Fresno Pacific University updates fall 2020 reopening plans

Fresno Pacific University is adding detail to its reopening plan as leaders consider personal safety and educational access while looking forward to fall 2020.

The university is returning to a mostly face-to-face curriculum, with exceptions as needed to protect the health of each member of the university community. “To our new and returning students, faculty and staff: we commit ourselves to your safety and care during this very complex period,” said President Joseph Jones, Ph.D. “In all we do, we continue to be alert to changing circumstances and follow the counsel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the State of California, the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the extensive work of our Emergency Management Team and President’s Cabinet.”

Planning remains flexible as new information on COVID-19 arises. “We will add additional measures if that becomes necessary. Likewise, we will also ease or relax some protocols over time if we feel we can do so safely. Student, faculty and staff safety continues to be our highest priority,” Jones said.

A New Normal

  • All students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face coverings in class and all public spaces on campus. (Special masks have been ordered for faculty who have students with hearing impairments.)
  • Plexiglass shields will be in classrooms and service areas at all campuses, as well as at tables in the dining hall and restrooms. Furniture has been rearranged to allow for social distancing, and signs and stickers will mark six-foot social distancing intervals where lines form.
  • Areas will be sanitized regularly and faculty and staff will be asked to sanitize their work stations. Hand sanitizer will be also be available. Cleaning materials will be provided by the university.
  • People entering all campuses will be required to answer a short health survey. Students, faculty and staff may use the form on the My FPU App. Anyone feeling ill for any reason is asked to stay home. Protocols are being put into place to interview community members who disclose symptoms or test results.
  • Supervisors are communicating with their employees on schedules and other issues. The Human Resources Office is working to accommodate requests for faculty and staff to teach and work using distance methods.

Faculty and Students

  • Classrooms will be used at 65% capacity for social distancing, and will be cleaned between sessions by fumigation/fogging devices equipped to sanitize a classroom within one-two minutes. Classrooms will also be equipped for synchronous live streaming with cameras, microphones and recording capability.
  • Blended and online instruction will be available, and previously scheduled online courses will continue. Specialized courses such as labs and performance classes will be available only to students able to attend face-to-face for the fall semester.
  • The fall semester timeline has been altered:
    • The traditional undergraduate, graduate and seminary schedule begins August 24.
    • In person/blended instruction will end November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, and instruction for the last two weeks will be by distance. Fully online class schedules will not change.
    • For bachelor’s degree completion students, Session 2 begins August 17 and Session 4 will run as onsite/blended instruction through December 27 as normally scheduled.

Campus Life

  • Residence halls will be primarily single-occupancy housing, with first-year students given highest priority. Maximum occupancy will be 316 students.
  • Move-in by residential students will be through appointment by the Office of Residence Life, and no more than two family members or guests may help with the move. Family members and friends may not visit students on campus for the fall semester. Commuter students will be held to the same safety standards as residential students.
  • Gathering sizes will be closely monitored. Events will be postponed until they can happen safely. The Pacific West Conference and the NCAA Division II will provide guidance on Sunbird athletics.
  • Main-campus dining will be open only to students on meal plans with plexiglass shields and other protocols. Faculty and staff may purchase meals at a café on campus. The Sunbird Pantry will also be open.
  • Bed spaces will be set aside as quarantine areas for student who may need to isolate and cannot do so at home. Food will be delivered and students will be checked on daily by health services.
  • Chapel will move online, and plans to create in-person small groups are being explored.

Looking Forward to Fall

The university looks forward to meeting face-to-face again this fall as much as is safely possible. “I call on each of us to make the sacrifices and adapt to the new conditions that will keep us all safe. While we cannot guarantee a COVID-free environment, we can reduce the risk,” Jones said. “I thank all administrators, faculty and staff for your commitment to the university and meeting the needs of our students. As we start a new academic year, we must ask ourselves how we affirm and live out the values we so often share as the core of our existence. We can only prepare students for leadership and service when we lead and serve.”

More detail on reopening plans at

COVID-19 updates for FPU at

Use your voice

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *