The California State University system is planning to cancel most in-person classes in the fall, a decision that will affect 53,000 faculty and staff and 482,000 students across 23 campuses.
“This planning approach is necessary because a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if a serious second wave of the pandemic occurs, as forecast,” Cal State system’s Chancellor Timothy White said Tuesday in a press release.
The announcement came on the same day that Anthony Fauci, Trump administration’s leading expert on infectious diseases, testified before Senate committee leaders and recommended caution on potential spikes in CCP virus infections when schools reopen.
“Virtual planning is necessary because it might not be possible for some students, faculty, and staff to safely travel to campus,” he said, adding that the fall semester will be delivered online, with few exceptions, such as clinical and life science lab, performing and creative arts, and hands-on engineering classes.
Cal State’s decision to operate primarily online may also have an impact on the upcoming college football season. The system’s schools at Fresno State, San Diego State, and San Jose State are members of the NCAA Mountain West Conference, which has 12 teams.
In a joint statement, the Mountain West Conference and presidents from its three Cal State members said on Tuesday that no decisions regarding sports in the fall have been made at this point.
“Certainly, all conversations are led by academics, as well as public health and safety. Within that framework, more determinations are necessary,” the statement read. “All three institutions will work closely with the Mountain West. No decisions on athletics have been made.”
Meanwhile, the University of California system recently indicated that it was planning to teach classes in a hybrid format this fall. A spokeswoman told Wall Street Journal that they were exploring an approach that would allow for a mix of online and in-person classes.
“At this juncture, it’s likely none of our campuses will fully reopen in fall,” she said. The UC system runs 10 campuses and enrolls nearly 300,000 undergrad and graduate students.
California is currently in the second phase of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-stage plan to gradually lift the stay-at-home restrictions across the state. Businesses including dine-in restaurants, shopping centers, in-store retail, and manufacturing and logistics industries supporting them may qualify to reopen in counties approved by the state. The third phase will bring back movie theaters and larger gatherings, such as church services.