Safety and Emergency Information

Appointment of COVID-19 Safer Return Task Force

Date: 8/4/2020
From: Office of the President
Subject: Appointment of COVID-19 Safer Return Task Force

Dear Colleagues:

We continue to work closely with state and county public health officials and the CSU Chancellor’s Office to assure that our campus responds to the evolving safety measures set forth for higher education. Earlier this Spring, I shared the creation of several working groups focused on the needs of students, faculty, and staff to inform our planning for a return to campus in coordination with our Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Given the recent surge in infections in our state and in other parts of the country, we have learned that the arc of this pandemic requires agile planning and accountability that exceeds immediate emergency response and recovery. Rather, assuring compliance with a range of safety protocols and coordination across the institution requires a longer-term, project management approach.   

Accordingly, I am writing to announce the creation of a COVID-19 Safer Return Task Force that is responsible for establishing the mandated pandemic safety protocols and ensuring that all faculty, staff, and students are appropriately informed and trained on expectations for in-person campus activities. Frances Teves, Assistant Vice President for Government and External Affairs, will direct the work of the Safer Return Task Force on a one-year special assignment.

The Safer Return Task Force will:

  • Effectuate a long-term campus response to the pandemic with a focus on adhering to the protocols and mitigation efforts necessary for a return to in-person instruction as allowed by circumstances and the guidance of public health officials.
  • Establish a single entity to liaise with government and public health officials and keep the campus informed of relevant information and actions by policymakers that impact our campus operations.
  • Align our campus response to protocols for colleges and universities issued last week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

I am grateful to Ms. Teves and the members of the Task Force for taking on this critical responsibility. The members include:

Frances Teves, Assistant Vice President for Government and External Affairs (Lead)
Kim Allain, Employee and Organizational Development and Advancement
Mary Ann Boice-Ceja, Strategic Risk Enterprise Management
Michelle Elrod, Employee and Organizational Development and Advancement
Dr. Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, Student Affairs
Yasmin Iltchi, Employee/Labor Relations
Dr. Tim Moody, Student Health and Wellness Services
Rita O’Neill, Student Health and Wellness Services
Ben Quillian, Information Technology & Institutional Planning
Sharon Reiter, Administrative Affairs
Dario Robinson, University Police Department
Hope Spadora, Facilities Planning & Management

To ensure clarity, I want to reiterate that the primary purpose of the Safer Return Task Force concerns the implementation of safety protocols and related education and training for campus constituencies. While there will necessarily be overlap and coordination, authority and responsibility for continuity of our academic mission and the instructional and student support components of our pandemic response will continue to reside in the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Further information and regular updates can be found at the Safer Return website.

Thank you for your continued commitment and perseverance as we work diligently to address this extraordinary challenge.