Dear GGU Community,
With at least a partial reopening of the building approaching in the coming months, we have been examining how we can best keep our learning and work environment as safe as possible once students and employees return.
The last many months have shown that vaccinations are crucially important in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With that in mind, GGU is joining more than 500 educational institutions in requiring that all students, faculty, and staff who will attend classes or work in-person on campus be fully vaccinated with approved vaccines. This requirement will go into effect on August 1.
We are doing this to allow us to safely resume on-campus instruction and activities, and to help reduce the risk of infection on campus and in the local community.
Vaccination appointments are now widely available through myturn.ca.gov, and many places now accept walk-ins with no appointments. The City and County of San Francisco also hosts a web site for those who live, work, or learn in the city that aids in finding vaccine appointments.
All students and employees will be asked to complete an online form that attests that they are fully vaccinated. For purposes of this verification, you are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose vaccine.
Students who have not received full vaccination will not be permitted in the building; they will be able to take advantage of online classes offered across undergraduate, graduate and law school programs.
Employees who are unable or unwilling to receive a vaccine will not be allowed to be in the building and might be required to work remotely if their supervisor approves. Employees who will continue to work remotely, but who may also need to come to campus periodically, are subject to the same vaccination requirement.
We recognize the need for exceptions in some circumstances. If you believe that you qualify for an exemption (disability, medical, or religious), you will have an opportunity to state that on your attestation form.
Our vaccine mandate does not mean that we will abandon other safety protocols related to COVID-19. We have upgraded our HVAC system to provide substantially better air circulation, we continue comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities, and we will abide by any regulations related to social distancing or masking.
We all have a role to play in ending this pandemic, and I appreciate your commitment to working together to keep the GGU community safe and healthy.
David J. Fike
Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University will remain exclusively online through the summer, administrators have announced.
President David Fike said the university’s decision about instructional mode was influenced by the same factors in play since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring: the safety and comfort of employees and students, restrictions imposed by the City of San Francisco, and the ability to carry out a high-quality academic experience under any such restrictions.
The university, which has a long history of online instruction, moved to all remote learning in March 2020 in response to San Francisco Bay Area shelter-in-place orders.
“From the first day of the pandemic and restrictions on in-person instruction, we have been supporting a high-quality learning experience for our students,’’ Fike said. “We know this from student feedback and the fact that we are enjoying strong enrollment from both returning and new students.”
Although the roll-out of vaccines may ultimately make it possible to teach in-person courses this summer, the school chose to make its decision now so that students, staff, and faculty can prepare.
The college said it may be able to support some limited in-person instruction or studying where possible and appropriate. But for now, its Mission Street campus remains closed.
Golden Gate University, a private nonprofit, has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing undergraduate and graduate education in accounting, law, taxation, business and related areas since 1901. Programs offer maximum flexibility with evening, weekend and online options. GGU is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Quarantine Care Package
José F. Mata, L.M.F.T. This is an article which includes practical steps people can take in their day to day lives to manage the intensity of emotions at this time. It includes things like to-do lists, but also mind/body regulations to provide grounding.
Somatic Centering Practice
With Sumitra Rajkumar. 16 minute podcast that provides a time to be present in the moment and focus on the experience in your body at the moment.
Compassion in the Time of Coronavirus - Jack Kornfield - This 13-minute audio practice is a way to hold yourself and all those around you in a heart of compassion.
A Zen Master's Tips for Staying Sane During Challenging Times
An article which gives you ideas for how to structure your day in a way to enjoy the small moments, like your first cup of coffee (for some of us following this advice might be hard if we have lots of little people around!)
Staying Physically Active During Self-Quarantine
Includes basic exercises that can be done at home without equipment. Uses photos to show you what to do.
Not Losing Our Minds and Hearts When We Most Need Them: Mindfulness, Healing, and Wisdom in a Time of COVID-19
A 90-minute interview and meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
How to Protect Your Mental Health During Quarantine
Very concise, simplified tips on how to stay engaged during the pandemic. Includes basic things like getting dressed, sticking to your routine, planning out your week, setting intentions, getting outside, being helpful to others, creating space (if co-habitating), etc. All in all a very quick, digestible read.
COVID Calm: Stress Management for Health Care Professionals
This is a line that professionals can call to receive support through talking to someone about their stress related to COVID-19. Seems really user friendly and accessible. Free!
Managing in the Midst of COVID-19 – Podcast by Peter Levine, Ph.D. Dr. Levine reviews some techniques to reduce stress that are very meditative and calming. He discusses the importance of staying connected to people through this time and makes the distinction "Physical Distancing" versus "Social Distancing."
COVID-19 Anxiety, Cultivating Safeness, and Polyvagal Theory - Stephen Porges, Ph.D. This interview can help you feel like you’re normal in these times, even if you're struggling. It explains how our nervous systems are on high alert due to threat, and that we need togetherness as a way to find safety and re-regulate by connecting with soft voices, friendly virtual faces, calming music, nature and yes -food.
Public health officials announced today that the Bay Area shelter-in-place directive, originally scheduled to run through April 6, has been made stricter and extended to May 3. At least until the directive is lifted, the existing social-distancing and health protocols at GGU will continue. The Mission Street building will remain closed, classes will remain exclusively online, and staff and faculty will continue to work remotely.
Mail will continue to be available for pick-up at the Mailroom Customer Service Counter each Thursday from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.
Our ability to adapt quickly to these social-distancing directives has been impressive. We are all working diligently—and making personal sacrifices—to help move the Bay area through this crisis as quickly and safely as possible. I’m confident that our collective efforts are making a meaningful difference.
David J. Fike
Golden Gate University
GGU announced today that all summer courses, except those in the law school, would remain in an online format. More information is available on the Student Updates Page.
In light of today’s shelter-in-place order for the entire Bay Area, here is an update regarding GGU operations.
University operations are continuing, including the remote learning we initiated on March 9. However, starting tomorrow (March 17), the GGU San Francisco building will be closed at least until the shelter-in-place order is lifted. Currently, the order is scheduled to run until April 7. All GGU employees will be working remotely, and students will no longer be able to access the building.
While the university will remain open, beginning Monday, March 16, we are strongly encouraging employees whose roles can be conducted remotely to work from home. This will remain in effect until Monday, April 6, at which point we will reassess the situation. This is a proactive measure designed to minimize COVID-19 exposure to everyone.
Our San Francisco campus will remain open to support critical business needs that cannot be met any other way. But we are reducing building hours to 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday, and closing on Sundays.
GGU is indefinitely postponing the April 25th 2020 commencement ceremony. We have not made a decision regarding the law school commencement ceremony, which happens a little later in the year.
Yesterday afternoon, the City of Oakland banned all events and gatherings for over 1,000 people through the end of March. Our commencement ceremony is held at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, which is owned by the City of Oakland. While the current ban only goes through the end of March, we anticipate it will be extended. In order to give students some certainty and prevent them from unnecessarily purchasing plane tickets, booking hotel rooms and making travel plans, we have decided to postpone the commencement ceremony on April 25th for the School of Undergraduate Studies, Ageno School of Business, School of Accounting, and the Braden School of Taxation.
We are exploring options to celebrate all of the students who are graduating. In the next week, we will be sharing and soliciting ideas so that we can honor our students and their remarkable achievement.
When we schedule a new date for the commencement ceremony, all students who are eligible to participate will be invited to attend.
All students who have paid their commencement fee will receive a refund. If any students have concerns regarding this postponement, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear GGU Community,
Our overarching principle throughout the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19 ) situation has been one of striving to maintain our educational mission and campus operations while also preserving the health and safety of community members.
As I announced last week, GGU decided to move all our non-law classes online, effective yesterday, to help limit coronavirus risk on campus. The law school will follow suit on Thursday.
As of today, the university itself remains open and operational. However, the libraries will close Thursday because of the absence of students on campus. Library services will remain available to students online as indicated on the Student FAQ page.
While we remain an open campus, we are also prepared—where possible—to support staff members who would like to engage in social distancing practices by working off-site. This includes, but is not limited to, employees who may be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 because of age or underlying health issues, or who need to remain home for other reasons related to the coronavirus situation. We encourage staff members to seek approval from their managers to explore work solutions that can accommodate their concerns or personal needs and maintain continuity of services. In some instances, work functions must be performed on campus, and requests for telecommuting will need to consider this. If you have questions, please speak with your manager or GGU HR (email@example.com).
For hourly employees who prefer to work remotely, they can do so with manager approval. If the manager does not approve remote work, the hourly employee can either work on campus or decide not to work and not be paid for those unworked hours.
The university has a very limited supply of extra technology equipment that can be used off-site. Thus, with very few exceptions, the university will not be able to provide additional equipment to support working from home for staff who prefer to do so. (Staff who are not using already assigned GGU equipment, e.g., laptops and mobile devices, are encouraged to return them to ITS for redeployment to others for off-site work). The university cannot allow workstations (desktop computers, monitors, etc.) to be relocated off-site, where they will not function properly. The university is also not in a position to reimburse employees for their use of personal equipment, or phone and internet connection services. However, our ITS support staff will strive to provide technical support (assistance with forwarding phones, enabling VPN, etc.) where possible for staff who prefer to work remotely.
As a reminder, for employees working with physical student records, those must remain on campus in secure storage following FERPA guidelines.
We are also encouraging units to make use of existing technologies including Zoom video conferencing and Microsoft Teams to facilitate collaboration when staff members are in different locations. ITS is prepared to provide support for this.
As always, the health and safety of our community is paramount. Employees who have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms must stay home. Doctors advise that you follow the same treatment as you would if you had the flu, including calling a doctor if symptoms become severe. Employees who believe they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19—and feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within 14 days—must also stay home and should definitely call their doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, or emergency department ahead of time and tell them about the situation.
Some of the steps the university has taken to ensure the safety of our employees include:
- We have extended the extra disinfecting cleaning regime that we started two weeks ago. This will continue through at least this week.
- We are upgrading the air filters in our HVAC system to be more robust.
- We are cancelling rental client events that would bring non-GGU people to our campus facility.
- We added a link to our COVID-19 FAQ page to the home page of the GGU website.
- We participated in a COVID-19 workshop hosted by the SF Department of Emergency Management for Bay Area colleges and universities, and we are monitoring their ongoing response and sharing advice on best practices.
- We remain in contact with and receive multiple daily updates from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management.
These are extraordinary times. As always, we will continue to monitor the evolution of the coronavirus outbreak and couple our best judgement with the guidance of outside professionals to determine appropriate responses.
If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your manager.
Dr. David Fike
President, Golden Gate University
March 6, 2020 message to community:
Today, we instructed all faculty in the School of Undergraduate Studies, the Ageno School of Business, the Braden School of Taxation, and the School of Accounting who have not yet done so to move their classes online, effective Monday. No in-person classes outside of the law school will be held after this weekend at the San Francisco campus while our coronavirus team continues to monitor the situation.
The law school has different considerations and is responding to this situation slightly differently regarding online classes.
Concurrently, we are reiterating to all GGU staff members that we strongly encourage you to contact your manager if you have concerns or issues that you feel warrant your working remotely. Your manager will work with you to devise an accommodation that works for you and your department.
Several factors contributed to the decision to go to web conferencing, which allows faculty and students to hold live video meetings over the web. The factors included emerging concerns about local travel and congregation by students and instructors, and the relative ease with which we can pivot to remote courses. GGU is fortunate in that we already offer many courses online, and consequently have expertise and a robust platform to expand our delivery to all web conferencing.
Having everyone use the same delivery method—which is Zoom web conferencing—will consolidate and streamline the support services we offer instructors and students. And it will remove ambiguity and resolve questions about why some instructors are teaching remotely and others are not.
As this situation rapidly evolves, we are aggregating information for the various stakeholders at GGU. A coronavirus updates web page is now linked to on the GGU home page and within the helpful links section of the myGGU portal. There you will find links to resource pages for faculty and students, and we will soon be adding a Staff FAQ page.
While we do not yet view the coronavirus situation in the Bay Area to be critical, it is evolving daily. We are mindful of the growing concern among staff, faculty, and students—and community members around us—about congregating in public spaces. The well-being of everyone connected to school will always be our top priority.
Some of the steps the university has taken include:
- We have extended the extra disinfecting cleaning regime that we started last week. This will now continue through March 13th.
- We are upgrading the air filters in our HVAC system to more robust filters.
- The supply of disinfectant wipes/liquid, face masks and related supplies are severely limited. We have standing orders and are following up with projected delivery dates.
- We have implemented limited social-distancing by cancelling several rental client events that would have brought many non-GGU people to our campus facility.
- We added a COVID-19 FAQ page to the main page of the GGU website.
- We participated in a CORVID-19 workshop hosted by the SF Department of Emergency Management for Bay Area colleges and universities.
- We remain in contact with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management. We receive multiple daily updates.
- The GGU Senior Leadership Team and Emergency Response Team have been meeting and/or communicating about the current status and our next steps on a daily basis.
We are writing with an update on developments regarding the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. As of this morning, no confirmed cases have been reported in San Francisco. However, cases have been confirmed in nearby Santa Clara, Sonoma, and San Mateo counties, and potential cases are being investigated in Marin and Alameda counties. Currently, all GGU classes, campus events, and activities are proceeding without interruption.
GGU is receiving daily updates from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Services and the Department of Public Health, as well as monitoring developments elsewhere throughout the region.
A team of faculty and staff is communicating regularly to prepare for the possibility that the situation may impact university operations. This includes moving all in-person classes to a web conference format as a precautionary measure and/or suspending some events, if warranted. No decision on remote classes has been made yet, but instructors have been asked to prepare for that possibility. Moreover, the university is preparing for the possibility that staff may be asked to work remotely instead of in our San Francisco building, or that other social distancing measures are enacted.
These preparations are in line with our established protocols for responding to an emerging event of this type; in no way do they suggest that we will take such actions anytime soon. Until otherwise notified, you should assume that business is usual.
This is an uncertain and stressful time for many in our community. We will continue to keep you informed as we prioritize the safety and well-being of our community.
Will members of the GGU community be tested?
We understand your concerns, however, the CDC determines who gets tested.
Is GGU going to issue face masks to the community?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that healthy people wear face masks. They are not effective for preventing transmission of this disease, and they limit the supply for health workers and others who need them.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Stay home from school or work, wash hands thoroughly, cover your cough and avoid close contact with others. If you are sick and think that you may have been exposed to coronavirus, contact your health care provider.
What is GGU doing to stop the virus from being spread to the campus?
Although this is currently a low-risk situation for our community, we are taking the following actions:
- In addition to our regular housekeeping cleaning services, effective this week and continuing through March 7th, we are bringing in an extra housekeeping person to focus on cleaning/disinfecting high-traffic common areas, including classrooms, bathrooms, and elevators.
- Extra disinfecting cleaning will also occur at high-traffic customer service counters, such as the Switchboard, HUB Counter, Business and Law Library Reference Desks and Checkout counters, and Café tables.
- We are making available Handzies Wipes that you can pick-up at the Switchboard in the Main Lobby.
What can I do to protect myself?
We are in the middle of regular flu season, so we want to stress that the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu or the COVID-19 virus is to practice good hygiene.
Health officials urge the following hygiene practices:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Because we have a law student with a life-threatening allergy to most hand sanitizers, we are asking people to refrain from using sanitizers in the building unless they are the following brands: Handzies (Amazon), EO Products (stores and online), and Babyganics (Amazon).
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick, and do not come to work, attend classes, or attend public events, particularly when a fever is present and there are respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing. Tentative guidelines suggest that employees stay home for at least five days after onset of illness, and they should not return to work until cough has improved and fever has been absent for 48 hours. The CDC offers additional advice here.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- It’s not too late to get a flu shot if you have not already received one for this flu season.