Amend CSULB Attendance Policy for High-risk Students and Faculty due to COVID-19 Outbreak

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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread around the world at a rapid rate, infecting over 100,000 people worldwide and killing 3,558 as of March 7th, according to Johns Hopkins CCSE live updates. Of the 82 cases currently reported in California, 13 are currently active in LA and 1 in Orange County. 

We are aware that CSULB has contingency plans ready to be deployed if/when a case is present either on campus or in the city of Long Beach. However, with the recent scare of 3 cases at UCLA (later confirmed negative), USC closing campus for 3 days to implement online-only courses next week, and the lack of proper testing kits, it is very likely that there could be undetected cases closer to the Beach than we think.

With CSULB being one of the top commuter schools in LA combined with the 2 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. 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. 

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. 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. With how rapidly and easily COVID-19 is spreading, it is time for the university to take action now, rather than wait for the virus to come to them first.

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