Messages to the Community

A Message from SFAI’s President: Updates on COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Dear SFAI Community,

We are continuing to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and have increased concerns about its implications for the health of our community members and their family and friends.  As we have communicated over the last several days, SFAI has been closely tracking the evolving developments and following the guidance of public health officials in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

It is imperative that if you or someone you live with is diagnosed with COVID-19 you alert SFAI at immediately.

Up to date and accurate knowledge of how the virus is moving will inform SFAI's further decision making. We appreciate your compliance.

Varying viewpoints on how best to proceed in a time of uncertainty have been expressed to us, and we have taken them all into careful consideration. Peer institutions have used different approaches to address their individual situations. It is clear that everyone in our community is focused on the health and well-being of one another, and against the backdrop of a pandemic this kind of community effort is absolutely necessary. We have been working to balance delivering our education with the advice of the CDC and federal, state, and city officials during this evolving situation.

In consultation with my leadership team and in consideration of feedback from faculty, staff, students and students’ families, we will adjust our academic schedule in the coming weeks to help prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus. We deliberated carefully over these decisions, and I have determined that the following is the most responsible path forward. 

The revised academic schedule is as follows

Friday, March 13–Friday, March 20–Spring Break
Spring break will begin tomorrow morning, Friday, 13th—one day earlier than we had planned. All classes will be suspended. Our IT team and others will make preparations for remote/online learning. You will receive updates accordingly and ask that you regularly check your SFAI email account. Again, if you have concerns about your individual situation, please be in touch with your department head/manager.

Monday, March 23–Friday, March 27–Study Week
Classes will be suspended this week; we will work with faculty and students to transition to online learning. Students should continue their reading, writing, and any other work that can be completed independently and remotely.  We acknowledge that some areas of study at SFAI, particularly studio-based courses, are not as well suited to remote learning. Individual faculty will determine the best path forward for those classes.

In terms of undergraduate student advising, advising will occur as planned, remotely. Students should expect to hear from Ashely Clarke, Director of Academic Advising, who will communicate further instructions. 

Summer and Fall 2020 course schedules are live on WebAdvisor.

Monday, March 30—Online classes begin
We are developing the infrastructure to ensure that everyone can access online learning technology. If you do not have the hardware or WIFI access to support the online learning platform remotely, please use this Google form to communicate your needs. 

We are working to designate space at SFAI to accommodate you during this week. We will update our plans in advance of March 30 with more details.

During the week preceding March 30 decisions about how long we will continue remote learning will be made and shared. If it’s determined that students and faculty can return to in-person classroom instruction before the end of the semester, we will give everyone a reasonable amount of time to travel back to campus. 

Other notices, effective March 13:

  • Chestnut Street Campus: will be closed to students and the public during this period.

  • Fort Mason Center Campus: access to individual studios at Fort Mason will continue. All common studio work spaces at Fort Mason and Chestnut Street will remain closed.

  • Administrative offices: many administrative offices will be closed throughout these changes. Staff will be available via SFAI email during the campus closure. Each department head will work with their staff regarding alternative work options.

  • Residence Hall: our residence hall will remain open during this period to support our students who live here.

  • Cafe: the cafe will be closed during this period.

The decision to suspend classes following spring break was not made lightly. As cases of COVID-19 began to reach the U.S. and California, we examined all options, determining how to enable all of us to continue our work within parameters set by the CDC, and various federal and local agencies. Many SFAI staff have been working diligently for the last several weeks to prepare for this possibility.

It’s important to note that there continues to be no reported cases of COVID-19 among the SFAI community. While we are reassured by this, we understand that this fact, alone, does not alleviate concern. I recommend abiding by the CDC’s recommendations for healthy habits that can prevent the spread of the virus and other illnesses. Please remember to be in touch with your primary care physician or visit an urgent care center for medical care if you become ill.

It’s important that we take care of ourselves and each other at this time, and always. As new information is available, we will be in contact.


With gratitude,

Gordon Knox

A Message from SFAI’s President: Updates on COVID-19

March 9, 2020

Dear SFAI Community,

There’s been a high volume of information circulating around the global spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last few weeks. We understand this is a stressful time with mid-term projects/exams due, transition in the air, and the city on high public health advisory alert. 

Please know that my thoughts are with those who have been affected by this epidemic and that SFAI’s leadership team is working around the clock to provide you with the information and resources needed to keep you healthy and current on institutional policies and responses.


With this in mind, please note the following updates: 




SFAI is using to the California Department of Public Health’s policies to help guide its COVID-19 response plan. As there have been two community transmitted cases of the virus in San Francisco and no member of our community has tested positive, we are implementing the following guidelines: 

Students, faculty and staff with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms should not be at school. Students, faculty and staff should self-screen (check themselves for subjective fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as cough) for respiratory infection symptoms each morning before coming to campus.

Students, faculty and staff are to stay home if they have symptoms of respiratory infection. 


STUDENTS’ STUDIO ACCESS DURING SPRING BREAK: provided that students are feeling well, students may access studios during Spring Break. 


SPRING BREAK TRAVEL REGISTRATION: If you have not done so already, be sure to register your Spring Break Travel plans here. We need full compliance from all SFAI constituents for this initiative to be successful. 


If there are any changes to these policies, I will reach out to you directly and immediately. 

Be well,


A Message from SFAI’s President: Updates on Covid-19

March 6, 2020

Dear SFAI Community,

SFAI continues to closely monitor local, state and federal public health service announcements as the minute to minute news of the COVID-19 outbreak develops. Currently, there are two confirmed cases in San Francisco. SFAI is committed to keeping you abreast of the latest developments.

As a proactive measure we are looking to our neighboring counties for an indication of what may be coming next. Santa Clara County has reported 20 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and has issued an advisory to the public to cancel large gatherings and events. San Mateo County has one possible case and has issued the following message on March 5, 2020: “All non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed, or done remotely.” 

We anticipate that San Francisco County officials will follow suit with similar recommendations in the near future as testing capabilities are more readily available and as our public health officers learn more about how this disease thrives and is communicated.


Following are updates:

  1. Creativity Explored Opening Reception: the opening reception for the exhibition, OF HERE FROM THERE | DE AQUÍ DESDE ALLÁ, is no longer open to the public. Our community partner, Creativity Explored, will hold a private reception open to those who have registered their attendance via Eventbrite. 

    In order to share the performances and experience of the activated installation during the opening reception, the event will be live streamed via Creativity Explored’s Instagram account as well as lead artist, Ana Teresa Fernández’s Instagram account. We invite you to join us virtually for the opening! And to stop by the exhibition during regular business hours—the exhibition runs through April 26, 2020. 

    Creativity Explored has been an incredible partner to work with and we’re in the process of solidifying some related programming to come. We look forward to sharing those details with you all shortly.
  2. SFAI Classes: for now, we are not canceling any SFAI classes. SFAI has no confirmed cases of Covid-19 and there’s no reported contact between members of our community with any affected individuals. I’m working with my leadership team to prepare options for teaching online and working remotely. Updates will be shared with the community as they are available. 


This is a very fluid situation with critical information being released by public officials by the hour. Please continue to check your email for up to the moment news from SFAI.



Gordon Knox


A Message from SFAI's President: Update on COVID-19/Actionable Steps

February 28, 2020

Dear SFAI Community,

We are closely monitoring local, state and federal public health service announcements as the COVID-19 outbreak expands in California and throughout the United States. You can expect to receive regular updates from SFAI.

For now, CDC and the California Department of Public Health are recommending that businesses take the following precautions:


Employees, contractors or students who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). 

Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.

Contact your health care provider and then alert SFAI at



CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

Contact your health care provider and then alert SFAI at



Wash your hands frequently.

Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.

Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow.



Facilities staff have instructed janitorial crews to increase nightly sanitization of surfaces in public areas. 

Facilities will begin distributing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for office and reception areas. Staff should wipe keyboards, copiers, work surfaces and other frequently touched areas on a daily basis.

SFAI also requests that if any staff member learns of a sick student or employee, alert SFAI at

Please continue to source the latest information from local, state, and federal health officials. SFAI will share any updates as soon as they are available.