Academy of Art University's Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated May 19, 2021

It is our great pleasure to announce that Academy of Art University will be reopening our onsite campus this coming Fall semester.

To our current students, check out which selected classes will be available on campus for Fall when the semester opens on September 2, 2021. For prospective students, please contact your admissions representative.

Enrollment is open now. Reserve your spot today.

Updated April 28, 2021

Academy of Art University remains committed to ensuring the health and safety our staff and students by continuing to require masks when entering any university building and social distancing.

The Academy staff are also mandated to report should they start feeling symptoms of COVID-19, and will not be allowed on the premises until cleared by HR.

Review our COVID-19 workplace safety policies here.

Updated April 15, 2021

Effective April 15, anyone 16 years and older is eligible to receive a vaccine in California.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 vaccinations currently available in the United States have been shown to be effective at prevention from, or becoming severely ill with, COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also help protect people around you.  For additional information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, please visit the CDC’s FAQ web page available here.

Those looking to book a vaccine appointment may find the following sites of use:

  • My Turn CA  -California COVID-19 vaccine scheduling and notifications site.
  • VaccinateCA -This site is run by a group of volunteers who call hospitals and pharmacies for vaccine availability and post what they learn online.
  • California COVID-19 Vaccine Spotter  -This tool tracks down appointment openings at California pharmacies.
  • VaccineFinder  -This site works with partners such as clinics, pharmacies and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services. It’s operated by Boston Children’s Hospital and is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Digital Service.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email:

Updated March 10, 2021

The city of San Francisco has now expanded vaccination appointments to include educators. Free MUNI and Paratransit services offered for those going to vaccine appointments.

SF Mayor London Breed announced that as of February 24, COVID-19 vaccination is now available for those who work in the education sector. This means that the Academy’s admin and staff are now all eligible to sign-up for an appointment to get vaccinated.

The city has now expanded into Phase 1B, Tier 1.

Free Muni and Paratransit to COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

Muni and Paratransit services are free for those traveling to get vaccinated for COVID-19. This includes trips in both directions. These rides are good for trips to the city-sponsored high-volume vaccine sites, hospitals, or anywhere that is offering vaccines.

How to Ride Free on Muni

Catch the bus and head to where you need to go. Have your vaccine appointment confirmation or instructions ready in case SFMTA staff asks to see your proof of payment.

How to Ride Free on Paratransit

  • Paratransit van riders must call to make a trip reservation and indicate that they are gong to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Staff will make a note in their records to alert the driver that the rider does not need to pay a fare for their trip.
  • Paratransit taxi riders will have $60 loaded onto their taxi debit card, which will be valid for up to six months, to get to and from their vaccine appointment.

For more information, call the Paratransit office at 415-351-7000 (M-F, 9am-4pm).

Updated March 1, 2021

A Message to Students About Spring 2021 From President Stephens

Updated January 8, 2021

Academy of Art University reiterates its commitment to the safety and health of its students, faculty, and employees during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. In line with this, the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan is now available to all via the link below. 

This Prevention Plan contains the University’s program for communicating policies, procedures, and practices to prevent COVID-19 exposures, and to limit COVID-19 potential hazards in the University campus and workplace. 

San Francisco Testing Locations are also indicated for your reference.

Updated December 4th, 2020

A Message to Students About Spring 2021 From President Stephens

Updated Fall 2020

Academy of Art University would like to remind members of our community that COVID-19 testing locations are available in San Francisco. 

If you are showing any symptoms, or in the past 14 days may have been exposed to or in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you can book an appointment at the Embarcadero and SOMA sites to get tested. Results should be available in less than a week.

In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, if your test is positive, please immediately inform Chris Visslailli (VP of Human Resources and Chair, COVID-19 Task Force) at or call him at 415-618-6525.

More details are available below.

Updated September 28, 2020

Updated List of Resources

Academy of Art University continues to provide necessary support and helpful resources during this difficult time. Below is an updated list of resources that are available to students and the entire Academy of Art community.

Updated September 14, 2020

Mental Health Resource for Academy of Art University Students

Academy of Art University has recently launched ULifeline, a new mental health resource for Academy students. The Academy’s customized ULifeline webpage serves as a confidential online resource center that provides information on emotional health and wellness. ULifeline is originally a project of the JED Foundation, a leading organization working to protect the health of college students. The Jed Foundation’s COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide is also available for additional reference.

Updated September 8, 2020

COVID-19 Update from Academy of Art University:

In preparation for the Fall 2020 semester, the Academy’s COVID-19 Task Force has been hard at work ensuring safety for anyone visiting our campus through the following measures:

  • Friendly safety reminders are posted throughout Academy buildings.
  • Sanitation stations are provided in buildings.
  • Social distance stickers are clearly marked in elevators, lobbies, and on floors.
  • Plexiglass shields are at host desks and in restrooms.
  • Buses are cleaned often and thoroughly.
Sanitation stations
Sanitation stations are provided in buildings
Plexiglass shields in restrooms
Plexiglass shields in restrooms
Friendly safety reminders are posted throughout Academy buildings
Friendly safety reminders are posted throughout Academy buildings
Social distance stickers are clearly marked in elevators, lobbies, and on floors
Social distance stickers are clearly marked in elevators, lobbies, and on floors

Also, to stop the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is important. Masks are required to be worn at all times when in Academy buildings, but can be removed when the wearer is: eating, seated alone at their personal workstation or at least six feet away from another individual. Please note that a face mask must cover both the nose and mouth. Academy of Art University will also provide receptacles for used/soiled face coverings.

We recommend cloth/fabric masks or a 3-ply disposable medical grade mask. Bandannas and neck gaiters are not recommended as studies show these are not as effective.

The face mask types and wearing protocols outlined above are designed in accordance with CDC guidelines and the city of San Francisco. We ask that you follow them so that we can all remain safe and healthy.

If wearing a face mask will adversely affect your health, please contact VP of Human Resources and COVID-19 Task Force Chair Chris Visslailli at 415-618-6525 or

Updated August 31, 2020

A Message to Students About Fall 2020 From President Stephens

Important Fall 2020 Facilities Use Announcement

Academy of Art University will continue to offer its remote and virtual classes for the Fall 2020 semester. However, we will be opening select labs, shops, and studios for course homework during the Fall 2020 Semester.

In order to promote a safe and healthy learning environment, we are limiting onsite traffic in areas where technology can be served in a virtual setting. This change will have an impact on Academic Facility designations within most majors as Course Fee entitlements for onsite computer labs are being waived or replaced with Virtual Lab Access.

In addition, we will be utilizing our WebCheckout Reservation System to make reservations remotely and in advance to coming on campus. The implementation of WebCheckout is necessary to identify contact and adds another level of support with physical distancing measures. How these modifications may impact you directly should have been emailed to you. Read the entire Academic Shops, Labs and Studios COVID 19 Policies for Fall 2020 PDF.

*Please note: For safety reasons, school facilities will be closed at 5:00pm.

Reservation System

Attention Students: Reserve Your Spot for On-Campus Facilities

While Fall 2020 courses will be taught online or virtually, our art and design facilities will remain open to students through a reservation system. Reserve your spot and gain safe access to equipment checkout, shops, labs, and other on-campus resources that are important to your work.

Reserve Now

Additional Reservation Information

All students will be required to make reservations in advance for a studio, lab, and shop access.

  • 48 Hour Advance notice for Labs Shop and Open Studios
  • 24 Hour Advance notice for Dedicated Studios
BuildingSupported MajorsFaculty Type
1849 Washington*Industrial Design
Jewelry & Metal Arts
Shop, Studios, and Onsite PC Labs
410 BushJewelry & Metal ArtsShop, Studios
60 FederalFine ArtStudios
625 PolkFashionStudios
625 SutterPhotographyStudios Onsite PC Labs
466 Townsend**Motion Pictures & TelevisionShop, Studios
2801 LeavenworthFine Art Sculpture
Shop, Studios
79 New MontgomeryMotion Pictures & TelevisionUniversal Issue Room
180 New Montgomery2D Animation & Stop Motion
Shop, Studios

*Photography studio reservations at 1849 Washington will be managed through the Photography online reservation system.
**Reservations at 466 Townsend will not be managed through the online student reservation system.

Additional Resources:

Technical Support Contacts

Updated June 26, 2020

A Message to Students About Fall 2020 From President Stephens

Academy of Art University Fall 2020 Update

Academy of Art University will continue to offer its remote and virtual classes for the Fall 2020 semester. However, we will be opening our labs and workshops for studio course homework along with our residence halls and dorms.

The Academy is following guidance from local and state public health officials and incorporating strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is a significant step in getting back to a sense of normalcy. Social Distancing is a key feature to protecting your health and after much deliberation we decided that it would be best to limit onsite traffic in areas where technology can serve us best. Therefore, we will be taking precautions to protect our campus community by utilizing virtual classes for lecture, demo, and critique (which we feel is an unnecessary group risk to perform in person), and allow students to reserve facility time for onsite labs, studios, and workshops. Academy of Art University residential students should try to remain in on campus housing throughout the term. This best practice will help minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading Coronavirus on our campus.

Please note online classes will continue to run as normal.

Every student choosing to attend this fall is fully expected to commit to health and safety guidelines, out of respect for our community. The success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees, and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick, and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage, and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.   

Lastly, detailed plans for intercollegiate athletics are being developed in accordance with NCAA. Further information, including report dates for fall preseason, will be sent directly to student-athletes by the Department of Athletics.

We all have a responsibility to protect each other. Our goal is to ensure Academy of Art University continues to be a place where arts and designers thrive. 

We are grateful to the Academy of Art University community for your patience, commitment, and trust as we navigate these uncharted waters. Academy of Art University’s comprehensive reopening campus plan is under development and will be released soon with additional details. 

Please continue to send us your questions:


Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-412-2787

Stay safe.

Updated April 24, 2020

A Message to Parents and Guardians From President Stephens

Academy of Art University’s highest priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Due to this, the decision was made to continue all classes online and/or virtually through Zoom classes for the summer semester. Our leadership is committed to continuing all operations virtually during this time for the health and welfare of our community. Being the innovators we are, the Academy is developing an action plan that will ensure safe and successful return for the fall semester.

The Campus Safety Department will assist students and staff with removing items from their lockers, studios and offices. If you need assistance, please make an appointment with Campus Safety at 415-618-3911 and we will help you get your possessions.

Updated March 17, 2020

Dear Academy of Art University Students & Parents, Instructors & Staff,

Thank you for joining Academy of Art University and the larger San Francisco community in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The world is joining together and you are a part of that effort during these unprecedented times.

Based on our assessment of current CDC recommendations, we are writing to let you know that our onsite classes will remain online through Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 8AM which is the end of the semester.

Academic buildings will remain offline until that time. Staff will continue to telecommute during this period.

Building Closures
Effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 all AAU Administrative buildings will be closed with the exception of:

  • 180 New Montgomery
  • 79 New Montgomery
  • 150 Hayes

This is in response to Mayor London Breed’s request for all citizens in San Francisco to “Shelter In Place.”

AAU Residential and Dining Halls will remain open for students.

Your onsite classes will continue to meet online until Saturday, May 23rd.  Zoom log in instructions can be found here.

Students in certain departments will be allowed to check out equipment which is necessary to their education; students should contact their instructor or Department Director with equipment requests. We will follow up with department-specific instructions for your classes where this applies.

Campus housing and dining halls will remain open through Saturday, May 23rd. You can call the following number with questions about the Residential Halls: 415-618-6335. You can also email

Bus Service
Limited bus service will be provided through Saturday, May 23rd. Schedules will be posted in the dorm lobbies as usual.

During this time, it is your responsibility to attend your classes online (as instructed). Make sure your email and phone number are up to date in your LMS profile so that we have a way to reach you. Please check the LMS and your Academy of Art email for Announcements. We recommend that you subscribe to the Academy of Art text notification system. To enroll, text EZARTU to 313131.

All Academy employees whose functions can be performed remotely will telecommute through the end of the semester. Your direct supervisor will relay any updates. You can address your questions to them.

We are happy to announce that our Fashion Show, Spring Show, NextUP and Animation Festivals will occur in a digital medium in lieu of an onsite format.

The PacWest Conference has cancelled all athletics events and activities for the remainder of the semester.

Please follow guidelines about handwashing and social distancing to keep yourself and others safe and well. In the event that you are not feeling well, please take time off from your studies. Your absence will be excused (no doctor’s note necessary).

If you have any questions, you can contact us on our Hotline: 877-412-2787 or email us at

The following public health resources may be useful to you and answer many frequently asked questions:

CDC website

San Francisco Department of Public Health

We will continue to communicate with you as we learn more. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Sue Rowley, Chief Academic Officer

Updated March 10, 2020

Health updates and campus response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Academy of Art University is actively monitoring the local and global health situation around COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As a precaution, effective Wednesday, March 11th, the Academy is temporarily moving all our onsite classes online as a preventative measure in response to our monitoring of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. This applies for a 2-week period ending after Spring Break (Monday, March 30th). Our university community is joining the larger San Francisco community in doing what we can to contribute to sensible public health precautions. We are following mandates from San Francisco Mayor London Breed and California Governor Gavin Newsom. Please know that the university is committed to making your educational experience this semester as seamless as possible.

We are shifting all academic and administrative operations online as of Wednesday, March 11th. Beginning on Wednesday, March 11th, please do not come to campus for classes. You will find step by step instructions on how to log into your onsite classes, which will be live by 6PM today, Monday March 9th. Courses will follow emergency protocols and will continue virtually.

Campus housing and dining halls will remain open as usual. You can call the following number with questions about the Residential Halls: 415-618-6335. You can also email

Bus Service
Limited bus service will be provided. Schedules will be posted in the dorm lobbies as usual.

Campus events are being suspended until after Spring Break.

We are continuing our NCAA Division II athletic events, which will be live-streamed. As a precaution, fans will not be allowed to attend the games in person during this period.

We want you to feel confident in your classrooms and residence halls. As a result, we have enhanced some of our cleaning procedures in the interest of our students’ and staff’s health and safety.

Here are some of the steps that Academy of Art University has taken in the meantime:

  • Cleaning of academic buildings and residence halls: We spend between 8-16 hours cleaning each building every night, and, as of last Monday, March 2, 2020, we have intensified our cleaning procedures.
  • In addition to the standard degreasers and glass cleaners we typically use, we will now be using Clorox disinfectant throughout each building, focusing on common areas and high-traffic frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, and elevator push buttons and hand rails.
  • Our daily services include the emptying, cleaning, and disinfecting of wastepaper receptacles, sanitary napkin containers, mirrors, dispensers, toilets and and wash basins.
  • This high-level of sanitation is also in effect on all shuttle buses, cafes, and gymnasiums which are cleaned nightly.
  • During the upcoming Spring Break period, we will conduct a deep-clean in all buildings. This will also occur in the event that the campus is closed and classes are moved to an online-only status.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend the following to prevent further infection: regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Dedicated Email and Phone Number for Questions on Coronavirus:

Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-412-2787
Phone Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days per week

State and Local Info

Text COVID19SF to the shortcode 888-777 to get the latest updates about San Francisco health concerns.

The following public health resources may be useful to you and answer many frequently asked questions:

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