Update for Graduate Students 1

Date: March 12, 2020

To: Graduate Students

From: Marc d'Alarcao, Dean, College of Graduate Studies

Dear SJSU Graduate Students,

As our campus responds to the coronavirus health crisis, I want to share with you some information that is especially relevant for graduate students. What I am reporting here is accurate as of this morning (3/12/20), but please be aware that the situation is evolving and some of this information may change. The most up to date and comprehensive information about the SJSU response to the health crisis can be found at the SJSU Health Advisories website.

Campus Remains Open

In President Papazian’s March 9 message, she said that while in-person classes are suspended this week and will move to on-line or distributed format beginning on Monday 3/16, the “campus … remains open for normal business”. What that means is that all functions other than face-to-face class instruction continue with possible modifications to enhance social distancing. Therefore, we expect that the following activities will continue: office hours, advising, tutoring and peer mentoring, (some of which may be held online), and department operations.

Small, in-person classes that cannot easily be moved to an on-line format, such as lab courses, studio art courses, or ensemble performances, might continue next week. If you are teaching or taking such a class, please check with your supervisor or instructor for the situation with your specific course. For those who will work off campus or connect virtually, IT provides a number of technology tools that may be useful – please see SJSU IT Work Anywhere.

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA)

Please consult with your faculty advisor regarding the status of your on-campus RSCA activities. Faculty must obtain approval from the dean to continue RSCA projects with on-site student engagement. Approval may involve determining how the RSCA plans or schedule can be modified to reduce transmission risk, such as limiting or staggering the hours of students’ involvement to control the number of people present. 

Field Experiences

We expect that most internships, clinical placements, student teaching, service learning, etc. will continue as scheduled. Exceptions to this expectation include:

  1. If you have a reasonable concern that participating in a field experience will pose an inappropriate risk to your own health or the health of others.
  2. If you have had any known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. If your placement has closed down due to health concerns and/or is limiting access to students.  

If you believe that you fall into any of these three categories, please contact your supervisor, instructor, and/or program coordinator for guidance.  

Student Accommodations

If you believe that you are at risk or otherwise unable to engage in ongoing educational activities, you may contact the Accessible Education Center (AEC) for temporary disability accommodations as determined by AEC. Students will not be penalized in any way if they request accommodations because they or those with whom they are in regular contact are at greater risk.  


All international travel and non-essential domestic travel for professional business are suspended from now until the end of the semester (May 31, 2020). Presenting at a conference is not considered essential travel. If you believe that travel is essential, discuss it with your supervisor and department chair. Essential travel will need to be approved by the disciplinary dean and the provost.

If you were scheduled to present at a conference and are unable to do so, please consider still listing the accepted conference presentation on your CV to document the achievement, even though the presentation was canceled. You might consult with your advisor as to the best way to do this.

Also, if planned travel is cancelled due to this health crisis, please work with your department administrator to help with securing refunds or potentially receiving reimbursements for unrefunded expenses.

Teaching Associates (TAs)

TAs are a critical part of the team managing the challenge of moving courses to an on-line or distributed format. You have support for this. TAs are always welcomed to use the resources at the Center for Faculty Development (CFD). CFD has excellent guidance on remote teaching options and has a staff ready to help


Because of directives from the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and Governor Newsom, all large events (>250 people) scheduled for the next three weeks are cancelled. Smaller events may take place if provisions for social distancing are possible. Decisions about campus events are being made continuously, so it is best to check the event web site or with the organizer for the latest information.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Anxiety and fear about health emergencies can take a toll on our well-being. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please know that there are people on campus that care and want to help. The people in our Counseling and Psychological Services unit can be reached at 408-924-5910 and counseling.services@sjsu.edu.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to balance the critical priorities of protecting the health of our SJSU community and supporting your education. 

Marc d’Alarcao