Rising COVID-19 notifications are not slowing down progress for in-person classes


Graphic by Marlene Garcia and Faith Okoli/The Runner

Rebekah Corral, Staff Writer

Since August, CSUB has sent out notifications for 31 on-campus cases of COVID-19, which is one more than the university sent for the entire year prior, from July 2020 to July 2021.

Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, CSUB President Dr. Lynnette Zelezny says the university has no plans for returning to virtual-only classes.

She said the cabinet, comprised of top administrators at CSUB, would be the final decider of when to go virtual.

“However, it is not very likely they will do so since the protocols are working well. The plan now is to stay the course,” Zelezny said in an interview with The Runner.

According to Zelezny, positive cases are among less than 1% of the students on campus. She explained the university created a dashboard tracker showing the total number of positive cases so students and staff could access that information.

Zelezny reassured that the campus is nowhere near a crisis. She said the Kern County Public Health Department has not given CSUB an official number of cases that would stop in-person classes. However, the school did create its own limit of “nearing 2%” of the on-campus population, Zelezny said. At that point, the university’s Emergency Operations Center would reevaluate and make a recommendation to the cabinet. University Police Chief Martin Williamson chairs the center.

When someone tests positive with COVID, the information is sent to Erika Delamar, the assistant director for Student Health Services and the case manager handling contact tracing. She begins to track down and notify people who have been in close contact with the infected person. Zelezny said the staff handling these cases are working 24 hours a day to get notifications out to potentially exposed students or faculty within hours. There have even been additional staff added in case it may be needed, she said.

The CSU system is requiring all students, faculty and staff coming to campus for work or class to submit their COVID-19 vaccination record or a request for exemption by Sept. 30. Those who are not vaccinated by Oct. 1. are required to submit weekly COVID-19 tests.

The university will prompt students with a reminder saying they need to get tested in the Stockdale Room from 7  a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In the event that a student with an exemption does not get tested, the Student Conduct Office will reach out to them.

English Professor Brad Ruff is still teaching classes synchronous classes via Zoom, however he’s looking forward to returning to campus for in-person classes in the spring.

“I cannot wait until I can return to campus for in-person classes. We have accomplished a great deal during the Zoom hours, but they do not compare to one productive face-to-face class sessions,” he wrote in an email.

Ruff said he feels positive about the school’s COVID response.

“I am quite confident in the CSUB response to the pandemic,” he wrote. “All stakeholders must simply follow the guidelines for CSUB to get back to some sense of normal.”

Some students are happy to return to more in-person classes.

CSUB junior Esmerelda Ochoa said, “I would feel more relieved if I could return to in-person classes. COVID is one of my most minor concerns when going back to school. I feel very safe returning to in-person classes.”

Zelezny will host an open forum via Zoom at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22. A link was emailed out to all CSUB faculty, staff and students. The forum will focus on health and safety, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, the budget and more. She will also be hosting the virtual ‘Runner Walk and Talk Monday Sept. 27. This is a forum to allow students to share their voices, questions and feedback with campus leaders.