Timothy White, Chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system, which includes 23 campuses, announced that most courses scheduled for the Fall 2020 term will be taught online, rather than face-to-face, owing to the current Covid-19 pandemic and a possible “serious second wave” of it.
In a statement released yesterday, Dr. White said that planning for “virtual” or online delivery of courses for the fall was necessary for several reasons:
First and foremost is the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff, and the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19—current and as forecast throughout the 2020-21 academic year. 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. Virtual planning is necessary because it might not be possible for some students, faculty, and staff to safely travel to campus.
Said another way, this virtual planning approach preserves as many options for as many students as possible.
Consequently, our planning approach will result in CSU courses primarily being delivered virtually for the fall 2020 term, with limited exceptions for in-person teaching, learning and research activities that cannot be delivered virtually, are indispensable to the university’s core mission and can be conducted within rigorous standards of safety and welfare. There will be hybrid approaches and there will be variability across the 23 campuses due to specific context and circumstances… but predominately there will be limited in-person experiential learning and research occurring on campuses for the fall 2020 term. On some campuses and in some academic disciplines course offerings are likely to be exclusively virtual.
The main exceptions mentioned were elements of some nursing courses, labs, fine and performing art courses, and boating.
Meanwhile, it is not quite clear what the ten-campus University of California (UC) system will be doing. The Los Angeles Times reported that:
University of California officials are examining the parameters of what it would take to open their campuses and are expected to announce plans in June or July. UC spokeswoman Claire Doan reiterated Tuesday that campuses were exploring a “mixed approach with some instruction delivered in classroom and lab settings, while other classes will be primarily online.”
And CNN reported that Stett Holbrook, another spokesperson for UC, said “it’s likely none of our campuses will fully re-open in fall.”