Colleges plan for an online fall semester

The California State University system recently announced that their fall semester will be online because of the continuing impacts of coronavirus; it is likely that many schools will soon follow suit.

Colleges plan for an online fall semester

Kayla Alcorcha, Content Editor

The coronavirus has not ceased its spread, and as a result, many colleges have announced that their fall semester will consist of strictly online courses. Most recently, the California State University system released one such notice. However, it was stated that some exceptions would be made for clinical classes for nursing students to keep them on track to earn licenses to enter the healthcare workforce, as well as hands-on learning for engineering, agriculture, and architecture students. Naturally, such programs will be limited in their participation as to respect social distancing guidelines. Considering that the CSU’s are the nation’s largest public university system, having 23 schools in its branch, it is likely that many schools will soon follow suit. There are a handful of schools that will welcome back students in the fall, but this list consists of small private schools such as Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, and possibly the Claremont Colleges.

Allegedly the University of California’s 10-school system is preparing to offer a mixed curriculum that includes both in-person and online courses, but individual campuses are studying different ways to reopen next semester. Classes across the UC system have been online since March, and the UC Board of Regents is meeting in the next few weeks to discuss plans for the fall. As of now, UC San Diego has revealed a coronavirus testing plan for students, faculty, and staff; notably, they have started testing for the 5,000 students currently on campus and have plans to expand that to all 65,000 students. [The fact that UC San Diego has its own medical center is a significant aid to this extensive course of action.] According to UC Irvine chancellor Howard Gillman, Irvine is preparing for a similar hybrid situation of online and in-person classes, and are going to attempt to house as many students in dorms as safely possible.

The most likely situation will be that small graduate seminars and undergraduate lab and studio classes will be face-to-face and that large lecture courses may be more often online.”

— Howard Gillman, UC Irvine chancellor

It is possible that colleges will open their campuses come the fall given certain circumstances: if widespread coronavirus testing is successfully executed and people continue to abide by social restrictions until then. However, public health experts have forecasted that there will be a second, smaller wave of the virus over the summer, and it is difficult to predict whether a vaccine will become widely available before and/or during this time. Because of the unpredictability of the virus and the societal impacts, it can be inferred that institutions such as the CSU’s and UC’s are simply preparing the safest courses of action for their student bodies. As said by Gillman, the most likely situation will be that small graduate seminars and undergraduate lab and studio classes will be face-to-face and that large lecture courses may be more often online.