SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, May 12, California State University Chancellor Timothy White announced during a board of trustees Zoom meeting that in-person classes will be canceled for the Fall 2020 semester due to continued health concerns related to the coronavirus.
In a statement, White noted that a few on-campus classes could still be offered, but would require “rigorous safety measures and training.” Potential exceptions include science labs and clinical classes for nursing students—to “keep students on track” to enter health service—as well as creative arts studies and senior capstone projects that require special facilities.
The vast majority of classes will continue to be held online, which has been in effect since March 2020.
With over 480,000 students and almost 53,000 faculty and staff across its 23 campuses, CSU is the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. and the first large university to commit to remote learning in the fall. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, only 8 percent of colleges nationwide are currently planning for an online fall semester, while 70 percent expect to reopen their campuses for in-person learning.
CSU’s public university system counterpart, the University of California, has not made an official decision on its fall semester plans for 2020, but is exploring similar options. The university’s cancellations coincided with Tuesday’s remote Senate Hearing where top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of the “risk of having a resurgence,” if governments loosen coronavirus restrictions too early.
With this possibility of a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks, White said that “a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality would likely have to be switched to a virtual format.”
Extended remote learning brings the potential for decreased fall enrollment, as some students find taking the semester off preferable to taking it online. CSU has not commented on tuition adjustments for the fall semester, though White held, “This virtual planning approach preserves as many options for as many students as possible.”