Campus, Coronavirus, News

UPDATE March 28, 10:50 a.m: What we know about coronavirus at CSULB

This article will include updates.

March 28, 10:50 a.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced further regulations and decisions late Friday night for the city of Long Beach in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first, an extension of a previously established regulation, pushed back the resume date of parking citations related to street sweeping to May 1.

“We don’t want to cause additional burdens for residents. Blue, Red and other parking laws will still be enforced. We will still street sweep where possible across the city,” Garcia said in a tweet.

The mayor then announced a total closure of all city beaches, bike paths near the beaches and parking lots adjacent to the beaches until May 1. Those who have permits to park in these lots as part of the parking alleviation program the city began last week will be able to continue to do so.

“Far too many people were not following social distancing and we must flatten the curve now. Our hospitals, nurses, and doctors are counting on us,” Garcia said in a tweet.

March 27, 3:06 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia on Friday confirmed that a Long Beach Police Department officer tested positive for COVID-19.

“I want to tell our Long Beach community that he is doing well,” Chief of Police Robert Luna said.

At this time, the officer is expected to make a full recovery but is exercising precaution.

Luna said that they are currently investigating who the officer came into contact with, including his partner. Both officers are currently self-quarantining. Another six officers are awaiting test results.

“You have to remember that our police officers are coming to work every day,” Luna said. “As we have given our community stay at home orders, our officers don’t have an option, they are coming out, they have to be on the front lines. They have to serve our community in the time of need, understanding that there is the risk to their own safety, just like our firefighters and other essential employees are out there but they need to come to work anyways.”

Luna said the department is exercising new procedures to prevent social interaction between officers and citizens. For non-violent, non-life-threatening crimes, officers are now triaging calls from residents rather than responding immediately.

“We’re giving the officers an opportunity to be able to call the person who called us on the phone and try and handle a dispatch either on the phone or have the citizen come out of the residence, trying to keep that six-foot distance and trying to handle the calls, the best that we can,” Luna said.

Garcia also announced that there are now 13 Long Beach firefighters that have tested positive for COVID-19. Four of those are residents of the city, and all had some degree of interaction with station 11 in North Long Beach.

There are now 70 people who have tested positive for the virus in the city, but Garcia said that there could be many more.

“I want to remind people that just because we put out a number, that doesn’t mean that that is the number,” Garcia said. “It is highly likely there are many more that would test positive.”

Anissa Davis, city health officer, and Garcia both stressed the importance of continuing with social distancing and isolation.

“We’re asking folk to stay home unless you’re going out walking, walking your dog or going from place to place, please stay home,” Garcia said. “This is critical for  our hospitals, medical teams and the city as well.”

Davis said that there are enough tests available for residents, but not everyone needs to be tested.

“We know that COVID-19 is in the community, so there is a likelihood that those symptoms that you’re experiencing are because of COVID-19,” Davis said. “You just need to kind of take the steps that are necessary, but if you are hospitalized or are ill or sick, or an exposed health care worker, then we will be prioritizing you for testing. But everybody else who needs to have a test can have a test in Long Beach.”

Garcia said that at this time the health department is still currently following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for testing. He also expressed concern over the local hospital’s capacity to respond to the crisis.

“It’s my biggest concern right now, to be honest,” Garcia said. “If there’s anything that I’m concerned about more than the capacity of our hospital beds, and we were talking to our hospital leaders to the nurses that are on the front line and everyone is concerned about the amount of beds, that’s why the United States Navy Mercy being here is a huge relief.”

USNS Mercy, a several-thousand-bed hospital ship, docked in San Pedro earlier today. The ship will provide space for non-COVID patients to alleviate Los Angeles area hospitals to care for more critical patients.

Garcia said that finalizations for guidelines surrounding the safer at home order, parking tickets and utility payments will be released later today.

March 27, 11:43 a.m.

Information and Technology officials warned Zoom users of potential cybersecurity threats associated with the video conference application.

“As we are leveraging Zoom for an alternative method of instruction, a cybersecurity attack called ‘Zoom-bombing’ has come to our attention, in which the bad guys crash Zoom meeting to cause disruption and security concerns,” the email read. 

The Office of the CIO warned professors and students to keep their Zoom classes private.

In an effort to increase security, Cuc Du, information security officer, and Min Yao, vice president and chief information officer, have advised the following in an email:

  • Access Zoom from the Single Sign-on homepage
  • Do not share Zoom meeting information via social media
  • Once all participants have joined, lock the Zoom meeting 
  • Utilize the password protection and waiting room features on Zoom to keep unwanted guests out
  • In the case that a disruptive guest makes it into the meeting, hosts have the ability to remove the individual 

If students or instructors are experiencing any other issues, they are advised to contact the [email protected], or go to the campus Zoom service page.

March 25, 5:15 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday that eight North Long Beach firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As you can imagine, this has been devastating news for us here as a city,” Garcia said. “They work incredibly hard every single day to respond, not just to fires but medical emergencies, issues around safety and they have been actively responding to issues around in COVID-19.”

Fire Chief Xavier Espino said the firefighters were exposed to the virus while on duty.

“I want to reassure you that the Long Beach Fire Department is continuing to take extensive precautions to safeguard fellow first responders, as well as the public, with whom we interact,” Espino said. “We’re working closely with the health department to minimize further risks to other public safety personnel.”

Anissa Davis, city health officer, said the contraction of COVID-19 proves the virus’ ability to spread with ease.

“We know that this virus is in our community,” Davis said. “What’s key now is that we take active action to interrupt new infections.”

Davis said that they are expecting more positive diagnoses of other first responders and encouraged residents to continue with prevention practices to protect further employee infections.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone in our community to respect the stay at home mandate and practice impeccable personal hygiene and social distancing,” Espino said. “The likelihood of death from COVID-19 continues to remain relatively low for most people, however, all precautions should be taken to avoid spreading it to others.”

Four of the firefighters that have tested positive are Long Beach residents and will contribute to the total count of coronavirus cases of 41.

Garcia acknowledged that the increase is steep and said this is even more reason to continue with social distancing and abiding by the “safer at home” order.

“If we do not flatten the curve immediately, this number will continue to increase and exponentially grow over time,” Garcia said. “Just because we have 41 positive cases does not mean that there are not more.”

“You should act and behave like anyone around you could have COVID-19,” he added.

Due to an increase in rain, Garcia said the city must start street sweeping as soon as possible to avoid flooding.

“We cannot deal with both flooding, as well as COVID-19 at the same time,” Garcia said.

On Tuesday, Garcia announced further regulations to the “safer at home” order to further prevent socializing and the potential spread of the virus.

“The next two to three weeks are the critical weeks in making sure we’re prepared for the hospital and medical emergency that could be in front of us,” Garcia said. “Our hospital leaders, who I’m talking to regularly, are asking you to please stay at home [and] take care of yourself.”

March 24, 3:25 p.m.

Parking and Transportation officials announced Tuesday that refund amounts for parking permits have been finalized.

Students who purchased a spring 2020 permit will receive $75 and those who had a 2019-2020 academic year permit will receive $77.

Residential students, both on-campus and Beachside, who had permits will receive $87.

Motorcycle permit holders will receive $20.

Permits for the community, LifeFit, SRWC and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) are eligible for a prorated refund, however, the department is still calculating the amount.

Employees will not be receiving refunds for their parking permits.

Los Coyotes shuttle holders will receive a full refund of $20.

Long Beach transit and LA Metro passes are not eligible for a refund. 

March 24, 2:55 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Tuesday that all residents are now to stay home unless they are adhering to social distancing practices and fall under essential regulations.

“We are taking this next step because there are too many people ignoring social distancing while visiting our trails and beaches,” Garcia said. “You can still ride your bicycle, walk your dog or go for a run, but we’re encouraging folks to avoid any type of gathering and to avoid groups of people. This is a health crisis and we must act now.”

Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, the El Dorado Nature Center and parking lots at city-owned parks and beaches are now closed through April 19 to further prevent large gatherings of people.

The “safer at home” initiative, brought forward by Gov. Gavin Newsom and supported by Garcia, is now becoming tighter with its regulations as the trend of COVID-19 continues to rise.

Essential business is now defined as:

  • Travel to and from an essential place of business, such as a grocery store or doctor’s office.
  • Travel to work at a healthcare facility.
  • Outdoor activities such as jogging and exercise, as long as six-feet distance is maintained between individuals.

Garcia clarified what neighborhoods can still apply for permits to park in free city lots until April 30. These neighborhoods include: Granada, 5100 E. Ocean Blvd., Junipero, 2100 E. Ocean Blvd. and Belmont, 3998 E. Allin St.

Closures for gyms, fitness studios, bars, movie theaters and all other non-essential businesses are still in place.

These announcements come as city health officials announced that there are now 28 cases of COVID-19 in the city, including the death of a woman in her 50s on March 23. 

“As the City continues to navigate through this unprecedented public health crisis, we will continue to review the statewide order to ensure the City’s compliance by amending our order accordingly,” Garcia said.

March 24, 9:16 a.m.

Long Beach State officials announced Tuesday that two students have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Two students are in self-isolation off campus, and those who may have come into close contact with them are being notified by health officials. In one case, the student has not been on campus for two weeks. In the second case, there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure according to public-health officials,” Kimberly Fodran, co-director of Student Health Services said.

The campus community had been unaffected up until this point, while Long Beach city now has 21 confirmed cases and one death relating to the virus.

“While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news. It is a sober signal that the impact of this illness will be felt widely,” Fodran said. “It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible.”

March 23, 7:51 p.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city is passing a moratorium against evictions for renters.

“I’m committed to making sure that nobody loses their homes during this crisis,” Garcetti said.

A six month grace period will be granted for renters to make their payments, but Garcetti encourages those who can make their payments to do so.

“Not all property owners are large companies, and many get by on the month to month that they collect,” Garcetti said. “If you can pay your rent, you should.”

The protections apply to both residential and commercial tenants.

He said that they are working on getting more wide-spread testing, but for now tests are being reserved for those most vulnerable to the virus.

“These tests are for the most vulnerable  Angelenos, those with symptoms, who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions, or both,” Garcetti said. “No matter what, we will have the ability to continue testing our frontline workers.”

Garcetti said that the city is working hard to protect the homeless communities.

“I won’t mince words, this virus will hit our homeless community hard,” Garcetti.

Installation of hand-washing stations and porta-potties have been made to attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst homeless individuals. City officials are working on securing up to 600 rooms in hotels and motels to house homeless individuals who become ill or exhibit symptoms of the virus.

Garcetti then announced he is enacting two new orders to further protections and assistance for those in need.

The first will require all LA Metro bus riders to enter and exit buses from the back entrances to prevent exposure for drivers. The second will allow businesses in the city to deliver alcoholic beverages for pick up.

“This will not only be something nice for the people of L.A., but good for those businesses to keep them alive, so that when the crisis is over your favorite neighborhood watering hole, and restaurant, will still-we hope-be there,” Garcetti said.

“I will continue to do everything in my local power to support local businesses and to make sure that Angelenos stay home.”

Garcetti then assured residents that their utilities will not be shut off if they cannot pay their bill, but again urged those who are in a position to pay-to do so.

“Our first concern is to make sure that all Angelenos have the essentials they need to get through this crisis,” Garcetti said.

The mayor then called on politicians in Washington, D.C., to put aside partisanship and work together to help those in need across the country. 

Los Angeles is currently working on raising $25 million for its Crisis Response Plan to support those who are in need of cash assistance during the pandemic. 

A separate initiative, the Angeleno Campaign, is seeking to raise $10 million to distribute on no-fee debit cards for those who are in need of immediate assistance. Garcetti said the scope of the campaign is set to benefit 20,000 residents.

Garcetti closed with some warm words for residents in isolation.

“It will go away because of our actions, but it will also go away because of our hearts. When we make sure that it isn’t just a virus we are defeating, but the isolation and poverty that will be exacerbated by the crisis. We have the power to solve those two things together.”

“Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.”

March 23, 3:51 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in the city Monday.

“Unfortunately, and sadly, we have confirmed the first death from coronavirus here in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “We share this, of course, with a heavy heart.”

The patient has been identified as a woman in her 50s with pre-existing medical conditions.

“I want to begin by reminding everyone to take the health order, our safer at home order, very seriously,” Garcia said. “Our local order aligns with the county of Los Angeles, and it aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide order as well.”

Garcia urged people to continue to maintain social distancing standards and practices, reminding residents that only essential businesses and movement is allowed at this time.

“If it’s not essential, please try to stay home,” Garcia said.

Long Beach Unified School District announced that it will not be resuming schooling until May 4, while higher education campuses Long Beach City College and Long Beach State have made the move to alternative education methods for the remainder of the school year.

For those who have economic concerns, Garcia promised that relief is coming.

“In the days ahead, you will hear more from the state and the Congress about what federal relief is coming directly to workers,” Garcia said. “But for now, locally please know that we’re not going to turn off your utilities if you can’t pay. We’re not going to turn your water off, we’re not going to turn your gas off.”

“You cannot be evicted. During this time if you’ve had lowered or lost wages or are unhealthy because of COVID-19, or have not been able to go to work, you will not be evicted from your home or apartment.”

Last week the city council considered passing a moratorium on rent and mortgage payments, something which Garcia confirmed has since been adopted. 

The moratorium on parking tickets related to street sweeping has been extended for another week, but Garcia maintained that all other fines related to other parking infractions are still in place.

“We have opened up a significant amount of parking lots, free for residents to move their cars, anytime this week and get a free permit to move their cars,” Garcia said.

These lots will allow residents to park for free across the city to help free up parking impacted neighborhoods.

Garcia emphasized the importance of following the stay at home order, saying that the next two to three weeks are critical for the safety and wellbeing of the city.

“I’m in conversation with the heads of all four of our hospitals, here in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “Their message to you and my message to everyone watching, your family, your friends, is: you need to please stay home to help us minimize people being affected and filling our hospital rooms, when we need those hospital beds clear and empty.”

City Health Officer Anissa Davis said they are learning more about the virus every day. She said that 80% of those infected will experience mild to moderate symptoms and only 15% will experience symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized. The other 5% will end up needing intensive care.

“COVID-19 has the potential for devastating and disruptive effects in our community,” Davis said. “Because it’s so new, and so everybody is susceptible, and there’s no vaccine or medications available at this time.”

Davis said that there are currently 21 positive cases of COVID-19 in the city and the department is currently monitoring 190 people who may have been in contact with those who have tested positive.

To help alleviate health care facilities, Davis said to not seek medical attention if you have mild symptoms or are not considered to be high-risk.

“Think about your current symptoms and take one year back,” Davis said. “If a year ago you had these same symptoms, and at that time, you would have just stayed home and not sought medical care. That’s what we’re asking you to do now, we’re asking you to do the same thing right now.”

Davis said that if after seven days symptoms do not improve and three days of an unbroken fever, to then seek medical attention.

“We have been and continue to work day and night, seven days a week, to help limit the spread of the virus,” Davis said. “But we won’t be able to slow things down unless the public does their part to help.”

Garcia said at this time that Long Beach has enough tests to analyze those who are presenting symptoms, but not enough to accommodate the testing models other countries have exhibited.

“We would love to test more, we would love to be doing drive-thru testing across the city,” Garcia said. “There’s just not enough tests.”

March 23, 11:52 a.m.

As Long Beach State makes the official transition to alternative teaching methods, university officials sent messages of encouragement and guidance.

“Today, on the first day of alternative instruction, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of our stakeholders, but most especially to our faculty, students, staff and families,” President Jane Close Conoley said.

The announcement that the university would not reconvene for the rest of the spring semester was made last Tuesday after officials had considered returning on April 20.

“By practicing this kind of extreme social distancing, we are doing our part to help contain and mitigate the serious health risks posed by the coronavirus, to help flatten the curve of infected individuals to ensure our medical system can adequately care for those most in need,” Conoley said.

Spring commencement remains postponed until the risk of COVID-19 is lowered, but Conoley said she is considering other delivery methods at this time.

“It is the appropriate course of action, given the rapidly evolving nature of the virus and the directives we are receiving from medical experts and government and public health agencies,” Conoley said.

Kimberly Fodran, co-director of Student Health Services, also sent a message to the campus community this morning, urging everyone to practice sanitation and social-distancing.

“This is an unprecedented time for most of us, and it is a time that can evoke anxiety,” Fodran said. “Tips for how to stay healthy have been posted to our COVID-19 informational website for a number of weeks, but today I wanted to share specific information on what to do if you believe you have been exposed or if you feel you have developed symptoms.”

Fodran maintained that there are no COVID-19 cases associated with the campus, but as the number continues to rise in the city of Long Beach, she warned of the potential of local transmission.

According to the Long Beach Health Department, there are now 17 cases of COVID-19 in the city, a 240% increase in 9 days.

Fodran said students and staff should maintain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines of hand-washing, social-distancing and self-isolation in the case of exposure or contraction. 

Faculty and staff are urged to call SHS rather than human resources in the case they believe they have been infected or exposed, or if they believe someone they know is at risk.

“I appreciate your efforts to stay healthy, protect others, and stay informed. Be safe, take care of yourselves and your families, and know that we are here to help,” Fodran said.

Today there were 33,404 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, a 119% increase since Saturday.

Conoley acknowledged that this time is difficult for many, but urged the community to stay strong and to persevere.

“I thank you again for everything you are doing to keep our campus and community strong and healthy during these challenging times,” Conoley said. “Always remember, we are one beach.”

March 23, 11:11 a.m.

International Olympic Committee official Dick Pound announced Monday that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan will be postponed due to COVID-19.

Pound said the committee is considering 2021 as a possible reschedule date.

March 22, 4:50 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced further regulations for Long Beach’s stay at home order Sunday.

“Seriously people, you need to practice social distancing,” Garcia tweeted March 21. “I am seeing tons of people out there acting like there’s no crisis. You could be carrying the virus, have no symptoms, and be responsible for the illness or worse of others.”

The new regulations include the closure and postponement of:

  • Basketball, tennis and volleyball courts
  • Dog parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Skate parks
  • Picnic areas
  • Any group exercise in parks

Garcia said he and city officials are working on terms for access to and use of beaches.

March 20, 1:46 p.m.

Parking and Transportation Services officials announced Friday that Long Beach State students will be receiving prorated refunds for parking permits for the spring semester.

The returns will cover from March 23 to June 7. Permit holders will receive a refund beginning April 1.

  • Students who currently have a permit will not have to apply for a refund.
  • Once it is processed, the funds will be available via student accounts.
  • Because of the high volume of refunds, it may take four to six weeks for the funds to become available.
  • Los Coyotes shuttle passes will be refunded as well.
  • Long Beach Transit and LA Metro passes are not eligible to be refunded because the services still run. 

March 19, 6:26 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday a new social program called “safer at home,” an initiative to encourage residents to stay at home rather than engage in social interactions.

“This is a serious step,” Garcia said. “I want to note that it’s incredibly important that all citizens, all residents across the county, especially those that are watching in Long Beach: follow the health orders that are being released.”

Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, clarified the regulations, which are set to begin at midnight tonight:

  • All gatherings of 10 people or more are strictly prohibited anywhere in L.A. County.
  • If you wish to have a gathering of two to nine people, you may do so with caution. Hand washing or sanitizing materials must be provided.
  • Signs must be posted in places of business directing people who are having respiratory symptoms to not enter the place of business.
  • Indoor malls and shopping centers, with the exceptions of locations that are considered “essential,” must close.
  • Outdoor malls must enforce social distancing standards if they are to remain open.
  • Retailers who do not qualify as “essential” are to close.
  • Gyms, bars and movie theaters are to remain closed.
  • Restaurants may only operate as takeout or drive-thru services.
  • All large gatherings are strictly prohibited. 

Ferrer did clarify that those businesses that are remaining are to operate under strict guidelines.

“You must institute social distancing requirements in your places of business and your places of service,” Ferrer said. “It isn’t open as business as usual, it’s open by taking an abundance of caution.”

Ferrer said that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statement earlier today, which cited that up to 56% of the state of California could contract coronavirus, was not off-base.

“There’s not a single person, except for those who already have the disease of COVID-19, that have an immunity to the virus,” Ferrer said. “That means, for all of us, there is a high degree of certainty that with exposure, we will be able to, in fact, become infected.”

The initiative is planned to end on April 19, but may be extended if necessary.

March 19, 3:40 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Thursday sweeping regulations and changes in the city of Long Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garcia said that there are now 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the city, with more than 130 people under surveillance.

The mayor acknowledged that the closures and changes are having extreme economic consequences for residents.

“First of all, we want people to know that we’re looking at a wide range of economic relief for the community,” Garcia said.

Rental and eviction moratoriums are being developed by city officials. Late fees and Section 8 terminations will also be prohibited in the coming days.

To further assist residents, the city established the Long Beach Fund to benefit those in need. The fund has raised more than $250,000 in less than 24-hours.

Long Beach utilities will not be enforcing payments during the span of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If you cannot pay, we are not going to shut off your water or your gas,” Garcia said. “We will work with you on some type of payment plan or program moving forward.”

Garcia also said some form of forgiveness programs are to also be expected from non-city utility companies.

Long Beach Unified schools will continue to provide food for children, registered students or not.

Garcia said that the city is expecting to roll out further restrictions and regulations soon.

“I want people to understand that social distancing, staying at home, trying to be away from folks gathering is really important right now,” Garcia said. “You’re seeing what is happening in Italy or other parts of the world. This is a very serious crisis that we’re in right now.”

“People need to expect that the restrictions that are currently in place for the city of Long Beach are going to get tighter.”

March 19, 2:50 p.m.

University officials announced Thursday that Long Beach State will begin the process of closing its campus down completely.

“We are in the process of closing and securing most buildings on campus in light of our primarily virtual environment this semester,” the email stated. “A map is being developed to provide the campus community with more specific information.”

The library will be closed beginning March 21. Until then, its hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online resources, databases and assistance will still be available upon closure.

For those who need access to technology and resources to complete their work and exams, the Horn Center will be open with special restrictions and social distancing practices in place.

Beginning March 23, the Basic Needs Program will be moving from its home in the University Student Union to the Student Success Center.

The USU and all of Associated Students Inc.’s auxiliaries will remain closed at this time. Reassessment for opening the USU will occur March 20. 

“This illness will almost inevitably impact members of our campus community in the future,” the statement read. “For weeks, the university has been actively planning for various contingencies and our response has evolved over time.”

March 18, 6 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday that the city of Long Beach has established a relief campaign to assist those who are in economic need during the city-wide closures in response to COVID-19.

“We know people are struggling, we know that low income workers need to pay rent and get food, seniors and people with disabilities need our support,” Garcia said. “Small businesses need our support.”

The text-to-donate campaign will take money raised from the community and redistribute it to non-profits that are assisting those in need.

“Text SUPPORTLB to 50155 and give whatever you can that would be greatly appreciated,” Garcia said. “Also know that we are already receiving large donations from some folks within the community that have the ability to give.”

In partnership with the Community Foundation, a non-profit philanthropy group that helps raise money for different causes, the city is looking to receive donations immediately with no goal set.

“Let’s support each other during this really tough time,” Garcia said.

March 17, 11:30 a.m.

President Jane Close Conoley announced Tuesday that Long Beach State will not be returning for face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring semester and commencement has been postponed.

Link to full article

March 16, 9:48 p.m.

Associated Students Inc. announced that the Beach Pantry will open for limited hours tomorrow to serve students in need. 

The pantry will remain open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or while supplies last.

“The food is being provided for students in need of groceries during these difficult times,” officials said. “The food provided will be similar to the items normally available at the ASI Beach Pantry.”

Food will be distributed at the University Student Union west patio rather than the pantry’s normal location.

ASI asks that if you are sick to please stay away at this time.

Only currently enrolled students with a valid I.D. may receive food. Limit one visit per student. 

All other ASI auxiliaries remain closed at this time.

March 16, 8:40 p.m.

All dorm residents are now being required to move out of completely by March 27, according to Housing and Residential Life officials.

If a student cannot meet that deadline, they must request an extension to stay.

March 16, 7:53 p.m.

Housing and Residential Life officials announced Monday that students who reside in the dorms are “strongly encouraged” to move out.

“Because the university is transitioning to alternative delivery of classes, we strongly encourage you to consider leaving student housing in an effort to boost social distancing and reduce the density of our on-campus population,” the email stated. “This is for your protection and for the safety of the entire residential community.”

Students who opt to leave their dorms will receive a prorated refund from the day of their checkout, which can be as soon as March 20.

Refunds will apply to dining and housing costs. However, housing officials warn this may have an impact on certain financial aid.

For those wishing to stay in their residence hall or for those who have no other housing accommodations, officials said dorming residents may be relocated to another housing unit.

“We recognize that some of you have no other residence available to you or you may face travel restrictions,” the email stated. “We will accommodate you if these considerations apply to you, but you should be prepared to relocate to a different residence hall on campus.”

Move out forms will be made available Tuesday morning and are due by March 20. The latest a student may move out is March 27. 

March 16, 3:45 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced in a press conference Monday, steps the city is taking to slow the progress of COVID-19.

Garcia’s first declaration was that all bars and nightclubs across the city are to be closed by order of the Long Beach Health Department.

“We are trying to slow down and interrupt non-essential functions and activities,” Garcia said. “When we really know that we have to slow down the progress as it relates to COVID-19.”

The mayor said the city is pushing restaurants and food service locations to convert to delivery and pick-up-only to support social distancing practices. Further details are going to be published later tonight.

Gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and any locations where gatherings could total more than state guidelines are to be closed as well. 

Garcia announced that the city is putting a one week pause on tickets related to street sweeping and the city will be providing more direction later this week.

City offices and buildings will remain closed for the foreseeable future, but the mayor said he and a small group of employees will continue to work from their offices to support city functions. 

Garcia said that the senior center will continue to provide meals, as well as the Long Beach Unified School District. All children will be able to receive breakfast and lunch, not just those who attend school in the district.

Earlier today, the mayor released a statement regarding the care of the homeless population in the city. He said they intend to continue with those promises at this time.

“We are not closing facilities that serve people experiencing homeless,” Garcia said. “Those remain open and will continue to remain open to provide these important services and support.”

Garcia and the city are in discussion with the state and federal government on rent and mortgage moratorium as well as economic assistance for those in need.

Kelly Colopy, director of health and human services in Long Beach said that as of March 16, there are currently five individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer confirming cases, therefore, all that test in local health locations are now being considered positive.

“This underscores the need for the city to take strategic measures to slow the spread of disease,” Colopy said. 

Colopy said that most cases presented have been mild, but assured that each case is treated the same. There are currently over 100 people in Long Beach being monitored by the health department for potential exposure or infection of COVID-19.

“It’s important now to individually and collectively help each other in this community,” Garcia said.

March 16, 1:00 p.m.

President Donald Trump announced new nationwide guidelines Monday as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines include:

  • Avoidance of gatherings with more than 10 people
  • Avoiding restaurants and bars
  • Limiting discretionary travel
  • Work from home when possible
  • Homeschool students

These guidelines are to be implemented over the next 15 days. 

“We’re putting America first,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, said the trajectory of the virus puts the end of the lifespan of the pandemic in mid-July.

Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and human services, said the U.S is now in possession of over one million COVID-19 tests. He said they are expecting 80% to 85% of tests to be processed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“We have to be vigilant,” Trump said.

March 16, 11:10 a.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that the city of Long Beach is taking extra measures to protect the homeless community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Protecting and supporting people experiencing homelessness is critical as they are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Garcia said. “Our Homeless Services team is working hard to ensure we continue to deliver the best care and services possible during this public health emergency.”

Many public service buildings are closed to encourage social distancing, but Garcia said that homeless shelters and the Safe Parking Program remain open.

Garcia also said the Homeless Services team, a division of the health and human services department, are deploying measures to guarantee the safety of the homeless community.

These services include:

  • Installation of hand sanitizing stations across the city, including public restrooms.
  • Person-to-person education on the risks, symptoms and actions required that are associated with COVID-19.
  • Increased sanitation protocol at the Winter Shelter and the Multi-Service Center. Showering is to maintain social distancing standards.
  • Distribution of sanitation kits to those who are experiencing homelessness.
  • Finding isolation rooms for those who are exhibiting symptoms. The city has pledged to pay for the costs of quarantine if the situation arises.
  • Maintaining safe standards of social distancing, sanitation and self-monitoring for all those who interact with the homeless population. 

There are no known cases of COVID-19 amongst the homeless population in Long Beach. 

March 15, 11 p.m.

Due to President Jane Close Conoley’s email requesting only essential staff report to work on campus, Associated Students Inc. announced that all of its auxiliaries are closed “at least through March 17.”

Despite previous decisions to keep the locations open, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the University Student Union, the Recycling Center and the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center will be closed according to ASI’s twitter.

“We apologize for this inconvenience; however, the health & safety of our students, members, staff, faculty & Long Beach community remains our number one priority,” the tweet read.

This comes just a couple of days after the first decision to close the SRWC until March 17.

Last week ASI’s communications manager James Ahumada said the organization would follow what the campus decided. He did say that it would err on the side of caution for its facilities and would close them for longer if necessary. 

“If the campus calls for a closure we would close those facilities as well,” Ahumada said.

March 15, 8:29 p.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced city-wide closure of all bars, nightclubs, restaurants, entertainment venues and similar establishments Sunday night.

“These orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will stay in place until March 31 unless extended,” Garcetti said. “There is no food shortage and grocery stores will remain open. We’re taking these steps to help protect Angelenos, limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our health care system.” 

This declaration comes hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s encouragement for establishments in California to reconsider their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of March 15, there are 69 confirmed cases of the virus in Los Angeles County. One person has died.

“This will be a tough time, but it is not forever,” Garcetti said. “Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together.”

March 15, 8:00 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Long Beach’s cooperation with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration Sunday.

“To minimize community spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable residents, the Long Beach Health Department supports the Governor’s guidance issued tonight related to the closure of bars, nightclubs, breweries and wineries, and limits on occupancy for restaurants,” Garcia said.

The announcement included encouragement for restaurants to continue their operations, with social-distancing practices in mind.

Garcia provided a list of clarifications for operations:

  • Bars are to be defined as places that solely focus on the sale and manufacturing of alcohol.
  • Restaurants are to be defined as locations that prepare and sell food for consumption while providing patrons a place to sit.
  • Locations that serve food are encouraged to allow six-feet-distance for patrons, if possible, will dining or waiting in line.
  • Restaurants are encouraged to create a designated pick-up zone for to-go orders six-feet away from other food preparation areas.
  • Long Beach officials are making the recommendation that restaurants reduce their maximum occupancy by half.

A detailed list of specific locations is available on the city’s website

March 15, 6:25 p.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the strictest recommendation against coronavirus yet Sunday, calling for all events of 50 or more people to be canceled for the next two months. 

“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the agency stated. “[It] is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”

The Long Beach State commencement ceremony is scheduled just outside of this two-month cancelation window on May 19, 2020. 

The university has yet to decide how commencement will take place. 

“We started planning [March 9] if we’ll have a virtual commencement,” President Jane Close Conoley told the Forty-Niner.

The CDC’s recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operations of businesses or schools. 

March 15, 2:30 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for self-home isolation for all California residents who are 65 years and older and those who have chronic illnesses in a press conference Sunday morning.

Newsom went on to call for the closing of all bars, nightclubs and clubs, deeming them “not necessary.”

He also said the state is working on procuring hotels, motels and trailers to help those who are facing housing insecurity and homelessness. 

“We need to get people out of encampments and into environments where we can meet their anxieties,” Newsom said.

The governor asked for all restaurants to cut their capacities in half to help support social distancing practices.

“We need to meet this issue head on and lean into it,” Newsom said. “We need to meet this moment aggressively.” 

He announced that starting Monday, approximately 80% of students in the state of California will not be attending school as 50% of schools have closed in the face of the pandemic. 

Newsom said that there are now 335 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 15, a 13% increase from yesterday. Six people have died.

March 14, 7:43 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday city-wide closures and adjustments to city function.

“Tonight we are announcing a major shift in our city’s operations as we continue to address the COVID-19 health crisis. Starting Monday, many city facilities, including City Hall, libraries, and community centers, will begin closing to the public. I will remain working at city hall with our city leadership team but much of our staff will be working from home to practice responsible social distancing,” Garcia said.

The following are set to begin March 16 and are expected to end March 31.

  • The city hall and port buildings will remain closed to the public. All services provided via those offices will be transitioned to online. To accommodate the lack of person-to-person contact, phone lines will increase staff to assist citizens.
  • The Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration Office, Sports Office, Community Recreation Centers, Leeway Sailing Center, Community Pools, Belmont Pool and El Dorado Nature Center Museum will be closed until further notice. All recreation classes, permits, reservations, youth and adult sporting activities are suspended until further notice. Long Beach senior centers will remain open, as well as public parks and beaches. 
  • Long Beach Animal Care Services will remain open with appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols implemented. Pet licensing can be done via mail, telephone or online.
  • All public libraries will be closed until March 31. The Long Beach Public Library will be relaxing its borrowing policy and is suspending all late fees at this time.
  • City services requiring in-person interaction have been suspended at this time. Services will still be available via telephone appointment or online. 
  • The city will be suspending all fees incurred on late utility bills and parking fees. All city or parking fees previously paid for a scheduled event will be returned.
  • Next week’s city council meeting will be held via teleconference. The city council meetings scheduled for March 24 and April 7 will either be canceled or conducted via teleconference. City council chambers will remain open for public comments, but those wishing to do so are encouraged to make electronic comments by health officials.

March 14, 6:06 p.m.

Long Beach State officials announced Friday that they are canceling all current study abroad programs due to the elevation of COVID-19 to a pandemic.

“Given the severity of the situation and the State Department’s elevated Worldwide Health Advisory, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students and faculty, California State University Long Beach has decided to cancel all study abroad programs currently in operation in all countries,” officials said. “The university is requiring all students, faculty and staff currently abroad to return directly to your permanent residence in the United States as soon as possible.”

President Trump announced Friday that the U.S. would be closing its borders to Europe for travel and imports of goods.

“It is important to note, however, that the travel restriction imposed by the White House does not apply to American citizens, permanent U.S. residents and their immediate family members,” officials clarified.

Those returning are asked to complete a 14-day self-quarantine per Center for Disease Control recommendation.

Credits may be able to be made up via alternative delivery instruction depending on the course according to the announcement.

Fees incurred during this time due to change in flight will be covered by the university.

For those unable to complete their coursework, an administrative withdrawal will be issued for the spring 2020 semester.

“If you are unable to return to your permanent residence, CSULB will assist you in securing a suitable alternative, as you should not be returning to the campus. Also, if you need a space for self-quarantine please let us know immediately,” officials said. 

March 14, 4:08 p.m.

The Long Beach health department announced Friday that a fifth person in the city has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The City of Long Beach is reporting a new case of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, in an adult woman who did not have known exposure to an individual with the virus or travel to an area of community transmission,” officials said. “The woman, who is in her 60s, is hospitalized and in stable condition. This case marks the fifth identified case of COVID-19.”

This case is considered the first example of community-spread.

“This case highlights the need for continued vigilance and preparation, especially for those at higher risk of severe illness and those with underlying health conditions,” said Anissa Davis, city health officer.

There are now 225 cases of COVID-19 in California.

March 13, 9:05 p.m.

Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the City of Long Beach will halt physical city council meetings. 

“Starting next week, @LongBeachCity Council meetings will be held over teleconference, in compliance with new regulations set by Governor Newsom,” Garcia said in a Tweet. “The council and commissions will meet by teleconference at least through April or until further notice. Electronic comments encouraged.”

Gov. Newsom made a declaration Thursday calling for the postponement or cancellation of all public events that may host over 250 people.

“Written comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected],” Garcia added. “The chambers will be open to members of the public for comment, but public health officials encourage electronic comments.”

The next meeting is scheduled for March 17.

March 13, 8:50 p.m.

Officials from the Student Recreation and Wellness Center announced Friday that the facility will be closing starting March 14.

President Jane Close Conoley said that all non-essential staff were to take precautionary steps after 8 new cases of COVID-19 in L.A. county were identified by the Center for Disease Control, bringing the total to 40 cases. 

This decision is a departure from ASI’s earlier decision to stay open during the campus-wide transition to alternative instruction methods.

Just moments ago, the president updated the CSULB community that the University has requested that all non-essential staff work from home which affects all programs and services,” officials said in an email.

The center is expected to reopen March 17.

March 13, 6:51 p.m.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center has opted to stay open during Long Beach State’s transition to alternative instruction methods.

All intramural sports have been canceled and refunds have been given to those who already signed up. Open recreation, Beach Balance and Aquatics and fitness programs, including group and personal training, are still being offered. 

The SRWC has increased its cleaning staff, shut off drinking fountains to reduce the chance of bacteria spread and emailed students to wipe equipment. 

“The team here at the SRWC will continue to keep you as up-to-date as possible as we move forward and respond to the campus’s decision to move towards alternative instruction,” said Maureen MacRae, associated director of the SRWC.

SRWC has also canceled the following events:

  • Climbing 201: Belay Basics on March 13
  • Aromatherapy on March 17 
  • Women & Ally Night on March 18
  • SRWC Members Night by the Pool on March 24 

March 13, 1:28 p.m.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring a national emergency in response to the spread of COVID-19.

“To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump said.

This declaration will allow the reallocation of $50 billion to the states to assist in the fight against coronavirus.

“Emergency orders I’m issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately wave revisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals — all hospitals — and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients,” Trump said. 

This declaration comes just days after the president announced he’d be closing off travel from Europe for the next 30 days.

As of March 13, there are 1,215 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.

March 13, 1:23 p.m

The NCAA has announced, “eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division 1 student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” which will be discussed and worked on in the, “coming days and weeks,” a release read.

March 13, 12:45 p.m.

The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced Friday that it will be moving from indefinitely suspending to canceling all spring conference and non-conference competition for the 2020 season.

March 12, 10:39 p.m.

Beach Streets University announced Thursday that its annual event will be postponed due to city mandates. 

“Due to COVID-19, Long Beach Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, signed a declaration that prohibits all large-scale events in the city,” officials said. “Beach Streets University on Saturday, March 21st is postponed.”

A new date has yet to be determined.

The event’s route was set to run along Spring Street, the Los Coyotes Diagonal, Bellflower Boulevard and Atherton Street, right in front of Long Beach State.

The city has compiled a list of canceled or postponed events which can be viewed here. 

March 12, 3:54 p.m.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced Thursday that the city will cancel “all large scale events through April 2020.”

“Today Long Beach Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, signed a declaration that prohibits all large-scale events in the city,” Garcia tweeted. “This declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect through April 30, 2020, unless further action is taken by the Health Officer to lessen or expand the order.” 

The city-wide cancelations include the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach which was scheduled to take place April 17 through 19 in Downtown Long Beach.

According to Garcia, the Grand Prix is the city’s most popular event, which is attended by around 180,000 people every year.

“We recognize that this decision affects tens of thousands of residents and visitors, and for some will create immense financial hardship,” Garcia said in a statement. “But our top priority must be the health & well-being of our community and this is absolutely the right thing to do.”

“The City looks forward to working with Grand Prix Association of Long Beach as well as other promoters to find solutions for holding their events at a later date as the situation warrants,” he added.

Aligning with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recommendations, all Long Beach events with more than 250 attendees or where attendees cannot maintain a six-foot distance from each other have been canceled.

Garcia added that events with individuals at a “high risk of serious illness” will also be canceled regardless of the 250-person maximum or six-foot distance rule.

“This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions,” he tweeted.

The cancelations and guidelines will not apply to schools, dormitories, public transportation, work-places, movie theaters, malls, casinos, senior centers and daycares, he said.

The city has compiled a list of canceled or postponed events which can be viewed here. 

March 12, 12:58 p.m.

The Big West Conference announced that it is indefinitely suspending all spring conference and non-conference competition, “effective immediately.”

“The main priority of the Big West Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” a release read.

The announcement comes after the No. 12 Dirtbags were cleared to travel New Orleans, Louisiana Thursday, for a three-game series versus No. 23 Tulane University starting Friday.

The Dirtbags are now, “working on arrangements to come back,” assistant athletic director Roger Kirk told the Forty-Niner via email.

The men’s volleyball team, women’s tennis team, softball team and indoor track and field were also expected to compete this weekend. 

Long Beach State men’s volleyball confirmed at 12:50 p.m. Thursday that the home game versus UCSB has been canceled.

“We are in uncharted territory,” Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee told The 562 Thursday. “My gut says this is not ‘three weeks and back to business as usual.’ I wish that was the case but I don’t see it.”

The suspension affects all nine teams in the conference.

March 12, 10:28 a.m.

The Big West Conference announced via email that both the men’s and remainder of the women’s basketball tournaments will be canceled, “effective immediately.”

“The main priority of the Big West Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” the email read.

The women’s tournament already completed the first two rounds, halting before the two semifinals matchups starting at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. March 12. 

The men’s tournament was to be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim starting today, March 12, through Saturday.

“Our goal is to always play every game possible, to have the best record possible to win championships and develop leaders,” Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee told the Forty-Niner Tuesday. “However, the health and well-being of our students, staff, and coaches is the most important factor in our decision process and if needed we would err on the side of safety.”

The Big West’s decision comes after the Power-Five and other mid-major conferences chose to cancel their respective tournaments. 

March 11, 11:45 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom made a statement Wednesday night calling for all large public events to be postponed or canceled until the end of March.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” Newsom said. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects–saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now.”

The release suggests postponing those events where 250 or more people are expected, small gatherings that do not allow more than a six-foot space in between individuals or events where 10 or more individuals who are “high risk” are expected to attend.

This decision comes hours after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

According to the Long Beach Health Department, there are currently 152 confirmed cases of the virus in California.

March 11, 6:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump has announced Wednesday that the U.S. is closing its borders to Europe for 30 days to prevent further spread COVID-19.

“After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong, but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans,” Trump said.

The closure is set to begin Friday at 12 a.m.

People traveling from Europe will only be granted access if they undergo appropriate screening before entering the U.S. The same standards are being held for cargo and trade items being imported from Europe.

The U.K. is not included in this decision and travel, trade and cargo will be open and accepted during this time.

March 11, 3:52 p.m.

Cal State University Fullerton announced it will be transitioning to alternative instruction from March 12 through April 26.

In an email sent to staff and students, school officials said the decision came after guidance from the CSU Office of the Chancellor encouraged them to suspend face-to-face interactions.

“As referenced in the campus-wide communication from President Virjee yesterday, the rapidly-changing information and guidance provided to us by the CSU Chancellor’s Office along with local and state public health officials require that we be equally dynamic in our efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on our campus,” they said.

Faculty will have the option, but are strongly encouraged, to begin alternative instruction tomorrow, but are required to have no face-to-face lectures on March 17 and 18.

“Effective March 17 and March 18, virtual teaching will temporarily become mandatory for the purpose of a two-day technology trial that will help prepare the campus for full mandatory non-face-to-face delivery,” they said. 

The voluntary on-campus instruction period will resume on March 19 and 20, on March 23 and 24 all instruction, with the exception of classes already being provided online, will be halted.

“The purpose for these two non-instructional days is to allow faculty and staff to make the final adjustments for alternative delivery teaching,” they said.

Beginning March 25 the campus will commence a pause to all face-to-face interactions through April 26.

The campus will remain open, however, throughout the suspension period.

“The campus will remain open during every phase of these precautionary efforts, and students continue to be welcome to utilize all on-campus amenities, including housing, food services, the Health Center, the library and CAPS,” they said. “Concerned students are free to limit their physical engagement with the campus, but offices and buildings will remain open with uninterrupted operations; staff will continue to work on-site.”

Like Long Beach State, certain courses that are not adaptable to alternative instruction such as laboratory courses and performing arts, will continue to meet in person with the discretion of the department’s dean.

“As set forth in the communications to our community yesterday, CSUF will continue to monitor any spread of COVID-19 and issue additional notices as necessary,” they said. 

March 11, 2:35 p.m.

In the wake of the university’s decision to move all class instruction online, Long Beach State Athletics has decided to still allow spectators to attend all home games for the “foreseeable future.”

“We are currently planning to host LBSU home games as usual at each of our campus venues,” said Andy Fee, athletics director. “With that said, conditions could change necessitating modification or canceling of games with short notice.”

For away games, however, Athletics will determine if the host team’s area is deemed safe for travel.

“I wouldn’t approve travel to the state of Washington now,” President Jane Close Conoley told the Forty-Niner Monday. “Or maybe to Santa Clara County now that there’s been a death.”

The Pyramid will host No. 4 Long Beach State men’s volleyball versus No. 3 UCSB Thursday.

The No. 12 Dirtbags were cleared for travel to New Orleans, Louisiana and will compete against No. 23 Tulane starting Friday.

The indoor track and field team will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico to compete in the NCAA championships.

Big West officials decided Tuesday to go fan-less for the women’s basketball games hosted at the Walter Pyramid March 10-11 and the men’s basketball tournament and women’s championship game at the Honda Center in Anaheim March 12-14.

The decision to exclude fans from attending the Big West basketball tournaments was done in cooperation with all nine Big West schools.

Fee said coaches and players have supported the department’s and Big West’s decisions.

“Overwhelmingly the feedback has been one of support and understanding,” he said. “This is not an ideal scenario, but there are things larger than sports. With respect to both Big West Basketball Tournaments, we know parents, friends and fans all want to cheer our teams on.”

Sophomore guard Justina King said that the empty Pyramid did not affect the team’s play but the decision was a surprise.

“I think it came to a shock to us, we kinda were talking about it in the locker room a little bit before the game but I think once we started playing it wasn’t, ‘Oh we shot it, do we hear the crowd?’” she said. “I wouldn’t say it necessarily affected our performance basketball-wise, I think it was just a weird thing in general.”

Cleaning and sanitization protocols have been increased at the Long Beach sports venues, according to Conoley.

Conoley added that all events, which include booster club and alumni gathers, held at sports games have been canceled until further notice.

“Many of the people that come to [game events] are in the age range that are more likely to be [affected],” she said.

March 11, 12:02 p.m.

Information Technology officials have issued a warning to students urging them to be aware of potential scams surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.

Cuc Du, information security officer, and Min Yao, vice president of information technology, sent an email Wednesday morning following Long Beach State’s announcement of temporary campus closure. 

“As the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) situation continues to develop, cyber criminals will take advantage of this outbreak to trick you with their phishing email campaigns, scams, and fraudulent activities delivered to your social media channels, email, texts, phone calls, and other means,” they said.

Students are encouraged to email [email protected] if they have concerns about emails they receive. 

March 11, 10:37 a.m.

The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 a world-wide pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the WHO, held a press conference Wednesday morning making the declaration.

“There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

California currently has 152 confirmed cases of the virus with four in Long Beach.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO has stated that pandemics can be contained as long as countries continue their preventative measures.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said. “If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”

Long Beach health officials have recommended people to follow common flu and cold prevention methods.

March 11, 9:45 a.m.

Long Beach State officials have announced that face-to-face instruction will be canceled from March 12 through March 17 and “alternative instruction” will begin March 18 and will conclude April 20.

Link to full article

March 10, 7:00 p.m.

Housing and Residential Life officials confirmed on Tuesday that housing will remain open even if Long Beach State turns to alternative methods of learning due to the spread of COVID-19.

Link to full article

March 10, 6:22 p.m.

The 50th Annual CSU Puvungna Pow Wow has been postponed to November due to concerns over the novel-coronavirus.

Link to full article

March 10, 5:10 p.m.

California State University officials announced that they are implementing new policies for events and travel as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Steve Relyea, executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the chancellor’s office, said in a press release today that all non-essential travel of students and faculty is strictly prohibited.  

“Therefore, effective immediately campuses and their auxiliary organizations will suspend all

international and non-essential domestic travel from now through May 31, 2020,” Relyea said. “Future travel, including summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.”

Students who are currently studying abroad were being brought back to California per Center for Disease Control regulation, however, as cases of the virus increase, students who are abroad in affected countries are being advised to not return home.

“Therefore, effective immediately, depending on the specific countries and circumstances,

campuses should help students remain abroad if, based on current information, it is deemed to

be a safer course of action. For students abroad in CDC Level 3 (or above) countries, campuses should formally give them the option to remain or to return with as much assistance as possible,” Relyea said.

Future study abroad programs are to be reviewed and considered based upon the host country.

In a separate release, Relyea outlined new regulations for on-campus events and meetings.

Near-term events, or those occurring within the next weeks, are being encouraged to be sustained if no present cases of the virus are affecting the community. 

Other events that are scheduled more long-term are cautioned to proceed with discretion depending on CDC guidelines in the coming weeks.

“Each planned event or meeting should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it should continue as scheduled, be rescheduled, or be canceled at this time – with an effort to keep events and meetings on the books for as long as possible to minimize disruption to students, staff, faculty and other participants,” Relyea said. 

Six guidelines were applied to events to help members of the system determine whether or not they should proceed with its schedule.

  • Can the goals and outcomes of an event be accomplished effectively through alternative modalities of communication that do not require in-person engagement? I
  • Will intended audience members be traveling via air to attend the event, in particular on flights that will be of longer duration? 
  • Will intended audience members or meeting participants be members of target populations considered to be at increased risk or susceptibility to COVID-19 infection
  • What is the current guidance from your local health department?
  • What is the size of the event?

These notices come as the Big West Conference announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be audience free.

March 10, 4:30 p.m.

Big West officials announced the 2020 conference basketball tournament will be played without spectators in attendance as a precautionary measure over the spread of the coronavirus. 

Link to full article

March 10, 12:07 p.m.

With the growing COVID-19 spread, Associated Students Inc. and its various organizations have started making plans in case  Long Beach State opts to close the campus.

James Ahumada, communications manager for ASI, said plans for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, student government, the University Student Union, the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center and the recycling center will follow what the campus decides. 

“If the campus calls for a closure we would close those facilities as well,” Ahumada said.

He said ASI has already decided to err on the side of caution and increased staff from the contracted cleaning company has been requested. 

The SRWC has started to modify the events that it puts on to allow for less one-on-one contact.

For student government, the weekly ASI meetings will continue to happen on campus, but senators will not be penalized for attending the meeting remotely for their safety. 

If the campus closes, meetings will be streamed through the video conference app Zoom. Ahumada said the app has been utilized in the past, so the senators are comfortable conducting meetings there.

“Thankfully Zoom has [recording] capabilities so the meetings can still happen,” he said.

Parents whose children use the IPCDC have already been sent a notice of the extra precautions that are underway. As of now the USU and every other ASI facility is open and running as normal.

“If the campus does need to pause classes that would be more of a full closure than less people in the building,” Ahumada said.

March 9, 9:05 p.m.

Long Beach city officials held a press conference to address questions about the three individuals who have been diagnosed with novel-coronavirus in the city.

Anissa Davis, Long Beach City Health Officer, said that two of the individuals returned from a cruise that went along the Nile River in Egypt. They are currently self-quarantining in their home.

The other, who is being cared for at MemorialCare Hospital, was recently in a community in Northern California that has a high rate of contraction of the virus. 

“Now that we have three presumptive positive cases, we’re conducting extensive contact tracing to determine who else may have come in contact with these individuals, as well as identifying the potential sources of the infection in these cases,” Davis said.

As of now, the cases are still considered presumptive. Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the test results, they will be considered actual positives.

Davis said the health department is not encouraging public spaces to close or discontinue service.

“At this time, health officials are not recommending the closures of schools or other public facilities,” she said.

Despite this recommendation, several universities, including Long Beach State, are now considering discontinuing face-to-face lectures in the wake of an increase in positive cases in L.A. county. 

Davis said it takes anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to determine whether or not someone has the virus. At this time Long Beach Public Health Lab does not have any test kits available, but is expecting a delivery by the end of the week.

“It’s a process,” Davis said. “They have to be evaluated first and determined if they’re appropriate for testing.”

According to Mayor Rober Garcia, sanitation standards at the airport have been increased, ships from China are not being disembarked and the city is continuing communication with the local schools. 

“All of these steps are aggressive, but they’re appropriate given the situation,” Garcia said. 

Matthew Gruneisen, deputy fire chief, said that multiple city organizations are working collaboratively to prevent a further spread of the virus.

“We are also working collaboratively with health officials to implement enhanced health information and enhance health and safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Gruneisen said. 

Davis said she’s encouraging the public to continue to follow CDC guidelines for virus prevention. 

“We’re encouraging all to prepare, not panic,” Davis said. “All communities can take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

March 9, 8:20 p.m.

Long Beach State Athletics is working on a team travel policy in response to the coronavirus and is willing to forfeit away-games held in states where the virus is more prevalent.

Officials will weigh the importance of the game versus the potential risks CSULB teams may face.

“I wouldn’t approve travel to the state of Washington now,” President Jane Close Conoley said. “Or maybe to Santa Clara County now that there’s been a death.”

For the upcoming women’s basketball Big West Tournament, which is held at the Walter Pyramid, fans will be seated in every-other seat to help minimize person-to-person contact.

According to Conoley, the CSULB janitorial team sanitized the locker rooms and seating in the Pyramid.

She added that discussions are being held for the future of home games pertaining to fans.

“The decision to go fan-less is out there,” she said. “But if we do that it’ll be pretty last minute.”

All events held at games have been canceled. Events include booster clubs and alumni gatherings.

“Many of the people that come to [game events] are in the age range that are more likely to be [affected],” Conoley said.

Commencement may also be moved from face-to-face as talks of virtual ceremonies are being had between coordinators and officials.

“We started planning today if we’ll have a virtual commencement,” Conoley said.

Conoley added that since the commencement is still over two months away, the hope is the spread of the virus will be contained by then.

March 9, 6:47 p.m.

Long Beach State officials have said they are preparing to pause face-to-face classes as early as next week in response to the growing number of cases of coronavirus locally.

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March 9, 4:28 p.m.

President Jane Close Conoley has released a statement in response to concerns brought forward by students regarding campus closure.

“As part of our work, the university has developed an Academic Continuity plan in order to offer classes through alternate methods,” Conoley said. “Should the plan be implemented, it would alleviate the need for most students to come to campus. If you are a faculty member, you should finalize plans for how you will offer non-face-to-face instruction.”

Despite 10 students having attended a conference in Washington, D.C. where others in attendance have tested positive for coronavirus, Conoley maintains there are still not any current cases of the virus affecting the campus.

One student who attended the conference lives in the on-campus dormitories, and is being self-quarantined according to an email sent March 7.

Anthea Johnson, who created a petition calling for the university to make special exceptions for students who have immunosuppression, said CSULB is being tight-lipped about which dorm the student is in.

“As we informed the campus over the weekend, however, ten of our students recently attended a conference in Washington, D.C. at which three non-CSULB participants later tested positive for COVID-19.,” Conoley said. “While the risk of infection to our students was very low, they are currently in self-quarantine as their health status is monitored. We are also monitoring and supporting students returning to the United States from study abroad.”

Conley said that the university is continuing to work closely with local health officials to develop their policies.

“In addition, this week you should expect some new policies to come from the System Office that will affect, at least, instruction delivery, travel, and campus events,” Conoley said. “The state situation is evolving quickly, we are now meeting every day to be sure we’re aware of new developments.”

March 9, 3:11 p.m.

Students have been taking to social media to express their concerns for their personal safety and health after Long Beach State officials reported that 10 students were self-quarantining following contact with someone potentially infected with the novel-coronavirus.

Johnson, second-year journalism student, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects her connective tissue and immune system.  

“With CSULB being one of the top commuter schools in L.A. combined with the two week incubation period of COVID-19 in which it can be passed on, the chances of a student or faculty member contracting and spreading the illness on campus gets higher with each passing week,” Johnson wrote. “Now this already poses a problem, but the university seems to also be overlooking the portion of students and faculty who are immune-suppressed, or have household members who are immune-suppressed.”

“These students are posing a risk to themselves and others when they go to campus during this time, with the increasing likelihood of infection.”

The petition was started on March 8, and already has over 3,000 signatures and counting.

“We are asking CSULB and CSULB’s President Jane Close Conoley to temporarily amend the attendance policy so students and faculty are able to stay home if necessary without suffering consequences or requiring a doctor’s note,” Johnson wrote. “The university has already stated that plans are in place to move classes online and professors are already encouraging their students to stay home if they are ill and to email them for coursework.”

“Students and faculty who identify as immune-suppressed or have a household member who is, should be allowed to file for either temporary leave or excused absences for a period of time until the spread calms down,” she said. 

Reasons for signing the petition ranged from concerns of safety for their family members to being concerned about waiting too long before an outbreak actually happens on the campus.

Although there are currently no positively identified cases of the virus on the campus itself, surrounding communities such as L.A. county are continually being affected.

Johnson criticized the university for its lack of preparation.

“The school putting up hand sanitizer dispensers really isn’t enough,” Johnson said. “I feel that the university could be doing a lot more.”According to the Center for Disease Control symptoms of COVID-19 can include regular flu symptoms like fever, coughing or shortness of breath.

This report has been contributed to by Austin Brumblay, Madalyn Amato, Rachel Barnes, Mark Lindahl, Paris Barraza, Christy Hung and Rebecca Radtke

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