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Cal State Long Beach in lockdown after five students test positive for the coronavirus

A student rides his bike past Cal State Long Beach's  Walter Pyramid
A student passes the Walter Pyramid on campus at Cal State Long Beach in March.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Just 33 days after fall classes began at Cal State Long Beach, the campus has been locked down because five students tested positive for the coronavirus, university President Jane Close Conoley announced Saturday.

All students living on campus have been quarantined, Conoley said in an “Update on COVID-19 Cases” posted on the university website, and all in-person classes have been canceled for two weeks.

“Late yesterday, we became aware of a number of students who have not heeded our guidance related to COVID-19 precautions and congregated socially off campus earlier this month,” Conoley wrote. “Five of these students have now tested positive for the illness. Four students live on campus in the residence halls, and one lives off campus.”

The Cal State Long Beach lockdown comes one day after California crested 800,000 confirmed cases, according to The Times’ virus tracker, and three weeks after San Diego State University confined all students living on campus to their dorm rooms for the Labor Day weekend in response to a rise in cases.

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In June, Conoley announced a set of precautions that the university would take as it eased back to life on campus, which has been disrupted by the pandemic like at universities nationwide. Only 3% to 4% of fall semester classes would be held on campus; the rest would be held remotely. Only 21 of the 84 buildings on the 322-acre campus would be open.

Ultimately, the safety of CSULB’s students, faculty and staff depends on the behavior of everyone who comes on campus. The school’s careful reopening plan was not immune to the risky actions of a few.

“As you know, we took a conservative approach to the fall semester by vastly reducing the number of students in our residence halls and the number of classes offered on campus,” Conoley wrote Saturday. “Unfortunately, even with our proactive efforts we need to adapt and respond to this new challenge.”

That response will include testing for the virus, contact tracing and cleaning and disinfecting facilities “as needed.”

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In addition, Conoley wrote, “we will be investigating related student conduct issues and addressing them appropriately.”


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