do they need to return their ergonomic chair and other supplies?

Ergonomic task chairs purchased through Procurement do not need to be returned. Employees should check with their IT Liaison regarding the return of technology equipment.

41. What can employees do if their colleagues or students are not following the requirement to wear facial coverings and don’t feel comfortable approaching them about this?

Employees can submit a concern here for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety who will follow up with employees that are not complying with this requirement.

42. What do employees do if we become ill or need to stay home to care for a family member who is sick?

Please fill out this COVID-19 Reporting Form if you are: 

  • An employee (State or auxiliary, including student assistants) working on campus or at an off-campus affiliated location (either full-time or intermittently).
  • AND if you either test positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or you suspect to have COVID-19, or if you are feeling ill. (As a reminder, your health information is confidential.)

43. What are the possibilities of leave related to COVID-19?

If you need to stay home to care for a family member, you may use sick time through normal sick leave and Family Medical Leave (FML) procedures. Governor Newsom recently signed SB 95, which provides 80 hours of COVID-related leave for employees through September 2021. In addition, CSU Chancellor Castro has approved an additional 48 hours for a total of 128 hours through December 2021 for full-time (State) employees. These benefits went into effect on March 29, 2021 for non-represented employees and will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021.


CSU Systemwide HR continues to engage in the meet-and-confer process with Unit 3 represented by the California Faculty Association, with the goal of making the expanded leave benefit available to faculty systemwide. If you have any questions, managers and staff may contact Human Resources at 559.278.2032 and faculty may contact Faculty Affairs at 559.278.3027.

44. Can we resume travel for University-related business?

Restrictions previously placed on system-wide travel will be lifted as of June 1, 2021. The CSU has advised that campuses may begin to consider international travel, including faculty research activity and student study abroad. The Cabinet has determined that travel related to academic success, professional development and the benefit of the University will be considered. All travel requests for Academic Year 2021-22 will need to be pre-approved by the appropriate Vice President (this excludes travel associated with a sponsored program managed through the Fresno State Foundation. For Foundation-related travel, please refer to updates here).

45. How do we re-apply for a parking permit?

Employees can request reactivation of the payroll deduction for a parking permit by contacting Traffic Operations via email: transportation@mail.fresnostate.edu. Please include your full name and Fresno State ID number to reactivate payroll deductions.

Public Health Response and Testing

46. Are there any confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus?

The University has been reporting the number of cases among the campus community who have tested positive while on campus during their infectious period. The website also includes communications about when the campus community has been notified about positive cases (building specific). 

Consistent with the local public health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols for infectious disease response, anyone identified as being a close contact with these individuals will be notified if they need to quarantine or self-isolate. If appropriate, facilities will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected or temporarily closed.

Due to state privacy laws and federal HIPAA privacy rules, the University will not release any information involving private health care information.

47. Where can I get tested?

In an effort to protect the health and well-being of the campus community, the University continues to offer free, voluntary monthly COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff who are on campus. While the testing is voluntary, our University administration is strongly encouraging participation in order to reduce the spread of the virus. 

48. Will the daily screening procedures still be in place in fall 2021?

With the lifting of state restrictions, our current drive-through screening will conclude Thursday, May 13. In the fall, we will ask students and employees who are coming to the campus to do a COVID-19 self-screening from home, using the Fresno State app. If an individual comes to a University location to learn or work in-person, including off-campus experiential learning sites, the individual effectively attests they've completed the health screening app from home, and have received the green checkmark. The green checkmark indicates, based on the answers provided, approval to come to campus. 

General Information 

49. What can students and employees do if other individuals are not following the requirements to wear facial coverings or other COVID-19 safety protocols and don’t feel comfortable approaching them about this?

Students and employees can submit a concern here for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety to follow up with individuals not complying with requirements.

50. How does the campus clean and disinfect?

The University's custodial staff have implemented a cleaning protocol, including the use of disinfectants, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. We have added custodial staff who are dedicated to disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. Here is a video that provides details.

Here are two messages of interest from our Interim President: Maintaining a clean and safe campus environment and Maintaining campus ventilation systems at the highest level.


The Facilities team has also taken recommended measures for the restrooms and the plumbing systems to further safeguard transmission. The exhaust fans have been checked and operate to run 24/7 providing consistent ventilation of the space. The hand dryers are disengaged and paper towel dispensers installed. The plumbing system at each building are flushed and the floor drains and traps are primed on a routine basis. The restrooms will be cleaned and stocked twice a day, following consistent restroom cleaning procedures. We utilize a commercial no-touch cleaning unit that pressure washes fixtures and wet-vacuum the floors at each cleaning cycle.

51. How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

As a recommended practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, keyboards, light switches) with a disinfectant. Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.

52. Are campus restaurants open?

Currently, there are limited retail dining operations open to students, faculty and staff, not the general public. The Bucket is open with a limited menu and hours of operation. The University Dining Hall is open for all Fresno State Housing residents. Both locations accept Fetch mobile orders. We expect additional campus dining locations to reopen in the fall.

53. Will there be on-campus events in fall 2021?

Yes, depending upon State and local Public Health guidelines and the Governor’s announcement regarding aim to reopen California’s economy on June 15, if current COVID-19 trends hold.

54. Is campus considered an open campus for fall 2021, allowing the public to visit and be on campus? Will campus buildings be open during business hours?

Yes, campus buildings will be open during regular business hours. The public is welcome, but will be asked to do a COVID-19 self-screening on our app before they come. 

55. What is the status of athletic events in the fall?

Fresno State Athletics intends to host athletic competitions with spectators in attendance for all sports this coming fall. With the recent public health progress and positive trends in our community, the Department of Athletics is excited that it will be able to have fans at events once again, to the fullest extent allowed by the State of California and with continual guidance from the Fresno County Department of Public Health. Season tickets for football in fall 2021 are on sale now.