Students are in for more online classes through the upcoming fall semester.

In light of the national COVID-19 response and ongoing social distancing guidelines, the chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system just announced that the fall semester for 2020 will be held predominantly through online learning. Individual plans to create in-person classroom experiences will be considered on a case-by-case basis for the 23 campuses in the system.

The chancellor had this to say about the sweeping decision:

"This approach to virtual planning is necessary for many 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. 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." -Timothy P. White, Chancellor of the California State University

This news is particularly important because the CSU system is one of the largest in the nation, with 482,000 students enrolled across 23 campuses. The decision to publicly announce continued remote learning for the next six months will likely spur similar actions in other states across the country. 

Exceptions for in-person classes will be considered if distancing plans can be created and if the classes are deemed essential for face-to-face learning. For example, science and engineering labs, clinical rotations for healthcare programs like medical, dental, and nursing school, and art classes that require specialized equipment may fall into this category. Customized teaching plans are currently in development at each campus and will be presented for consideration later this summer. Each plan must show rigorous safety measures, adequate staff, and resources to be considered.

Campuses will be open to serve the students, albeit in a modified capacity. Many student service functions, such as admissions, advising and financial aid, may continue in a virtual capacity. 

lab, laboratory, science

Courtesy of University of California

For more information about this decision and its implications, read the chancellor's official statement on the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. You can also follow along on the CSU Twitter account for real-time updates.

What do you think about the California state universities continuing their online coursework through the fall? Is it being safe, or a bit excessive? How do you feel about remote learning for the price of in-person college coursework? Sound off in the comments!