Fresno Pacific University announced today it will continue online instruction for the Fall 2020 semester.
After the COVID-19 pandemic closed colleges and universities across the country in March 2020, FPU began providing virtual instruction while carefully monitoring the situation with the goal to welcome students, faculty and staff back to its campuses in Merced, North Fresno, Southeast Fresno (including the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), Visalia and Bakersfield.
The university spent the summer working to ready all campuses for face-to-face learning with a priority on safety and a commitment to compliance with local, state and federal guidance. Millions of dollars, including federal CARES funds, and weeks of staff time were committed to the effort. “As we all witnessed, post-July 4 the state, country and world changed,” FPU President Joseph Jones, Ph.D., said.
“It is it is our understanding that higher education institutions in California will not be allowed to move beyond a virtual modality until the state moves into Stage 3 of recovery. The latest direction from Governor Gavin Newsom makes clear that FPU, along with all other private colleges and universities and public school districts, needs to continue classes online for the fall semester,” Jones said. All counties in which the university operates are on the state monitoring list as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region.
Achievements over the summer will stand FPU in good stead whenever campuses may be safely reopened. The university is currently working through a $2M plan to improve the online experience and to ensure safety. Spaces in classrooms, residences and other areas have been modified for social distancing; classrooms have been equipped with cameras and other equipment for hybrid instruction; plexiglass shields and signage have been installed throughout the five campuses; cleaning services have been increased and personal protection equipment, such as masks and hand sanitizer, is on hand. “In everything we have done and continue to do, we follow the directives of the State of California and the City of Fresno and the advice of the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Jones said.
As the university moves forward, leaders affirm a commitment to find new ways to provide challenging academics, deepen the integration of faith and learning and foster relationships between faculty and students, all the while strengthening a supportive learning environment and encouraging a Christ-centered focus in our work and relationships.
Many questions remain regarding fall logistics, and administrators are adjusting decisions in light of the latest information and will provide answers to students, faculty and staff in the coming weeks via email, the COVID-19 website (fresno.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-news-and-information) and other means. Classes will meet during the regular academic schedule for each student population. Limited student housing will continue to be available for those with significant need. For student-athletes and coaches, the Pacific West Conference has announced fall sports will be postponed to after January 1, 2021, and winter athletic schedules will be considered in October.
“Many in our community are disappointed not to be returning to campus this fall, while for others it may better fit their present life circumstances,” Jones said. “We are grateful for everyone’s patience, understanding and prayers. As a faith community we will continue to place our trust in the one who has called us to be light in the Central Valley.”