Orange County Removed from Watch List; No Change to Return-to-Campus Planning

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Update From President Struppa, August 25, 2020

On Sunday, Orange County was removed from California’s watch list of counties. While we believed this would provide us the ability to begin some in-person instruction, we have learned there are additional approvals and state guidance still necessary before we can move forward with changes to our fall planning. We remain in close contact with the Orange County Health Care Agency and we will update you as we learn more.


  • We will continue our plans to begin the fall with remote instruction, excluding the few programs that were provided exceptions such as limited labs and in-person activity at the Rinker campus. For those specific courses, faculty will be informed of the options by their dean, and those faculty will be in direct contact with the students impacted.
  • Faculty can continue their plans to leverage on-campus technology for remote instruction, working with the Office of the Provost to gain necessary access to campus.
  • Most non-academic staff are already working from home and are to continue working from home. Even if in-person instruction were to resume soon, our goal is to keep the on-campus population as low as possible; therefore, most staff who are currently working remotely are likely to continue working remotely for the fall semester.


While it remains unclear when we will be able to return to campus, we continue to plan for the day approval comes from the state and local health agencies. Our current planning focuses on a phased return, allowing time to slowly increase the campus population.

  • When approval is given, the phased approach will begin with graduate programs at both the Rinker and Orange campuses, then phase in undergraduate programs. We believe this will allow for a reasonable transition as we ensure our health protocols are effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 among the campus community.
  • Our Facilities Management team has been working for the past several months to prepare the campus for the required safety protocols, and the processes to manage the return of faculty, staff and students are fully operational. Once approval is given, we believe we are prepared to begin the phased approach to re-opening.
  • At that time, campus supervisors will need to determine what, if any, additional staff will be needed on campus to support in-person instruction.

PROCESS FOR ACCESSING CAMPUS, including ordering an at-home COVID-19 test kit

For the limited faculty and staff accessing campus for fall semester, we continue to receive questions regarding how to gain approval. While the process for students, faculty and staff have differences, all require completing both a training module and an at-home COVID-19 test. Please follow the appropriate process below including how to order the at-home testing, Pixar by LabCorp, and complete the training:

  • All current essential staff, meaning anyone who has either not worked remotely at all or those who have returned to campus either full-time or part-time must complete the published Return-to-Campus process. The process must be completed no later than August 25, 2020, to maintain access to campus facilities.
  • Faculty do need to complete the online CU Safely Back training in Canvas prior to accessing campus facilities, and have two weeks to complete the at-home COVID-19 test. This exception was provided to allow expedited access to needed campus facilities as the academic year quickly approaches. Faculty are asked to work with your dean or the Office of the Provost to provide the necessary access. Instructions on how to order your at-home test can be found in the Return-to-Campus process.
  • For those staff requesting new essential staff status for on-campus access, this access is only provided to those performing essential work that cannot be done remotely. The goal is to maintain a low population of employees on campus; therefore a strict approval process is followed before granting access to campus facilities. To request essential staff status, please follow the published Return-to-Campus process.
  • For anyone requesting one-time access to campus, please follow the published One-Time Visit process. You must complete all the steps listed, including the at-home COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus, even for a one-time visit, including visits to obtain items from your office. Please note, you will be subscribed to the daily health survey which only needs to be completed on the day(s) you will be on campus.
  • Students follow a similar process to safeguard the health of our entire community; it is important to diligently follow our return-to-campus process for Orange Campus and return-to-campus process for Rinker Campus.


Whether on our campus, in Chapman housing or in the community nearby, it is of great importance that everyone observe the guidelines and behaviors that will help us slow the spread of COVID-19. Chapman students, faculty and staff on and off the campuses must make every effort to follow established protocols and processes. Doing so is a fundamental commitment to our collective health.