Classes and Programs

Academic Updates

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation in San Luis Obispo County, Cal Poly is making the following changes for spring quarter:

  • All spring quarter courses will be delivered virtually. Faculty will communicate logistics of their classes to students prior to the start of the spring quarter
  • We strongly encourage students to plan on attending the spring quarter virtually from their permanent home residences. However, those who feel safer at the university, those who have no other housing options and/or those who may have limited access to technology and the internet, are welcome to remain on campus.
  • In light of the need to prepare for virtual course delivery, we will delay the start of the spring quarter until April 6. This will allow faculty and staff the full week starting March 30 to prepare for virtual offering of courses and services.
  • Spring quarter will be compressed to nine weeks.
  • We will offer workshops for faculty throughout spring break and the week of March 30 to aid in the transition to virtual instruction.
  • We do not currently foresee any scenario in which Cal Poly would close and offer no spring courses.
  • For students who need or prefer to stay on campus, it is our intent that Cal Poly will remain open during spring break and the quarter.
  • Virtual delivery will take a variety of forms, and a lot of that depends on faculty and what is best for their classes.


For Students

Will there be any in-person classes or labs at any point in the spring quarter?

No, the entirety of spring quarter will be virtual. No in-person instruction of any type will occur. 

Additionally, Virtual computer labs have been established to support students who need access to software programs that are only available in on-campus labs. For more information on available programs and how to access them virtually, visit

What will happen to students who were counting on units for study abroad? Both students who were enrolled in a program and were sent home, and students who were planning to travel for spring?

Students who had planned to study abroad and those who had to return from their study abroad early have been working with their departments and colleges to get enrolled in courses for the spring. Students with remaining course needs should contact their college advising centers.

How will senior projects work in the virtual learning environment?

Students should consult with their senior project advisor. The university is doing everything it can to ensure there are no barriers to graduation caused by the move to virtual learning. If you have any concerns, speak to an advisor as soon as possible.

How will labs be addressed in the virtual learning environment?

Departments are working on how to deliver labs in a virtual manner. How this is done will depend on the college or department. Reach out to your department head or chair for more information on specific labs.

Will class sections be enlarged now that they are being taught online, even if the originally scheduled in-person section was full?

Increasing a class’s capacity will depend on the specific class, the instructor and the department. If you have questions about a specific class session, reach out to the instructor or department.

If I want to take the spring quarter off, what do I need to do?

You can take 1 or 2 quarters off without jeopardizing their eligibility to enroll at Cal Poly. There are considerations related to housing, financial aid and sequencing of coursework, so reach out to

If you would like to discuss your options. If you do decide to take the quarter off, no formal paperwork is needed, but ensure that you drop yourself from all classes. There will be no auto-dropping classes due to non-payment this quarter.

Now that all courses are online, will there be no time conflicts for classes?

This will depend on whether your courses are taught synchronously (meetings at specific days and times), asynchronously (no scheduled meetings) or a combination of the two formats.  

Your professor will inform you of how your class will operate prior to the start of the quarter. Classes taught in a Synchronous manner with established meetings days and times may still create time conflicts. Those taught in an Asynchronous manner will not create a time conflict during the registration process.

I don’t have a computer to access online material, what should I do?

If you need technology resources, email with your needs as soon as possible.

I don’t have access to reliable internet, what should I do?

Several internet service providers are now offering free and low-cost internet service to students without a reliable connection. We strongly encourage you to contact your local internet provider for more information about these programs prior to the start of spring quarter classes on April 6. 

If you are near another California State University (CSU) Campus, the WiFi – Eduroam is accessible on all CSUs.

How will I know if my class has been canceled?

We anticipate few classes being canceled, but students should regularly check their spring schedule to verify course enrollment.

If your class is canceled, visit to go over your best options for enrolling in a different class.

I am scheduled to graduate in June, will moving to virtual instruction impact my graduation date?

The university is doing everything it can to ensure there are no barriers to graduation caused by the move to virtual learning. If you have any concerns, speak to an advisor as soon as possible.   

How can I access course reserves?

You can search online course reserves through the Kennedy Library. Your professor may request electronic course reserves, if they haven’t already done so.  

Due to the changed dates for spring term, when will financial aid be dispersed to students?

Financial Aid disburses funds the Monday before classes start and Student Accounts processes refunds (checks and direct deposits) by the Friday before classes start.  That moves the disbursement and refunds from March 23 and March 27 to March 30 and April 3.  For more information and support, please visit the Cal Poly Student Account website,

How can I check out books from the library?

There is no physical check out of library collection materials or physical interlibrary loan while we are under a shelter-in-place order. The library will re-evaluate once the state and county orders are lifted.  

For Faculty and Staff

Are there resources available for transitioning to virtual instruction?

The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology has compiled virtual instruction resources on its website, is offering live and recorded workshops and tutorials, and providing consultations to aid faculty in the transition to virtual instruction.

How will moving to virtual instruction affect my class schedule?

As you decide whether to teach your classes synchronously, asynchronously or a combination of the two, please note that if you teach synchronously, you must maintain the meeting times for which your class was originally scheduled.   

Why should I consider asynchronous teaching?

Some of your students will be attending class from across the country and world. If you have an 8 a.m. class, that may mean your student in Hawaii would have to log in at 5 a.m., or a 4:00 p.m. class could mean your student in Japan would log in at 1:00 a.m. In such cases, the best practice would be to record your lecture and post the video in your PolyLearn or Canvas site.

Can I sign up for trainings to help transition to virtual instruction?

Yes, the CTLT offers live and recorded workshops. Additionally, several faculty members are available to assist with virtual course development. Reach out to your college dean’s office to find which fellow faculty members are available to help. 

What library resources are available for course and research support? 

A full list of the library’s virtual resources for students, faculty and staff is available here

How do I request electronic versions of course reserve textbooks? 

The library can assist you in providing online materials to your students in multiple forms. 

If you'd like to request an ebook or other digital item that the library owns be placed on reserve, please submit a reserves request.  Requesting items early with help guarantee their availability for students at the beginning of the quarter. 

If you'd like to request that the library purchase an ebook or other digital resource for reserves, please submit a reserves request, and add "request to purchase" in the "special instructions" box.  Please also include number of sections and seats. 

Unfortunately, due to the county and state shelter-in-place order, the library cannot scan print items for faculty. For more information, visit the library's virtual resources guide

Will I be able to continue my research on campus? 

All Cal Poly faculty, staff and student research should be conducted via telecommuting or other online methods, whenever possible. If virtual research is not possible, the work must be discontinued or pursued via methods that are consistent with current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines. 

Any exemptions must be approved by the dean(s) of the college(s) hosting the research activity. 

Message from Vice President of Research and Economic Development 

Will I still be able to maintain and care for my research materials, keep subjects alive, and equipment maintained? 

Essential research functions such as animal care, equipment maintenance and safety of research participants or staff must be maintained at this time. This should be accomplished while also observing preferred practices of social distancing. 

Message from Vice President of Research and Economic Development 

If I am unable to perform research, how will this affect my grants and my graduate students who need to perform research?

Most federal agencies have indicated that delays will be accommodated under current policies (many agencies allow for one-year extensions for extenuating circumstances), ORED will assist faculty with navigating extensions for non-federal research sponsors. 

Where needed, we will seek alternatives to avoid considerable delays in thesis research completion, qualifying exams, graduate degree completion, senior projects and research that must be completed in a timely manner. College graduate coordinators should work with Dr. Elizabeth Lowham, interim dean of Graduate Education, and the Office of Research and Economic Development to develop a Plan B. 

Message from Vice President of Research and Economic Development 

 Can I travel on Cal Poly business?

Are there any restrictions on personal travel? 

Campus Resources


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