FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Most classes at the 23 California State Universities will be virtual in the Fall, CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced during a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday.
“This virtual planning approach the next academic year is necessary because of the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19 current and as forecast in the 2020-21 academic year,” White said.
The decision comes after health experts warn of a potential second wave of the virus in the Fall.
“Our universities, when open without restrictions and fully in person, as is the traditional norm of the past, is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity of each other on a daily basis, that approach sadly just isn’t in the cards now,” White said.
He said he would rather make the decision now and be prepared than in August and have to scramble.
Fresno State sent out a campus-wide email on White’s decision. There are some exceptions when it comes to courses that require laboratory and clinical experiences.
Exceptions could be made for some nursing, agriculture and architecture courses. However, these in-person classes would have to have strict guidelines in place, such as facial coverings, increased cleaning and physical distancing.
In part, the email reads: “As a simple yet illustrative example of the challenges being considered, we offer this example: Under public-health requirements of six feet distance, a classroom that usually accommodates 30 students would be restricted to approximately five students and one instructor.”
White said the need for personal protective equipment on campus will be “prevalent.”
“Anything done on a campus this Fall won’t be as it was in the past, it will be different,” he said.
Lisette Ríos is a rising senior at Fresno State. She said she was disappointed to learn of the news but understands why the decision was made.
“I know things aren’t going to go the way we want it to, but I’m not gonna let the pandemic ruin it, I think there are just different ways we can celebrate or just enjoy my senior year. I’m not gonna let it get to me, but it does bum me out,” she said.
Ríos added that although her senior year won’t turn out the way she envisioned it, she’s still counting her blessings.
I should be happy that I’m healthy and that I don’t have COVID and that we at least get to do school online,” she said.